Upper School Choice - chess

Battlefield Reflections For Y9 At Ypres

28th November 22

After a beautiful Remembrance Day service in the Amphitheatre here at KAS, our Year 9 students headed off to Ypres to discover more about World War 1 on a trip organised by Head of History, Leon.

Head (and fellow History teacher), Robert was also on the trip saying: “My trip with Year 9 to the World War One sites was a moving experience. Seeing the memorials to the many thousands who died, and the trench systems in which they fought, brought home the scale and tragedy of human loss. The individual stories carried great power, and as well as finding connections to some of our students, we also found two connections to KAS among the memorials. One of the students lived in the road by the ponds on the Heath, and the other wrote a series of letters to the then Headteacher, John Russell. On learning of his death, Russell wrote a poem which I read to the group at the breath-taking memorial by the Somme. It was a sobering reminder how we should never take peace for granted.”

Leon said: “It was wonderful to be able to take Year 9 students back to visit the First World War battlefields for the first time since 2019. Year 9 responded thoughtfully and empathetically to the sites we visited and stories we heard, and we were lucky with wonderful weather and excellent sing-a-longs on the bus. One of the most moving moments was locating an Old Alfredian on the Thiepvhal Memorial in France – one name among the thousands of missing of the Somme engraved on the monument.”

On their return, students were asked to reflect on the trip, here is what they had to say:

Louis G: “Overall this trip was an experience I will never forget. The sites I saw were so much bigger and sadder than I had expected and it made me imagine what it would have been like to be there. The amount of people buried in one place was so hard to imagine yet the graves we saw are only a fraction of the deaths which happened in the war itself.

After seeing the bomb craters and all the graves I got a much deeper understanding of the destruction and all the poor soldiers, some so young, who died. This made me think how useless war and conflict is in general because it leads to nothing.”

Huxley M: “I felt that the impact of the war really hit in the first cemetery. Such a huge number of people died and to think that all those people had a life and families is incredibly saddening.”

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