One of this term’s History trips took place last weekend with a group of Third- and Fourth-Year History students boarding a very early morning coach to travel over to the Somme and visit the battlefields of World War 1. The area still bears many scars of the Great War: trenches, mine holes, annihilated villages and many graves which act as an important reminder of the terrible events that took place over 100 years ago. 

Third Year Josh Brown said, “I think the First World War battlefields is somewhere everyone has to go at least once in their life, and I am very lucky to have been able to go. It was an incredible experience, and one that I will be reflecting on a lot for a while. Seeing the graves of all the soldiers that gave their lives for us creates a feeling like no other.” 

Fourth Year Piran Lewis said, “The Battlefield Trip was a trip that I had been looking forward to for months and one that I will surely never forget. As a person who lost a relative (Great-Great Uncle) during WWI, I believe it is important to visit the Battlefields and Cemeteries of the Great War to remind us of the sacrifices people made for us.  

“Throughout the day, we visited various battlefields held by the German, English, French and Canadian troops during the Battle of the Somme, such as Beaumont-Hamel, where the famous Canadian Newfoundland Regiment suffered 700 casualties within the 1st day of the Somme.  

“We also visited the graves of the Devonshire Regiment who on 1 July 1916 suffered 431 casualties (232 dead and 199 wounded) after being told to attack a German machine gun. Many of the members of the regiment are buried inside their old trench with a plaque stating ‘The Devonshires held this trench, the Devonshires hold it still’.  

“We also saw the famous Vimy Ridge, a tall, grand limestone monument commemorating the 11,285 Canadian troops killed on French soil who have no known graves.” 

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