The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh today remembered the WWI bombing of Upper North Street School with a memorial service at All Saints Church, followed by a visit to the school itself.
Joining The Queen and Prince Philip were relatives of the children who lost their lives due to the German bomb 100 years ago, as well as those who survived and local schoolchildren. The Royal duo chatted to schoolchildren outside the church before the service started.
Upper North Street School was hit by the first daytime air-raid during the First World War. 18 children were killed, most of whom were just five to 12 years old.
The bomb that hit the school was dropped by a German Gotha bomber on 13th June 1917. The bomb crashed though the school’s roof, before falling into the boy’s classroom on the middle floor, and then exploded as it hit the ground. 37 people were seriously injured.
The funerals of 15 of the children were held at All Saints Church.
On June 13th 1917, Upper North Street School was hit by the 1st daylight air-raid during the First World War. 18 children were killed. pic.twitter.com/eLzFRRkx1M
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 15, 2017
The event helped prompt a review of British air defences and resulted in the London Air Defence Area, which involved observers, guns and fighter squadrons defending the capital from German aircraft.
A children’s choir sang The Lord’s My Shepherd during the service, before the names of all 18 pupils killed in the raid were read out.
Upon their arrival to the school, The Queen and Duke were met by large crowds of around 400 excited schoolchildren waving Union flags. Two eager members of the crowd were Bobbi Middleditch, 11, and Hannah Dingley, 10, who said that if they met The Queen, they would ask ‘if she gets lost in her palace!’
The Queen and Duke received a tour of the school, which was known as Upper North Street School during the war (1914-1918). The school was rebuilt and was reopened in 1928 under the name Mayflower Primary School.
Her Majesty and the Prince were shown the reception classroom where the bomb originally hit, while meeting teachers and pupils. The children showed off their projects, especially their First World War remembrance exhibitions. The Queen was especially impressed by a video shown to her, by a pupil on an iPad.
Her Majesty then unveiled a new plaque to commemorate the occasion.
After this, The Queen and the Duke signed the school’s visitor book, before departing.
The Queen’s grandfather King George V sent a personal note expressing his condolences at the time of the tragedy, it was read out during the funeral of the 15 children at All Saint’s Church.
As a sign of permanent remembrance, a war memorial built in the shape of an angel in mourning, has been upgraded to Grade II* by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Head of Listing for Historic England, Debbie Mays said, “This memorial to the 18 children who died serves as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community. It was completed only five days before the Treaty of Versailles was signed, formally ending the war between the Allied Powers and Germany.”