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Battlefields Trip 2019

Karen Smith

46 Fifth Form pupils and six staff embarked on the annual Battlefields Trip, visiting the battlefields of Ypres in Belgium and the Somme in France from the 27th to 30th October.

As ever, this year’s visit was a great success with pupils being extremely impressive throughout in their reaction, response and engagement when visiting the various sites in the Autumn sunshine.

Our first day the group covered the usual sites such as the German cemetery of Langemark and English cemetery Tyne Cot, showing the human cost of WWI.   Pupils also experienced the geographical cost of the war with the impact it had upon the landscape through their visits to the Caterpillar Crater and Hill 60 as well as the well preserved Bayernwald German Trenches. The highlight, and perhaps most poignant, part of the day was the discovery of the names of relatives by both James Barker and Millie Keen on Menin Gate and Tyne Cot respectively. The evening allowed Canfordians to pay their respects through attendance at the Last Post Ceremony.

The next day took the group to the Somme where information from the Commonwealth Graves Commission allowed further investigation of the stories of those individuals who fought and fell in WWI. Mr Salmon was able to relay the story of his relative though the sites of Thiepval and Trones Wood.  Here also, pupil Jess Fry was able to follow the journey of two of her relatives who fell within a week of each other at Carnoy Cemetery and Trones Wood. The poems read by pupils and Miss Holland alongside the stories of staff and pupil’s relatives and other appropriate locations added an emotive literary dimension to the trip.  Whilst we could not visit the graves and sites of all the relatives of our pupils, it was wonderful to have pupils and parents contact the school prior to our visit with information on relatives that had fought in WWI, allowing us to hold them in our thoughts throughout the trip.


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