November marked the centenary year of Armistice Day, the day in which we saw World War One come to an end. To mark this monumental occasion, Mad Dog Sport, along with support from Legacy 110, the 1st World War commemorative project, took a group of young people to Belgium and France on a three day trip that saw them explore some of the most historically important battlefields and cemeteries of Europe.
Mad Dog Rugby at Melksham Oak Community School was granted three places on the trip and took their Captain, Aaron, Vice-Captain, Michael and Head Coach Tom Bowen-Hall.
Day one saw the group depart England for Calais, before travelling to the Lijssenthoek Cemetery in Poperinge, Belgium, where the boys learned about John Edward Raphael, an England rugby player who sadly lost his life in the Great War. Followed by a move onto the Memorial Museum at Passchendaele where they experienced trench life and warfare.
Day two was an incredibly powerful and moving day. It started by visiting the Somme in France, with the first stop being Newfoundland Memorial Park. The park still bares the mortar marks and trenches dug into the hillside and provides a humbling picture of what the war must have been like for those on the front line. The group was incredibly lucky to be serenaded by a Sottish marching band that were paying their respects to the Scottish regiments who laid down their lives at Newfoundland Park. They moved onto Caterpillar Valley cemetery and Thiepval Memorial before heading to the Menin Gate to witness the Ceremony of the Last Post, an incredibly humbling act of remembrance.
The final day took the players to Tyne Cot cemetery, the resting place of almost 12,000 servicemen of the British Empire during World War One. A number of Mad Dog students from across our three academies managed to find family there, as well as finding one of ‘Mad Dog’ founder, Lewis Moody’s, great relatives.
The trip was a great experience for the younger generation to appreciate why we remember and the sacrifice that those young men made 100 years ago.
Mad Dog Sport are currently recruiting for next year’s intake of Mad Dog students. If you would like any information about the programme and how it runs alongside 6th Form at Melksham Oak Community School then please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] Applications for the 6th form need to be received by Friday 18th January.
Mad Dog Sport aim to Inspire, Encourage and Improve young people and are proud to be working with Melksham Oak Community School.