7th December 2019 — On Friday 29th November, the senior pupils of Northbourne Park School visited Ypres in Belgium for the Christmas Truce tour.
The pupils met a WW1 ‘recruiting sergeant’ who was keen to persuade them to sign-up for the British Expeditionary Force followed by another sergeant who talked them through a new recruit’s kit including rifle, puttees, helmet and the famous trench coat.
For lunch they tucked into a trench meal made up of vegetable stew and Belgian sausage. Later at Plugstreet Wood cemetery, the tour guide showed us the location of trenches where the truce between German and English soldiers took place. At the Hooge Crater Museum, they re-enacted the truce and our pupils joined in with a rendition of ‘Silent Night’. After an evening meal in Ypres town, the tour culminated with the Heads of School laying a wreath in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, the memorial for over 54,000 soldiers who died in Belgium and have no known grave.
Christie Riley, Head of History said: “All the children were exemplary throughout the day and I am sure this tour has had a powerful impact on them, often raising more questions than answers.”