Today has been a day that has brought the war close to home in many ways. As well as the visit to the Colne Valley Cemetery, we went to Essex Farm. This is famous for being the place where Canadian poet, John McRae, who wrote In Flanders Fields, served his time as a medic. It is also the home to the monument for the West Riding Division. Alongside our geographical link, we also saw the grave of 15-year-old soldier Valentine Strudwick, the same age as many of our group.
We also went into Poperinge and went to the Place of Execution. We went into the cells where soldiers who had broken the army’s rules were imprisoned. These included some soldiers who were to be executed for desertion, one of whom was from West Yorkshire.
We stood at the Place Of Execution and saw where the death sentences were carried out. It was thought provoking to consider that not all of the soldiers died because of the actions of their enemies.