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Battlefields Trip to Belgium

In September, two Year 11 students, Leah Ball and Arghya Chakrabarty, embarked on a historically enriching trip to Belgium and France as part of the centenary project to mark 100 years since the First World War.

At Ashford, Kent, the students handled equipment and artefacts from the war, including exploded shells and grenades. After crossing the Eurotunnel, the group arrived at Lijssenthoek Cemetery, where they saw the many unknown victims of the First World War. Later that day, Leah took part in the highly respected Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, where she laid a wreath to the Allied soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the First World War. The Last Post ceremony is held every night in Ypres as a way for the Belgian nation to express gratitude towards those who died for its freedom and independence.

Other stops on their Battlefields tour included the Passchendaele War Museum, Newfoundland Memorial Park and Thiepval Memorial, as well as an authentic trench experience in the Zonnebeke Church dugout. Visiting the German cemetery of Langemark on the final day provided a stark contrast between the different ways soldiers were and are remembered. The final stop of the tour was to Tyne Cot, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth Forces in the world. At Tyne Cot, Arghya and Leah were able to find the memorial to a soldier they had researched from our local area, Claude Reginald Peter Taylor. The trip gave the group a stark realisation of the scale of death on the Western Front, and prompted queries over the importance of remembrance 100 years on.

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