Battle of the Somme
On Friday 1st July, 95 years to the day since the battle took place, Trinity School ran a Battle of the Somme event as part of its activities day.
The day began with a talk on World War One and trench warfare by Mr Stevens followed by an exhibition of his collection of WW1 relics and artefacts. There was a competition to identify a relic and all students won a relic – their own piece of WW1 to take with them.
After break, the students signed up into the army and were issued equipment. This included a rifle, tin hat and a gas hood (mask). They then underwent basic training. During this time the 'Bosch' shelled them with gas and the raw recruits had to don their gas hoods.
After basic training, the recruits went on to advanced training. Captain Howell ran a workshop on the art of the bayonet. Second Lieutenant Penhale ran a workshop on barbed wire laying and cutting and Second Lieutenant Stevens ran a workshop on making Jam Tin grenades. There was then a break for lunch.
In the afternoon, there was a passing out parade where the recruits who had excelled in the morning were awarded medals. The trained soldiers then marched over to the front line where they took over an abandoned French trench that had been left in a terrible state. The soldiers initially had to consolidate the trench. They rebuilt the parapet with sand bags and put up new barbed wire defences.
Once the trench was safe, the soldiers sang WW1 songs, wrote a postcard home, made some trench signs and finally de-coded a message. The message said that zero hour was at 14.50hrs and that the bunker had to be destroyed.
At 14.50 the bombardment began. The soldiers fixed bayonets and as the bombardment ceased, a skylark could be heard singing above the trench. On Captain Howells command, the soldiers went over the top in three waves.
The barbed wire was un-cut, so under a smoke screen, the wire was cut and the advance began. After taking a minenwarfen (mortar) position, the soldiers bravely advanced knocking out three machine gun positions. Then the bunker (pill box) was assaulted. It was captured successfully and everyone retired to safety. Second Lieutenant Stevens fixed the charges and then after a countdown blew up the bunker in spectacular style. The objective had been taken and held (bite and hold).
The day ended with a short memorial service to remember the fallen of the Great War and finished with a minute's silence after the last post was played.
Battle of the Somme Photos DVD
A DVD of photos from the day is available to buy for £1.50. All proceeds will go the the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2011. See Mr Stevens to buy a disk.
Support from the DT Department
For the 'Battle of the Somme' activity day 2011, the DT Department were once again involved in making several of the items used.
Each student was issued a gas hood that were all made in the department using specialist Textiles and Resistant Materials equipment (a big thank you to Mrs Caines who sewed all the hoods). New additions to the day were the Bayonet Practice Posts, that allowed the students to practise the art of the bayonet, and the grenade catapult. Mr Howell and Mr Stevens were often seen round the school testing these items for safety before the big day! The biggest item made was the bunker which formed the focus of the battle in the afternoon.
A big thanks to all the Year 9 and Year 12 students who helped set up the day and were involved in painting many items. A good all round team effort.
All these items were carefully stored away after the day ready to be used again in the future.