Day 2 began with a 7:45 departure from Ashford and heading for the Channel Tunnel, France and beyond.
The first stop was Tyne Cot the largest of the British War Cemeteries with nearly 12,000 graves and the names of a further 35,000 soldiers who have no grave. It is only when you see sites such as these that the words in some of the famous poems like row on row take their real meaning. Edie and Rachel looked for a Redcar soldier eventually finding him. John George Wales lived in Charles Street in Redcar. He joined the local regiment the Yorkshire Regiment and was killed aged jut twenty. The date of his death would suggest he was killed at the Third Battle of Ypres but that is something for the two girls to try and establish when we return.
We then moved on to Langemark, the German War Cemetery. This is a very different site to any British Cemetery I have visited. It has a much more bleak and sombre feel to it. At Langemark there are over 44,000 German soldiers buried including approximately 25,000 in one mass grave in the centre.
Next it was onto Paschendale and a First World War Museum. Here there was a history of the Great War both in text and objects. One room was filled with an enormous collection of shells the size of some you can only appreciate when you see Rachel stood next to them. Also at the museum was a reconstruction of the tunnels and dugouts that many soldiers had to live in. Finally there were reconstructions of trenches showing both how the Germans and British built them.
The day finished back at Ypres at the Menin Gate. A memorial to over 54,000 British soldiers who have no grave. Here we heard the daily playing of Last Post and the service of remembrance something that has taken place unbroken since 1944. A moving end to a memorable day.
Principal: Mrs Angela Sweeten
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