St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School (Flintshire) – We will never forget
This project is part of the Welsh Government’s Remembering the First World War – £1000 grant for secondary schools in Wales scheme. Every secondary school in Wales has the opportunity to apply to receive up to £1,000 to develop creative and innovative projects to commemorate the First World War. For more information and guidance on how to apply, click here.
*All text has been provided by the school
A whole school Years 7 – 13 cross curricular learning event. Every department in school will be covering an aspect of the war as part of a cross curricular project. This will take place primarily from September 2014 to December 2014, although some events will continue after this.
The highlight will be a special evening of commemoration on November 11 2014 and a permanent display of artefacts and memorabilia.
This was a whole school cross curricular project. Every department in the school covered a variety of aspects of the First World War in relation to their subject area. There was a special Evening of Remembrance on 11 November 2014 for the local community including a permanent display of artefacts and memorabilia. A group of thirty staff and students made a visit to the battlefields of Belgium and France in September 2015.
Learners gained knowledge and understanding of the experiences of people from their local area during the First World War; they furthered their knowledge and understanding of the war from a cross curricular viewpoint, they built links within the community and commemorated the war in song, movement, drama, poetry and prayerful reflection (Welsh and English). The visit to the battlefields enabled students to evaluate further the course of the war and the role played by those from our local community.
Years 7 – 13. Approx. 950 students.
World War One Battlefields Tour (September 2015)
A group of students and staff had the privilege of visiting the Battlefields of World War One in Belgium and France.
In Belgium, staying in Ypres, we visited Ploegsteert to see where the famous Christmas Truce of 1914 took place, the Peace Tower at Messines, Spanbroekmolen Mine Crater, Hill 60, the Caterpillar Crater and a number of cemeteries and memorials to the fallen including Tyne Cot Cemetery near Passchendaele, the resting place of almost 12,000 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces. We also took part in the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, which takes place at 8:00 every night.
In France, staying in Albert, we visited many places associated with the Battle of the Somme including The Railway Hollow Battlefield, Serre, Beaumont Hamel, Lancashire Lane (The Sunken Lane), The Thiepval Memorial, The Ulster Tower, Ovillers, La Boiselle, The Lochnager Mine Crater and Mametz Wood where we saw the Welsh Dragon memorial to those who fell between 7 and 14 July 1916.
In preparation for the visit, students had been told the stories of three men from St Mary’s Parish in Flint who had lost their lives on the Somme. These were Lance Corporal Thomas Richardson who was killed on 18 November 1916 on the Ridan Ridge and buried at Serre Cemetery Number 1; Private Frank Brown who was killed on 8 July 1916 near La Boiselle and buried in Warloy – Baillon Cemetery and Private Patrick Costello, who was killed near Guillemont on 16 August 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.
Whilst on the Somme, we were privileged to visit the places where these brave men fought and died and after having a service at their graveside, laid wreaths. The inscription on the wreath card said:
In loving memory of…………’
In thanksgiving for your service and sacrifice, from the students, staff and community of St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint,
‘WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM’
This experience made the connection between the community of Flint and the First World War a vivid and real one. These were our own, who had given their lives for freedom.
The students and staff had an incredible experience over four days. We learnt about the past, how it affects the present, what lessons can be learned from it and were inspired by the stories of soldiers who sacrificed everything so that others may be free. When we visited the various places on the battlefields, we commemorated the lives of the fallen and promised never to forget what they did. We did so with reverence and in humility.
Headteacher Ron Keating stated: ‘The World War One Project has given us all the opportunity to reflect upon the War in a very special way. Those who were privileged to visit the battlefields have been able to make strong links between the community of Flint and the sacrifices that were made on the Somme, in particular. The whole project has been an inspiring and moving experience for our school’.
The students said:
‘It was extraordinary to see the places where all of these things happened’ Jack Parry, Year 10.
‘There was such an amazing atmosphere at the Menin Gate Ceremony. I’ve never experienced anything like it’ Holly Jones, Year 10.
‘To see the grave of the Devonshire Regiment near Mametz Wood was very moving. They are buried in the trench where they fell.’ Seren Speed, Year 10. (The inscription outside the trench says ‘The Devonshires held this trench. The Devonshires hold it still’).
‘I found visiting the cemeteries particularly moving. When you see the fatality figures on paper, you do not get a sense of the scale until you see the incredible number of graves stretching out before you’. Ed Carter, Year 12.
‘It has all been interesting and amazing. I cannot pick out a highlight’. Matthew Tulloch, Year 10.
‘After visiting the battlefields as they are today, it was fascinating and moving to see pictures in the ‘In Flanders Field Museum’ of how these same places looked during the war’. Amber Billingsley, Year 10.
‘I found the Menin Gate inspiring. Seeing all the names of those who have never been found and hearing the Last Post really showed how important it is that we remember the effect of war and that it must not happen again’. Helena Artus, Year 12.