Activities Day: Passendaele
One of the options organized for activities day on Friday 6th July was a Passendaele WW1 reenactment.
Originally, the activity was to be a re-run of the Battle of the Somme reenactment from last year but the change was made to accommodate the appalling weather conditions.
The day began with a workshop on trench warfare and a look at Mr Stevens’ WW1 artefacts. After break, the students signed up to the army and were given some basic training (indoors!) by Captain Howell. They then went on to do more advanced training – grenade throwing and how to bayonet charge.
The Trinity Rifles
After lunch, the recruits did various activities such as singing trench songs, code breaking and writing their last postcard home.
After a passing out parade, where some medals were handed out, the soldiers left for the front. They passed through a reserve trench before launching an assault where the Royal Irish Rifles had been wiped out earlier in the battle. The Trinity Rifles went ‘over the top’ at 2.20pm. They were held up by barbed wire, machine gun posts and the ground conditions. The battle concluded with the storming of a German bunker which was then blown up.
The extremely wet day ended with a short memorial service to remember the fallen of the Great War, in particular those who fell at Passendaele.
I died in hell, they called it Passendaele.
The Battle for Passendaele
The Battle for Passendaele began on 31st July 1917. It began well for the British but it soon began to rain and the battlefield became a swamp. The battle is famous because many of the soldiers who died, actually drowned in the mud. The weather and ground conditions were horrific. It is said that one man died for every square metre of the battlefield.