Belgian battlefields visit leaves lasting impression on Heathfield students

This is The West Country: Jack Cochrane finds his great grandfather's grave at Tyne Cot. Jack Cochrane finds his great grandfather's grave at Tyne Cot.

JACK Cochrane visited his great grandfather’s First World War grave in Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres, during Heathfield School’s Belgium battlefields trip.

The students met Johan Vandervalle, an expert on retrieving the remains of bodies from the battlefield, and Paul Foster, an author of many books on the First World War.

The team of 31 Year 10 students and five teachers visited the Menin Gate, where they studied the names of dead soldiers and heard the Last Post ceremony.

They also saw a trench at Sanctuary Wood, toured Polygon Wood Cemetery and spent time at memorials including Tyne Cot, the largest in the world.

Student Charlotte Newman said: “Surrounded by so much sadness, which the earth- shattering destructiveness of the First World War is seeped in, it is something you can never properly comprehend from figures in a book.

“I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to go to Ypres.

“It’s a life-changing experience and I’ll never forget all that I experienced there.”

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