Children remember the dead of two world wars as they lay their wreaths

Schoolchildren from Askrigg and Bainbridge with staff Paula Frew-Mcgill (left) Russell Billingham, and MaryRose Kearney of St Oswald's Church

By Betsy Everett

Children from Askrigg and Bainbridge primary schools paid tribute to the dead of two world wars in a simple remembrance service in St Oswald’s Church, Askrigg, today.

After observing the two minutes’ silence, they processed quietly to the cemetery next to the churchyard, where they laid wreaths of poppies on the graves of World War One servicemen, James Kirkbride and J.J. Metcalfe.

Earlier, MaryRose Kearney of Askrigg told how she had been a refugee during the Second World War, when she was forced to flee her home in Paris with her parents as the German army advanced.
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“I was two years old when my father came home to our Paris flat one day and said to my mother: ‘Turn off the gas. We’re leaving.’ We saw many people trying to escape, some on bicycles, some in horses and carts, some pushing what few belongings they had in a wheelbarrow.

“Some of them had no shoes or socks, just newspaper on their feet. It took us nine hours by car to cover the same distance as it would be from Askrigg to Richmond because there we so many people on the road. When we got to the port [Saint-Malo] where we wanted to board the boat, the French soldiers said we could go no further.

“My mother told me that for that whole long journey I had never cried – but at that point I did. The soldiers took pity on us and we caught a troop ship to England. It took us fourteen hours to get back, and when we did we had nothing. No home and nowhere to stay, so I was a refugee. We all have a story to tell, and that’s mine.”

Two of the children read the names of the war dead before keeping the two minute silence.

“Those young men whose names you have read out so well never had the chance that you will all have to grow up and live a long and happy life and have children of their own,” said Mrs Kearney.

1 Comment

  1. The children behaved beautifully at the service & were a credit to the two schools.
    A lovely photo , Betsy. It was good to see you there.

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