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Thursday, 6 June 2013
Our first ever Year 7 'Private Peaceful Trip' to Belgium took place just before half term. This greatly anticipated trip departed from Cirencester Deer Park School at 0600 on Thursday 23 May. A fairly long coach trip to the south east saw us board the ferry at 11am and, after a calm crossing, land safely in France. From Calais it was only a quick coach journey to our first destination, the historic town of Ypres in Belgium...
REPORT by Oliver
We visited the places where the main characters from the Private Peaceful book (Tommo and Charlie) went during WW1. The trip may have been short, but it was packed full of amazing experiences and we all enjoyed it very much. We had a great tour guide who told us everything we needed (and wanted) to know about WW1. Two major things stood out for me that I will always remember:
The Tyne Cot cemetery was very moving and overwhelming: there are 11,700 graves and 32,000 names carved into the walls surrounding the cemetery, of soldiers who disappeared without a trace. In another cemetery we visited, there was an under-age soldier who joined the army at the age of 14 and was shot at the age of 15: 2 months before his 16th birthday. There was also another soldier killed aged just 14. This was very startling as that’s only two years older than me.
In the war, the town of Ypres was reduced to rubble without a single brick left standing. However, when we visited it, it was beautiful and rebuilt to look like it did before WW1 – I’d love to go there again! One town (known to soldiers as `Pops’) has over 100 cemeteries scattered around the area. This was very sad and it gave us all a picture of how large the consequences of the war were. Also, before the war there were less than 10 cars in the town, but it shocked the locals when over 20 vehicles could be seen in one street when British troops arrived!
Overall I enjoyed this trip thoroughly and can’t wait to go on another. I loved going away without my parents but with all my classmates instead. The days were packed full of great activities. We also had free time where we used the games room and we could buy souvenirs – like famous Belgian chocolate and other memorabilia from the war.
REPORT by Gaby
It was a privilege to be part of the first Year 7 group allowed to travel abroad and I think I speak for everyone by saying “it was an amazing experience”. We first started of our journey on Bus 2 at 6:00 in the MORNING where we met Richard our tour guide (or Kevin as we named him).
When we got to France we drove to the Tyne Cot cemetery which had 11,000 people buried and the people that were never found their names were carved into memorials. We went to the In Flanders Fields Museum which gave me a better understanding of the war time. After visiting the Yorkshire Trench near Boezinge and Essex Farm Cemetery we put our luggage in the hotel and went to the restaurant where we were served the most mouth-watering, delicious, irresistible, juicy half a chicken and Belgian chips - there were small beautiful chandeliers and long tables stretching all the way down to the mirrors. After our nourishing meal we returned to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep before embarking on the rest of our adventure.
The next day we were allowed to go to a Belgian CHOCLATE SHOP; it was the best chocolate I have ever tasted. After going to some other places it started raining so we ate lunch on the bus then went out to Bedford House Cemetery where Michael Morpurgo found one of the most important parts of the book; the name. He found the name Private Peaceful on a gravestone and knew that this would be the name of his book. It was raining so we went out in the rain, in our groups, with lots of umbrellas.
Overall, I had the best time ever and learnt a lot about the First World War.
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