Report by Kira Nash, 10G
On the 5th– 7th October Izzy Woodfield (Year 11), Mrs Allsopp and I (Kira Nash Year 10) went with 30 others from different schools in Southampton and Bournemouth to France and Belgium. While we were there we visited various locations where fighting took place in WW1.
On the first day we visited the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Ypres. There were 10,785 burials between 1914-1919 and only 35 of the graves are unnamed. In the cemetery there are British, American, Canadian, German and Chinese graves and a Sikh memorial stone. At the entrance to the Cemetery there are metal rods that mark the number of people buried on each day.
We were also fortunate enough to be able to visit the grave of a man called Charles Kimber who died in WW1 from the village where I live (East Tytherley), he was buried at Ferme-Olivier Cemetery Belgium.
At 8pm every day the last post is sounded at the Menin Gate in Ypres and on the Monday we were there. There are 54,406 names recorded on the Menin Gate all of which have no known graves. Since 11 November 1929 the Last Post has been sounded at the Menin Gate Memorial every night and in all weathers. The only exception to this was during the four years of the German occupation of Ypres from 20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944.
On the Tuesday we spent the day in France and visited the Thiepval memorial and the Newfoundland Memorial Park.
The Thiepval memorial was built between 1928 and 1932 and is the largest British war memorial in the world. There are 72,192 British and South African men recorded missing who died on the Somme between 1915 and March 1918 who have no known graves. Thiepval is currently undergoing renovation.
The Newfoundland Memorial Park is dedicated to the Newfoundland soldiers who were killed during WW1. The preserved battle field is the site of the Newfoundland Regiment’s unsuccessful attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
I was also able to find two further men from East Tytherley who have no known graves at the Vis-En-Artios memorial. Their names are Elvie George Musselwhite and Fredrick Allen Hiscock.
On the final day we visited Tyne Cot Cemetery which is the largest British and Commonwealth cemetery in the world. There are 11,956 soldiers buried here and a further 34,927 UK and New Zealand soldiers who were killed after 15th August 1917 recorded on memorial panels across the back wall.
It was a very enjoyable and informative week and made you appreciate what men went through to serve our country. It’s not until you see the graves lined up side by side, English and German next to each other, you realise the enormity of what happened.