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Annual Trip To Ypres On Armistice Day For Swale Schools

On Friday 11th November Jos, James and Jaydan represented Fulston Manor School at the Armistice commemorations in Ypres, Belgium.  

On Friday 11th November Jos, James and Jaydan represented Fulston Manor School at the Armistice commemorations in Ypres, Belgium.  They took part in a poppy parade through the town with representatives from other Swale Schools and the Mayor of Swale.  They carried paper poppies through the Menin Gate, the memorial to those who died in World War One in the Ypres Salient and whose bodies were never found.  The Commemorative Ceremony was attended by dignitaries from around the world and everyone listened to prayers and poems together with music which was played from various military bands. Wreaths were laid and the ceremony ended with thousands of paper poppies being dropped from the top of the Memorial – there was 1 poppy for every person who died in World War One. The Last Post was played which is always a moving experience.

The students then visited St George’s church in Ypres – which was built for the soldiers who remained in Ypres in the months after the war to bury their fallen comrades.  They were given a very interesting talk on the importance of Ypres during World War One.  Afterwards there was time for careful reflection on the importance of remembrance.

The group then visited Tyne Cot cemetery, which is the biggest cemetery for the British war dead in the world.  Students were able to explore and look at the graves and panels, 60% of which have no name.

It was a long, emotional but ultimately very rewarding day – students feeling privileged that they are able to enjoy their freedom due to the sacrifices of so many. Jos summed up the day by saying “The parade was a great experience, the music was absolutely amazing especially the bag pipes.  The bagpipes really made me think of remembrance.  The poppy petals gracefully floating down from the Menin Gate was a special moment’’.