News

Sunderland school children place tributes in third annual Somme trip

16 May 2012

A group of schoolchildren have placed tributes at memorials on the Somme, on behalf of relatives back home in the north east of England.

The students attend Springwell Dene School in Sunderland, which caters for children who find it difficult to cope in the mainstream school environment.

For the past three years the school has organised a trip to the battlefields and memorials of the Somme. This year - after a campaign in the local press to find interested relatives - the pupils placed a cross in memory of seven men from their area who were killed in battle.

Five of the men have no known grave, and so are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. One is buried at Hermies Hill British Cemetery,  and another at Pozieres British Cemetery.

The families of the seven men have been invited to a presentation at the school, at which they will receive photographs of the memorials and certificates downloaded from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

The assistant head at Springwell Dene, Alan Douglas, said the trips meant a lot to the students - many of whom had not been outside the UK before. They were particularly affected by the large number of men from the Sunderland area who had been killed - and how young they were.