Mrs Humphriss' welcome
Welcome to our Remembrance Event today at Stratford Primary School. A particular welcome to The Mayor of Stratford Councillor Bicknell, LCpl Jack Thompson from 37 Signal Regiment who is representing those who once served in the drill hall at the end of Broad Street and local residents.
This year as you will know is 100 years since the end of WW1 and all across the country there are events commemorating and remembering the sacrifice made by so many. During the summer holidays I received an email informing me that I had been successful in an application to receive 10 silhouettes from the There but not There project. This project has been set up to commemorate those who died in the First World War through installations of silhouettes wherever there is a Roll of Honour. The silhouettes represent a person who is named on a war memorial. It is also to educate all generations, particularly today’s younger generation, born nearly 100 years after the outbreak of WW1 so they understand what led to the deaths of 888,246 British and Commonwealth service personnel and also to raise money for those who have been injured in conflicts today. One stipulation of the awarding of the silhouettes was to hold an event that brought the community together in remembering the sacrifice made.
In all my schools I have always held a remembrance event in some form and taken children to Remembrance Sunday services. This year we wanted to do something really special and we hope today to share with you the excellent work the children have been doing over the course of this week which has culminated in the performance today and our poppy trail. One of our biggest projects this year has been to research our old school registers and find the boys who once attended our school and are now listed on the war memorial in Stratford. To date we have identified 27 children who came to our school in the late 19th century whose names are now on the WW1 memorial. This is still an ongoing project and we hope one day to have our own memorial to them in the school. Today Year 6 children will read those names during the final part of our remembrance event. When you walk through our school later take a moment to pause at a photograph in our front office of children from 1899 at this school. Some of them could very well be the men we will name today.
Some people will ask why Remembrance is so important. I tell the children that it is because of the sacrifice made by so many that we have freedom of speech today and are able to continue to educate everyone in creating a society where conflicts are few and far between. Everyone at some point in their family history will find someone who has been affected by war. My husband served for 25 years in The Royal Corp of Signals serving in Northern Ireland, Cold War Germany, The Balkans and across the world. My sister served in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, my Gt Uncle served in the RAF regiment in North Africa during The Second World War and two of my Gt Grandfathers served. One in The Northumberland Fusiliers and was injured at The Battle of The Somme in World War 1 and the other as an engineer on the first planes for The Royal Flying Corps. We should not forget that whilst war is not something to celebrate having hope for a peaceful world is. After World War 1 poppies began to grow on the muddy battlefields giving everyone hope that out of darkness comes light. We wear a poppy today as a symbol of hope and remembrance. After World War 1 the country did not stop in rebuilding their lives and supporting each other. Life went on with births, weddings, dances and new generations singing, dancing and togetherness. Yet we still remember. I think for those of us who know Baldrick from Blackadder goes Forth his war poems are very poignant.
Hear the words I sing
War’s a horrid thing
But still I sing, sing, sing
Please enjoy the children’s performance today and thank you again for coming.