STAFF and students at Horndean Technology College have commemorated Armistice with a ‘Last Post’ ceremony.
Nearly 1,400 students joined 220 staff at the remembrance service which also included readings, poetry and a minute’s silence.
The moving rendition of the of the Last Post was played by brothers Martin, 14, and Simon Lloyd, 11.
‘I was extremely proud to be asked to play. I feel it is an honour to help to remember those who died. It is important not to forget their sacrifice,’ explained Simon.
‘It is so special to be asked to play at this commemoration. I have really practised to make sure it was perfect as I want to feel I have done them proud,’ added Martin.
Many of the staff came dressed in period costume including field nurses, staff sergeant and general Edwardian attire. With a significant number of students from service families many pupils also came in their army and sea cadet uniforms.
During the ceremony, head boy, Ryan Gaudion, 16, also read In Flanders Fields – a poem written from the front line.
‘I felt emotional when reading the poem but also quite nervous. It really gets you thinking about what life in the trenches must have been like,’ explained Ryan.
The ceremony was the culmination of a week of remembrance and formed part of a dedicated First World War curriculum day in which all subjects had a theme linked to the conflict.
Organiser and head of history, Suzy Gudgeon, said: ‘In addition to poems used in English lessons, students have been learning in science about medicines used during the war, how the conflict affected world geography and the influence of war on technological developments. In drama, students are acting out scenes from the trenches and in PE pupils are taking part in a range of training exercises used with soldiers during the war.’
In the week leading up to the ceremony, students worked with an actor in re-enacting scenes from trench life, sample the food soldiers would have ate and created a range of war inspired artwork. Each student produced ‘Thank You’ cards to commemorate people who served during the war and also worked alongside the local elderly community to produce more than 400 poppies.
‘For the ‘Thank You’ cards, students had to research someone involved in the war. Many of the children discovered ancestors who had fought in the conflict – particularly naval personnel who fought and died at sea in the Battle of Jutland,’ explained Ms Gudgeon.
After a year of planning, headteacher Julie Summerfield felt the events were a fitting tribute to those involved in the conflict.
‘We have spoken to the students about the fact many of those who died had lied about their age and were the same age as some of the older pupils we have here. While none of us can ever fully understand, it is important we educate children as best we can as to what it was like. All those involved in the war effort should never be forgotten,’ she said.