News - History Battlefields Visit 2015

At the end of October, 44 year 9 students went to Belgium and France on the annual History Battlefields trip, accompanied by Mr Wallinger, Mr McClellan, Miss Hargreaves and two ex Westwood members of staff, Mr Dooley and Mrs McFadden.

They visited many historical sites and museums, including Tyne Cot, Langemark and the Flanders Fields and Passcaendale Museums. On one of the evenings the group were able to attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. This event is held every night of the year and was only suspended during the Second World War.   There was a marching band and lone piper which added to the poignancy of the occasion. Wreaths were laid to image001 image003 image005commemorate the thousands of British and Empire soldiers who have no known grave from the terrible battles around Ypres.

The group also spent a whole day visiting the Somme region of France. The Somme Battlefield is a hugely significant place in British military history. On the first day of the battle alone (1 July 1916), 20,000 British and Empire troops were killed and another 40,000 wounded. The itinerary included a tour of Newfoundland Memorial Park where the Newfoundland Regiment suffered a 90% casualty rate on the first day of the Battle.

Keeping with the tradition of previous visits, the group laid their own wreath at Flat Iron Copse Cemetery; which is where three Leek soldiers are buried (Private Arthur Astles, Private Ben Goldstraw and Private James Turner). The whole group observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to those who had lost their lives.

 

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