D-Day veteran visits Lee-on-the-Solent school to share stories ahead of VE 75 celebrations

STORIES of war were shared between veterans and schoolchildren as part of the lead up to the VE 75 celebrations.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 9:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 12:19 pm

A group of visitors, who had either served in the Second World War or lived through it, made a trip to Lee-on-the-Solent Infant and Junior schools to share their experiences of rations, evacuations and air raid shelters.

Children listened to stories about what it was like growing up in Lee-on-the-Solent during the war years, to inspire some poetry and artwork they will be working on.

D-Day veteran Ron Cross MBE was one of the honoured guests, and at age 100 he had plenty of stories to share, as well as letting pupils see the medals he had earned.

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Veterans from the area shared their stories of their time in the forces to children at Lee-on-the-Solent Junior and Infant School ahead of VE 75, on Monday, February 10. Pictured is: Ron Cross MBE with his son Martyn Cross. Picture: Sarah Standing (100220-7228)

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Ron spoke about being in Germany on VE day, when they heard the news war was over.

'We were in action two days before and all of sudden the war finished and we were very, very pleased,' he said.

'No one else was going to get killed and everyone was very happy.'

Julie Roche, headteacher of the infant school, said the experience was a wonderful opportunity to let children connect with their community.

She said: 'We all feel we want war to never happen again, the key thing about it is it's living history still and it won't be for much longer.

‘To give children the opportunity to speak to people who were actually there is priceless.'

Friends Jill Harris and Brenda Gilbert returned to their old school, which they attended from 1947, as well as John Green who was a pupil from 1939.

Lee-on-the-Solent is set to hold a spectacular celebration for VE 75 which will be the biggest event in living history for the town, featuring a musical picnic, military vehicle display, commemorative church service and more from May 8 to 10.

Lucy Faulkner, acting deputy headteacher for the juniors, said: 'We're the only school in Lee and were proud of our community and we really want to celebrate with our community.

'One of our values is around mutual respect so it's about us looking at our wider community and sharing all our experiences with them.'