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TPA Students Visit Ypres, Belgium

December 13, 2023 12:58pm

TPA students visited Ypres, Belgium, just before Remembrance Day last month. The trip was organised by Miss Kendall and Ms Williams from the History Department. Charlotte, in Year 9, has written the article below summarising the events of the trip: 

On the first day of our trip to Belgium, we went through France into Ypres. First, went to the Tyne Cot cemetery – a large memorial ground home to 11,956 graves of Commonwealth soldiers. After that, we went to the Flanders Field Museum, which was built to educate the public about the horrors of the war. We were given wristbands to scan on screens, enabling us to gain more information about individual soldiers in WW1 and their personal experiences.

On the second day, after visiting multiple graveyards, museums, trenches, etc, we went to the Menin gate for the Remembrance ceremony that is held every day there. We listened to the last post and a small speech, before some students hung a poppy wreath on the rack to show TPA’s respect for those who fought and died in the war.

On the last day, we visited multiple restored trenches. They were very interesting and gave us an insight to what life in the trenches would have been like for the soldiers. The museums we went to on that day gave us more information to the equipment and supplies they had access to in the trenches. On that day, we also walked to a German graveyard in the morning, and it was interesting to see the difference on how they buried the enemy soldiers compared to the allies.

Overall, the trip was very interesting and worth it. It gave us a deeper understanding of different sides’ struggles and accomplishments during the war and allowed us to gain more knowledge about the First World War. It was an excellent opportunity, and the agenda of activities was varied and exciting.

- By Charlotte, Year 9

Ms Williams, History Curriculum Lead says,

The November trip to Belgium and France was a resounding success. Our students were impeccably behaved and visibly moved at times as we visited trenches, tunnels, memorials, cemeteries and museums. The highlight of the trip for many was TPA's contribution to the Last Post Ceremony at The Menin Gate Memorial. 

Charlotte, Maya and Megan had the great honour of laying a wreath as we remembered the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies who died in the Ypres Salient in the First World War.

We are passionate about the offering of enrichment and building our students' cultural capital within the History Department at TPA. This trip abroad not only supports students' knowledge and understanding of the past, but spending time with their peers and teachers was great fun for our students. Meals out at a local Italian restaurant, trips to our favourite Belgium chocolate shop, choosing new flavours of ice cream and waffles, the evening entertainment of karaoke and pool, created time to make fantastic new friends and memories.

I would like to thank Miss Kendall who organised the trip, Mr Bailey and Mr Kirkby for supporting us throughout, Pete our driver and top pool referee, and last but not least, all of the wonderful students of TPA who enjoyed this brilliant experience.