This month, 37 year 10 students embarked on a history department trip to the WW1 battlefields of northern France and Belgium.  This trip ties in with the one of the students’ GCSE history exams on the Western Front, injuries, treatment and the trenches.

We set off at 5am on Friday 21 June and arrived back late Sunday 23 June. We visited a number of British, Allied and German cemeteries and memorials as well as a number of trench systems (both real and reconstructed).

Students saw how the British fought at the Somme and Passcendaele, how the Canadians fought at Arras and the underground tunnels, the Northern Ireland Regiments and Newfoundland Regiments in the Somme (the latter saw eight die per second on the first day of the Somme).

We also visited a German cemetery and attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, Ypres, which has taken place at 8pm almost every day since 1928.  It was particularly moving with a choir singing. We also saw the place where Harry Patch (the ‘Last Tommy’) fought and where the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ was written, together with the grave of a 15 year old soldier.

The students were fantastic ambassadors of the academy and the sun shone brightly for the whole trip.