Over the half term break I had the privilege of accompanying Kyreese Johnson and Hamze Hassan on a First World War battlefields tour in France and Belgium. We travelled with students and teachers from across England on a four day tour of significant locations associated with poetry, novels and plays of the First World War.
Highlights included visiting Essex Farm Cemetery in Ypres, the inspiration behind ‘In Flanders’ Fields’ by John McCrae. That day we were very fortunate to also explore the Zonnebeke Church Dugout. This unique underground site is only being opened to the public for a few months of this year to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
On Saturday evening we saw a performance of RC Sherriff’s ‘Journey’s End’ at the iconic Old Ammunition Dump in Ypres. The following evening we attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, paying our respects to the thousands of missing British and Commonwealth soldiers. A Welsh choir sang a very moving rendition of ‘Abide with Me’ as the wreaths were laid.
Our final stop on the tour was Tyne Cot Cemetery. We each laid a cross beneath the inscription of Thomas Henry Newcombe, a Bristolian who grew up on Chelsea Rd, Easton.
The two boys conducted themselves with grace and maturity throughout the trip, being great representatives for City Academy.