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Voyage Pays de Galles / Trip to Wales

Firing Line, Cardiff

Publié le jeudi 10 mai 2018 13:06 - Mis à jour le jeudi 10 mai 2018 13:06

On March, Monday 20th, during our trip to Wales, we went to the Firing line, a museum about Welsh soldiers. Located in the Castle of Cardiff, this museum enabled us to learn more about soldiers’ lives at the front (weapons, equipments), historical events and Welsh soldiers’ point of view during wars.

It was very exciting to find out what war clothes looked like and to observe the differences between the Welsh soldiers and the French soldiers. This museum is a World-Class exhibition commemorating over 300 years of history. There is a mix of historical information, exhibitions, a program of living history events and hands-on activities to really put themselves in the shoes of those who risked their lives for their country.

First of all, we were put right in the atmosphere by a striking entrance: the corridor leading to the museum was a breathtaking realistic reproduction of a trench! We were speechless ... We had the impression of being at the time of the First World War, frightened to be buried by the next bombing. The dark lights and the colors plunged us directly into the scene. The visit of this museum was impressive. Many wars were illustrated. There were statues, reconstitutions, uniforms, medals, rifles, letters and testimonies… We understood that living there with mud, rats, lice, cold must have been really hard and being able to send and receive letters from their families is what made soldiers hold on at the front line. Some signs were telling the story of braves soldiers, war heroes. We saw a rag of cloth that was used by a soldier as paper to write his last word to his brother if he died on the battle, which was utterly moving.

Secondly, we also learnt about the soldier's weapons during conflicts. For example, poison gas was one of many weapons developed to try to break the stalemate of the trenches. It added so much to horror or warfare that it was banned at the end of the war. The Timmy Helmet was famous to resist shrapnel travelling at up to 750 feet a second. There was also a place where we were allowed to put on some old army clothes and act as if we were soldiers, we took some photos of course.

In addition, we learnt that the Dragoon Guards (regiment of the British army) always fed and watered their horses before looking after themselves. Shared daily routines help to build comradeship. The soldier's day, though exhausting, usually left some time for rest, recreation and hobbies. Boredom, cold, mud, rain and squalor could be mitigated by humour and fellowship.

The Firing Line was really interesting thanks to its authenticity. We felt as if we really were in a soldier's shoes. The historical reenactment of trenches was really realistic, and we enjoyed it. We could try on soldier's equipments, and it was really impressive! It was an unforgettable experience for us, and we learned a lot about global conflicts, as well as the feelings, living conditions and emotions of the fighting community. We had the impression of going backward in time. We often speak about wars in our lessons but it was the first time we could imagine ourselves in soldiers' real conditions with weapons and clothes. The Museum in Cardiff has a quite unusual and utterly educational conception.

  • sortie musées