Former teacher who died in First World War commemorated by The Urswick School
PUBLISHED: 11:52 13 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:19 13 December 2016
A soldier who died in the First World War 100 years ago has been commemorated with a bench at the Hackney school where he served as a teacher.
"My hope now is the students will pass on the message of what this bench means – of how important it is to work together as a community, of how vital it is to share our history and respect the people who came before us and remember them"
Staff and students at The Urswick School held a special service to honour Ernest Davis, a former teacher who was enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery at the outbreak of the war.
The story of Mr Davis was found in a minute book belonging to one of the school’s trustees. Tucked away inside was a small note saying Mr Breary, the head at the time, had received a letter from Mrs Davis in which she wrote that her 30-year-old son had “died from wounds received in France” on April 20, 1916.
Head of humanities Stuart Bennett, whose Year 9 history class came up with the idea of honouring Mr Davis, led the service.
“It can be hard to comprehend just how much the world changed in 1914,” Stuart said.
“My hope now is the students will pass on the message of what this bench means – of how important it is to work together as a community, of how vital it is to share our history and how we should respect the people who came before us and remember them.”
As part of the unveiling Rev Al Gordon, the Rector of Hackney, blessed the bench and led the group in prayer, remembering Mr Davis, who was enlisted as 68140 Gunner.
Everyone fell silent for two minutes as a mark of respect for all those who died during the war.
As the congregation reflected on those who did not return from the battlefields, the school’s brass instrumentalists, formed of students aged between 11 to 15, played The Last Post.
Two sixth form pupils dressed as soldiers, the honour of which fell to 18-year-old Caiampo Gomes and 16-year-old Clinton Shoymei, greeted a number of guests to the Paragon Road school, including former staff and students and Chelsea pensioner Mick Kippin.
After the service Mr Kippin spent time talking to students about his experience of working in the Intelligence Corps during the Cold War.
For more about Mr Davis visit theurswickschool.co.uk.