Family treasures tell their poignant stories of war

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DIARIES, letters and medals were among the treasured mementos of the First World War and conflicts since then which were contributed by families to help Rustington schoolchildren in their studies.

Staff at Georgian Gardens Primary School were ‘genuinely surprised’ by the range of artefacts brought along by pupils, who are spending this month reflecting on the men and women who died serving their country in wars and troublespots around the world.

Families, especially grandparents, have also played a big part in the learning. All were invited into school to view the mementos and the children’s work. Many grandparents also visited the school for a special ‘Remembering Day’.

Pupils made felt poppies to sell to their families in aid of the Royal British Legion and John Haywood, a legion branch member, who visited the school, was delighted with the donation.

First World War visitors also included a ‘Tommy’ who drilled the pupils, described life in the trenches and taught them wartime songs, Rainbow Theatre Company, which staged its play/workshop on the war for older pupils, and parents dressed as an army captain and nurse.

On Armistice Day, everyone in school stood silently for two minutes while loved ones were remembered. Children planted crosses in the memorial garden at the front of the school.

“All in all, everyone learned much about these very difficult periods in our history and why we should never forget our brave servicemen and women,” said head teacher Bill Molloy.