St Albans pupils’ emotional journey to battlefields of WWI

Beaumont School year 13 student Natalie Dobson and year 11 student Christopher Richards travelled to

Beaumont School year 13 student Natalie Dobson and year 11 student Christopher Richards travelled to the Western front battlefields in Belgium and France as part of the IOE's battlefields tour programme - Credit: Archant

Two secondary school pupils have spoken eloquently of the impact of touring battlefields as part of First World War centenary commemorations.

Natalie Dobson, 18, and Chris Richards, 16, who attend Beaumont School, Oakwood Drive, were recently selected to participate in the government’s battlefields tour programme.

This is a £5.3 million project offering two pupils and a teacher from every state funded secondary school in England the chance to visit battlefields on the Western Front between 2014-19, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The weekend tour saw students from Beaumont and other local schools visit historic sites including battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and museums.

Chris, Year 11, and Natalie, Year 13, said that it had been “emotional” seeing rows of headstones marking those who had fallen in Belgium and France.


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Natalie explained: “We visited a few cemeteries – the first one had 12,000 soldiers buried there. It was overwhelming to see how many people had been buried during the First World War.

“There were pictures of soldiers who had been buried, and I found it a moving experience.”

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Chris added: “Seeing all the rows of headstones has really changed my view about war – I’m more of a pacifist now.”

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