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Posted: 28.06.16

Year 9 Depart For The Battlefields


This year’s visit is also the centenary of the deaths of Charles Piper Hazard and H B Davies, whose graves have been visited annually by Year 9 pupils for over ten years. Both of these young men are buried at Essex Farm Cemetery.

Their lives and the action in which they were killed were the focus on the Battlefields preparation day which took place earlier this term. During the course of the preparation morning, pupils explored photographs and documents from the Christ College Archive with Mrs Kilpatrick, and learned about the context of the battles in which the men fought with Mrs Allen. In a session with Mrs Hope, Head of the English Faculty, pupils learned about the writing of ‘In Flanders fields’ by John McCrae and compared it with Mary Borden’s ‘Song of the Mud’.

As well as on the lead up to the Battle of the Somme, the focus of the morning’s archive exploration was on the women who were left behind: the mother of Charles Piper Hazard, whose letters and diaries were published in 2012, and also on Edith Ainscow, whose letters to Old Breconian Charles Geoffrey Boothby were published in 2015.

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 and their families had helped them make personal connections with what they had learned in History lessons.

During the course of Battlefields 2016, pupils will also visit the Lochnagar crater where Christ College has recently purchased commemoration plaques for Second Lieutenant C G Boothby, who was killed in an explosion nearby, and also Old Breconian Second Lieutenant H N Grant, who was killed within the first hour of the Battle of the Somme.

The Battlefields preparation days are certainly helping pupils make connections with Old Breconians who served. Their comments on this year’s research day, some of which are published below, suggest that they are keen to make the most of the opportunity to pay their respects to the Old Breconians they have researched and to learn more about the events of 1914-1918.

Led by Mrs Allen, and with Mr Bush, Mrs Maclean, Mr McMillan and Mr Lovering also on board, Battlefields 2016 promises to be another fact-filled and unforgettable visit to Flanders.

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

. . .try to understand the experience many soldiers and their families went through.

. . .be able to walk and be where those soldiers fought and have some kind of connection with those who died.

. . . not take for granted all that I have and what these men fought and died for.

. . . realise how many people have put their lives at risk so that we can have what we have.

. . . see what my great-great-grandad went through.

. . . it will give me a chance to see WW1 through the eyes of the people who fought there, and see where their journey ended.

. . . delve deeper into the minds and experiences of these boys. To see sights that they saw and feel what they felt.

. . . see the sheer amount of people who died and to think about that most of the boys were not far off our age, and how much of a loss it would have been for friends and family.

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