Visit to France and Belgium Battlefields

Our visit was from September 25 until September 28.

Before we went we investigated the names of men from Boldon who died in the First World War.

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Our starting point was the memorial in St Nicholas church Boldon.

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The names on the memorial.

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In the church in Boldon Colliery called St Nicholas there is a memorial to those who died in World War One and Two. The part that remembers World War One there are 130 names. These men all died fighting in the War.

In the First World War, 989 men went to fight in the War. This is just under half of the male population of Boldon at the time.

Sadly not every soldier who died in World War One has a grave many soldiers bodies were never identified or recovered from the battlefields.

 

Whilst in Belgium we took part in the ceremony at the Menin gate.

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In Ypres in Belgium at 8 pm every evening, at the Menin Gate those men without graves are remembered. There are 54000 names on the walls of the gate. While there we took part in the ceremony. We left a tribute from Boldon School.

On the walls of the Menin Gate is the name of my Great great, great uncle. I wrote a message and left a tribute to him. This made me sad thinking of the life he never had but also proud of his service to our country.

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Whilst we were at Lijssenthoek we researched a soldier from Boldon called J.G Wilkinson

who was buried there.

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He lived in the Cooperative buildings who died on October 27 1917.

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At Theipval Memorial 72000 men are remembered. These are the missing from the Battle of the Somme. On the first day 70000 British soldiers were killed or injured. 9 men from Boldon died on that day, they had signed up together and died together.

Whilst there we were able to use the record books to find the location of the men’s names.

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Tyne Cot like all British War cemeteries has English garden flowers to remind the visitors of home. It has 12000 graves with another 35000 names on the walls. The cemetary is very large. It is very moving being there. It brings home just how many men died during the war.

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Men from Boldon are membered here. Men such as T W Hartley from Donkin Street and Thomas Wall from John Street. Thomas was a footballer at Manchester United but never played for them as he died in the war.

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On our return we visited Hedworth Lane Junior School. There we did an assembly about our visit to France and Belgium, telling the pupils about our experience and the men who had travelled to France and Belgium so long ago.

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Below is the last slide from our power point from the assembly. Each poppy cross represents one man who gave his life in the First World War.

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