In Pictures: Students reflect on WW1 battlefields tour

19 May 2014 Last updated at 21:43

School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte reflect on taking part in a new initiative for secondary schools in England to visit battlefields to mark the World War One Centenary.
School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte visit a World War One cemetery in Belgium
To mark the centenary of World War One the government are offering schools in England the opportunity to visit battlefields in Belgium and France. School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte from St John Wall Catholic School in Birmingham were among the first students to be involved. Here are their reflections of the trip...
School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte amongst other students in Tyne Cot cemetery
On the trip there were 15 different schools, with two pupils and one teacher. The tours are for four days and you visit Belgium and France. They are going on for the next four years to mark the duration of the First World War.
Expanse of graves in First World War cemetery in Belgium
When we first went into a cemetery we were shocked to see how many graves there were and find out more about the number of soldiers who had been killed in WW1.
School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte with battlefields tour guide
Leading up to the trip we had been studying the history of WW1 so we knew a bit of background information before we actually got to Belgium. We did some research about a 19 year old soldier who had lived near our school. We spoke to a Battlefield Guide about how we might find his grave and the different places we visited.
The Menin Gate ceremony
On the trip we visited lots of different sites including Tyne Cot cemetery, Flanders Fields Museum and the Menin Gate ceremony, which happens every night and is a peaceful event in remembrance of soldiers who fought in the war.
School Reporters Brithany and Charlotte taking photo at Menin Gate ceremony
We took photos and videos during the trip so we could show them to other students back at school.
Serving soldier speaks to group of students in World War One cemetery
As well as the Battlefields Guides, on the trip there was also a serving soldier who told us about his experiences of being in the army. Having the serving soldier there actually made history feel more real as he explained what it was like to be in a war.
School Reporters Brithany observes a World War One statue at Lyssenthoek Cemetery
On the last day of the trip we visited Lyssenthoek Cemetery which was a casualty clearing station during the WW1 and now has the graves of soldiers from all over the world. This statue shows a soldier being carried over 'no-man's land' on the battlefield.
School Reporter Charlotte lays a cross on a World War One grave
Because we couldn't find the grave of the 19 year old soldier we had been researching, we put our poppy on another soldier’s grave. We chose this particular grave because it had a really personal message on it.
World War One graves
Being in Belgium was really touching and looking around we understood more about how it might have been to be a soldier instead of just reading about it in textbooks. Going there and seeing it with our own eyes made us understand history more.