East London church hosts the Queen and Prince Philip for remembrance service
An East London church recently played host to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at a special anniversary service to remember the pupils killed in the bombing of Upper North Street School by the German Airforce during the First World War.
All Saints Poplar was the site of the funerals of 15 of the 18 pupils killed during the bombing, and was a fitting choice to hold the remembrance service 100 years on from the tragic bombing – the first daylight bombing by a plane on London – which took place on 13 June 1917.
The centenary service was also attended by a number of other dignitaries, including the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Mr Kenneth Olisa OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Dr Peter Ammon, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, and a number of local faith leaders. Also in attendance were the families of those pupils killed during the attack – some of whom had travelled as far as Australia, Canada and the United States to attend the service in Poplar.
During the service, which was led by the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, with the Revd Jane Hodges, Team Reactor of the Parish of Poplar, the names of all 18 victims (who were aged between 5-12) were read aloud to the congregation. Pupils from local Poplar primary schools also helped to lead prayers, with one reading a poem of remembrance, while others placed homemade doves on the church alter, symbolising their commitment as peacemakers.
Following the service, The Queen unveiled a plaque commemorating the event, before the rest of the congregation travelled in procession to the angel statue at the Poplar Recreation Ground, which was erected by public subscription in 1919, where they paid further tributes to the victims.
Bishop Adrian said:
“It was incredibly moving to lead the service of remembrance for those young children killed during the First World War, particularly in light of recent tragic events in London and Manchester. Holding on to our memories and understanding where we have come from are essential to a healthy society. It is little wonder that remembering is at the heart of Christianity, because any religion that speaks about reconciliation and peace, any faith that works to heal divided communities and nations, will set a high store on the business of remembering.”
The Revd Jane Hodges, Rector at All Saints Church said:
“It was an enormous privilege to welcome Her Majesty The Queen, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to All Saints Church. As the parish church we have a long and proud history of serving the community in Poplar, and while the community may have changed over the last century, our mission remains the same and we were delighted that The Queen and Prince Philip could join us as we remember such an important and defining moment in Poplar’s history. The service and our remembrance of 18 children who died so tragically compels us all to work for peace in our world.”