History Tour: D Day and Normandy
During the Easter holidays, 52 pupils from Years Nine and Ten visited Normandy to tour sites associated with the momentous events of D Day and the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. This compliments work undertaken in the Middle School on the causes, events and results of the Second World War.
Based in a hotel located within yards of Gold Beach (one of the British landing areas), the group was able to visit all the main sites of the American and British in the five days of the tour. These included the assault beaches, German defensive positions in the "Atlantic Wall" and Allied and German cemeteries. For many pupils the highlight of the tour was a visit to sites associated with British airborne landings in the early hours of D Day, including the opportunity to see the first house in Normandy to be liberated and to meet Arlette Gondree, who was a young girl there at the time. On the last afternoon the pupils chose a grave in the British Military Cemetery at Bayeux and a wreath was laid to commemorate those who died in the campaign.
The party was guided by military historian and battlefields expert Alan Reed. His knowledge and enthusiasm enhanced the whole tour, with pupils and staff alike learning a huge amount.