Yr 10 Somme Centre Visit
Our trip started with a fifty-minute bus ride to the centre itself. Once we arrived, we had our break and took in the atmosphere in the Centre’s lecture hall complete with original artefacts and weaponry from over one hundred years ago.
Our tour guide began with a brief history of the three main Irish divisions that fought during the Great War, the 36th Ulster, 16th and 10th Irish Divisions where regimental caps, badges and soil from key battle sites were displayed.
Shortly afterwards we arrived in the recreated village of Moneymore. Here we were told of the causes of the war including the increasing militarism throughout Europe and the spark which ignited the conflict: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by the Serbian Gavrilo Princep. Our guide then informed us of the combustible situation in Ireland at this time with civil war threating; Home Rule looked imminent. We were also told how this was subdued because of events on the international stage.
We then had the opportunity to ‘sign up’ in a Recruitment Office. I volunteered and was given a military uniform to wear, which was surprisingly heavy! I thought that they would be made from a lighter material as soldiers would have to carry a great deal of weight and their clothing would become saturated with mud and water.
After crossing the English Channel, we arrived at a barracks used for soldiers to rest before making the ‘big push.’ We were shown several different types of shells and mortars that were used during the war and told how they operated. Finally, we moved forward into the front line trenches were we witnessed all different types of dugouts and their purposes in the darkened atmosphere and deafening sounds of shell and gun fire.
By Moira Snoddy 10P