Over the past few weekends, we have made a very successful start to our 2017 spring tour season, with representatives from schools from across the country visiting the battlefields. One group was also joined for a day by Alison Rose, the British Ambassador to Belgium.
The first day overseas has seen groups visiting Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery to consider how the war impacted upon ordinary people before visiting the Memorial Museum Passchendaele to view the excellent exhibits and recreations. The first day is always concluded with a visit to the Menin Gate to attend the Last Post Ceremony. Last weekend, two students were chosen to escort the British Ambassador in laying a wreath.
The second day sees the groups visiting the Somme battlefields, with some groups visiting the Indian Memorial at Neuve Chapelle to reflect on the role of Empire troops on the Western Front on route. Other groups have been visiting the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge to look at the Battle of Arras which took place 100 year ago this spring. On the Somme, the groups spent time visiting sites including the preserved battlefield at the Newfoundland Memorial Park, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery and of course, the Thiepval Memorial.
The final morning is spent reflecting on what remembrance means today and includes visits to the German military cemetery at Langemark and the largest British military cemetery in the world at Tyne Cot. All groups also continue to take part in the Flanders government memorial project 'Coming World Remember Me'.
Feedback from both teachers and students has been very good and bodes well for the remainder of the season which will be busy with hundreds of teachers and students taking part in tours.
Teacher feedback - Feb 2017
"This was truly a once in a lifetime experience that will stay with us forever. The tour guides were exceptional. The wealth of knowledge and experiences is what made this tour so valuable"
"Refreshing approaches to how to see the war and the contribution of those who fought. Overall, an innovative and interactive approach to learning about WW1"