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R14 History Trip to the Somme

On 10th June at 6am a party of 23 R14 GCSE History pupils and 3 staff left St John’s College for our annual pilgrimage to the battlefields of the First World War in France and Belgium. We were accompanied by our experienced guide, Tom Morgan. 

As ever there was a packed itinerary and upon arriving at Calais we made our way to the town of Ypres in Belgium, the scene of intense fighting throughout the conflict. Harini S and Marco A had the honour of laying a wreath in front of hundreds of people at the nightly Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate.

Following a good night’s sleep at our accommodation near St Omer, we drove down to the Somme region of France to visit many memorials and preserved trenches including Ulster Tower, Lochnagar Crater, Devonshire Trench and the Welsh memorial at Mametz Wood. On the way we stopped at the town of Arras and toured Wellington Quarry where soldiers from New Zealand tunnelled under the German lines in 1917. 

On our final day we drove back to Ypres to visit the Tyne Cot cemetery, the Flanders Fields Museum, Langemark German cemetery and the grave of Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn.

As in previous years this trip served as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by a whole generation and for pupils of St John’s College to be able to visit during the centenary commemorations made it all the more special.

The pupils of R14 were a credit to the school and behaved with dignity throughout the trip. My thanks goes to Mrs Evans and Mr Cooper for their tireless help and support during the three days. 

Mr Taylor

13 June 2015

Senior School News