Search

First World War centenary: Reporter heads off on battlefields trip

08:00 07 February 2015

A British soldier paying his respects at the grave of a comrade. Picture: PA

A British soldier paying his respects at the grave of a comrade. Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sixteen million deaths, 20 million wounded, six million missing. These are the cold, stark facts of the Great War, the world’s first truly modern conflict.

British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered, winter landscape along the River Somme in late 1916 after the close of the Allied offensive. [Picture: PA]British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered, winter landscape along the River Somme in late 1916 after the close of the Allied offensive. [Picture: PA]

More than 100 years ago, thousands of soldiers of all classes and nationalities marched off into death, with many more returning home with life-changing injuries – both physical and mental.

The figures convey the huge scale of the war, but cannot invoke the horrors experienced by all those involved, whether it be the dehumanisation of trench warfare, or the numbness the soldiers felt after seeing so many of their comrades mutilated.

But the battlefields which saw so much bloodshed can still tell these most harrowing and powerful stories, as I am to experience first-hand.

Today, I will be embarking upon a three-day tour of Ypres and the Somme, taking in cemeteries, museums and even death cells which housed British deserters before they were shot at dawn.

Undated file photo of British infantrymen marching towards the front lines in the River Somme valley. [Picture: PA]Undated file photo of British infantrymen marching towards the front lines in the River Somme valley. [Picture: PA]

I have joined a group taking part in the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, provided by the UCL Institute for Education and school tour operator Equity, part of Inspiring Learning.

The programme, funded by the government, is offering two pupils and one teacher from all state-funded secondary schools in England the chance to see the battlefields for themselves, until March 2019.

Yesterday I met with students and teachers from 14 London schools, who I will be accompanying on the trip.

During a half-day of activities, we handled artefacts such as a rifle and bayonet and discovered how to find soldiers on databases such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Over the next three days, the students will consider key questions and, after the programme has concluded, they will be encouraged to share the knowledge they have gleaned through initiative Legacy 110.

The scheme will see the young people undertake community projects and deliver them to at least 110 other people.

If every pupil does this, 888, 246 people will have been reached – the number of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died during the First World War.

For updates on the trip, see our website each morning.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:30
The Royal British Legion Band and Corps Romford. Picture: Royal British Legion Band and Corps Romford

A marching band that will be celebrating its 65th anniversary later this year is on the look out for new enthusiastic members.

Yesterday, 15:30
The latest fly-tip in Little Gerpins Lane, Upminster

Fly-tipping could cost the council up to £1million this year, the council has suggested.

Yesterday, 14:30
Picture of the Range Rover stolen in Collier Row last Friday.

A family has been left “absolutely devastated” after a thief broke into their home while they were sleeping and fled with an expensive Range Rover.

Yesterday, 14:00
Havering Mind's £35,000 funding for its mentoring programme will not be renewd by Havering Council, when it comes to an end in March. Picture credit: PA images

A mental health charity’s mentoring service is due to close after the council decided not to renew its funding.

Yesterday, 13:00
From left to right, Kayleigh Duck, eight, peer mediator Ruby Howard, 11 and Ronnie Hardy, nine. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah.

A handful of schools around the borough have adopted an unconventional method of resolving issues between pupils.

Yesterday, 10:30
Sue Hedges and April Hayden, in white T-shirts, joined a march to end knife crime.

In a show of strength relatives of stabbing victim Ricky Hayden joined more than 100 people to march against knife crime on Friday.

Yesterday, 09:10
Upminster Station

There is no service between Romford and Upminster after the only train on the line broke down.

Yesterday, 09:00
The Romford MP last year campaigning for the blue passport to return as a sign of Britains independence.

Romford MP and big Brexit supporter Andrew Rosindell hailed Theresa May’s ambitious speech after she indicated she would be pursuing a “hard” Brexit.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

MyOffers H&M Competition

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now