YPRES – Year 9 history students were lucky enough to go on one of two coach trips to Ypres in Belgium in late November and early December accompanied by our dedicated volunteer staff.
Ypres is a friendly town in Flanders endowed with wonderful architecture and a troubled past. Ypres is best known as the site of three major battles of the First World War, the most famous being the Battle of Passchendaele from July—November 1917. The many memorials and cemeteries of the fallen in and around Ypres draw thousands of visitors each year.
Despite the very early start of leaving school at 0445 the coach company said we were one of the tidiest schools they had ever had the pleasure of working with, and the travel company Anglia Tours said our students had the best knowledge of any other school students this year which was wonderful to hear!
The trip involved visiting museums, the mass graveyards of the fallen who gave their lives for our freedom as well as many other sites linked to World War One such as Langemark and Hooge Crater museum. They attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate after dinner on Friday night where the students laid two poppy wreaths on behalf of our school.
The group then went to their hostel called De Lork in Kemmel, near to Ypres which provided them with a comfortable place to get a much-needed rest.
On Saturday the students visited Tyne Cot which is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world where they were able to reflect on all they had seen and learnt over the previous 24 hours. Students were then allowed to explore the town of Ypres in small groups for about an hour when they could revisit the Menin Gate, have a look at the impressive cathedral or visit one of the excellent chocolate shops. There was also a Christmas market in the main square for them to enjoy.
Two of our Year 9 students summarised the trip:
“When we went to Ypres for a Year 9 history trip, we had a great time. Our visit consisted of trips to cemeteries, a museum, trenches (both British and German) and lots more. We really got a feeling of how the troops would have felt at war and the conditions they were in, not to mention all of the formal information we were given as well; did you know that all the troops actually got a gift on Christmas Day from Princess Mary? A huge thank you to the school and the brilliant tour guides that showed us around! It was a really interesting trip and is a 100% worth going on. (Especially as we got free drinks and chocolates!)"
(Leo M and Ben Year 9G)
TWGSB received a lovely thank you letter from a parent: “I just wanted to write a short note to say a huge thank you to all of those involved in the Y9 trip to Ypres this weekend.
My son had a fantastic time, and found the monuments, trenches and memorials profoundly moving. He has learned so much, and it’s been fascinating listening to recount everything he’s taken away from the trip.
It can’t be easy taking that many boys abroad, so thank you for organising it and making it such a memorable trip.”
The tired but happy students arrived back at 7pm on Saturday evening. A very interesting and educational 36 hours. Thank you so much to all the staff who made it happen.