Today Colonel Esslemont led her troops, first battalion Bucksburn pals, to the front line in France. After a long, hard fought day, the Privates stopped for reflection.

Newfoundland Park

“Newfoundland Park was a very astonishing experience. Visiting the cemetery was very emotional yet it made a great experience. The sheer number of how many soldiers died is eye-opening. Visiting the Gordon Highlanders memorial made me feel very proud.”


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“I felt sad but very proud. Sad as the whole place made me think about the battle with the Newfoundland regiment’s story. Proud as the Gordon Highlanders captured the German trenches! It felt great. I liked seeing the statue of the Gordon Highlander.”


“I was shocked and horrified that 74,000 men simply were not found. A man was so selfless and brave that he jumped on a crate of grenades to prevent killing anyone.”


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“I don’t really know how I felt at Thiepval because the thought of me knowing I was walking over people who had died a horrible death made me feel strange. I also felt quite moved by the story of Billy.”


Dartmoor Cemetery 

“At the cemetery I felt speechless because it was very sad when we heard the stories of men and the courage some of them must have had. I found it very hard not to cry because the stories were very emotional and touching: Lt Henry Webber, the oldest man to die in the war; Pvt James Miller – awarded the Victoria Cross; George and Robert Lee – father and son who died on the same day and were buried together.”


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“The cemetery showed the special individuals and the strength and courage they had during the war and the stories about when they died. It was overwhelming, especially the story about James Miller and what he did in those 7 seconds. It took his life but he saved many other lives, it was inspirational. The pain that Mrs Lee felt when George and Robert Lee, her husband and son who died in the same war was horrible.”

Lochnagar Crater

“At the Lochnagar crater I thought it was impressive and I was very fascinated at the effect the shell had on the land and how big a crater it created.”


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“It honestly was amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was. To think that no one was killed in that explosion is mind blowing, as I can only imagine what it was like when it happened.”

Vimy Ridge

“It was breathtaking when we drove up to Vimy Ridge and we were greeted by a huge white monument which was blinding to look at. You felt how proud the Canadians must be of their soldiers.”


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“I found the monument fascinating, it had 10,000 Canadian soldiers names on the wall. Being guarded by the Mother and Father of Canada. We got a look over the plains at where they got all the coal and iron. The monument was two big towers with stones round them.”

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