Students from around the world will today visit the former battlefields of the Western Front to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Amiens (8-11 August 1918), as part of the UCL’s First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme.
The International Student Programme, which has been developed by UCL Institute of Education (IOE), as part of the national commemorations of the First World War, will tell the story of the Battle of Amiens which was one of the key elements of the Hundred Days campaign and the path to the Armistice, which signalled the end of the war in November 1918.
Students from many of the nations which fought at Amiens - Australia, Canada, England, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the USA - will work together during the four-day tour to study the nature of fighting on the Western Front, before looking closely at the events of August 1918 and how they would lead to the armistice.
"The students will share what they have learnt about how their country was involved in the battle as well as reflecting on the significance of the battles of 1918 and the road to peace" said Simon Bendry, the UCL Programme Director.
Fran Shah, a history teacher from Stowe School, who is taking students on the trip said: "We’re delighted students from our school have the opportunity to visit the battlefields and bring their classroom learning to life. The visit to the sites will give students a chance to reflect and question what happened during the First World War and particularly the Battle of Amiens in 1918. It also gives students a focus for their classroom activities and something they can continue to talk about to their peers and families when they return.
"This trip is unique because it has been designed to help students use their research and investigative skills, as well as giving them to chance to meet students from all over the world, to consider how the Battle of Amiens helped bring about the end of the war."
Led by UCL educators and researchers and supported by experienced guides from the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, the tour will focus on developing the depth of knowledge and understanding for students, using enquiry based investigations to take the students’ way beyond simply visiting these locations of historical interest. These approaches are a core part of the award-winning Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme which has been running since 2014.
This tour will be made up of a number of key elements including a pre-tour research project for the students, based on ’telling their story’ of this period of the war. This research will then be used to create an exhibition which will go on display at the newly-opened Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneaux from 8th August until mid-September 2018. This exhibition will be launched at a formal reception at Chateau de Flixecourt at which the students will unveil their exhibition and also be able to talk to guests about their research.
Local and international VIPs have been invited including Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the UK Government’s representative for the First World War Centenary and Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Dr Murrison said: "The battlefield tour programme has exposed thousands of young people to the iconic sites of the Great War. It continues to provide a high quality learning experience for students and educators geared at improving understanding of the tumultuous events unfolding a hundred years ago and promoting reflection on their consequences."
In addition to undertaking a tour of many of the battlefield sites and memorials associated with the Battle of Amiens, the students will be attending and contributing to the international commemoration events in Amiens Cathedral on the afternoon of 8th August 2018.
On the final day of the tour, the group will visit the Glade of the Armistice at Compiegne where activities will encourage the students to consider the impact that Amiens had and the peace that eventually followed. A formal act of remembrance and reconciliation will also be held here.
Credit: William Rider-Rider . Canada. Department of National Defence. Library and Archives Canada, PA-002971 / Source: Flickr