Students moved by battlefields visit

90 Block 3 students have returned from their four day tour of the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium. We travelled by coach and ferry to Ypres in Belgium on the first day and arrived in time to visit the newly designed In Flanders Field Museum in the centre of Ypres where we were staying. It proved engaging and most pupils wanted more than the hour we had. Dinner at The Sword café was followed by a quiz with Nick Meigh’s team emerging victorious. The next day saw an early departure by coach to France and The Somme, stopping at Notre Dame De Lorette (French War Cemetery) and Vimy Ridge. We dispensed with French guides this year and opted for the history department’s expertise and visited Beaumont-Hammel, Sunken Lane, Lochnagar and Thiepval. We also managed to locate the grave of a student’s great, great uncle, providing a powerful connection between past and present. The third day focussed in and around Ypres and here we were led by superb guides, Kristoff and Jacques, who managed to keep the students’ attention for over three hours with wonderful anecdotes and a very informative commentary. Dinner at another Ypres café was followed by The Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate. Two students laid a wreath to commemorate the 65 Bedalians who died in the War and Nick Meigh read out the famous lines, ‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.’ The name of the great, great grandfather of one of the students was on the Menin Gate and a relative of the other student was killed on The Somme. The last day saw a visit to chocolate shop Leonidas and the journey home. During the visit all students observed what they had been studying in class and got a sense of the scale of the War. Many were moved and all came to see the History is not just the story of the sweep of vast armies but also the fascinating stories of countless individuals.

Battlefields visit 2013

By Jonathan Selby, Head of History

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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