Pupils visit trenches in France and Belgium

Earlier this month two Ark Elvin students were invited on a tour of World War 1 battlefields in France and Belgium. Laila and Natasha from Year 12 joined 100 other students on a government funded trip to remember the fallen of the Great War 1914-1918.

On the first day the students were given the opportunity to research a local Wembley resident who lost his life during the War. The soldier was called George Henry Bowden and lived in Cecil Avenue, the same road as the school is located. He was a member of the Machine Gun Corps and died in action in 1916. Laila and Natasha laid a wreath at his memorial stone at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.

The students also did some research on some of the 63 fifteen year old British soldiers who were killed in the trenches. One of the youngest soldiers to have been killed was called Donald Snaddon who lied about his age in order to sign up. Laila and Natasha discovered that he was locked up for 3 weeks shortly after arriving in France for using inappropriate language in front of an officer. Laila and Natasha tracked down his grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Another highlight of the trip was a visit to the Menin Gate in the town of Ypres, Belgium. The Menin gate is a memorial to 55,000 British and Commonwealth troops who were killed in 1917 and have no known grave. Every night since the war ended the local people of Ypres have performed a musical tribute to the fallen. Laila and Natasha were lucky enough to take part in the ceremony.