On Thursday 25th May at 12:30am, 33 pupils and 6 staff set out on a very special journey. We were all very excited and extremely hot as Britain and most of Europe was in middle of a heatwave, sun hats and sun cream were at the ready.
We travelled down to Dover overnight & all managed to sleep on the coach which was a miracle. The short ferry journey took us across the channel to France. The sea was beautiful and calm as we waved good bye to the cliffs of Dover and said “Bonjour” to France.
Our first excursion in Belgium was to Sanctuary Wood which shows the original World War 1 trenches. Pupils and staff enjoyed exploring the underground tunnels & walking through the trenches, even though the temperature was 30 degrees with glorious sunshine. The museum gave us an insight into life in the trenches for the soldiers during the war. We then moved onto the beautiful town of Ypres. We had all earned a rest so we decided to cool down with amazing Ice Cream waffles in an ice cream parlour located next to the Cloth Museum.
In the evening, after checking into our accommodation we wandered through the historic streets of Ypres to our Michelin recognised restaurant which we had to enter via a bridge across the river . At 8pm we witnessed the world famous last post ceremony at Menin Gate. The ceremony is one that is organised and co-ordinated by the British Legion and occurs every single night at 8p. Millions of people from all over witness this event each year to pay their respect to the vast amount of service men & women who fought during WW1 and gave their lives.
After a good night’s sleep, we woke on Friday to another hot & glorious day. We visited the Cloth museum and engaged in a number of interactive exhibitions to increase our knowledge and understanding of WW1. During the early afternoon we picked up our guide, Simona. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was outstanding. Our visit to Essex farm, the field hospital and to the Tyne Cot cemetery was greatly enhanced by her commentary and knowledge. She brought WW1 to life and made us all appreciate even more so the sacrifices that the soldiers had made.
In the evening we had a meal at a local restaurant and enjoyed the evening entertainment at the local bowling alley.
Our last excursion was our visit to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum. Again the morning was extremely hot and we were relieved to discover that we would be going underground to the trenches. The museum contained original artefacts that helped to create real life sized trenches that contained kitchens, bedrooms and first aid rooms. Sadly after Passchendaele our trip was nearing its end, and we journeyed back to Calais to catch our ferry home.
We arrived safely back to Holy Trinity at 9:30pm, very tired but appreciative of life and the amazing and historic things we had seen. Unfortunately we failed to bring back the weather and for the first time in 4 days we were all feeling a bit cold.
Miss McKiernan – a truly amazing trip with wonderful staff and pupils. In over 15 years of running education trips abroad, I would have to say this was the best. The pupils behaviour was impeccable 7 it was a joy to be in their company, they were all a credit to the school.
A big thank you to Miss Daw, Miss Chesterman, Miss Evans, Mr Elia and Mr Woolgar for all their support with the trip.
Marjan H– ‘It was amazing to see how people tried to survive with the weapons and bombs they used.’ ‘I had a lot of fun and enjoyed my time in Ypres. I have learnt about WWII and how soldiers used to live their daily life, the objects they used and how they used to help someone if they were ill.’
Arthur– ‘Belgium was a very fun trip.’ ‘My favourite trip was to visit the ice cream shop, this was because we ate a variety of different ice creams. I also enjoyed the bowling because I scored the highest points in my team.’ ‘Overall, it was a nice trip and I’d like to go again.’
Esfar– ‘ Belgium was full of excitement, the coach journeys were fun, especially having the tour of the trenches.’
Natalia– ‘ In Belgium, I enjoyed everything especially visiting the grave yards. I felt sad for the people who died in the war fighting for us.’ ‘I enjoyed it so much, I want to go again next year.’