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Battlefields Trip 2017

Ely College students visit Battlefields, marking WWI centenary years since losses at Ypres and the Somme.

Last week saw sixth-six Year 9 history students from Ely College take a poignant trip to Northern France and Belgium as part of their annual Battlefields visit. This school trip has taken place every year since 2003, with this year being the largest due to its popularity. Studying the losses at these historic sites along the Western Front forms a clear focus allowing students to understand the sheer scale and sacrifice involved in WWI. Experiencing the conditions and seeing the places for themselves adds an extra dimension.

Visiting the Thiepval ‘Memorial to the Missing’ exactly 101 years to the day the battle ended, was particular moving for staff and students. Rachael Mustill, history teacher at Ely College and trip organiser said: ”We were lucky to have a guided tour from the Commonweath War Graves Commission; an excellent insight! We try and fit in as many key sites as possible over the 3 days and each year Ely College students take part in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Students represented the college and our community with pride and the utmost respect. We have had wonderful feedback from parents and know that our students gain a lot from this visit.”

After showing their respect during the laying of a wreath at the Menin Gate, students enjoy time to relax and take in the continental atmosphere. Students bond over their love of Belgian chocolate and band together, as taking a tour of the trenches means truly getting stuck in the mud together. The Cambridgeshire Regiment local historians got in touch on twitter and we have since connected to build momentum and host a centenary display in school. This is a meaningful and popular trip; one that will definitely run again in the future as students remember those fallen.