Acknowledging personal sacrifice on the Battlefields History trip Posted - 16/10/2017

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Siegfried Sassoon's poem “The General” depicts two unfortunate soldiers, soon to be lost amongst the carnage of the Great War, slogging up to Arras “with rifle and pack”. Pupils in the Third Form at Reed’s made the same journey but, far from being a slog, they were lucky enough to be chauffeured there in style and treated to crisp autumnal sunshine as opposed to the deep snow which encumbered the soldiers who launched their attack there in April 100 years ago.

Our two-day whistle-stop tour of the Great War battlefields is always a fascinating event for our boys, but perhaps it was more emotional this year than ever before: not only were we able to pick out the name of the youngest Old Reedonian (a mere 16-years-and-10-months old) known to have served and died in the Great War, but we were also able to finish the tour with a commemorative service at the grave of Hugh Broughton. Broughton died in 1918 and has only recently been identified as an Old Reedonian. Therefore, it is entirely possible that the wreath pupil, Laurence Ernest, laid at his grave could be the first acknowledgement of his personal sacrifice in the past 99 years.

Adam Waller, Head of History

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