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Somme Trip 2016
Posted On: 27/06/16
Students from Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport marked the centenary of the Battle of the Somme by visiting the area and paying respect to sacrifices made.
76 students visited significant sites including Beaumont-Hamel and the Lochnagar Crater, both of which featured in the Allied attack on the morning of July 1st, 1916. They also laid personal memorials at Pozieres, where missing soldiers from the last year of the war in the Somme region are commemorated.
Each student carried a memorial to a soldier sharing their surname, to one from the local area or to one of the 17 year-olds who fell without having a known grave. The party gathered around the memorial to Bertie Francis, who came from Pond Cross Farm Cottages in Newport and died along with his brother William on the Somme. Student Annie-Mae Harris, 13, read the poem “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke before a memorial and flowers were left where Bertie’s name is inscribed.
Annie-Mae said “We wanted to recognise the sacrifices made by these soldiers in the Great War. Actually visiting the area made the experience seem closer and we were able to leave memorials close to where these brave men died.”
Richard Brindley, 13 said “Visiting the Somme added to the work we have done on the Great War in a unique way. Being here so close to the centenary of the start of the battle made the experience more intense.”
Albie Banks, 13 said “Leaving a personal memorial to a soldier sharing my name made me really think about what these men did. It seems incredible that two thirds of the students who went had the same names as soldiers who are missing on the Somme.”
History Teacher Colin Almond said “We found that visiting the Somme really engaged students with the events and soldiers of the Great War. Students recognised what that era involved in terms of courage and loss and they were proud to pay tribute.”
Some students took specific memorials to the war activities of their own family members. Sarah Salkeld left a memorial to her great grandfather Leonard Warner, who fought on the Somme and survived the war.
Sarah said “My family is proud of what my great grandfather did and this was an opportunity to show that. We have found out a lot about what he did and want it to be remembered.”
The trip continues Joyce Frankland Academy’s ongoing commemoration of the Great War. This has included a joint project with Newport Primary School to record the addresses where Newport casualties came from in the village, and two visits to the Ypres battlefield in Belgium.
Students’ reflections on the latest visit will now be posted on the Academy’s website.
Notes on pictures
Students place Bertie Francis memorial
Student reads from “The Soldier”
Flowers and memorial
Memorial placed by student Sarah Salkeld to her great grandfather Leonard Warner who survived the war
Memorial carried by student Albie Banks