History students remember the past
The History Department and A-level History students have participated in the Royal British Legion’s campaign to plant a poppy in the centenary Flanders Field in Ypres, Belgium.
It was in Ypres where three battles were fought and poisoned gas was used for the first time. Ypres became synonymous with the destruction, trench warfare and stalemate that characterised much of the First World War and the city was completely destroyed by fighting.
The Bicester School poppy will be planted alongside thousands of others in the 2016 Flanders Field, in the same earth where poppies flowered 100 years ago, and beside the Menin Gate. This was also where the original Flanders poppies grew, inspiring one of the most famous war poems ever written, ‘In Flanders Field’ by John McCrae.
The Menin Gate is the only place in the world where the fallen of the First World War are remembered every day throughout the year. Each night at 8pm the traffic is stopped while members of the local fire brigade sound the Last Post under the memorial’s arches.
The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing marks the route that tens of thousands of men would have taken as they moved to the front line. The walls of the memorial are inscribed with the names of 54,000 men who fell and whose graves are not known.
The History staff and students have chosen the following inscription to be included with their poppy: ‘The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them’.