Search

First World War centenary: Battlefields trip day three

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:51 10 February 2015

Teacher Joshua Alford and pupils Raul Simmons-Perez, 16, and Nico Zavrou Blackstock, 16, from East Barnet School, Barnet, with their clay figures. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

Teacher Joshua Alford and pupils Raul Simmons-Perez, 16, and Nico Zavrou Blackstock, 16, from East Barnet School, Barnet, with their clay figures. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

Archant

After visiting eight cemeteries and memorials, one museum and a commemorative workshop, our tour came to an end.

Danny Swan and Leon Cresto-Dina, both 15, from St Aloysius College, Highgate, at Tyne Cot. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity Danny Swan and Leon Cresto-Dina, both 15, from St Aloysius College, Highgate, at Tyne Cot. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

Yesterday we travelled to three sites before waving goodbye to the battlefields of Belgium and France.

After spending our time previously considering Britain’s attitude to remembrance, we stopped by at the Langemark Cemetery, in Langemark-Poelkapelle.

Here lie more than 44,000 Germans, with 25,000 of them buried in a comrades’ grave. No soldier is buried in his own plot.

The simple granite slabs and crosses are in stark contrast to the magnificence of British memorials such as Thiepval.

Jhonattan Goncalves, 15, and Zac Opere-Onguende, 16, at Tyne Cot. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity Jhonattan Goncalves, 15, and Zac Opere-Onguende, 16, at Tyne Cot. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

As well as considering the reasons behind these differences, the students also learned about the individual stories of some of the soldiers buried there.

More than 3,000 students who volunteered to fight lie in the cemetery.

They were killed in October and November 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres, where they came up against the more experienced British soldiers.

It became known as the Kindermord – the “Massacre of the Innocents at Ypres”.

Also commemorated are 6,313 soldiers who were buried in the original cemetery. The known names are inscribed on the oak panels of the “room of honour”.

With the question of the day centring on whether remembrance is more or less important 100 years on, we participated in an art project.

The Coming World Remember Me scheme sees visitors create their own clay models of a figure with its head bowed, featuring a prominent spine to symbolise the strength people can embody in times of adversity.

Our creations will be among 600,000 displayed in a land art installation in Ypres in 2018. This will recognise the 600,000 people who lost their lives in Belgium during the war,

Our final day included a visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery, in Zonnebeke, which is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials.

The name Tyne Cot, or Tyne Cottage, was given to a barn on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde Road by the Northumberland Fusiliers.

It became the centre of five or six German pillboxes.

Between October 6 1917 and the end of March 1918, 343 graves were made on two sides of one of the pillboxes.

But the cemetery was vastly extended after the Armistice when remains were brought over from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemark and small burial grounds.

It now remembers 11,956 Commonwealth soldiers who were buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot, with 8,369 unidentified.

The memorial also commemorates almost 35,000 men from the UK and New Zealand, who died in the Ypres Salient after August 16 1917 and who do not have known graves.

The young people and their teachers were given time to take in the grand architecture, while some also looked for the graves of soldiers connected to their schools or areas.

Our visit to Tyne Cot ended in a few moments of reflection, befitting the sorrow and message of remembrance emitted by the cemetery.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Barking and Dagenham Post visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Barking and Dagenham Post staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Barking and Dagenham Post account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Barking and Dagenham News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00

Barking Abbey pupils were full of Christmas spirit as they held a tinsel and turkey event for the borough’s older residents.

Yesterday, 08:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

If you’re planning to visit loved ones over the Christmas period, you might want to think twice about using public transport.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Barking and Dagenham College are gearing up to represent the borough in a televised London-wide float parade on New Year’s Day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Dagenham-based charity has been holding parties this week for elderly residents over the festive period.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Dagenham teenager has been jailed for a brutal stabbing that led his 18-year-old victim to lose his leg and suffer horrific injuries.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The grandfather of a three-year-old girl from Barking thought to have been abducted by her mother has made an appeal for help in finding her.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

You don’t have to make the trek to the North Pole to get into the Christmas spirit this year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now