St Paul’s Community College represented Ireland last Friday at the Battle of the Somme Commemorations at Thievpal.
President Michael D. Higgins, Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were amongst those in the 10,000 in attendance.
By the end of the six-month Battle of the Somme, which took place from July-November 1916, some 1.3million soldiers on both sides were either dead or injured.
Some 600 schoolchildren from France, Ireland and Britain took part in the service, each one laying flowers at the grave of a Anglo-French cemetery as the final act of remembrance.
Pictured in the front row are Daniel Fagan, Graham Drohan (whose great grand uncle Fredrick Forsey was lost in the battle of the Somme) and Sean Barrett all from St Paul’s Community College.
Prince Harry told students from St Paul’s Community College in Waterford, Ireland, and Wolsingham School in County Durham, UK: “It’s important that you are here. There are all sorts of parts of history that are being forgotten.
“It’s important for us to remember older history as well as more recent history. I’m actually quite jealous of you guys getting to spend five days here learning all about it.
You will come back with a huge amount of knowledge.”
Noreen Reilly Principal commented “We could not be prouder of our students who represented their country and their school with great dignity and pride”…praising “their patience, resilience and endurance in very inclement weather”. Students commented that it was “amazing” and “spectacular”