The day began with a visit to the Somme museum and a chance to view a recreation of the life in the trenches. “It was fascinating to see all the military hardware up close and have Mr Wheeler explain how it all works- but you can never forget what it was made for”, reflected Matthew in Year 13.
The day continued with a tour of Lochnagar Mine, a vast crater created by a huge British mine. The 26 tons of explosive, which created the loudest man-made noise ever heard when it was detonated, left a crater 100ft deep and 330 feet across. “It’s sickening when you realise that there were people down there”, said Zac in Year 9, “it’s really difficult to understand why people would do that to each other.”
The coach then headed to Vimy Ridge and the group got the chance to experience the trenches and visit the Canadian memorial. The landscape around the trenches caught Ted from Year 11’s imagination, “to see the shell holes all around really brings it home to me. It must of been hell to have been here”. The trenchs are only 25 metres apart along the ridge and the group got the chance to cross no mans land.
The day ended with a sunset visit to the Anglo-French memorial at Thiepval. Seeing the names of the 72,000 service men who’s remains were never found was a powerful experience and the impact was not lost on the group. “Realising that this is just the missing soliders is really upsetting” said Eli in Year 9 “I tried to count them all by adding up the panels but couldn’t manage, the numbers are just awful to think about”.
Tommorow the tour heads to Ypre and site of some of the most brutal battles of the war.