This week our former student James Moxom came to speak to our Diversity Group about his life after school as well as reflecting on his own time at school. He told us about how inclusive post-16 education could be. It was a great way to end the half term and James’ talk gave us an insight of all the possibilities ahead.
At the end of the day, we went down to Railway Hollow and spent some time thinking about the individual soldiers who died on the Somme.
We chose a gravestone and wrote messages on crosses with poppies on them to the soldiers who were buried below. It was a very emotional experience and was a fitting end to the Remembrance Day that marked 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.
At Thiepval we walked around the huge monument filled with the names of those who died but whose bodies are lost. We found many familiar names. Oliver also found the name of his Great Grandfather Private John Finneron which brought it home to us how closely linked we are to the soldiers of the First World War.
It is so difficult to explain what it is like to stand by the side of Lochnagar Crater and imagine what it would have been like that morning when the Battle of the Somme began 100 years ago.
In the two minute silence, we thought about the men digging tunnels deep underground to place the explosives under the German lines.
Then we thought of the explosion so huge that it created this enormous crater – a void in what is now tranquil farmland. In contrast with the silence around us, our minds tried to comprehend the horror of hundreds of bodies being ripped apart by force of this explosion.
We think back into history and remember how the carnage in the German lines acted as a warning to the rest of the German troops to ready themselves for the British attack. And still standing on the fields where a century apart thousands of soldiers went to their deaths, it is impossible to imagine the scale of violence and death that was to follow.
We have seen the names on the monuments and the rows upon rows of grave stones but what could it possibly have been like to be in the middle of this war.
Maybe this void in the ground hints at the void in the families lives who lost their men. Could it represent the unlived futures that ended here on the Somme.
11am 11 November.