With the world commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Year 9 historians embarked on a journey to the battlefields of the First World War in France and Belgium on Thursday morning.
Leaving the white cliffs of Dover behind, the girls made their way across the channel to the Ypres area where they navigated the trenches of Sanctuary Wood, which offered cover to British soldiers from German artillery at the First Battle of Ypres. The girls had time to reflect on the differing ways in which the dead of the First World War have been remembered, contrasting the magnificence of Tyne Cot Commonwealth war graves to that of Langemarck, to the small piece of ground in which the German dead of Passchendaele are remembered. A trip to see the Menin Gate rounded off our first poignant day.
On Friday morning, the girls headed over to the Somme and were able to visit the resting places of two relatives of girls in the school: Georgina's great, great uncle and Saskia's great, great grandfather. From there, it was onto Theipval (the largest memorial to the dead of the Somme) and then the climb to Vimy Ridge where the girls were able to take an underground tour of the tunnelling systems which helped the Canadians to victory. No visit to Vimy is complete, however, without viewing the stunning Canadian war memorial which rounded off a thought-provoking trip on the value of life and the futility of war.