Battlefields 2013 – Coach 1 – Day 3 AM (25th May) – Students’ Reflections on the Somme

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Yesterday we saw and experienced so much! First of all we visited a cemetery, we discovered there were 800 memorial stones (800 deaths) and we were surprised to find that the cemetery was considered small compared to others around France and Belgium. It was shocking to see that over half of the stones had no known name, as the body has not been found/ been identified. We really enjoyed visiting Newfoundland park, it was very interesting to walk in the trenches, we felt empathetic towards the soldiers. The trenches were cramped when we were there, to imagine what it was like during The Great War was an eye-opener. Towards the end of the day we visited a memorial dedicated to all lost soldiers, there was a huge monument which had all the soldiers names inscribed on it, there was many more than we had anticipated. It was fascinating to find our surnames written on the monument, some people even found their full names e,g J Thomson. We found many Henry’s and Rennie’s, it was amazing to find a connection between us and the lost soldiers. It was a truly memorable experience and one we will cherish for the rest of our lives!

~Beth & Ashleigh

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

 

When we arrived off the ferry yesterday it was freezing in Belgium, but we got on the road and it was really nice to just watch the scenery. Arriving at the first cemetery was pretty hard hitting, especially seeing Andrew’s relatives. It was classed as a pretty small cemetery and there were at least 700 soldiers there. I think this made us all realise the extent of the war and casualties. It was really interesting to be taught about the trenches, and that we were standing where soldiers fought nearly 100 years ago. The missing soldiers memorial was also very emotional for us all because seeing all the names, and even our names had a big impact especially because these people weren’t found. I found it really nice that we got to drive through where the ANZACs fought and stop at Mouquet farm because that’s a big part of my country’s history, and it was a personal thing to also see that. It’s really different learning about WW1 than actually being where it happened, it puts everything in perspective and makes everything we’ve learnt easier to understand. The hotel was really nice, and dinner was good, back on the road today up to Belgium for the rest of the day and then to the Ferry.

~Madi

Mouquet Farm ANZAC Memorial - Somme

Mouquet Farm ANZAC Memorial – Somme

 

We arrived in Belgium at 8:30 it was raining a lot we got soaked running to the bus then a 2 hour bus ride to France first we went to a small cemetery but it was probably the sadist because we had never seen so many graves before then we laid a wreath to remember Andrew’s relative. We knew how many people died but had never seen that many graves before, it really hit home with us at this point. But I think the sadist moment of the day was going to the grave memorial of the un-named at Thiepval, which is a tower of 4 pillars of stone and a brown roof. It is covered in names of the missing in the battle of the Somme. Nearly everyone found someone with their name. There were 10 books to catalog all of the names there. We also went to see Donald Bell’s grave (V.C). We left a wreath and then had a minute of silence.

~Noah

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Donald Bell's Grave - Gordon Dump Cemetery

Donald Bell’s Grave – Gordon Dump Cemetery

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