The Perse School

WW1 battlefields trip

7 Nov 2014

The History Department ran its annual First World Battlefields Tour for Year 11 students during half term, spending five days in Belgium and France.

The first two days were spent visiting sites in the Ypres Salient, focusing on the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. The tour party was fortunate enough to attend a particularly poignant Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in which the Band of the Household Cavalry gave a memorable performance. We then moved on to the Somme, where we studied some of the key events of 1st July 1916, the worst day in British military history. On the fourth day we visited the battlefield at Verdun and the incredible site at the Butte de Vauquois, where an extensive underground tunnel system has been preserved. On the final day we travelled back to the Somme and were given a superb guided tour of the recently excavated British trenches at Thiepval Wood, from where the Ulster Division attacked on the morning of 1st July 1916.

Our last site was Mailly Wood Cemetery, where we laid a wreath at the headstone of OP David John Freeland Bradbury, who was wounded during the Battle of Ancre (final large British attack at the Somme) in November 1916. Bradbury was evacuated but died of his wounds on 15th November at base hospital. Bradbury, who was a fine sportsman, had crossed to France in August 1916. He was nineteen years old at the time of his death.

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