Our oldest Juniors found out first-hand what life was like for World War 1 soldiers on a day trip to a replica war trench.

The 10-11 year-old classmates travelled to Hawthorne Trenches to learn how thousands of allied troops survived in the long, narrow ditches dug into the ground on the front line of battles between 1914-1918.

Inside British ‘Hawthorne Trench’, set on a remote working farm near Canterbury, the Gad’s cohort was shocked how cramped and muddy the living conditions were.

Student Elijah said:  “The trench was much darker and deeper than I thought it would be and it was interesting to see the contrast between the privates and officers’ quarters.”

Built to represent an accurate reproduction of trenches used in Battle of the Somme, the construction features an officers’ dugout with two beds and a working wood stove.

Elijah continued:  “We tried on genuine uniforms and handled authentic equipment and weapons.  It was so realistic and we were able to imagine what it was like to be in the infantry, trying to stay safe from machine-gun fire and artillery attack from the air.”

Alongside Hawthrone Trench is a German trench, separated by just 25 metres of No man’s land and surrounded by barbed wire and shell holes.

The year group returned to school armed with practical experience to reinforce what they have been learning about in humanities and English lessons.  Last term, the class book was ‘War Horse’ by children’s novelist Michael Morpurgo and the students kept diary entries from the perspective of a WW1 soldier.

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