On a day that people across Sleaford and Dsitrict stopped and fell silent for two minutes at 11am in remembrance of Armistice Day, youngsters at a local secondary school were learning more about the effects of war on their own village.
St George’s Academy’s Ruskington campus held an Armistice Day event with activities throughout the school, particularly focussed on year nine pupils.
Remembrance services were played out in Sleaford and surrounding communities this morning, with veterans and townspeople joined by school children to lay wreaths at the town war memorial.
A special service was held at William Alvey School and a parade of pupils was held at St George’s Academy’s Sleaford site.
Principal Wayne Birks said pupils who were Armed Forces cadets were invited to come to school in uniform and across both campuses all 2,200 pupils fell silent at 11am.
On the events at Ruskington he said: “A lot of the displays on show in the assembly hall are about Ruskington and those from the village who went to war.
The day kicked off with a Pathe News film reel for the year nine students to absorb before they were allowed to look around exhibits on the county’s First World War history supplied by Lincoln Castle, which hosted the Poppies Wave this summer, for the Lincolnshire Remembrance Project.
There was also a display of wartime artefacts by local collector and historian Mike Credland including machine guns, flags and uniforms from both sides of the conflict.
He said: “It is really good for the school and the village. It is good to get the kids involved so they understand how terrible war was.”
His collection included artefacts belonging to a Ruskington private who served during the Great War.
Daniel Waites, 13, was a member of a ‘Spearhead’ group researching Ruskington’s First World War dead from names on the village’s monument and graves in the cemetery and churchyard.
He said: “We are looking into what regiments they were in, whether Navy or Army, if and when they died.”
Sinead Swinscoe, 13, also from the group said they also checked the parish church records where there were also flags and plaques to the fallen, as well as researching through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and website Ancestry.com
Graham Conway from Ruskington Parish Council gave a talk on the Ruskington men who are remembered on the memorials and parish priest, Rev Christine Pennock gave a sermon and led the two minute’s silence.
Dr Andrew Jackson, of Bishop Grosseteste University, and Maureen Sutton (Lincolnshire Laureate) gave a lecture and performed local poet, Bernard Gilbert’s poetry before students were challenged to write their own war poems.
WAGG Screen Productions film company gave a talk and demonstration on producing a period film, while a number of year nine pupils volunteered to re-enact old photographs of Ruskington life from 100 years ago, complete with period costumes at the same locations around the village, to be reproduced in sepia tone print.
Katie Kirk was one of those involved in the re-enactment. She said: “They are pictures of children and one dressed as a soldier.
“It is quite exciting and a day to remember. If those men hadn’t gone out to fight we might not have all the stuff we have today.”