Remembering the sacrifice of World War I
They travelled to places scarred by conflict that will never be forgotten.
Duncanrig Secondary students visited the battlefields of Ypres in Belgium and the Somme in France to mark 100 years since the end of WWI.
A group of 34 pupils from S3 to S6 walked in the footsteps of and helped commemorate the men who lived and fought, died and survived, in the trenches of the ‘war to end all wars’.
The excursion – organised by the school’s history department – took in visits to the battlefields, trenches, bunkers and tunnels around Great War sites at the Somme and Vimy Ridge in northern France, and similar locations around the towns of Ypres in Belgium. There was the chance to study the tactics and effects of trench warfare where great battles of the war were fought.
And the trip also offered pupils the opportunity to experience the language and culture of Belgium and France.
Principal teacher of history, James McSherry, said: “The staff involved in the trip were incredibly proud of the way the pupils responded to all aspects of their battlefield experiences.
“The interest shown by the pupils in all the sites we visited was strong and their respect towards what had happened to their predecessors was mature and sincere.”
Students spent their first day on the continent, after sailing from Hull to Zeebrugge, visiting the southern sector of the Ypres salient, taking in the sights at Messines, Hooge, Black Watch Corner and Hill 60 before going ‘into the trenches’ at Sanctuary Wood.
After a night’s rest in Langemark, the pupils made their way across the border into France to visit Picardy and the battlefields that surround the River Somme.
At Beaumont Hamel, students were taken across a battlefield that saw the infamous sacrifice of the Newfoundland Regiment on July 1, 1916, whose casualty rate for the first day of the Somme was an appalling 80 per cent.
It was here that pupils visited the 51st Highland Division memorial on the site of the ground finally taken from the Germans on November 13, 1916 at the end of the Battle of the Somme.
The third day of the battlefield tour took the pupils back to Flanders to explore the northern sector of the Ypres salient, scene of the brutal Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.
The group also visited Poelcapelle British Cemetery – arguably the most poignant of all the Commonwealth cemeteries in Flanders.
Particularly poignant for the pupils was a march from Passchendaele ridge down to Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Grave.
Mr McSherry added: “Praise for the attitude and conduct shown by the pupils at each of the tour sites came from all quarters.”
Praise for the attitude and conduct shown by the pupils at each of the tour sites came from all quarters Mr McSherry
Experience Duncanrig pupils at the Beaumont Hamel Memorial to the 51st Highland Division
Tribute Pupils pay respects to some of the 6230 unknown soldiers buried at Poelcapelle Artefact Taking time to inspect a fragment of an artillery shell