Prior's Field September 2018

Royal Russell School's Trip to Battlefields - February 2012

Published Tuesday 28th of February 2012 03:15:40 PM

Year 12 English Literature students were given an insight into the brutal realities of life on the Western Front in a two-day visit to the First World War battlefields in Belgium and France.

The dozen students, accompanied by 10 pupils from Carshalton School for Girls, spent a day in the Ypres area of Belgium, followed by a further day touring the battlefields and cemeteries of the Somme.

English Literature students study a variety of writings on the 1914-18 Great War throughout their AS course, including the poetry of Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, R.C. Sherriff�s Journey�s End, and Regeneration by Pat Barker.

The trip was arranged to enhance students� contextual knowledge of the war and to explore the places that inspired and horrified the writers they are studying.

Students first visited Lijssenthoek hospital cemetery � the final resting place of thousands of British men � before comparing this to the more stark surroundings of a German cemetery at Langemark.

The group were later able to tour Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McCrae penned In Flanders Field, a memorial poem synonymous for the line: �We are the dead.�

The highlight of the second day at the Somme was a visit to Newfoundland Memorial Park, with students able to walk across what were the killing fields of No Man�s Land 96 years previously.

The towering Thiepval Monument to the Missing was the group�s last destination. Here, Harvey laid a wreath on behalf of Royal Russell School on the grave of an unknown soldier, while Masato read aloud the Sassoon poem Aftermath.

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