We will remember them…

Today in school we held a very special Remembrance Service to honour all those who have given their lives in armed conflict, with a particular focus on the end of The Great War, 1914-18, the ending of which the country is remembering this weekend.

I found the whole service incredibly powerful and moving and I make absolutely no apologies for that. We heard beautiful music performed by the orchestra at the beginning and end of the service as well as a lovely choral piece sung by the girls’ choir (“Wherever you are” by Paul Mealor), which was originally performed by the Military Wives Choir, one of whose daughters sung in our choir today.

We were also presented with some very powerful interpretations of 2 very famous war poems. First Year 7 dramatically re-enacted “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke. This was read beautifully by Jersey and evoked the powerful feelings of missing home that must have been experienced by all soldiers in battle:
“If I should die, think only this of me: that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”

Year 9 then re-enacted Wilfred Owen’s poem about the horrific realities of the trenches, “Exposure”. This had been committed to memory by Kirsty who delivered it powerfully, accompanied by tableaux from her peers depicting the repetitious futility of trench warfare.

We also listened attentively to Dr Ley reading extracts from her Great-grandfather’s diary which told, in brutal detail, his personal experiences of being at the Battle of Passchendaele, where he was shot and watched his colleagues die around him.

For me, as every year, the most powerful part of the service was the Last Post and the 2 minutes of silence where we were all able to consider the incredible sacrifices made by others so many years ago which allow us to live in freedom today.

As this year was a special year, commemorating the Armistice at the end of The Great War, each pupil then filed silently out of the theatre and, flanked by the staff members, was invited to add a poppy to a display that is on the doors of the Library. They were then invited to continue out through the front door to a very powerful installation created by Miss Timms and Ms Southam, with a wooden silhouette of a soldier and many ceramic poppies made by Ms Southam.

I would like to thank all of the staff and all of the pupils for the respect they showed today on what was a very solemn, dignified and moving occasion.

Some pupils will also be representing the school at the Battle’s Over event at Pollyfields in Bideford on Sunday night, so thank you to Raife, Felicity, Daisy, James, Ryan and Katie.

We will remember them…

Pete Last