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Belgium Battlefields Trip 2023

Our Historians had the most fantastic time on their trip to Belgium last week. First, they stopped at Notre Dame de Lorette. The landscape is dominated by an imposing chapel and 52m high memorial lantern, who's rotating light can be seen for more than 40 miles around. This vast French National Cemetery containing 40,057 burials, of which only half have individual graves, is on the site of bitter and costly fighting by the French in the "Battle of the Lorette".

Then, onto Vimy Ridge. The front line trenches have been reconstructed and our students were safely let loose to explore these, which give a useful insight into the nature of trench warfare. Here are some shots from Thiepval Memorial, former German strong point of Thiepval is now the site of the memorial to the missing. Carved on stone panels beneath its arches are the names of 73,077 British soldiers who fell on the Somme in 1916 and 1917.

At Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial our students learned about how soldiers from all over the U.K. as well as Newfoundland lost their lives in the fighting there. However it was the first Newfoundland Regiment which suffered the highest casualty rate and it is their regimental symbol, the caribou which fittingly dominates this site. 

Overall this trip was incredibly insightful for our Historians, and they had a brilliant time learning more about human history, all the while remaining respectful - they are a credit to us here at Guiseley School.