Earlier this year, Year 8 were approached about a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the place where our ancestors fought for our country and the Commonwealth in World War One. The process in which we were picked involved writing a letter outlining why we thought we should be picked for the trip and sit through an interview with Mrs Payne (headteacher), Mrs Bourn (head of Year 8), Karan Gupta (head boy) and Mr Wright (who would be coming with us on the trip). We then found out that we had been chosen and we began to prepare for the trip.
On the 2nd November we stayed over in Kent for one night and then on the 3rd we left the country on the Eurotunnel. Our first stop was Lijssenthoek Cemetery which is the second largest British cemetery in the world after Tyne Cot which we would visit 2 days later. We found searching the records the most interesting because we were able to discover Horncastle history we didn’t know existed. We then went to a museum where we were able to experience what it would have been like to be on the front line and living in the trenches. That night we attended a ceremony at Menin Gate where the Last Post was played and the men whose names were inscribed on the walls were commemorated.
The next day, we visited an Indian memorial where we learnt a lot about the propaganda around Indian soldiers and the roles that they actually played on the front lines. Our next stop was Newfoundland Memorial Park where we stood in actual trench lines and saw the place where that Canadian allies had most famously been stationed. We also visited a cemetery which was in the place of a key battle for New Zealand soldiers so that was where their memorial was. That same day, we went to Thiepval Memorial, the biggest array of names of soldiers whose bodies were never found. We also saw a play called ‘Journey’s End’ by R.C. Sherriff which was acted very well and provided a realistic and heartfelt portrayal of what life would have been like for individual men in the trenches.
On the final day we went to a German cemetery where it was surprising and a little sad to see that the only one gravestone had flowers next to it and that an ashamed feeling seemed to hang in the air. We then went to the largest British cemetery anywhere in the world: Tyne Cot. This was a slightly surreal experience because of the sheer number of graves which surrounded us as we entered, and we found many soldiers who were part of the Lincolnshire regiment or who grew up in the area around our school.
By Imogen Tyler and Olivia Dembrey