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Sir Harry Smith

Sir Harry Smith Community College

  • The First World War

    As of last year it was 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. The government and the institute of education has organised a program where two students and one teacher from each secondary school in England can go to visit the western front. This program is running with the tour guide Allan from 2014-2019.

    On the first day after the long journey to Belgium we went to the Passchendaele World War 1, memorial museum. Where they have several reconstructed world war one trenches and dugouts; this gave us a great insight of the cramped conditions of the trenches.

    We also visited two cemeteries; Tyne cot and Langemark. There we saw the difference between the Germans mass grave and the biggest commonwealth graves commission cemetery.

    At the end of the first day we visited the Menin gate and watched the last post ceremony where we remembered one of the soldiers who died and had no known grave.

    On the second day we visited the Thiepval memorial. The Thiepval memorial is covered in the names of 72,190 missing soldiers with no know graves.

    Next we went to the queen’s cemetery in France.  Here we recalled hoe the Lancashire regiment fought to obtain the German trenches, the German’s machine gun crossfire killed many of these men. There are 311 graves in this cemetery.

    After that we went to Ulster Tower and learnt about the heavy losses of the 36th division on 1st July 1916, here we also looked at the reconstructed trenches, to see what it would have been like for the men fighting in them in the battle of the Somme.

    On the last day we went to Cloth Hall Museum here we saw: uniforms, equipment and interactive maps of the battle of the Somme.  Next we went to the death cells and execution post at Poperinghe - here we saw where the soldiers were executed for crimes such as; desertion, murder and sleeping at post.  Next we went to the Lijssenheok cemetery and visited rare graves such as a Sikh soldier, a nurse one of only two and a former captain of the English rugby team.  And that concludes our battlefield tour.