Thursday 8th November

In the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday, King’s School and Haig School in Gütersloh have had daily ceremonies with two Tommies purchased from the There But Not There movement created by the charity Remembered. Each Tommy silhouette and product on the There But Not There website is made by veterans employed by the Royal British Legion Industries. The Tommies bought by these MOD Schools are six foot tall, made of aluminium, and each dedicated to a soldier. King’s School’s Tommy is dedicated to Lcpl Christopher Harkett (d. 13th March 2009) who served with C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, and was previously a student of King’s School. Haig School’s Tommy is dedicated to Pte Peter Wilson of 2nd Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (d. 12th October 1916).

At 11am each day on the week beginning Monday 5th November, students from Haig and King’s Schools have been moving their Tommies from their schools on Mansergh Barracks, towards the memorial where the Remembrance Service was held on Sunday. When we visited this event on Thursday 8th November, Haig School’s Tommy had gone to the Somme with 26th Regiment Royal Artillery’s Regimental Sergeant Major. The RSM went to the Thiepval Memorial to take part in the Roll of Honour reading conducted by the Royal Artillery – 49,076 names were read out over a ten day period by all Royal Artillery units, with 26th Regiment representatives reading approximately 2,500 names.

To purchase these Tommies, who cost £750 each, the schools have been fundraising since June this year. In such a short space of time they managed to raise €1816.96 through cake sales, Family Days and Fetes. Remembered send any donations and funds raised from the sales of There But Not There pieces to six charities: The Royal Foundation, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, Project Equinox: Housing Veterans and Medical Students and Commonwealth War Graves Foundation.

After Remembrance Sunday, the Tommies were taken back to their respective schools, where they will remain until both schools close in July 2019. Once they have closed, the schools will gift their Tommies to schools in the UK, which will be their permanent homes. King’s School’s Tommy will go to Avon Valley College in Durrington, and Haig School’s Tommy will go to the new St. Michael’s School in Salisbury.

Special thanks to Wendi Tribe for presenting the idea to the schools! For more information regarding the There But Not There movement, or if you would like to purchase your own Tommy, please visit https://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/

Friday 9th November

Bielefeld School Key Stage 2 hosted a beautifully poignant Remembrance assembly on Friday 9th November 2018. Once the parents and visitors were seated, Year 3 students entered the hall one by one, each wearing a red sash and carrying a candle; the last student to enter the hall carried a large golden wreath with poppies on it, which was placed at the back of the stage between two soldier silhouettes. The school choir then sung ‘We Will Remember’, followed by some of the Year 4 students reading ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae. Year 6 provided another musical element, singing ‘Make Me a Channel of your Peace’, which was followed by another poem read by the remaining Year 4 pupils: ‘For the Fallen’, by Laurence Binyon. Year 5 paid tribute to the fallen through a Dance of Remembrance; they wore masks, threw poppy petals and passed mirrors in a thought-provoking movement piece. After this, music teacher Dave Reeves played the ‘Last Post’ and the hall had a minute of silence to pay their respects. Following the ‘Reveille’, Padre Richard Downes spoke for a little while, thanking the children for their touching tributes over the morning and urging them to ‘be kind’ and then providing prayers.

The students and teachers all did an amazing job of commemorating the fallen in this unforgettable assembly, with special thanks to Claire Pond-Barrett, Catherine Creighton and Dave Reeves. Bielefeld School choir were invited to sing ‘We Will Remember’ at the Bielefeld Station Remembrance Service on Sunday 11th November, where a couple of pupils were also selected to lay wreaths at the memorial.