The Sweyne Park Times
A Time To Remember
On Friday, 14th June, the History department took 80 students from Year 9 on our annual trip to Ypres, Belgium. The day began at a sleepy 5.45am; the pupils arrived bright eyed and after a quick journey to the Channel Tunnel we were able to get an earlier crossing giving us more time to explore the sites we were visiting. Our first stop was Sanctuary Wood museum, where the pupils got to view some WWI weaponry, as well as having the chance to explore some original trenches and tunnels (which were extremely muddy and dark!) The groups then went on to visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war grave cemetery in the world which looked incredibly beautiful with the flowers in full bloom. The pupils learnt that within commonwealth cemeteries, roses are planted strategically so that the shadow of an English rose will always be cast on the grave of an English soldier every day. We then went on to visit Langemarc cemetery, a German war cemetery and pupils were able to see the difference in the feel and layout of the cemetery and why those differences exist. Pupils held a minutes silence at both cemeteries to show respect for the men and women who lost their lives on both sides of the conflict. The day ended in Ypres town with a visit to the impressive medieval looking Cloth Hall museum, which was rebuilt in its original style following its complete destruction during the war, as well as the Menin Gate, which holds the names of all the soldiers who died, but whose bodies were never found. Pupils were then given some time to visit the famous Belgian chocolate shops and explore the town before heading home.
The pupils were fantastic representatives of the school, showing the utmost respect at the sites we visited and showing a genuine interest in the stories and history surrounding the First World War. The pupils were a pleasure to take and the day was a great success!