Video: Schoolchildren read out First World War poem for Remembrance Day

The Broadford Primary School pupils with their copies of the poem

The Broadford Primary School pupils with their copies of the poem - Credit: Archant

A group of Harold Hill schoolchildren read out a famous First World War poem last month to mark Remembrance Day.

The youngsters, from Broadford Primary School, Faringdon Avenue, read two lines each on October 25 from In Flanders Fields, the poem written by Canadian physician and soldier John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields, a tribute to fallen soldiers, inspired the use of a poppy as a remembrance symbol.

Sabina Kopkova, 10, was entrusted with the first two lines of the poem.

She said: “I was nervous at the beginning, but excited I got chosen.

“The poem’s quite sad because it is about people dying in war. Lots of people died.”

Holly Clark, eight, said she was also a little nervous before the exercise.

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She added: “I enjoyed reading it out, [although] it is maybe a bit sad. They couldn’t even hear the guns; the dying men heard the larks because of the guns being so loud.”

Two of her peers relished the opportunity to participate because they have an interest in the First World War.

Dylan Houlston, nine, said: “I was shocked because I wasn’t usually chosen to read things in public. Usually I like reading on my own in my room.

“I liked it because my favourite books to read are sad stories.”

Spencer Griffiths, nine, added: “I have an interest [in wars] because I’m doing World War Two in class.

“I’m not sure which world war is my favourite, but I have an understanding of it [First World War] because I understand it wasn’t one country that started it, it wasn’t the Germans who started it all.”

Simona Raklevicius, eight, and Johnny Ferguson, nine, noted how the poem is tinged with sadness.

Johnny said: “I felt really sorrowful because all of the people died just because there was a war.

“They were so young and they had a life to live.”

Simona added: “I enjoyed that most of my friends were there with me and the support from many people.

“The poem made me feel sorrow because they had to leave their families at such a young age.”

Headteacher Malcolm Drakes, 38, who is in his third year at the school, said: “This was a great opportunity for the children to explore the meaning of this poem.

“It made them think about the emotions he [the poet] was trying to express.”


In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.