St Bede's, Ormskirk pupils visit First World War battlefields

'Trip taught me what war was truly like'

Four Year 10 pupils and a member of staff from St Bede's Catholic High School in Ormskirk joined six other school groups on a visit to the First World War battlefields organised by University College London's Institute of Education.

It was trip which, in the words of one pupil, Alfie, 'taught me a lot about what the war was truly like'. Here the St Bede's pupils give a day-by-day account of the lessons learned.

Day 1

We visited the museum in Zonnebeke which remembers the Battle of Passchendaele. We went through a remade trench under the ground and I was shocked. Trenches are usually shown as open dugouts yet this was fully underground. We also visited Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery, and tried to find soldiers from our local area. Katie

We saw the Lijssenthoek cemetery, site of a casualty clearing station, and visited the Menin Gate in Ypres for the remembrance ceremony. We got plenty of Belgian chocolate afterwards! Josh

At the Langemark cemetery we saw German mass graves. There were more than ten people in one grave, their names represented on a stone slab. Adolf Hitler visited the cemetery and saw how we hadn’t destroyed the German graves so he sent out an order to all troops not to destroy Allied graves. Alfie

Day 2

We saw the trenches of Allied soldiers at Beaumont Hamel and learned about the Newfoundland regiment – over 600 were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. We also saw a large hole in the ground caused by an underground mine, the Hawthorn Crater. Katie

We went to the Thiephal Memorial which has on its walls the names of tens of thousands of soldiers without a known grave. Julia

Day 3

On our last day we visited the exact place where the Armistice was agreed between the French, British, Americans and Germans. Katie

In the Armistice Museum we saw a replica of the train that the treaty was signed in. We learned that the treaty was signed in a secluded area so the Germans involved would have no contact with other Germans. Julia

We saw original 3D images of the war through these strange little peeping devices. Josh