17 July 2023

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On Friday 16th June, the annual trip to Battlefields began. The group consisted of Year 10 students and they were accompanied by Mr Shannon, Mr Barrett, Mr Riley, Mrs Singleton De Carranza and Mrs Stewart.

They went to the Somme and Ypres to find out about the history of the First World War and visited sites such as Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Trenches at Sanctuary WoodTyne Cot Cemetery & Menin Gate. They also visited a number of personal graves of relatives who died in the First World War, as well as the graves of fallen Balshavians.

The students thoroughly enjoyed their time away, their behaviour was impeccable and they and were an absolute credit to their families and the school.

Thank you to Charlie and Orla for writing the following about their experience:

During our time in France and Belgium, we had the incredible opportunity to explore many historical sites relating to the first world war. It was an amazing experience which really enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the war.

Throughout the trip itself our tour guide, Richie, used his unparalleled knowledge to educate us about the sites we visited. For example, we visited many memorials and cemeteries which really put into perspective the amount of death and destruction there actually was. Standing in a cemetery where thousands upon thousands of people are buried is much more impactful than learning about a statistic in the classroom. When we visited Thiepval memorial in France, I was extremely privileged to lay a reef on behalf of the school. Thiepval is a commonwealth memorial that commemorates over 72,000 missing British troops who died during the Battle of the Somme. Because of this, it was an incredibly emotional experience but one that I am extremely grateful for.

In addition to the cemeteries and memorials that we visited, we also went to many museums and landmarks. I particularly enjoyed Passchendaele Museum where we got to explore trenches, tunnels and learnt more about the Battle of Passchendaele. We also went to sites like the Wellington Tunnels, Lochnagar Crater and the Hooge Crater Museum.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of my classmates and I have never been able to attend a residential trip with Balshaws. Because of this, we are all extremely thankful to the history department for the incredible opportunity they provided for us. Overall, the trip was extremely valuable in helping to develop my knowledge of the first world war. If I had the chance to go again, I definitely would.

Charlie, Year 10

My favourite excursion was to the trenches, getting to explore the trenches was a brilliant way to understand where and how the soldiers lived and fought. The trip is one I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and will certainly never forget. Thank you to the organizers.

Orla, Year 10

Thank you to all the staff who came along too.

Here are some photographs from the trip:

Mr Shannon