How a Donegal teacher inspired a unique battlefield journey

first_imgOne hundred years ago they would have been thrown together as enemies across a battlefield, but, in June 2017, two groups of teenagers came together in Flanders under very different circumstances. And the idea for the unique project was that of a Donegal schoolteacher.The journey they made there from their homes in Ireland and in Germany was made in memory of another generation of young people – the ones who never came home. Fifteen Irish and fifteen German students made the unique trip to Flanders to honour soldiers, not much older than themselves, who died in Belgium in World War 1.Brought together by the “My Adopted Soldier” project to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines, the students each brought with them the story of a young man who died in Flanders Fields.Together, they walked in the footsteps of those soldiers through trenches and craters and ultimately to their graves or memorials.The students from Frankfurt shared stories of young German men conscripted to fight in the war while Irish students like Joshua Perreton from Glenties in Donegal highlighted the fate of soldiers like Bernard McGeehan who was “shot at dawn” for desertion. For some of the students the journey had a very personal connection. Ciara Hamilton from Sligo was there to honour her great-granduncle Robert Boyd.Shane Macken, a student at St. Kevin’s College, Ballygall in Dublin researched the story of young John Sherman from inner city Dublin who left his job at Jacob’s Biscuit factory to fight in World War 1.All of the research carried out by the students will be available on to anyone interested in learning the human stories behind the statistics of war.The My Adopted Soldier project is the brainchild of Gerry Moore, history teacher at St. Columba’s Comprehensive School in Glenties.This was the second trip organised by Gerry, in 2016 he brought 32 students, one from every county in Ireland to the Somme. Involving students from Germany gave this trip a different dynamic as they explored together the journey Europe has made from war to peace. The story of this journey into a shared history will be told in a special Nationwide programme this Friday, November 10th at 7pm on Nationwide by RTE’s North West Correspondent Eileen Magnier and cameraman Brian McVeigh. How a Donegal teacher inspired a unique battlefield journey was last modified: November 9th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalGlentiesMy Adopted SoldierNationwideRTElast_img

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