B1 Trip to Ypres

Category: Community, General, Trips

A party of 26 B1 pupils, parents and staff spent two days in Ypres, led by former Head of History David Du Croz – Chairman of the World War One Committee – and John Carroll (HM, B1).

Fifteen graves of OMs from B1, B2 and B3 were visited in different sites. At each resting place or memorial, a cross was laid by a current pupil and the soldiers’ citations were read. On Saturday evening in Ypres, the group took part in the Last Post service at The Menin Gate, reading and laying a wreath. This was followed by a meal that replicated the dinner attended by 44 OMs on January 16th 1917.

Will Sandbach (B1 Sh) and Archie Del Mar (B1 Sh) penned their thoughts upon returning from what was a moving and memorable journey.

Click here for a gallery of images from the trip.

This trip, this experience, is something to remember for life. It just makes you realise how lucky you are.

Across the world people are picked on for so many things like skin colour, religion and their background in general. I know what you are thinking, this has nothing to do with WWI, but it just shows how we should be appreciative of where we are, and what we have, today.

All of those men, many married with young families, risked their lives for the sake of our country. Many did it for the glory, to be patriotic. Others had no choice.

When I went to Ypres, it almost felt deserted. The air and atmosphere was eerie and silent which in many ways reflects on the history of the place. When I saw the trenches and the bunkers my heart dropped. The ground was hard, wet and muddy and a place where I could never cope, but the soldiers did. It takes real courage and determination to sleep and fight in such horrible conditions and all of the men have my deepest respect for their efforts. The cemeteries and the Menin gate were really incredible, peaceful and beautiful: a view that will stay with me for life. It was emotional, but quite uplifting at the same time.

The man I was commemorating was called Stuart Duncan (B1 1878-82). He was a captain and died in action at the age of 49. This is only one person, one man out of thousands and thousands, but every single soul counts towards the survival of our values. Just think about it for a moment. If these people hadn’t contributed to the war, where would our country be right now? This was a truly memorable experience.

Will Sandbach (B1 Sh)


This trip was one I should remember for the rest of my Marlborough career, and probably for the rest of my life. The atmosphere was moving and just incredible.  

The main event, the dinner to remember the 44 who met 100 years ago, was absolutely memorable and delicious, although we were relatively tired, due to an extremely early start! Canapés, followed by bread and tomato soup. Then the most fabulous roast beef in the world, along with greens, gravy and chips. The pudding was scrumptious, a jelly-like cake with raspberries. 

Looking at was graves of the fallen, including B House boys, was very moving. There were a vast number of beautifully made stone graves where poppies were gracefully placed. 

Visiting the actual battlefields of Ypres was extraordinary. To see how close the front lines were to each other, fewer than 10 metres at some points, is just terrifying to consider. The size of the bombs that made the huge craters in the ground really made you think of the fear these soldiers must have been in.
I have to admit, one of the most amazing things I have ever done, and one that I will remember forever, was reading at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Standing up in front of a few hundred people with policemen at my side, while I try to convince everyone to remember these brave soldiers, was not only a nerve-racking, but an amazing experience.
Thanks to Mr Du Croz and Mr Carroll for this fantastic experience. To spend it with family and friends, on a very personal level, was great. Thank you for that and finally, of course:
"We will remember them."

Archie Del Mar (B1 Sh)

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