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Armistice 100: Flypast signals start of All Saints Catholic School remembrance service

PUBLISHED: 15:42 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 09 November 2018

Becontree and Chadwell Heath Royal British Legion members. Pic: JON KING

Becontree and Chadwell Heath Royal British Legion members. Pic: JON KING

Archant

A computer science teacher staged a flypast to signal the start of a school’s remembrance service.

Part of the school's memorial where a wreath was laid. Pic: JON KINGPart of the school's memorial where a wreath was laid. Pic: JON KING

The T67 ex-military training aircraft piloted by the staff member swept over students and veterans gathered at All Saints Catholic School, Dagenham, on Friday.

Second World War veteran, John King, said: “The service felt very emotional. It was really touching.”

About 200 pupils lined the perimeter of the Terling Road school’s quad with more watching from their classrooms as First World War poet John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields was read.

The Ode of Remembrance followed before pupils Lily Clements and Michael Fatas played The Last Post on trumpet and bugle.

Daniel Hughes. Pic: JON KINGDaniel Hughes. Pic: JON KING

Youngsters stood shoulder to shoulder bowing their heads with members of the Becontree and Chadwell Heath Royal British Legion during a two minute silence.

Teacher Stephen Bonnar then read in prayer: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

“May the sould of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

A wreath of red paper poppies with the words Lest we forget in the middle was laid at the foot of a makeshift memorial.

Sixth form student, Daniel Hughes, said after the service: “Paying respect to the fallen soldiers that died for our freedom is of the utmost importance.”

The 17-year-old police cadet added: “To have been part of today’s ceremony means a lot to me.”

Mr King, who turned 94 on Remembrance Sunday, survived the sinking of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Janus struck by a German torpedo bomb on January 23, 1944, off the Italian coast.

A member of the gun crew, he watched from the water as the ship’s stern sank below the waves. Seamen from the flotilla’s lead ship later pulled him from the sea.

“I lost 160 shipmates that day. You never forget them. I’m showing my respects to them today.

“It’s important for the children to remember. And it’s nice to know that this history is being brought up in school and that the younger generation is learning about the wars,” Mr King said.

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