Commemoration on the Battlefields

Senior School Historians travelled to the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium, marking the Centenary of the First World War and commemorating relatives and Old Waconians who lost their lives in service of their country.


The group of Year 9, 10 and 11 students visited some of the major landmarks and memorials which honour the soldiers of the Great War and took time to recite readings and special messages as part of their commemoration.


In the Somme, students called on Sheffield Memorial Park and the memorial to the Accrington Pals, the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge and Pozieres cemetery, where the group paid their respects to Year 9’s Tom Bradbury’s great-great uncle, Gilbert Bulling and read moving extracts from his letters home.


At Ypres, students sought out some important graves and memorials.  At the Essex Farm cemetery, where John McCrae wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’, Max Cahill gave a reading of the famous verse at the grave of one of the youngest soldiers to die in the war, 15 year-old Private Valentine Joe Strudwick.


At Tyne Cot cemetery, Jonty Cridland read the inscription from the Cheadle Hulme School memorial sundial and a wreath was laid in memory of Old Waconian, Private Alf Chorlton who died in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.  Anna Sharrock was also able to visit the grave of a relative, George Counsell, who died aged 20 near the end of the Battle of the Somme.


Finally, students witnessed the stirring Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate, where Year 10’s Elizabeth Wright tracked down the memorial to one of her relatives.