Monday, 9 November 2015

Visit to Ypres to commemorate WW1


Eleanor and Natasja year 11 students at Townsend School, along with Head of History Mrs Bailey, visited Belgium and France for a day trip for the “Last Post” ceremony – a unique act of remembrance to commemorate and express the eternal gratitude towards the soldiers of the British Empire who fought and fell in the defence of the city and Ypres Salient, saving the independence and freedom of Belgium”.

During the trip they visited a number of cemeteries and war memorials, visiting the city of Ypres itself, where some of the biggest battles of WW1 happened.  They also visited various places within the Ypres Salient, including Menin gate – where allied troops passed through on their way to the battlefields.  They also visited Lijssenthoek military cemetery, Tyne Cot military cemetery, Langemark German cemetery , and Poperinge (seven miles from Ypres) where soldiers spent time resting, recovering from the ordeal of battle.  They finally saw the Somme Thiepval memorial and Thiepval wood, looking at German Trenches.

The students wanted to gain more knowledge of WW1 and to be able to understand what soldiers may have experienced.  They explained “It was a very overwhelming experience, very sad.  However it was reassuring to know that British soldiers are remembered in such a lovely way.”  The girls were assigned a soldier local to St Albans at the beginning of the day who they found out more about.  The students finally created mini sculptures of a curled up man with an emphasis on the spine to represent the fact that each soldier was in the same position, but were all different, just as all spines are different.  These were to be placed within a memorial, and there will eventually be one made for each soldier who lost their life in battle.