WW1 ‘first’ for town students

Mildenhall College Academy Memorial
Mildenhall College Academy Memorial

Staff at a college in Mildenhall have installed a historic First World War collaborative memorial which is thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.

At the end of last month a team of staff from Mildenhall College Academy travelled over to Mesen, near Ypres in Belgium, to put up a memorial commemorating the 1914 Christmas truce.

Sculpted by Valerie Leverett, the monument is the culmination of an 18 month project between students and staff at Mildenhall College Academy and the Gymnasium Theodorianum School in Paderborn, Germany.

Plans to create the memorial, which has been designed by students from both teaching centres, came about following discussions between the two centres after a trip to the battlefields of Flanders, and subsequent exchange visits.

“We have come a long way since our first trip to the no-man’s land spot where each side came together to share the Christmas of 1914,” said Richard Kerridge, humanities faculty leader at Mildenhall College Academy.

“We wanted to use the past as a way of bringing young people of different nationalities to honour the conflict.

“This one of a kind project has given our combined pupils a fantastic opportunity to partake in an international collaboration and make a historic contribution to the First World War 100 year anniversary.”

The memorial, which has received funding from the German Monuments and Cemeteries Commission and the Mildenhall Rotary Club, will be officially unveiled on December 6.