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Dartford Youth Council visits the graves of First World War soldiers

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Members of the Dartford Youth Council learned about the horrors of the First World War when they visited France to pay respects to the fallen.

Having visited several graveyards, the group began to understand the reality of the countless deaths from all nations and were shocked by the thousands of soldiers who had been their ages or even younger.

The youngsters saw the graveyards in the Somme, which are a constant reminder to France of the battles that took place on their farmlands. The landscape is still affected by the artillery and bombs that killed millions of men and blasted the villages and towns to pieces.

Members of the Dartford Youth Council visited war graves in France. Picture: Jason Taing
Members of the Dartford Youth Council visited war graves in France. Picture: Jason Taing

They also learned about one of the biggest craters created by an underground mine which blew 90ft deep, 450ft wide causing the dirt to fly 4,000ft into the air which could be seen from miles away in all directions.

There are still thousands of remains from the weaponry used 100 years ago; as the landscape is dug in various areas of the Somme, more and more remains are discovered.

The teenagers also learned about the 60,000 casualties Britain suffered on the first day of the Somme, of which 20,000 died.

Faith Abiola, vice-chairman of Dartford Youth Council, said: “The weekend was an eye-opening experience that widened my understanding of what truly happened.

“It brought to light the millions of soldiers who died not only for their countries, but to secure their own families’ futures.”

Dartford Youth Council is a non-political body of young people elected from the schools and voluntary youth groups in the borough of Dartford.

They are supported by Dartford council and KCC Youth and Community Services.

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