Poetic Tributes at Remembrance Assembly
Friday, 11 November 2016
Old Girls joined current pupils and staff for the annual Remembrance Assembly in the Girls’ Division. Alumni entered the Great Hall alongside the Prefects and Headmistress Sue Hincks to open the proceedings shortly before 11 o’clock.
The assembly began with a welcome and introduction from Miss Hincks, who recalled some of the key events of 100 years ago, most notably the Battles of the Somme, Verdun and Jutland. She reminded the girls of certain presages to the fighting in the Second World War, including the use of tanks for the first time and the first time a German aeroplane, instead of a zeppelin, was used to conduct an air raid in the UK. She also remembered the Easter Rebellion, which Girls’ Division pupils commemorated earlier in the year, and noted the poignancy of including an Irish poet’s words in the November 2016 Remembrance service.
This introduction was followed by a poetry reading by Year 13 pupil Natasha Bagnall. She read ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon, the poem from which the famous words of the Ode to Remembrance are taken. This was followed by the hymn ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’.
At 11 o’clock, Miss Hincks read the Ode to Remembrance, which was followed by a two minute silence. The Last Post and Reveille was played in superb fashion by Ellen Bate in Year 11.
Ms Bradford-Keegan continued the assembly with a reading of ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The final reading was given by Leena Ahmed in Year 12, who read W B Yeats’s poem ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’, which was a fitting tribute in the centenary year of the Easter Rebellion.
Estelle Pass then played ‘Prelude in A Minor’ by Georg Böhm on the organ, and Miss Hincks offered a prayer which remembered the fallen, active servicemen and women, and all those affected by conflict around the world.
Finally, the Accidentals gave a beautiful and moving rendition of ‘Be Still My Soul’. The assembly closed with the hymn ‘Jerusalem’.