Broughton Hall High School - One Heart, One Mind

Ponchos at the ready as the rain pours down and gives us a real trench experience. This hasn't dampened the girls' spirits as we set off to our first destination.

First stop, Hooge crater where the girls learnt about the how the First World War commenced. The Hooge Crater is an open air museum and the girls were able to have their first walk around trenches and look at some of the shells, pickets and dugouts.

Following this we had a bit of free time in Ypres were girls bought plenty of chocolate, ice cream and more importantly had a look around the Flanders Field Museum.

During the visit to Essex Farm Katie Hinton and Sian McGrath found the graves of relatives. A moment was taken to place crosses of remembrance by these graves. Mrs Tyrer then recited the poem in Flanders fields before we headed to a monument for Francis Ledgwick the Irish poet, the site was also the first place gas attacks took place. Here, Mrs Fielding recited the poem, 'Dulce et decorum est'.

Shannon Kelly from Yr 8 was able to visit her great, great, great, great grandfather's grave at La Laterie Cemetary and place a cross of remembrance on behalf of her family. Shannon is the first family member to be able to visit the grave. This was a very poignant moment in the trip. Neil, our driver then told us the story of the 'boy who never grew up' and we were able to visit the grave of George Llewelyn Davies aka Peter Pan.

To finish off day one the the girls returned to Ypres and observed the Last Post at Menin Gate. The students were able to look through names of the Kings Liverpool Regiment to see if any of their relatives were mentioned.

Tomorrow we all head to the Somme to continue our journey through the Battlefields of World War 1.

Travelling through a torrential downpour we made a whistle stop tour to Vimy Ridge to see the Canadian Monument. Mrs Fielding told us the story of Canada's Guest of Honour to the monument who was a mother that had lost her 7 sons during the War.

A quick run back onto the coach to make the hour trip to Monteban, home of the monument to Liverpool and Manchester Pals. Here we laid a tribute from school which included a shell Mrs Fielding brought home from the Somme some 15 years ago, as well as a beautiful plinth designed and produced by Mr Armstrong.  The girls were told the story of Kenneth McArdle and his friends as they fought on the Somme. We then carried out a 2 minute silence as a scroll of the Liverpool PALs was shown to the girls, our small service was completed with Mrs Selsby who gave a short reading. Mrs Tyrer and Mr Mangan planted a Rose Bush called 'Special Wishes' next to the monument on behalf of school.

Lochnegar was our next destination and by the time we reached this site the rain had stopped. The pupils were able to walk around the edge of a large mine crater. The path around the edge of the crater is covered in planks that people can now sponsor and the girls enjoyed reading about some of the soldiers. Ebony Bayliss and Erin Moore found a commemorative plank for an 18 yr old female, they chose this spot to place their Cross of Remembrance. The pupils also found new monuments at this site which, included a bench dedicated to the nurses and an RAF stone. On the way back to the coach the girls were able to collect poppies as souvenirs of the trip.

A short journey on and we arrived at Thiepval where pupils found Kenneth McArdle's name amongst the 73,000 listed as missing. After spending time by this stone, the pupils wandered down to the Sword of Sacrifice and found the wreath that was laid by Prince Charles. Back at the Visitors' Centre, McArdle's portrait was found on a poster of 640 soldiers that went missing in the Somme (less that 1% of the soldiers who are named at Thiep Val).

After a quick break at Ulster Tower we journeyed to Railway Hollow for the final stop of the day. On the way down to the isolated cemetery, pupils found shells at the side of the road. The girls were told he story of young Alf Goodlad and our final two poems were recited by Mr Mangan and Katie Hinton.

As the sun sets on our penultimate evening, the girls are excited to see what tomorrow brings.

Bags packed onto the bus and there where three sites to visit before the girls headed to Bruges for a bit of free time and shopping.

Our first stop was to Langemark were the girls visited a German mass grave that contained 44,000 soldiers. Our pupils were told that Hitler had visited this site during World War II. To enter the Cemetery the students walked through a tunnel which is the length of the mass grave. The girls paid respects to the Student Germans who were killed by British Professional Soldiers. The monument for these soldiers is carved out of Oak, the national tree of Germany and a sign of strength.

Our second stop of the morning was to Paschendale Museum and Trenches were the girls got to see some of the uniforms and equipment that was carried but the soldiers during the War. Erin Moore had a go at trying to pick up a Kit Bag and Amelia Young braved the smells of the gas bombs. All students braved the dugouts and trenches before arriving safely at the Lake to have a look at the beautiful grounds.

Our final stop was to Tyne Cot where pupils were told of the 3 V.C. Winners amongst the 12,000 graves. The girls had a chance to wander around the Cemetery and  look at the stone panels which named the missing soldiers of World War 1. These panels also  named soldiers missing from The King's Liverpool Regiment, which included a Harrison, Lennon and McCartney. Georgia Kelly was one of the few pupils who was able to find all three V.C. Winners' Graves.

The girls have really enjoyed this experience and many have commented on how they would love to come back in the future. They have all done Broughton Hall proud, carrying out the school's motto, 'One Heart, One Mind'.