Two pupils (Ben and Jack, year 9) and two staff (Mr Dlugokecki and Miss Budd) had the privilege of representing Osborne School on the Centenary of WW1 visit. This incredibly thought provoking opportunity involved the pupils visiting the main battlefields and cemeteries of World War One.
The aim of the trip was to commemorate, honour and remember those who sacrificed their lives; and for the pupils to communicate what they learnt back to their school and community.
Ben and Jack filmed their experience. They narrated what they saw with help from their teachers and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Their film stands as their ‘Legacy 110’ project and you can watch it below.
They will be writing up their experience for the school magazine ‘#Osborne’.
The pupils were briefed about the tour. They got to know the other pupils on the trip and were given some World War One objects to identify. The pupils also took part in some team bonding games. On the tour we were joined by our group leader Eric, tour guide Tony, logistics man Don and driver David. We were also joined by Sergeant Davies from the British Army, alongside a Major and a Warrant Officer. There were also 6 other schools on the tour.
The pupils visited the moving Lijssenthoek cemetery at Poperinge. This was originally a military hospital.
We then visited another cemetery where one of the other pupils on the trip had a relative buried there.
The passchendaele memorial museum was an incredible experience. The pupils experienced walking through a trench, lots of exhibts and a film about the war.
In the evening we attended the daily last post ceremony at the Menin Gate. This was very moving. The memorial records the names of 54,406 soldiers from Britain, Australia, Canada, South Africa and India who lost their lives and have no known grave.
We visited the Newfoundland memorial park. This was dedicated to the Canadian soldiers who fell.
We then went to the Sunken Lane where the British suffered heavy casualties.
We had soup in a French cafe before heading to the Thiepval memorial. This large monument is the largest memorial in the world. A Winchester soldier, who lived metres away from Osborne School, is honoured here. We had a few minutes silence for him.
Then we visited the Canadian National memorial. We went through tunnels dug by the soldiers, still preserved today.
In the evening pupils and staff got to wear uniform from both World War One and modern warfare.
On the last day we first took part in a pottery project that will be finished in 2018 to commemorate the centenerey.
We then visited Langemark German cemetery. This holds a mass grave of more than 40,000 German soldiers. It’s also where the first gas attack took place.
This was followed by the emotional Tyne Cot Cemetery. In all, 11956 soldiers are buried here. Mr Dlugokecki’s Great Great Great Uncle is remembered here. The soldiers on our tour also talked to the pupils about their experiences of loss during war.
We would like to thank Eric, Don, Tony, David, Garrant and everyone else who joined us on the trip. Ben and Jack plan to show the film to their school and other schools in the community.