Notre Dame Students Joseph Doyle and Jazmine Bourke, along with 70 other students from the Leeds area, travelled to Belgium and France to commemorate the World War 1 centenary last weekend. The trip was organised by The Centenary Battlefield Tours and forms part of the Government’s commemoration of the start of the war’s centenary. The students experienced a four day tour of the battlefields in Belgium and France as well as several related activities.
Joseph was able to lay a commemorative cross at the foot of a panel marking the sacrifice of Private Stirk, a soldier from Meanwood, at Tyne Cot Cemetery, where more than 45,000 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or remembered. “It’s quite strange to think that somebody who certainly lived most of his life in Meanwood, and probably never left Meanwood before he signed up for the conflict, has wound up at this memorial,” Joseph said.
English teacher Christine Cox, who accompanied the students on the trip, added, “I don’t think I will be able to walk past there, nor will the students, without thinking that man probably played cricket on that field or walked down there. I think for us, Sam Stirk has come alive.”
The students will now have the opportunity to utilise the experience in their studies, by completing an Extended Project Qualification based on the centenary of World War 1.