2014 Association Battlefield Trips to Ypres
- Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th May 2014
2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, described by HG Wells as “the war to end all wars”. To mark this very special anniversary The St Catherine’s Association organised a trip to the battlefields of Ypres. Thirty nine Association members (comprising of current and former parents, governors, staff, alumnae and friends) left school at 7.30am on Saturday 3rd May and travelled to the Ypres Salient in Belgium.
Despite few people knowing each other prior to setting off there was a friendly and comradely atmosphere all weekend with lots of laughter despite the sombre subject of our visit.
The tour as always was led by our wonderful professional tour guide Andy Thompson who is an encyclopaedia of information having lead parties to the battlefields for twenty five years. Andy shared his specialist knowledge of the area and the Great War and brought the subject to life with stories of particular soldiers whose graves we saw.
Over the two days many sites were visited including Essex Farm Cemetery, Sanctuary Wood, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Langemarck German Cemetery, the Pool of Peace and on the Saturday evening the group attended the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, a very moving experience.
A wreath was laid on behalf of the St Catherine’s Association during the Last Post Ceremony. The wreath bearers were Gemma and Ed Simmonds, Prep. School parents, Sue Shipway & Mike Jordan, Current Govenors.
The coach was comfortable and the family run hotel and all the meals were excellent.
The weekend was thought provoking, informative, enjoyable and will live in everyone’s memory for a long time. Many have expressed their wish to do a follow up tour next year … watch this space.