Just left Reading M4 Services. Running ahead of time. ETA 18.30
See you there
Just passed Cobham Services. Currently planning our stop at Reading services for about an hour. Looks like we may be a bit early - we managed to get through passport control quickly and got on an earlier train (1.50 as opposed to 2.20).
Will update after Reading.
1.30 pm UK time. We have arrived back on UK soil.
No specific update to timings yet as we will wait and see what the motorway traffic is going to be like. We have a planned extended stop (probably at Reading services) for our driver's rest for 45min-1hour when we will also encourage the pupils to have some tea. We will keep you posted on progress from there.
Dear Battlefield Parents and Carers,
We survived.. all of us
We all had a brilliant time last night at bowling. Leo demonstrated some serious skill and was only pipped to the honours of Tour Bowling champion by the flukie skill of Mrs Adair (3 strikes in a row) and the consistent, slow burner Simon. Everyone had a go and good fun seemed to be had by all.
After a goodnights sleep, we headed out to Tyne Cot CWGC this monring - the largest CWGC site in the world - 12,000 graves and 35,000 names on the memorial wall to the missing. The pupils were able to decode the site, identifying the 3 evolutions of the site's use - battlefield burials, aid station burials, and post-war concentration/battlefield clearance cemetary site. They seemed truely humbled by the expereince and watching them walk around and actually 'read' and understand the stories and the connections of those individuals lying here was amazing. We arrived early in the morning - crisp and clear and warm. We captured some really beautiful and inspriational photos.
We then headed over to the Passchendaele Memorial museum
Dear Battlefield parents and carers,
It has been such a busy few days that this coach ride back from Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme on Day 3 is the first real opportunity I have had to write to you (what did we do before Hotspot and 4G internet?)
The children have been brilliant and have been working so hard. It is amazing to see how much their skills have developed in such a short time. When we first arrived at Lijssenthoek Cemetery on Thursday afternoon, the pupils were definately tourists. Now, after spending today on the Somme (at locations representing both the first and subsequent days of the offensive), the children are now historians. We (Mr Mallet, Mrs Moreman, Simon our guide and I) are all so proud of them. The days have been long, (15-hour days) but the kids are engaged and are being respectful and representing HSMS and their families well.
Highlights so far include:
-laying a wreath of remembrance at the Menin Gate ceremony
-the children wolfing down their dinners of traditional Belgian stew and chips on the first night
-seeing craftspeople at work in the CWGC workshops
-amazing Wellington quarries/tunnels experience and the development of the understanding that the surface 'trench' war was only a part of the story
-visits to German, French and Indian cemetaries/memorials where the pupils began to really 'understand' the global nature of war and began to question what is 'right' and what is 'normal'. (e.g. Is how the British commemorate their war dead the 'correct' way?)
-artifact handling and dressing up sessions
-and todays destinations where the children have really begun to put it all together (topography, technology, infantry manoevers)
Tonight the children are really looking forward to bowling. I am hopeless at bowling so it should be a good laugh for all invovled.
I hope your children have been keeping you updated and have shared some of their photos. Thank you again for supporting this trip. I know it will have made a lasting impression on many of the children.
Very brief update. Travelled well. Slept well. Just arriving at French National cemetary. Weather dry and blustery. Kids very well behaved. More later after dinner with photos
HSMS TOUR ITINERARY
Departure Date: Thurs 27th April, 2023
Travel: By coach and Eurotunnel
Thurs 27th April, 2023
Arrive via Eurotunnel, Lijessenthoek Cemetery, Ypres town centre walking tour, Shopping in Ypres and meal, Ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate, Ieper (Ypres), Peace Village
Fri 28th April, 2023
CWGC Experience, Wellington Quarries Tunnels tour, Neuville-St. Vaast German Military Cemetery Notre Dame de Lorrette Cemetery and Basilica, Peace Village, Evening Learning Activity: Artefact Handling Session
Sat 29th April, 2023
Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park (and Sunken Road), Caterpillar Valley, Delville Wood, High Wood, Thiepval Memorial, Peace Village, Evening Activity - Bowling
Sun 30th April, 2023
Tyne Cot Cemetery, Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Home via Eurotunnel