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Seun, Mr Samuel and Sirdas Aba beginning a project of 600,00 0 sculptures

In May history teacher Mr Samuel took Year 9′s Sirdas Aba and Oluwaseun Ajayi to France in the first weekend of a five-year plan by the government to send 12,000 British pupils to French and Belgian battlefields to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

They left on Friday afternoon and returned on Monday, having spent the weekend with a group of other schoolchildren from East London and Essex. While there they visited Langemark and spoke to a German soldier, asking how his concept of remembrance compares with the British concept. The pupils and Mr Samuel also created a sculpture of a man huddled on his knees as part of a project to create 600,000 to represent each of the soldiers who died in Belgium during the First World War.

Seun and Siras planting a memorial cross by the grave of Islington soldier HS Robinson

Mr Samuel noted that seeing the amount of gravestones and the destruction caused helped convey the devastation and loss caused by the conflict.

Finally, while in Tyne Cot the students found the grave of HS Robinson, a soldier from the Islington area, and planted a commemorative cross next to his tombstone from Central Foundation Boys’ School.

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