Welwyn Garden City pupils’ World War One ceremony experience

A WGC school’s biannual trip to see The Last Post Ceremony, in Belgium, proved to be an extra unforgettable occasion this year.

Instead of being at the Menin Gates, in Ypres, to simply watch the commemoration – held every night of the year to honour the death of 80,000 British and Commonwealth servicemen in World War One – the 40 Monk’s Walk School students actually played a prominent role in the evening.

All of the students were asked to form the guard of honour, as well as three students being given the opportunity to lay a wreath on behalf of the Knightsfield-based school. Thirteen-year-old Jasmine Watts was also invited to read the eulogy in front of a 1,000-strong crowd.

Noel Kelly, deputy head at Monk’s Walk, told the WHT it was a night to never forget.

“This is a ceremony that has taken place at 8pm every night since 1927 [except during German occupation during World War Two] in honour of the servicemen who died during World War One and whose bodies have never been found.

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“It attracts huge crowds every night.”

He added: “Our students attend this ceremony twice every year – but this year was different, it was the first time that Monk’s Walk students have participated in the ceremony rather than just attending as spectators.

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“To be asked to play such a prominent role by reading the eulogy and forming the guard of honour in front of such a large crowd was a real privilege – and was an experience our students will never forget.”

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