On Sunday, 12 June 2016, the 6th St John’s Academy Pals Battalion departed Perth for the Belgian and French WW1 Battlefields Experience. We travelled overnight and arrived in the Port of Dover first thing on Monday morning. After crossing into France and finally reaching Belgium, pupils were given the opportunity to explore the historic city of Brugge. Later that day we arrived at the Youth Hostel and pupils were given an insight into what the next few days would hold.
We spent the next three days exploring the Ypres salient and the infamous battle ground of the Somme. This was especially poignant as 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Pupils were given the opportunity to visit a number of interesting and thought provoking battle sites. At the end of these three days pupils were then given the opportunity to attend the Menin Gate ceremony in Ypres, remembering those who fought during the conflict. Pupils then led their own private ceremony, with great respect, to remember the soldiers of The Great War at Black Watch Corner.
On the final pupils and staff departed the youth hostel and started their journey back to Blighty, changed by their experiences. The 6th St John’s Academy Pals Battalion was a shining example throughout the trip. Their attitude, behaviour and empathy made staff very proud and they too should be very proud of themselves.