A time to remember and learn: Visit to the battle fields of the First World War in Belgium and France

A time to remember and a time to learn. Visit to the Battle fields of the First World War in Belgium and France.
Students from Torbay had an amazing opportunity over the enrichment week when they visited the Battle fields of France and Belgium. The trip is part of their poetry studies as First World War poetry forms part of the scheme of work. This was also an opportunity to learn about the horrors of life in the trenches during the war and to see the awe inspiring memorials constructed to all those fallen soldiers.
The trip started from Torquay really early because the journey to Folkstone is a long one. Everyone was excited to get to the channel tunnel which is a pretty amazing thing in itself. Once through we made our way through northern France and into Belgium.
Our first stop and the place where we would be staying for the first night was the amazing and beautiful city of Arras. The city is largely Medieval and has an amazing Cathedral and a lovely square. Once we checked we had some time to explore the city and many of us chose to explore the cathedral which was more amazing in side than out.
On our second day we visited one of the largest battle fields in history, the Somme. The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France.
The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than 3 million men fought in this battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
This was a truly memorable experience and so thought provoking. What was strange was that while its such an awful thing to think about being there was not sad it was moving because while we obviously saw the trenches and learnt about the horrors of the war we also saw the way that people have chosen to remember the events of the battle.
After a thought provoking day we made our way back to the town and had a lovely dinner in the main square. We had lots to talk about particularly how the poetry we have studied takes on a deeper meaning having visited the Somme.
The following day we made our way into Belgium to the city of Ypres. This is another stunning Medieval city and we had a bit of time to explore before checking into our hotel.
The following day we visited the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. Ypres was the scene of many battles during the war but one of the most famous was the battle of Passchendaele which took place in 1917 and was crucial in the eventual victory of the Allied forces.
This was an amazing trip because it was deeply moving in places but amazing to see such important places from the war. Seeing history like this has such an amazing effect on our understanding and deepens studies.