Year 9 student Edward Thompson has visited the Somme battlefields, after being invited to lay a wreath at the annual service at the Lochnagar Crater by the site's owner Richard Dunning MBE. The service focuses on themes of peace and reconciliation.
It is the third time Edward has visited the crater, which was caused by mines blown by the British under the German lines as the opening act of the Battle of the Somme. The mines were blown at 7:28am on the 1 July 1916, and the act is remembered at the same time every 1 July, in a service that starts with trench whistles being blown around the crater, which is 30 metres deep and 100 metres wide. Edward has previously had the honour of being allowed inside the crater bowl, which - as a war grave - is closed to the public.
After laying a wreath for the Grimsby Chums, who signed up together and died together at the Somme, Edward visited the British Cemetery at Hailly Station, the site of a major field hospital. The cemetery contains over 3000 bodies, including those of German soldiers.
Edward also visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's newly opened visitor centre at Beaurains, to see new gravestones being carved and the sword from a Cross of Remembrance being repaired, and visited a vast underground V2 rocket base from the Second World War.
Edward has chosen to study history at GCSE.