11 November 2019

The Last Post sounded and the college fell silent at 11am on Armistice Day, as students and staff paid their respects to all lives lost in conflict.

And, to mark the 101st anniversary of the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, a series of displays were put on show in The Street. The College also received a visit from the Vicar of Stoke Damerel Church, Reverend Keith Robus, who wrote a message for the displays.

Music teacher Mr Smith played The Last Post, and our students in the Plymouth College Combined Cadet Force (CCF) attended in uniform.

The Street was busy all day, with students showing a keen interest in the displays, which included a collection of World War One memorabilia kindly brought in by Gilly and Malcolm Giles, who have a granddaughter in Year 8.

Mr and Mrs Giles visit the battlefields of the Somme in north west France every year.

The memorabilia included uniforms, helmets, de-activated guns and items the soldiers had in their daily food rations, such as tinned corned beef.

Mr Giles has had a lifelong interest in the history of the Great War and started his collection around 35 years ago: “I think most people have got a connection to the First World War,” he said. “My dad lost his cousin and Gill lost a Great Uncle in that war and sadly, both died in 1918, not long before the Armistice.”

Members of the CCF were on hand to answer questions from students about the memorabilia and about the history and significance of Armistice Day.

Kieron and Charlie from Year 11 also answered questions about their World War One Battlefields Tour in February this year. The five-day trip was funded by University College London (UCL) as part of its work to ensure the remembrance legacy continues beyond the 100th anniversary.

Kieron said: “It was a really interesting trip, and it was also very moving, seeing the places where the battles happened, where so many people died, and visiting the graveyards.” Charlie added: “We’re both interested in history, so we were very lucky to have the chance to visit the battlefields around Ypres in Belgium and The Somme.”

In another display, Year 7 & 8 students wrote messages of thanks and tribute beside archive photos from the battlefields.

Poppies were available to buy all day, to raise money for the Royal British Legion - including some hand-knitted by Mrs Hill.

Principal, Miss Frier, said: “The College came together in a fitting tribute to those lost in conflict. The amount of interest in the World War One displays in particular shows that although this was over 100 years ago, it is still being remembered by our students today.”