A Morpeth school has held a special service of remembrance to commemorate scores of former students and staff killed in conflict.
Yesterday (Monday 12 November), The King Edward VI School, which is part of The Three Rivers Learning Trust, conducted a ceremony to mark the centenary of the end of World War I in which 59 former students and one teacher lost their lives. An additional two former schoolmasters succumbed to their wounds in the years following the end of the conflict, and the fate of at least one former teacher is not known after he went missing in action in 1918.
Many of the individuals, who lost their lives in Belgium, France, Poland, Italy, and at sea, have no known graves and their average age was just 24.
Headteacher Clare Savage explained: “As it is now 100 years since the guns fell silent in Flanders, our last veteran of the conflict has now passed away. However, we feel it’s vital our current students feel a personal connection to these events, and others, which ultimately led to them being able to live and thrive in freedom and in peace.”
Among the school’s roll of honour are four sets of brothers, and one set of cousins, some of whom died just days apart in different battles.
And as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I, the school also lost 58 alumni and two members of staff in World War II, and a further former student in the Korean War of 1953. All of these individuals were remembered by the laying of wreaths during the service, which was attended by Three Rivers Learning Trust Trustees, members of the school Edwardians Association, Foundation Governors and the Mayor of Morpeth, Councillor Jack Gebhard.
Ms Savage continued: “These 123 individuals and their families represent only a tiny portion of all the men, women and children affected by war, past and present. As a school community, we wanted to come together in gratitude for them, their service, and their sacrifice.”