New Zealand and French students read poetry as a way of paying respect to the New Zealand soldiers who died in the Somme. Poems were read in Maori, French and the English language. We then laid a wreath and the New Zealand students sang a song in Maori. It was a great way to end the day and it was good to do this together. The students now understand very well that we both share a history for the First Wirld War.
This afternoon we went on a literary tour of the Somme battlefield. We visited the village of Frise, saw where German and French soldiers had trenches and discovered stories about the war written by the author Blaise Cendrars.
Students from Chauny, France and students from Auckland, New Zealand in a group photo at Vauclair Abby.
This Abby was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1134 by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. It managed to survive until the French Revolution in 1789, when it was finally demolished and sold as "national property". Its geographical location very near to the Chemin des Dames led to what was left of its buildings being almost totally destroyed in 1917 by direct artillery bombardment during the First World...
The village of Craonne is on the Californie plateau which was the site of bloody fighting on 16 April 1917 during Nivelle's failed 1917 Offensives. It was these disastrous offensives that pushed the French Army over the edge and led to the 1917 Mutiny. The village was immortalised in the song called La Chanson de Craonne (English: The Song of Craonne). This song was sung by the 68 divisions of French soldiers (out of 110 French Army divisions) who mutinied. The song was prohibited in France...
Today the French students and the New Zealand students went on a day trip to the Chemin des Dames. They visited the underground museum called the 'Dragon's Cave' and walked to places on the battlefield. They learnt about the war and the 1917 Mutiny of French soldiers.
Lucy and Rosie stand with the posters they created for the exhibition. Their topic was the Wanganui Detention Barracks where objectors were brutally punished. Today we hung the exhibition in Chauny, France.