I recently had the absolute pleasure of taking 29 of our Year 9 students to Belgium. The purpose of the trip was to explore the Ypres area of Belgium, which was devastated in both world wars.
On our first day, we visited Vimy Ridge and the Canadian memorial, the Thiepval British memorial and the Lochnager crater. The students experienced a trench system and were amazed at the scars that the landscape still shows.
On day two, we went to Tyne Cot (British) and Langemarck cemeteries. The contrast was incredible. Tyne Cot has white gravestones as far as the eye can see. Langemarck is considerably smaller and all graves are marked by flat, grey stones. The Germans ran out of time to bury their dead, so most of the soldiers at Langemarck (some 40,000) are in one mass grave.
On our last evening, we attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. The students, with the help of Mrs West one of our LSAs, handcrafted a beautiful wreath, which was laid by Zoe Newall and Andrew Kennerley. Both Zoe and Andrew have relative’s names on the gate, which is a memorial to those soldiers who have no grave. Such an incredibly moving experience.
I want to say a massive thank you to the students, who were an absolute credit to themselves, their families and Ivanhoe. I’m honoured to have seen young people appreciate the devastation of war and the importance of peace.
Thank you also to Mrs Johnson, Mr Lane and Mr Berrow for their company, help and support.
Subject Leader of History and RE
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