Last Friday Mr Wood led a trip of 82 pupils on a Battlefields Trip to learn about the impact that the Great War had on the landscape and the areas in which it was fought, indeed discovering how and why the war led to so many deaths during the four year period. Pupils from years 7, 8, 9 and 10 embarked on this journey of discovery to the Somme Valley, staying in Albert France and then to the Ypres Salient in Belgium.
The trip became a pilgrimage for some of our pupils, who with the help of our wonderful guide, Tony Smith, were able to locate and visit the grave sites of their relatives. Darcey Ferguson and Lucy Myers were able to visit the grave sites of their lost relatives who died in combat during the conflict. Both girls laid flowers on the graves as words or remembrance were said from Tony, before the whole group had a moment of quiet reflection. Lucy, Tom Wickham and Noah Scott were able to locate the names of their lost relatives on Thiepval Monument, which contains the names of 75,000 soldiers, whose bodies were never recovered. For many of these students they were the first in their families to be able to locate and visit these names and the final resting places of loved ones, as after the war too few families ever got the chance and their names were committed to the memory of the family, which made the trip even more special. Katherine Morrisey of Year 8 and Logan Strachan of Year 9 laid wreaths on behalf of staff and pupils at Southmoor Academy, taking part in the last post ceremony at the Menin Gate, which is held every evening at 8pm in Ypres to commemorate the lives lost during the conflict.
The trip was a massive success and members of the public even took time from their own trip to appraoch staff and congratulate our pupils on their conduct, behaviour and the levels of respect shown in all of the places that were visited. It was an absolute pleasure for all staff involved on the trip to take these pupils, I look forward to planning the trips for next year.