Our annual Armistice Day ceremony has always been very important at Mounts Bay Academy and today every student and staff member, joined by war veterans Jack Tarr and Mack Holding, and Steve Francis, Secretary of the Ludgvan Royal British Legion, halted their normal daily activity to remember those who lost their lives and gave their service.
Year 11 History students who visited the WW1 battlefields and war graves at Ypres earlier in the semester shared their experiences before the two minutes silence. These were very individual, emotional and poignant.
Deputy Head Girl, Hannah James said, “Visiting Ypres and especially the huge cemeteries like Tyne Cot, has completely changed my perception of Remembrance Day. It used to be that it was something you would do because you were told to, and that you didn’t quite understand what you were remembering. Yet now I am aware of why we remember – to remember the vast amount of people that lost their lives. Visiting Ypres made the fatalities during the two World Wars so real, and now during that two minutes silence, I really have something to remember.”
Year 11 student, Horace Halling, once again bravely stepped up to play the Last Post during our two minute silence, no mean feat on such an emotionally charged day. He then played the Reveille to end our ceremony.
Our Parachute Regiment veterans were also treated to a moving performance from our HPI Choir, fresh from winning an award at the Camborne Music Festival.
The following was written by Thomas Stephens, Year 11, after visiting Ypres. He read it during the remembrance ceremony
“Going on the Ypres trip really put into perspective the sheer scale of the slaughter that was the First World War and makes the act of remembrance we are conducting today so much more poignant. Whilst out in Belgium and France we visited many cemeteries, where we saw the sight of gravestone after gravestone after gravestone.
Not just the graves of men but boys too. At Essex Farm, which was a dressing station during the war and is also where John Mcrae wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’, we saw the grave of the youngest British soldier to die in World War One: Joe Strudwick who was killed on 14th January 1916 at the age of 15 years old.
While visiting the museums in the Ypres and Somme area we were able to walk through preserved trenches and stare out into a beautiful rolling green field that 100 years ago would’ve been a sea of mud, barbed wire and the bodies of fallen comrades. We were also able to walk in a matter of minutes the distance that would’ve taken allied troops months and months with the loss of thousands of casualties.
To actually have visited the battlefields, makes the poppy we all wear at this moment all the more significant and adds a huge sense of respect and gratitude to pledge, that we will remember them.”