GCSE Battlefields Trip

Our Fifth Form GCSE History students spent a thought provoking weekend visiting several of the cemeteries, memorials and battlefields from the 1st World War in Northern France.

Whilst there they laid a wreath on the grave of OB Sergeant Frederick Anthony (Tony) Knights, who is buried in Berks Cemetery.  He was a pupil at Bancroft’s for two years when he lived in Wanstead before he moved to Canada; he served in the 10thBattalion of the Canadian Infantry, and was killed in February 1917, aged just 21.  His elder brother, Charles, is buried in Tyne Cot.  For one girl this was a personal trip as she was able to see the memorial to one of her relatives, who was just one of two British soldiers to be buried in the German mass grave in the Langemark German Cemetery.

During the weekend the Bancroft’s group also visited: Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world, which is the resting place for almost twelve thousand Commonwealth soldiers from WWI; the Thiepval memorial; the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Lochnager mine crater on the Somme Battlefields. They also experienced the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, which takes place every night to commemorate those who lost their lives at Ypres.

Despite the bright weather experienced for the weekend, this is very much a sombre and reflective trip for the pupils.

It is difficult to appreciate the huge number of families worldwide which were affected by this loss of a whole generation.  I also couldn’t believe the number of unmarked graves and burial places, so many families don’t know where their loved ones are buried.

Charlotte, Fifth Form pupil Lorem ipsum


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