Battlefields Trip 2019

By Luke Blishen

This year I had the incredible privilege to go on one of, even the best trip that our school has to offer. 40 students of year ten went to France and Belgium on a trip to experience the incredible battlefields of the First World War, an experience that will not be readily forgotten by any of those present

The trip commenced early in the morning on Wednesday 23rd October at five o clock in the morning for the journey to France, taking the Eurostar, a first experience for many of the students

Our first stop on the trip was almost certainly the most poignant. The German cemetery of Neuville-St.-Vaast the sheer scale of the cemetery is astounding. 4 men to a grave and a mass grave of 8000 men. The black crosses of the cemetery are a stark reminder of the huge human tragedy that was the First World War

Over the course of the trip we visited a number of monuments to the fallen of the war, including the incredible monument at Vimy ridge built on the side of a major allied victory, it honours the Canadian contribution to the war, as many commonwealth countries joined in Britain’s struggle for victory

We experienced a large number of trench systems, those in Theipval wood, the reconstruction German trenches near Ypres and the battlefield of newfoundland park, the scene of a veritable disaster for the Canadians on the first day of the Somme. We trod the path of the newfoundland regiment on their charge into the German machine guns, and saw the just how hopeless many of these charges were

One of my favourites of the trips were the brilliant museums we had the chance to visit, including the outstanding museum of the battle of Passchendaele and the underground museum in albert, full of fascinating relics and weapons from the war.

As well as this, we had the opportunity of some free time in the incredibly scenic town of Ypres, and to browse over the multitude of shops selling artefacts , food, and outstanding Belgian chocolate

We also had the once in a lifetime experience of the spine tingling Menin gate ceremony, featuring an incredible welsh male voice choir, an experience none of us will ever forget. This is an experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

This trip will be one of the defining moments of our time in Year 10, possibly our whole time at St George and for many years to come.