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Year 11 have just returned from their trip to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. The trip was particularly poignant this year as we all mark the centenary of the beginning of the world’s first truly global conflict. Students were able to experience first-hand the conditions of the trenches, and we able to visit the graves of those countless soldiers who fell in the line of duty between 1914 and 1918. During the visit we were able to find some visceral links with the past by visiting a number of graves and memorials to the relatives of students, as well as the memorials to a number of men who once lived in Guiseley. This was an incredibly powerful experience, with some students making the first ever pilgrimage to a particular grave.

Photos of the trip can be found HERE.

If you would like to send photos to add to the blog, please email to forda@guiseleyschool.org.uk


Below are some of the comments from the students about the trip:

The trip really gave me a feel of life during the war! A great experience with fab people. The German graveyard was very emotional!- Maddie, Phoebe, Amelia and Georgia

Such a good trip and the company made it even better! I have grasped more of an understanding what each country went through during the First World War! Loved it<3- Cinzia, Lucy, Emma, Ellie

The trip gave us different perspectives from different countries and feel like the trip has benefited our understanding and knowledge of the First World War. We loved it, especially the company with all friends including Dunnyboy (AKA Mr DUNN)!!!- Leigh-Anna and “the girl that eats a lot” (quotation of Dunnyboy) Megan!) by Megan “by ‘eck kid”.

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Definitely glad we came on the trip. The differences between the German and allied cemeteries gave us a lot to think about and we learned about different aspects of the war then we do in the classroom. Bryony, Katie

The best school trip we have ever been on at Guiseley School. It was good that we were able to visit so many places. It has brought us closer to new people and we loved it:) – Aimee and Jess

Made us understand the reality of the war and the impacts it had on Europe. Educational and fun trip, would do it all again!! (With wifi of course). Great time, thank you! – Lauren and Becci

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The trip was very good, it made us understand more about the World War and the conditions they lived in. It also brought people a lot closer. Overall we really enjoyed the trip- Millie and Charlotte🙂

Was very informative and also fun, a very good experience of the First World War, I would come again. The most interesting thing was learning about all the different cemeteries and memorials on both sides, Germany and Britain. Joe & Cieran.

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It made us understand the First World War on a deeper level and also understand the loss and effect it had on people. Visiting all the different cemeteries was also very interesting and emotional, so when we visited the German cemetery you really saw the contrast. Although we would of enjoyed a little longer in Belguim. Natasha & Olivia & Joe Richardson & Joe Moyes.

It opened our eyes to the struggle the soldiers went through and the sacrifice people made for such little ground made. It was emotional when you looked at the graves and saw a person standing there in uniform with a name a family and once a life instead of seeing a grave. The trip was amazing and a very proud experience. “Do you wants two meet our commanding officer? RON GET OVER HERE!!!” Conner & Jonny

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This trip has been an eye opener for me because it helped me to understand the sheer magnitude of the First World War and the atrocities committed in it by both sides both during and after, from the utter destruction of the gas attacks from the Germans, to how mistreated the fallen German soldiers were. There were 24,917 soldiers buried in the same space as an English classroom. Javed

Saturday 20th July.
In the morning, we visited a Stasi Prison. Our tour guide was called Steve, and every sentence he dropped a new bombshell. For example, in the middle of talking about interrogation, he told us that he was actually arrested by the Stasi, and spent ten months in the Stasi prison that were in. The rooms in the prison were awful, and the conditions were hideous. To imagine that anyone could have spent more than ten minutes locked inside one of those cells is unbelievable.

After the shock of the prison, we visited the Berlin Olympic Stadium from the Olympics in 1936. It was weird to see how much influence the Nazis had on the design, as the buildings were grey and heavy. We climbed to the top of the bell tower and took some #selfies, and without sounding too much like an old woman, the view was amazing.
Checkpoint Charlie was the next stop. It was really weird to visit something that I had already been taught about, as it looked nothing like I’d imagined.
At the end of the day we were treated to another fine meal at the “Comfort” Hotel. This meal included rice, some sort of white sauce, and unidentified meats. Compliments to the chef.
After what I can only describe as an eye opening meal, we took advantage of the Fun bowling facilities. After 3 rounds of the ball not hitting any of the pins, I managed to get an outstanding score of 59.
This trip was honestly the best trip I’ve ever been on, and there was never a dull moment. I would definitely recommend the places we visited for anyone who hasn’t been.
Also, a special thanks to Chris for livening up the entire trip.
Jasmine Cannon

The trip to Berlin and Amsterdam was my first school trip. I was totally dreading it! I thought the food would be vile (some of it wasn’t great) [I am not sure what the issue with the "white meal" was…Mr F]

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But despite a few issues, we still had a bunch of fun! The girls I shared a room with were in the year below, but they were the nicest people i could have hoped to share late night gossips with!

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The trip started with a 10 hour coach drive to Berlin.The journey was made considerably better by the constant ‘hash tagging’ from Mr Pepper, the cynical words of Jamaal, and the fact that i had a full sized pillow. We arrived at the hotel at around 8.30pm, an hour late. We were all starving and couldn’t wait to eat a decent meal. ‘Decent’ is a very generous title to give the food that was served to us that night… As i approached the front of the queue , i was handed a plate with over cooked boiled potatoes , peas and carrots that were a shade of grey and contained no vitamins what so ever… [Ellie goes off on a bit of a food rant here – I think I will let you ask her for the full unedited details if you want🙂 Mr F]

Day 3 and 4 was getting to know a bit more about Berlin as a city and the history behind the buildings. The Holocaust memorial was especially moving and the Stasi prison was very eye opening. I really enjoyed visiting places like the Wannsee Villa that i had previously learn about in my GCSE course.

