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WW1 Battlefield Visits


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#1 Gorbash

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:15 PM

Right then; where do I start....

I've just literally got back from my first battlefield visit wth my school, went out Tuesday and back today. Thanks to 15 years of Scout Camps and residentials as a leader I'm the only member of staff who is still awake and ready to keep going; the others are out on their feet!

A day on the Somme and a day on the Ypres Salient (including the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate) and 37 kids who all were really well behaved, attentive and quite honestly a credit to themselves and their parents!

An extremely knowledgeable guide (who I shan't publically name for reasons which will become obvious shortly...) who's breadth of knowledge was quite frankly amazing. However as good as he undoubtedly is I have to say that he really didn't 'connect' with our kids. He made no attempts to learn the kids names, no attempt to modify his language when it was blindingly obvious that the language being used was over the heads of our kids, a desire to get through everything on the itinerary without taking into account the somewhat extreme weather conditions (2-3 inches of snow, temperatures below freezing and wind speeds of 40+ mph out on the Somme with no shelter around....) If anybody is going out on a Battlefield Visit and wants the name of the guide then PM me and I'll let you know...

Despite all this the kids loved it. Lets hope that they pass the word around and we get even more for next year's trip (am going to ask for a different guide!) and that some of those who went on the trip now think about taking History at GCSE....

Suppose I'd better think about what my personal highlight was- at present I cannot decide between seeing where the Accrington Pals fell (even if I did decide that in an attempt not to slip down a slope that it would be a good idea to hold on tightly to old, rusting barbed wire...!) as thats part of the history that I grew up with in East Lancs or seeing three of our students laying a wreath during the Last Post ceremony- they really got it at that point and the scale of it all came home to them!

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is; is it to vent my frustration at the guide, is it to revel in the enjoyment of the kids or is it just a way of staying awake until my girlfriend calls me...? Whatever the reason I'm glad I posted- it's been very therapeutic for me!

Paul
Its not who I am but what I do which defines me...

#2 JaneMoore

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 04:31 PM

I know how you feel about WW1 battlefield/cemetery visits - I have been on three, AND dragged my husband to the Somme for our honeymoon. It is always a humbling experience, but a hugely rewarding one too - especially experiencing the maturity some quite young pupils can exhibit. I recommend it. Apart from the exhaustion.

#3 CD McKie

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 06:37 PM

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is; is it to vent my frustration at the guide, is it to revel in the enjoyment of the kids or is it just a way of staying awake until my girlfriend calls me...? Whatever the reason I'm glad I posted- it's been very therapeutic for me!

Simple really. The trip has had an impact on you, just as it will have no doubt left an indelible mark on your students. I've been on many Battlefields trips over the past ten years or so, but nothing quite compares to the very first visit. If you want any tips for new sites to visit in the future, just let me know.
To you who call yourselves men of peace, I say: You are not safe unless you have men of action on your side.

#4 Seb Phillips

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 10:46 PM

For me, our annual trip to the battlefields has become the highlight of my year. Partially it's the sheer power of the place, partially it's the effect it has on the kids, partially it's a whole shared experience with the group - the 'you had to be there' principle. And of course, the chocolate in Ypre...

I'm lucky that we go with a terrific company who work brilliantly with the kids. We've used them for years and have a great relationship with the guides, who know their stuff and put it across excellently.

My only complaint is that because of insurence etc, the cost of the trip is going up. If the government wants to sponser our national identity through history, they could do a lot worse than putting some money into this trip (rather than paying people to teach 'citizenship')

#5 stevenyelland

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:27 PM

Considering a school trip for Year 10 and 11 in October - can anyone reccommend good companies to go with??

Thanks

#6 Scott R

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:42 PM

Just got back from a great trip on Saturday evening. I've always been with NST and found them great. Roughly 250 per student for a four-day, three-night trip to Ypres and the Somme. Perhaps more importantly, had a major incident on one of the trips and found their staff to be first-class when it came to emergency procedures etc. Self-organised trips might be cheaper, but you lack the back-up in that kind of situation when you need it...

#7 Joel Thorpe

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:44 AM

Considering a school trip for Year 10 and 11 in October - can anyone reccommend good companies to go with??

Thanks



I went with NST at the Chataeux at Eblingham, brilliant, so many different emotions. Vimy ridge, Thiepval, Arras, Verdun and so on!!

If you haven't been, with or without students, you must go!!

The chance to have all students transfixed as you read sources, describe the battles (and where you can safely) run across no mans land.

WOW!!

Made even more relevent as when I was last there a tractor got blown up when it hit a shell. Driver was ok thanks to an armoured tractor. One of those going through Arras was a sight to behold.

"I've spent my money on birds, booze and fast cars. The rest of it, I squandered!"George Best

"Oh well, what the hell!!" - Hungry Joe
 


#8 Sarah Bamford

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 06:08 PM

I am going in November for the first time with students - we have 2.5 days to visit - what would you say is 'must do' in that time? - the tour company seem to have planned so much stuff in that space of time it just seems silly and I want to pare it down a bit.. thanks

#9 Jonathan D

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 10:43 PM

Considering a school trip for Year 10 and 11 in October - can anyone reccommend good companies to go with??

Thanks



We have used NST for the past two years and they have been excellent. This year our coach was vandalised overnight and we had a new coach/driver and were sorted out in three hours flat!




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