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Posted: 23.06.14

An Early Start, In More Ways Than One, As Form 3 Head For The First World War Battlefields

At 6 am this morning all of Form 3 departed for Battlefields 2014.

Form 3 also made an early start in gaining an understanding of the importance of their visit. Earlier this term, pupils worked with photographs, documents and artefacts relating to Old Breconians who served in the early months of the war. It was a fascinating and thought-provoking day and, at their end of their researches, pupils were unanimous in the view that finding out more about the impact of the First World War on pupils from their own school had helped them make personal connections with what they had learned in History lessons.

As pupils began their own journey to Belgium this morning, there was much excitement in the air – bags piled in the luggage hold, pillows and headphones at the ready for the long journey, and the traditional stop at the Belgian chocolate shop to look forward to. But pupils’ comments on their research day, some of which are published below, suggest that all of Form 3 are also looking forward to the opportunity to reflect on the lives of the Old Breconians they have researched and to learn more about the events of 1914-1918.

There is little doubt that the week will be a memorable one. Ahead of the trip, pupils were asked to complete the following sentence.

“Visiting the Battlefields will be a chance for me to. . .

  • . . learn more about WW1 and about those who lost their lives.”
  • . . learn more about the soldiers that were in our footsteps 100 years ago.”
  • . . show my respect and also learn about WW1 from real places and situations.”
  • . . think more about what the young me went through and the effects it had had on their lives and the lives of the people around them.”
  • . . reflect more on those who sadly lost their lives, and the effects on the school mates and family at home.”
  • . . learn about the war and pay respect to these brave men.”
  • . . reflect on the outcome of war, and how different our lives could be.”
  • . . realise how hard and sad it was, and to learn more about it.”

The group will be based in Ypres for the first part of the trip. On Tuesday 24th June they will visit the WWI cemeteries in Langemark, Tynecot and Essex Farm and will also have a chance to explore Ypres itself including the Flanders Museum. At the end of their first full day in Flanders, the group will participate in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

On Wednesday, the group will visit Newfoundland Park, the Somme battlefield, as well as the Thiepval Memorial, Ulster Tower and the Lochnager crater.

On Wednesday evening, the group will head for Paris and will spend Thursday in the Louvre, climbing the Eiffel Tower, followed by a relaxing boat trip on the river Seine. With their batteries recharged, Friday will be spent in Euro Disney ahead of their long trip back to Brecon.

Led by Mrs Allen and her colleagues in the History department, Dr Phelps and Mrs Sandhu, and with Mrs McClean, Miss Evans and Mr Goodridge also on board, their week in Ypres and Paris promises to be fact-filled and unforgettable.

Update – 23rd June

A fitting end to the first day – a wander around the Menin Gate and chance to contemplate ahead of tomorrow. With 54,000 commemorated on the Memorial, the pupils took a moment to think about three of our own old boys whose names can be found.

Update – 24th June
Form 3’s trip to Flanders continues at a pace with visits to the Menin Gate, to Essex Farm cemetery where they paid their respects at the grave of Old Breconian Charles Piper Hazard (Christ College 1904-1907), as well as visits to the war graves at Langemark and Tynecott. The group have also been exploring Ypres too. Today the group will visit the Somme battlefields and the Lochnager crater before heading to Paris.

Update – 25th June

Before transferring to Paris, Form 3 visited Newfoundland Park, the Somme battlefield, as well as the Thiepval Memorial, Ulster Tower and the Lochnager crater.

Update – 26th June

The gorgeous weather has followed Form 3 from the Battlefields in Flanders, to Paris … here they are outside the Louvre yesterday during a busy day of visiting the main sites that this wonderful city has to offer.

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