We held three Remembrance assemblies today for pupils in Years 1 to 11. Glyn Sherman – Royal British Legion representative – was in attendance at all three

 

  1. Song: We’ll Meet Again (Vera Lynn) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTN0v-qGZrw

  1. Intro: ‘The Unknown Soldier’ – John Taylor (HM)

At the west end of the Nave of Westminster Abbey is the grave of the Unknown Warrior, whose body was brought from France to be buried in London on 11th November 1920. The grave, which contains soil from France, is covered by a slab of black Belgian marble from a quarry near Namur. On it is the following inscription:

BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY
OF A BRITISH WARRIORUNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK
BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG
THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND
AND BURIED HERE ON ARMISTICE DAY
11 NOV: 1920, IN THE PRESENCE OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V

HIS MINISTERS OF STATE
THE CHIEFS OF HIS FORCES

AND A VAST CONCOURSE OF THE NATION
THUS ARE COMMEMORATED THE MANY
MULTITUDES WHO DURING THE GREAT
WAR OF 1914-1918 GAVE THE MOST THAT
MAN CAN GIVE LIFE ITSELF
FOR GOD
FOR KING AND COUNTRY
FOR LOVED ONES HOME AND EMPIRE
FOR THE SACRED CAUSE OF JUSTICE AND
THE FREEDOM OF THE WORLD
THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE
HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD
HIS HOUSE

  1. Brief: ‘Remembrance Day’                                   – Ella Shannon-Smith

‘Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.’

These words are spoken at war memorials across the United Kingdom and around the world on 11 November every year. This encapsulates how we commemorate our war dead. The poem, Lest We Forget, looks at how we remember not only those who died in battle, but also those whose memory is important to us in other ways.

The history of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance, is a symbol of respect for the war dead and is now almost one hundred years old. However, the use of the poppy can be traced back to the Napoleonic wars of the early nineteenth century, rather than the First World War. It noted that the origin of the poppy as a symbol, was derived from the devastation of the War, following battle. Poppies became abundant on battlefields where soldiers had fallen.

It was not until after the First World War that the poppy became the international symbol of remembrance and charity. Annual poppy day began on November 11th 1921, marking the third anniversary of Armistice day. The very first official poppy appeal of 1921 raised £106,000.

Today, The Royal British Legion aims to make £25 million annually from the sale of poppies. The poppy appeal raises money for ex- service men and women who have been affected by war. The poppy has become an international symbol of remembrance for those who have given their lives defending their respective countries. We celebrate: by holding a two- minute silence for those gone and our war veterans. There are UK wide remembrance parades, and in London, it is led by our Head of state, the Queen. We will not forget the sacrifices made for our freedom and to celebrate this I ask that you wear your poppy with pride.

  1. Poem: ‘In Flanders Fields’ (John McCrae) – Jake Dumbleton

John McCrae’s poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, may be the most famous one of the Great War. The day before he wrote it, one of John’s closest friends was killed and buried in a grave decorated with only a simple wooden cross.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

 

  1. Two Minutes Silence

Last Post & Reveille – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2weDBlOTgmo

 

  1. Poem ‘For the Fallen’ (Laurence Binyon) – Noah Johnson

 

‘For the Fallen’ was written by Laurence Binyon in September 1914 after the battle of Mons – a campaign in which Britain sustained heavy losses.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

  1. Prayer  – John Taylor (HM)

God, it’s difficult to see the point of wearing a poppy,
or what difference two minutes’ silence will make.
But we can recognise a broken life being valued,
a gift being given, and taking two minutes to reflect on how much we have.
We look to the future, not to the past.
We cannot change what has been
but do not need to repeat its mistakes.
So as old and young come together before you,
take the very best of our lives;
bind us into one people of faith
and help us to share our common values
and care for each other;
to build dreams,
and, with your help
turn them into reality.
Amen.

  1. Brief: Vera Lynn and ‘We’ll Meet Again’  – Lilly Tailby

Dame Vera Lynn, who died this year at the age of 103, was Britain’s wartime Forces’ Sweetheart, and remained one of the country’s most potent symbols of resilience and hope.

With songs such as We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover, she inspired both troops abroad and civilians at home during World War Two.

She discovered her talent for singing at an early age and was performing in local clubs when she was seven.

Her broadcasting debut came in 1935, singing with the Joe Loss Orchestra, which led to regular radio appearances and widened her circle of fans.

But in 1939, war intervened as Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Germany. She volunteered for war work but was told the best thing she could do was to keep on being an entertainer.

In the same year, 1939, she first sang We’ll Meet Again, the song that more than any other came to be associated with World War Two. Its underlying message of hope – that scattered families would eventually be reunited after the conflict – struck a chord with troops abroad and their relatives at home.

Lynn spent the war years entertaining the troops, performing in hospitals and army camps, and travelling as far as India and Burma, staying in tents and grass huts.

Vera Lynn’s success continued well into peacetime and, in 1952, she became the first British artist to have a number one hit in America.

In 2009, at the age of 92, Lynn became the oldest living artist to top the British album chart, outselling both the Arctic Monkeys and the Beatles.

In 1976, Vera Lynn was made a dame and in 2000 she was named as the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th Century.

In a televised address in April this year, the Queen evoked Dame Vera’s wartime message, assuring families and friends who were separated during the coronavirus pandemic: “We will meet again.”

Then in May, We’ll Meet Again was used during the finale of the BBC’s coverage of the VE Day anniversary. That led to an album that was released for her 100th birthday.

After a lifetime of service to her country, Dame Vera was still held as the embodiment of the best of the British spirit.

  1. Song: We’ll Meet Again (Vera Lynn) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTN0v-qGZrw