Studley students,William Hopkins, Freya Coleman and Bethany Freeman were invited by the First World War Centenary Battlefields Tour Programme, (funded by the Department of Education and the Department of Communities and Local Government) to a battlefield adventure.
Our three students have joined students from 15 other schools on a tour across France and Belgium, as part of the programme, designed to help them to develop a deeper understanding of the Great War.
They visited museums, battlefield sites, memorial and cemeteries including the Commonwealth War grave sites for Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres, Belgium and the Thiepval Memorial in Somme, France. Exploring the battlefields and seeing the landscape and the history of the war helped to bring events to life and ensure a better understanding of the scale of war. During the tour students attended the last post ceremony in Ypres, which took place at the Menin Gate.
William was lucky enough to be chosen to lay a wreath on behalf of the tour during the ceremony. We then listened to the buglers of the Ypres volunteer Fire Brigade sound the ‘Last Post’ before a minute’s silence was held to reflect upon the sacrifice of those lost.
Before setting off on the tour, our students had time to research the final resting places of many men from Studley which helped them to understand the personal side of warfare in a conflict, which took so many. Stories like: Frederick William Smith, who, on 26th October 1917 lost his life at the tender age of 19 due to wounds from action. He was the son of Frederick and Nelly Smith who resided on the Alcester Road in Studley at the time. Students found his name while visiting Tyne Cot.
Our students were a credit to the school and demonstrated kindness, respect, independence, passion and a desire to learn from the experience. The trip was truly a memorable experience and a privilege to attend.