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Remembering the Wycliffians of World War One

November 9, 2016 9:53 am

In October half term, 27 pupils and 4 members of staff went on a journey of discovery to find out about what really happened to two Old Wycliffians – Leonard Tregaskis and Rex Bird.

It was a very special trip and a first for bringing together Preparatory and Senior School pupils. As Y9 pupils study WW1 in the Summer Term, and Y8 pupils research the lives of Old Wycliffians in the Autumn term. It therefore made complete sense for the two Year groups to be together for this trip.

The key person on our trip was Jon Cooksey, of the Western Front Association. He was our guide and researcher. Previous to the visit he had discovered where these two gallant men fell, and the reasons behind it. We were actually able to stand on the ground they fought on, and sense how and why they died.

Before departure, the pupils were each given the task of remembering one of nineteen OWs who died in the First World War. We visited their memorials/graves and a small poem or comment about their life was given by the pupils. It was a touching and moving experience. A fitting way to remember what happened exactly 100 years ago.
The big highlight was taking part in one of the services at the Menin Gate during our visit, where George Tomblin and Freya Roe presented a wreath after the Last Post had been played.

In History lessons the Year 8 pupils have been researching and interpreting the sources that give us an insight into the lives of these two young men. They are writing their own biographies of these men, padding out the superbly written biography that former headmaster WA Sibly wrote soon after the war.
Many of the pupils will also be making podcasts which will aim to express parts of these biographies through the spoken word, as well as providing their own views and thoughts about the war.

The enormity of what happened 100 years ago must never be forgotten, and these pupils paid a fine tribute in understanding and remembering what happened to soldiers on both sides of the war.

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