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Friday, November 9, 2012
Although the pupils are buffered by generations from the horrors of Flanders Field they all wore their poppies as one.
All carefree childish chatter had been left outside Norwich Cathedral at noon today as a fitting air of solemnity hung over the nave.
Save for the muffled sound of a cathedral bell, there was perfect silence as the 102 names of the Norwich School pupils killed in the two world wars were slowly read out.
First the roll from the first world war unfalteringly read by Angus Darrah and then the pupils lost in the second world war presented by fellow deputy head Gabriel Wren.
The devastating impact on families was poignantly brought home by the repetition of surnames - Derek and Hugh Seagrim, Fredrick, John and William Fitch.
Reflecting the continuing sacrifices made members of our armed forces, Norwich School’s Remembrance Day service was addressed by Ed Parker, who served as a captain in the Royal Green Jackets and co-founded the charity, Walking with Wounded, which funds the re-training of injured servicemen.
He said: “Since the end of the first world war there has been one year when a British serviceman has not been killed on active duty, 1968.
“We do ask our young men and women to do a lot for us - and they do it willingly and with great courage.
“It is on this day every year we quite rightly remember those young men and young women.”
Capt Parker said while it might seem remote to the pupils, their parents and grandparents would doubtless have been touched by people who lost their lives.
They were people asked to serve in foreign lands fighting an enemy threatening our security.
Whether it was in the hills of Korea, the streets of Belfast, the deserts of Iraq or the green zone in Afghanistan, they made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
He highlighted the heroism of the Norfolk Regiment’s Corporal Sidney Bates who, in Sourdeval, France, on August 6, 1944, charged towards the enemy to protect his comrades and kept firing his light machine gun despite being wounded three times. He was later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Capt Parker transported the pupils back to that time through the verses of the poignant poem In Flanders Field.
Head of school Rebecca Cadman read the lesson from St John’s Gospel and a moving highlight of the service was The Last Post perfectly played on trumpet by Rebecca Lawrence.