Students Honour WW1

Students from Uppingham Community College on a First World War Centenary Battlefields Tour honoured a Rutland soldier at his grave on the Western Front.

Louis Peterson and Alex Howes, both aged 13, were selected to represent the school and travelled to the battlefields of the Ypres Salient in Belgium and The Somme in France.

Louis, a year 9 student from Rolleston, said: “I chose to go on the battlefields trip because I thought it would be good to realise what these men did for us over 100 years ago.”

Louis and Alex were given the name of Robert William Dyke from Wymondham and researched where the soldier was buried. They found William, who died on the Western Front on October 10 1917 aged 19, in the Tyne Cot Memorial Cemetery and placed a memorial cross at his grave.  

The battlefield tours are a key part of the Government's commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. At least two students and one teacher from every state funded secondary school in England are to visit battlefields on the Western Front between 2014 and 2019.

The UCC students also attended the Ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate, where Louis was selected to lay a wreath.

UCC teacher Paul Rhodes, who accompanied the students on the tour, said: “It was humbling and moving. To fully understand what happened during this time it has to be experienced rather than explained. There is no doubt that all of us, staff and students, learned so much.”

Alex, a year 9 student from Gretton, said: “It was an amazing experience seeing and commemorating all those that fought in the Great War.” She added: “I think that everyone should have the chance to pay their respect.”