Poignant Visit to Ypres and The Somme

40 students from Holy Trinity Academy recently embarked on a poignant and very moving two-day trip as part of their History studies.  Their first stop, and a very last minute change to the itinerary, took them to Belgium where they witnessed the burial of nine French marines who were being given a full military funeral at St Charles de Potyze Cemetery, Zonnebeekseweg. There, our students laid a wreath on behalf of our school.  Another highlight was attending the last post ceremony at the Menin Gate. This was a most moving experience.  The Messines Peace Village provided excellent accommodation where the students had time to relax and play sport. Day 2 saw a journey to the Sunken Lane on the Somme where students were able to see the devastating impact of the use of explosives at the Hawthorn Ridge Crater.  Lunch at Auchonvillers was followed by a visit to the Deville Wood museum and cemetery.  Two students were able to dress in VAD and RAMC uniform. A real highlight of the trip was Joseph dressing exactly like his great, great uncle, Joseph King. He joined the Irish Regiment, the Connaught Rangers with other Saint John’s Ambulance men from his home town of Shiney Row, served as a medic, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant until he was killed in action in the final month of the Great War, in 1918, aged 25.  The trip ended at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing where we held a ceremony of remembrance and reflection on the sacrifice of all those killed in war. Another very moving time. This was an excellent trip that brought History alive. The students were a real credit to Holy Trinity Academy – their thoughts and reflections: “I enjoyed the trip as the experience was great, I learnt a lot and enjoyed the company of my friends.” LF “I was interested to find out that the two British soldiers seen as the bravest in the First World War didn’t kill anyone but both got the Victoria Cross, one got two!” CW