World War 1 Battlefield Trip
This is an account of a Battlefield trip from pupil Imogen Connelly.
In July of 2010, year 9 and 10 students all traipsed to our school at a mere half five in the morning, laden with suitcases far too big for the 3 day long trip. The coach was there to pick all 40 something of us up, to take us to France, and later Belgium. At this time in the morning, as you can imagine, us teenagers were too sleep deprived for our liking but, never the less we all buzzed with excitement as we boarded the euro tunnel some few hours later.
The heat didn’t subside off the tunnel, so we were happy when we eventually got into France that we could stop for a break off the coach. Many of us had never travelled abroad before so dealing with the euro was a fun part for most.
Not long after we were asked to board the coach again which seemed like it was becoming our second home. This time we were visiting the first of our destinations-the Deville Wood Cemetery, The Somme, France. This was an emotional moment which left all of us students in a subdued state of respect. The sheer amount of cream graves were aligned in perfect rows, still looking well kept and obviously looked after. Our trip leader gave us a quick talk, but not many words were needed. After a look around and a browse at some of the graves, we boarded the coach to another location; Thiepval Memorial. This again left us with upmost respect but with the hustle and bustle of tourists such as our selves. We were left to roam to our own accord, which meant many of us searched to find matching surname to our own, on the majestic looking memorial.
After taking many photos and seeing as much as we were able to of the incredible structure, we were taken to eat our dinner overlooking the memorial. The little museum accompanying Thiepval gave a lot of us relevant info and ensured toilet stops and drinks were refuelled.
After visiting the two memorials, our destination was our accommodation, a school hostel in France. Tired teenagers leaden with their belongings climbed stairs until we reached our floor. Rooms and roommates were picked which would be our second home for the next few days.
That evening, the town we were stopping in was to be explored by us so we went off in search of somewhere to eat for the night. Whilst the teachers were searching, we were looking round our French surroundings.
Eventually somewhere to eat was found and we had an enjoyable meal together. The night was drawing in so we headed back to our accommodation for the night after a busy day of travelling and touring.
The next day consisted of a full day visit to hill 60 and Essex Farm. We saw the trenches and got a guided tour from a grandson of a Canadian soldier. The impact really sunk in when we went down into the underground system that was the homes of many through the world war. The Tyne Cot Cemetery was our next stop, along with the brooding solider, and Vimmy Ridge. It was a very moving experience knowing hundreds, even thousands had died.
The next day consisted of travelling back in the direction of home, but stopping off for a shopping trip in the process at Cite Europe to spend a bit of that all important spending money.
The Belgium trip was a fantastic experience, a lot of great memories were made, and I would certainly do it again!