Mildenhall students’ memorial to truce will sit alongside battlefields of World War One

Mildenhall College Academy students have worked with a school in Germany to create a memorial to the WW! C
Mildenhall College Academy students have worked with a school in Germany to create a memorial to the WW! C
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A memorial to the Christmas day truce that saw soldiers lay down arms on the battlefields of World War One has been designed by Students.

Working alongside Gymnasium Theodorianum school, in Germany, Mildenhall College Academy students have designed a 7ft granite memorial.

Peace Memorial Project - Mildenhall College Academy

Peace Memorial Project - Mildenhall College Academy

It will be placed at the Peace Village of Mesen, in Belgium.

Year 11 student Bonnie Thompson said: “It feels good to have been a part of it. Knowing a memorial will be there and we put it there and it will be there for years.

“It’s good to know we can go there in the future and show people and know we have been a part of it.”

The project began on the battlefields of Ypres where, with the assistance of the organisation UK-German Connection, students from the two schools met.

The students spent a day visiting battlefields and cemeteries.

They located the spot where the opposing armies came together at Christmas 1914 before visiting the Polegsteert Memorial where the pupils sang Silent Night.

Students from Mildenhall College Academy said the trip had been an eye-opening experience. Demonstrating the realities of trench warfare and the numbers who lost their lives on the battlefields.

After the trip the two schools formed Anglo-German groups to brain-storm ideas for a memorial. Their finished design is an amalgamation of what they created.

It depicts a broken needle, representing a life cut short, upon a plinth.

Next to it is a football in remembrance of the cease-fire and the enduring image of soldiers playing the game in no-man’s land.

Year 11 student Oscar Polanski said: “We did not want to spread the idea that war was good we wanted to make the truce the bigger thing. That’s why we used the football. It’s what everybody remembers.”

On the plinth is a wreath designed by the pupils. It is made up of poppies and oak leaves, the respective images used in England and Germany to symbolise remembrance.

The plinth also bears inscriptions in both English and German.

Thanks to financial assistance from the German Monuments and Cemeteries Commission and Mildenhall Rotary Club the schools have been able to employ stone mason, Valerie Leverett, to sculpt their design.

Year 9 student Emma Tapp said: “It feels good to know we are being a part of building something that will last for years we are a part of history it’s something to tell grand children. It’s the only memorial for the Christmas truce.”

The project has been led by assistant principal, Sacha Cinnamond and leader of humanities Richard Kerridge.

The teachers said they were proud that the students had created what will be the only memorial to the Christmas truce and the only memorial created through collaboration between an English and German school.

Students will return to Belgium in December to unveil their memorial - in time for Christmas and the 100th anniversary of the ceasefire.