Following a minute’s silence at 11.00am today, we gathered for our Remembrance Assembly. We learnt about the tragic human cost of war and that World War One truly was a world war with soldiers from all over the globe fighting for the allies. Did you know that the first shot fired by a British soldier was not in Europe but in West Africa? On 7 August 1914, Alhaji Grunshi was responsible for firing the first shot fired by a British soldier in the Great War, anywhere in the world, as soldiers from the West African Frontier Force moved into (German) Togoland from Britain’s Gold Coast colony (now Ghana).
Through the story of Sergeant James Henry Stanners (7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers), we remembered that every life lost in war is a life unfulfilled. James, who was born in Clapham in 1885, had a career as an actor before signing up to fight on the Western Front where he died in 1917, aged just 32. We read a letter from James to his sister, Alberta, detailing life on the front line shortly before his death.
We had an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice of those who have fought in wars past and present and we understand why we wear a poppy to commemorate Remembrance Day.