News story from The Blue Coat School

Armistice Day marked by the Blue Coat School

From our youngest in Nursery to a former pupil speaking at The Cenotaph, this year's Armistice Day was marked by all members of the Blue Coat School community, young and old. We honoured those who gave their lives for their country.

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12th November 2021 — From Nursery up to Year 6, all the children have reflected this week on Remembrance Day. Our youngest Pre-Prep children learnt about why there is also a purple poppy to remember animals that have been victims of war. Animals like horses, dogs and pigeons were often drafted into the war effort, and those that wear the purple poppy feel their service should be seen as equal to that of human service. In particular, many horses were killed or injured in World War One.

Higher up the school, the children of Class 4LJ led a very poignant and moving service of Remembrance. They thought about what the word ‘remembrance’ actually means, and why Armistice Day is such an important event in our calendar. ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae was recited by the children with such understanding and expression, as was part of Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen.’ The children also heard that even though it would have been incredibly difficult and frightening being at war, there are many stories from the battlefields of hope and peace, where God was clearly with the soldiers, giving them strength, protection and hope.

Upper School donned their 'Best Blue' and travelled to the parish church of St. Bartholomew's, Edgbaston, for a service led by Chaplain and Revd Dr Nick Tucker, with readings from the Headmaster, Chair of Governors, and the newly-appointed School Leaders. Mr Singleton, Chair of Governors, carried a poppy wreath to the altar, and the Chapel Choir sang the beautiful anthem, ‘For The Fallen’. Revd Tucker shared the story of a local serviceman, who gave exceptional medical help and care on the battlefields. He also drew on the sacrifice of Jesus as the greatest example of love, and a minute’s silence was observed by all. After the service a remembrance wreath was laid in the church grounds by a war memorial. The School's copper poppy wreath was also on display in the church. This was created back in 2014, using original buttons from the uniforms of soldiers that served in the First World War, as well as some of the Blue Coat school uniform buttons at the centre of each flower.

Further afield, BCS alumnus, Nick Bailey, was invited to speak at The Cenotaph about Walter Tull, one of the first Black British Army officers of the First World War. Tull, who was also this country’s second Black professional footballer - at Northampton - has no known grave, but, after losing his life at the Second Battle of The Somme in 1918, he is remembered at the Arras Memorial at the Faubourg d'Amiens British Cemetery.

The Blue Coat School (Coed 3-11) is a day school in West Midlands.

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