Castell Alun Remembers Fallen Heroes

fallenheroesStudents from Years 8 & 9 have recently returned from a three-day Battlefields Tour to Ypres and the Somme.

They took part in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate with students Lucy and Jamie laying two wreaths, one for all who fell at Ypres whose bodies were never found and another wreath for two local service men who went missing at Ypres.

The tour also took in several other sites of great interest. At Musee Somme 1916 in Albert the students explored a 230 metre long tunnel gallery which was filled with cases of World War One memorabilia and reconstructions of aspects of trench life. They also visited Lochnagar Crater Memorial, where they saw what has been described as ‘the largest crater ever made by man in anger.’ It was created as a result of mines being planted at the end of a tunnels constructed by Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers in order to blow up German positions. At Sanctuary Wood Museum they were able to experience something of the conditions of the trenches for themselves.

At Mametz Wood students were moved by the sight of the Welsh Dragon clutching barbed wire, the symbolism of the bravery of Welsh soldiers, leaving some with lumps in their throats.

The other iconic memorial was that of the Welsh dragon which stands on a cromlech near Ypres where soldiers from Wales fought on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. It remembers all those of Welsh descent who took part in the Great War.

The last day concluded with visit to Artillery Wood where they saw the grave of Private E. H. Evans, also known as Hedd Wyn. He was the Welsh language poet who was killed at Passchendaele in 1917 and posthumously awarded   the bard’s chair at the National Eisteddfod,  held that year.

A student commented that the trip had been both emotional and enjoyable saying ‘seeing the number of names of those who had died is something I will remember forever and brought home the scale of war’.

Mr. David Goodchild, Learning Area Manager for Humanities, who organised the trip said ‘the staff and students will remember the trip for years to come.  Commemorating the lives of men from our home county, some of whom lived very close to Castell Alun, helped students understand the impact World War I had on every community across the country’.  He added that ‘all our students showed great respect and understanding of what they had experienced.  I’d like to thank them and all the staff who attended for making our visit a success’.