This morning we visited the Loos Memorial. Set against the flat landscape of the Western Front, we got a real feel for the importance of gaining any high ground. There are
1800 graves at Loos Memorial- 1100 are dedicated to unknown soldiers.
One of those buried here is the Honourable Fergus Bowes Lyon- uncle to the Queen.
We heard the story of Sergeant Piper Laidlaw. The allies had used chlorine gas, but the wind changed direction and the gas started to affect the Scottish troops. As morale plummeted, Piper Laidlaw was instructed to 'pipe them, pipe them!' Laidlaw left the security of the trench and amidst a hail of bullets, shrapnel and grenades played 'Blue Bonnet'. The troops rallied and went over the top to attack and took the first line of German trenches. Eventually, wounded, Laidlaw piped on until he could go on no more. He was awarded the VC and thereafter was known as The Piper .
Rudyard Kipling's son John, was desperate to join up, but, aged only 17 and with poor eyesight, he could not enlist. His father pulled some strings and John joined up.
At the Battle of Loos, John led some troops over the top, in the rain, and was killed at the age of 18. His body was lost.
Daria and Melissa chose the grave of Anketell Moutray Read VC for our final act of memorial. The girls have said that the names on graves has highlighted to them the fact that every casualty of war is somebody's son, father, husband and brother.
Daria placed a cross at the grave and Mete read the poem 'We will remember them.' We had a minutes silence, listening to bird song and considering some of the things we have seen and heard about this week. There then followed a very special moment for us, when we sang, quietly, the song 'Greater Love' that we wrote about the sacrifices of war as part of our school's response the centenary of World War One. This was a moving moment, and the whole group was affected.