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First World War Battlefields

From Head of History, Mrs Wright:

“On Remembrance weekend 2019, four Year 9 students were able to visit the First World War Battlefields in France and Belgium, as part of an organised trip run through University College  London to mark the centenary of the war. A full weekend of activities saw our group take in Tyne Cot Cemetery where crosses were laid for a local soldier. Private Thomas Henson from Hulme, served with the Manchester Regiment and died, age 19, on 9th October 1917. We also visited the German cemetery at Langemark which is notable for the sombre atmosphere, as well as the tall oak trees. The oak is the ‘national tree’ of Germany and it is tradition to be buried in its shadow.

We also participated in the formal act of remembrance at the Menin Gate in Ypres as well as conducting our own at the Thiepval Memorial to the missing British and South African soldiers who died in the First World War. At Beaumont-Hamel, some of the trenches have been preserved and our guides showed us the direction of the attacking forces during the Battle of the Somme and shared with us the story of the Newfoundland Regiment who were almost completely wiped out in less than 30 minutes on 1st July 1916.

A highlight of the visit was a performance of the play ‘Journey’s End’ in the old officer’s club in Poperinge, Ypres. Performed by a group of extremely talented actors, the story brought home the horrors of war and the strength of friendship in difficult times. Our hope is to follow up the trip by producing a project on the Manchester Regiment and our local war heroes.”

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22nd November 2019 – Vol 36 | No 11