A VISIT to the battlefields of Flanders is a moving experience for any visitor, but for Westbourne School pupil Andrew McKinna, a school trip to Ypres was also a personal pilgrimage and and chance to walk in the footsteps of his great grandfather.
Second Lieutenant Joseph Lockwood served in the trenches of WW1 and his family still have a photograph of him taken at Hellfire Corner, one of the deadliest junctions of the Ypres Salient at the height of the Great War.
With the expert help of a guide, 15-year-old Joseph and fellow pupils were able to trace the exact location where great grandfather Joseph was photographed.
The site is now a busy road, but a memorial stone has been erected and Andrew was able to lay a cross in memory of Second Lieutenant Lockwood, who went onto survive the war.
Other highlights of the two day educational expedition included visits to the Commonwealth Cemeteries of Essex Farm and Tyne Cot, as well as a stop off at the German cemetery of Langemarck.
The students also saw a production of RC Sherriff’s classic Great War drama Journey’s End, staged in the intimate setting of a converted gunpowder store on the outskirts of Ypres.
They also attended the daily Last Post ceremony at The Menin Gate and were honoured to be able to lay a wreath on behalf of the school during the service.