Overall , the trip was an incredible experience , made better by the staff that came. Oh , an of course by Chris! I will think back to the trip with fond memories.

– Ellie

Arriving at Hohenschönhausen, the Stasi Prison, on our second day in Berlin I didn’t really know what to expect. I had read about people’s experiences but actually being there left me with a strange feeling – I imagine others felt the same. Our guide was an interesting man, who later told us he had actually been imprisoned at Hohenschönhausen for 10 months at the age of eighteen for trying to escape into West Berlin. You could say he was relatively lucky – some people spent years locked in the cramped, dark cells. Walking the corridors and standing in the very rooms people had once been confined to was a valuable insight into the atrocities that occurred in east Berlin only 20 or so years ago.
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Visiting Anne Frank’s house – where she and her family hid from the Nazis for 2 years – was a surreal experience. Walking through the door, past the very same bookcase they had used to conceal the entry, was weird. The magazine cuttings Anne and Margot had stuck on their bedroom walls were still in place and in another room pencil markings on the wall showed the girls’ growth over the two year period. Again it was a case of standing where they stood, where history was made, and reflecting on the horrors that they had to endure. And being thankful that Anne wrote about it all, so we can remember and learn from what she had to experience.

The trip is one that I will remember for a very long time. It is an incredible feeling, visiting a place you have learnt about in class, and actually knowing the history of it. The food wasn’t that great, but the people, jokes and of course, the history, made up for that hugely!

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– Katie P

The Potsdam palace was an amazing building, the architecture was incredible but it was the stories that the building told that was the most interesting. Everything from the red star of flowers in the courtyard to the picture of the dog in the American presidents office told us something. It was probably one of my favourite visits of the trips, with so many small facts and anecdotes. But when it comes to the most eye opening visit, it had to be our second day in Berlin, when we visited the Stasi prison camp. It was incredible to see the conditions that people we forced to live in, though most of them had never done anything wrong. Walking around the underground prison cells during a boiling hot day made some of us feel a little ill, I can hardly imagine what it must have been like for the people imprisoned there, some of them for years without seeing another human being other than their guards.

The first day in Berlin was also amazing, we went on a walking tour around Berlin, allowing us to see many different historical places, and memorials. For me, the most memorable was the memorial to the burning of Jewish books in the centre of Berlin. The memorial consists of many empty bookcases set beneath a layer of glass, this represents that the books are gone and that we are unable to ever get them back. Though it may be a simple memorial, it is very effective and really gets across the point that it is impossible to change the past, it that we can learn from it all the same.

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We also got a chance to see the remainder of the Berlin Wall, as well as some of the beautiful murals that several sections of the wall have been turned into. In addition to this we walked around Checkpoint Charlie and the museum that had been created there. It was fascinating to learn about the wall; for a very long time I had believed that the Berlin Wall was simply one layer of concrete. When in fact many sections consisted of two walls with an area in between them with guards dogs and barbed wire. But by far the most unbelievable was the methods of escape used by some East Berliners to get across the border, including a homemade hot air balloon, using the seat of a sports car to conceal some one, or several suitcases to hide in.

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We also learned about the conditions in the concentration camps in and around Germany, though we had already learned about this topic in school it doesn’t stop the impact that the information about the labour camps cause. Which is partly one of the reasons why the memorial for the murdered Jews was so meaningful. The memorial was very simple; countless numbers of concrete blocks, all the same shape and colour, but all different sizes, but in spite of that, it showed very clearly, that though the Jews were murdered because they were stereotyped as all being the same, each and everyone was different, and individual, just like the different blocks of concrete.

– Katy D

There are endless facts and figures depicting the total number of deaths during the holocaust & all are truly horrifying and saddening, yet somehow the focus on one girl’s story left me, and others, with a stronger sense of sadness. Along with the observations, stories & thoughts that Anne Frank documented in her diary is the overriding sentiment that Anne gave a face and a voice to the millions of people persecuted by the Nazi party, in particular the Jews.When the focus is shifted from a death toll of 11 million people killed to 8 people in hiding, their helpers & their lives for 2 years, it becomes somewhat less difficult & more heartbreaking to process the horrifying extent of the holocaust & the variety of lives that the Nazis destroyed.

Particularly during our visit to Anne Frank’s annexe in Amsterdam, I really began to consider how many other people documented the Holocaust whose stories were eradicated with them when they died. Anne was one girl who wrote everything down & thanks to her father Otto, millions of people have been able to hear her story, which was her wish. However there must have been thousands, if not millions of people whose stories were never heard and were perhaps killed before they even got to have their own story. For me, this was what made the visit to the Anne Frank house so incredibly poignant. As well as highlighting the life of a young girl which was so tragically cut short, it brought to light the fact that in such a terrifying era, Anne was so lucky to have her words saved, when so many other people’s were silenced along with them.

– Hannah M

The trip was very interesting, because there was lots to find out and discover about Berlin. I found out a lot about the Berlin wall itself. After learning about it for such a long time it was finaly nice to see it in person!

– Paddy