On Sunday, I joined Reverend Philip Plyming at Holy Trinity Church in Claygate for Remembrance Sunday. This year, I feel it has been particularly poignant – perhaps it’s the fact we’re remembering the end of the Great War 100 years after the day on which it began.
The local comemorations have been very powerful too. At Claygate, before a moving service, we laid wreaths at the war memorial in the company of some of the relatives of the (from recollection) 44 Claygate residents who gave their lives in World War 1, and a similar number in World War 2. The names of the fallen were read out and remembered one by one. It was very touching, and a fabulous local turnout from the village.
Then, yesterday, I joined Mark Beach (headteacher), Graham West (Chair of Governors), Jan Fuller (Deputy Mayor) at Parkside School in Stoke D’Abernon. They put on a football match with one side in current match kit and the others wearing that of the school’s 1905 team – all of whom served in World War 1.
From that team, two won Victoria Crosses, four Military Crosses, and the rest all lost their lives. It is a truly remarkable historic record, both tragic and inspiring. The names of all the boys from the 1905 team were stitched onto the shirts of the boys playing yesterday. Again, some of their relatives were present. It was a really wonderful occasion, and a fitting tribute to an amazing group of young men who served their country with such bravery and distinction.