First World War Battlefields trip

Posted on April 30, 2018


A group of Year 10 and 11 (Lower and Upper 5) students enjoyed an incredibly poignant History trip to the First World War Battlefields during the Easter holidays. Staying in the beautiful town of Ypres, the girls had two brilliant tours of the Ypres Salient and the Somme battlefields and were even able to walk through some original trenches which brought home the full horror of the war.

During the visit Polly Shaw laid a wreath commemorating her great great grandfather who served in three of the Ypres battles. She did this during the very moving Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. Also, and as part of their visit to the vast Thiepval memorial which is dedicated to those who fell on the Somme and have no known graves, Amelie Cosgrove (Year 10) read the poem “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke and Alex Dean (Year 10) laid a wreath on behalf of The Maynard.

They also paid a special visit to the Devonshire Regiment’s cemetery where they recognised a number of familiar Devonshire names on the gravestones and, on the last day, they were lucky enough to see a brand new installation in what was “No man’s land’ near Ypres. This consisted of 600,000 small clay figures representing the Belgian dead in the First World War. It was a breathtaking sight with a giant clay egg at its centre, hatching out a number of clay figures to represent the hope that peace can eventually eradicate war but without ever forgetting the sacrifices made.

Amongst many memorable moments perhaps the most poignant was hearing the song of the skylark as they stood at the Lochnagar Crater on a beautifully sunny morning to remember the 19,240 British soldiers who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.