Eastbrook Students are amongst the first to visit the battlefields

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Eastbrook Students are amongst the first to visit the battlefields
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Glenn  Anderson
by Glenn Anderson from Dagenham GBR on 04 Jun 2014
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Text: Simon Charlton
Two students from Eastbrook School were amongst the first cohort to visit the battlefield of Northern France and Belgium recently. The tour was part of a Government funded initiative which should lead to 12000 children and teachers taking part to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1.
Over a period of 4 days, Liam Brown and Jordan Mott researched and walked in the footsteps of combatants of WW1, some of whom originated in the Dagenham area.
Students were asked to research the story of a soldier named Fredrick Edward Swingler who lived on Dagenham Heathway and then were given the opportunity to visit and pay their respects.
They spent four days learning about the many thousands of young soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the Great War with members of the Guild of Battlefield Tours and the armed forces.
The tour took the students to the cemeteries of Tyne Cot and Lijssenthoek, to the nightly "Last Post Ceremony" underneath the great Menin Gate in Ypres and the huge memorial to the Battle of the Somme at Thiepval in France.
The purpose of the trip was to gain a perspective of the hardship and struggles faced by the ordinary soldiers. The stories of particular soldiers were told to give highlight the human cost of the Great War.
Jordan, interviewed by Sky News, said:
‘The number of men whose sacrifice is commemorated is truly staggering.’
Eastbrook History Teacher Chris Wall commented:
‘Eastbrook School has a long association with the Town of Ypres and our students have visited the area many times. We were pleased to be chosen to be amongst the first cohort to visit as part of the 100th Anniversary.’
Later next month Eastbrook students will be revisiting Ypres to follow in the footsteps of local Hero Cecil Gay who lived at Eastbrook End Farmhouse. Cecil survived the Somme and won the Military Cross fighting in the third battle of Passchendaele.
 

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