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Meaver Road
Helston
Mullion
Helston
Cornwall
TR12 7EB

Headteacher: Mr Wayne Randle
Tel. 01326 240098
enquiries@mullionschool.org.uk

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Tel. 01326 240098

Events at Mullion School

Mullion Pupils Remember World War One

Pupils from Mullion School have returned from a journey to the battlefields and cemeteries of World War One, where they saw first hand the sites and landscape of historic battles from the 1914-18 War. The forty-four Year 9 and 10 pupils spent two days around Ypres in Belgium and The Somme in France.

In a tight itinerary which began with wellies for paddling through the trenches that remain at Sanctuary Wood in Belgium, the group took in the Hill 62 Canadian monument and Tyne Cot cemetery where they paid a personal tribute to a relative of one of the Year 9 students, Billy Jane, whose great-great Grandfather, William Legg, is commemorated on the wall. A beautiful harmony composed and arranged by Year 10 GCSE Music pupils Laura Williams and Abbey Mitten, set to the words of the poem “For the Fallen”, and known by the Royal British legion as “We Will Remember”, had been practised by a small ensemble, and this was sung as the rest of the group fell silent in memory. The haunting, echoing voices created a wonderful sound and many other visitors to the cemetery were drawn to listen.  The video below was taken as the choir sang and the group paid their respects.

A visit to the dressing station where Dr. John McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” allowed pupils to see the emergency medical facilities, built into the side of a canal bank; McCrae wrote his poem after his friend’s death, when he observed how quickly poppies grew at new graves. In the spirit of commemoration, it was fitting to visit a German cemetery at Langemark, where mass graves of unknown German soldiers are remembered with dark plaques, which contrasted with the crisp white British headstones and the bright French crosses of Allied graves.

The day in Belgium ended at the Menin Gate, observing The Last Post ceremony, where the traffic stops and the Fire Brigade play the well-known commemoration. Pupils laid a wreath to relatives of Jake Welling and Bradley Hunt, soldiers Patrick Clark and Francis Skuse, as their ancestors fell in battle nearby, and Bradley made a heartfelt statement about the legacy and freedoms young people have because of the sacrifice made by these men.

The second day took the pupils to the Somme area of France, where in 1916 British forces experienced their worst losses, 60,000 casualties, in one day. The huge Lutyens-designed Thiepval monument remembers thousands of British men whose were missing in action and were never identified. John Gilbert, a Year 9 pupil was able to lay a wreath to the memory of his relative James Maunder and the ensemble sang again to remember him.

The pupils expressed awe and shock at the size of the Lochnagar crater, which formed when the largest explosion in the war detonated two minutes before the attack on German lines on July 1st 1916. The afternoon saw the sites and commemorations of Canadian men whose sacrifice is forever remembered by the French, with the bronze caribou, the emblem of the Newfoundland regiment placed at Beaumont-Hamel and the huge structure at Vimy Ridge, where the Canadians dug chalk tunnels to attack uphill against German lines in 1917.

The trip brought pupils much nearer to the war; it was a sobering experience which brings home the importance of history, and the necessity to remember the bravery of men in the past who fought for freedoms we enjoy today.

The film below has been produced  following the visit to the World War One Battlefields in March this year.