Harrowing centenary trip to Great War trenches

7 Nov 2018 02:43

Two Loreto Grammer School sixth form students were 'privileged' to visit the 'harrowing' First Word War battlegrounds on a special trip to commemorate the Centenary of Armistice Day.

High flying academics Lizzy Hammond, 18, from Weaverham and Libby Tiernan, 17, from Sale seized the opportunity to join an inter schools' trip organised by the Department of Education and educational promoters 'Poetry by Heart' to see the trenches at Ypres and the Somme, where hundreds of thousands of young men were sacrificed.

Their first thoughts were for their own friends and brothers who but for a fork in time could have landed in the same nightmare.

Libby Tiernan, who wants to read Drama and Creative Writing at university, said: "I couldn't help but think of the boys we know; our friends and brothers and imagine it was them fighting and dying in the trenches and that puts it very much in perspective. We are all so young."

The unique trip had both a literary and historical purpose with poems by the great and less well-known war poets read out at every trench, killing field and crematorium.

Lizzy Hammond, who wants to read English Literature and Cambridge, said: "It was surreal to go back 100 years in time and stand in the same spots where so many died."

Lizzy, who was particularly moved by the performance of R.C. Sherriff's tragic drama "A Journey's End' played out in the very trenches it was depicting, added: "The Great War can seem quite distant to our generation but that is simply all the more reason we should all continue to remember and honour the great dignity of those who went through such terrible atrocities."

The poems of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke and many more echoed throughout the trip and Libby added: "It is perhaps the cruellest irony that the greatest of them all Wilfred Owen, was shot dead just a week before the end of the war."

The girls were accompanied by Loreto English teacher Linda Gaffney who said: "This was important journey for students and teachers alike and has left a telling impression on all of us.'

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