On Friday 15th February 2019, a mixture of 30 Year 10 and Year 11 students were taken on an amazing trip to Ypres in Belgium. Despite the very early start and the long day ahead, students were raring to go to visit Lijssenthoek, the second largest military cemetery in Belgium. Our wonderful tour guide, John, told us the tale of Nellie Spindler, a staff nurse who was given a full military funeral after she was killed in action at Passchendaele.
Our first day then took us all to many more memorial sites, including Sanctuary Wood where students (and staff) enjoyed traipsing through the recreated trenches which allowed students to get a feel for how miserable the conditions would have been.
On Saturday 16th February 2019 we visited a quarry that was used during the war and Newfoundland Park, where of the 780 Canadian forces who attacked only 68 were available for roll call the next day. We also visited Thiepval Memorial, where multiple students found family members who had died in the Somme. Our day ended with a trip to Ypres to attend the Last Post. It was a really meaningful ceremony and six Outwood Academy Portland students (who were either involved in the forces or who had found family members that day) laid a wreath in commemoration of the fallen.
Before heading for home on Sunday 17th February 2019 we visited Langemark German War Cemetery where more than 44,000 people were buried.
For the whole trip, students were impeccably well behaved and were eager to learn more about WWI. The trip was highly educative and staff and students alike had an amazing time!
Outwood Academy Valley are taking a group of students on a similar trip to Ypres in April 2019. Look out for the article in the next edition of Outlook in July.