Trenches Trip

On September 28, many UVs got onto the bus towards France and Belgium for the Trenches Trip. Having set out early, the buses were dead silent with most of us asleep. Though it was an early departure, it enabled many memorable and poignant stops at multiple key locations across the trenches and battlefields of World War One.

Guided by the Anglia Tour Company, we visited sites ranging from cemeteries and memorials to battlefields and monuments. On the first day, these included the German War Cemetery of Langemark (Belgium), the Tyne Cot Cemetery of Passchendaele (Belgium) and the Menin Gate of Ypres in West Flanders, Belgium amongst others.

On the second day, we went to a variety of locations relating to the Battle of the Somme including the bomb site at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park (France) and the Thiepval Memorial at Authuille (France). Pupils from our school had the honour of laying wreaths at the Menin Gate and at the Thiepval Memorial in remembrance of the soldiers who fought in the war.

One of the best parts of the trip was how the tour guides would tell us stories and recount events that happened at the specific locations as well as relaying their personal experiences to make trench warfare and World War One more understandable. A memorable story was that of 20-year-old Irish rifleman Billy McFadzean, who earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery. In the trenches, he had opened a box of hand grenades for distribution  and preparation. However, the box fell over and two safety pins fell from the hand grenades. Billy realised how dangerous it was, so he sacrificed himself, throwing himself onto the grenades to stop the blast from killing all his  comrades. He died on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

From the Trenches Trip, we further comprehended what life was like in the trenches and World War One in general. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. We are grateful to the History Department and to all of our guides for such a special trip.

Article written by Kelly, UV

Photo taken by Millie, UV