Y12 Trip to The Somme Battlefields
On the 11th-14th of November 2018, myself and Ruby Pickles (Both Year 12) were given the opportunity to visit Belgium and France to commemorate the centenary of World War 1.
The tour gave us the opportunity to interact with a variety of different historic sites including battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and museums, participate in remembrance ceremonies, and record, reflect and share own experiences. We did this within a group of around 50 students and teachers from other schools in London.
The main aim of the tour was to participate in the ‘Legacy 110' projects. Every participating student will create an enduring legacy by impacting upon at least 110 people within their local community. The orginal aim of this was that the total number of people reached by 2019 would equal 888,246, which is equivalent to the number of British and Commonwealth soldiers who fell during the First World War.
While in Belgium we were given the opportunity and resources to research two soldiers who were killed in the battles of World War 1. Every school group was given two soldiers that lived in close proximity to their school to commemorate. Our soldiers were named Harry Frederick Bristow (lived in Harman Road, Bush Hill Park) and George Bishop (lived in Gordon Lane, now Gordon Road, Enfield EN2).
If you are interested in finding a soldier who fought in the First World War, this website allows you to find someone who lived near to where you do!
One of the highlights of the trip for both of us was the Newfoundland Memorial Park in Beaumont Hamel. The Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out in this location on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, but the park was absolutely stunning and we both found it incredible how the commitment of people could turn a place with such a haunted history to a beautiful park used for thousands to learn about World War 1 and pay their respects to the fallen every year.
We both found the trip very moving, seeing the huge numbers of graves and knowing that each and every one belongs to a soldier with a story. I found it especially easy to connect holding with me the information about the two fallen men that we had been researching. We were given the opportunity to visit the memorials of Harry Frederick Bristow and George Bishop to pay our respects and leave a poppy cross. All of the cemeteries and memorials we visited had a very sombre feeling and everyone we saw was committed to paying their respects. I found it amazing to see that a high percentage of the graves and memorials had offerings of remembrance on them, even 100 years after the war. This shows the extent of the impact the World War 1 had on the countries involved and how the legacy does and hopefully will continue to live on.
Look out for our project in the coming weeks and please support us by passing it on to as many people as possible.
Edie Halstead, Year 12