Students Remember the Fallen for Remembrance Day
13th November, 2017 by Jude Owens
Students at The Kings of Wessex Academy remembered the fallen when they attended the Remembrance Day services at St Andrew’s Church last week.
Current Subject Leader for History Mrs Shorrock introduced her predecessor Mr Adrian Targett who has been leading the services for over 30 years who explained it was “our solemn and holy duty” to remember those who gave their lives. A great historian himself, Mr Targett explained this year marks the centenary anniversary of the third battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917, more often known as Passchendaele, when the Allies sought to capture and control the high ground of this village on top of a hill with a view to winning the war.
With quotations from soldiers’ letters and war poetry, Mr Targett painted a picture of unthinkable suffering, as many met their death by drowning in the mud as the drainage and ditches were destroyed, as well as from “the constant shelling”. Mr Targett shared the shocking facts of the 250,000 who died that day and the catastrophic fact of war that the number of Allies and Germans deaths were identical. Head Girl and Boy Flo Rice and Archit Singhal and Deputy Head Boy Jack Wagstaff movingly read some of the names of those soldiers who gave their lives.
Mr Targett reflected that war is terrible and futile and how the Queen’s Grandfather remarked on visiting Passchendaele on the “silent witnesses to the desolation of war.” Mr Targett reminded students how important it is to cherish and honour each life and to love one another and always to seek to prevent war as he quoted the precious words from the lovely hymn, “I Vow To Thee, My Country”:
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
Year 12 students Alice Cotton and Maisie Lewis sang “Is my Team Ploughing” – based on a poem by A. E. Housman, published as number XXVII in his 1896 collection “A Shropshire Lad”. Utterly beautiful and moving, the song is a conversation between a dead man and his still living friend. Staff and students then sang the comforting hymn, “Abide with Me,” with true feeling before the one minute silence was observed as time for the congregation to reflect and The Last Post rang out shrilly as a moment of truth.
Rev. Stuart Burns lit the Easter candle as the burning flame symbolised hope and faith in God in that death is not the end and led the prayers and blessings. Rev. Burns spoke of sadness and gratitude for the lives lost and hoped for forgiveness and an end to wars around the world in our lifetime so that peace may reign.
Executive Headteacher Mr Ball thanked Rev. Burns, Mr Targett and Mrs Shorrock and all the students involved for leading such powerful and thought-provoking services.