Slideshow: Neale-Wade Community College's Remembrance Service
PUBLISHED: 17:27 12 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010
MEMORIES of what it was like to serve in the Armed Forces came rushing back for war veterans at a Fenland school s remembrance service. Many of those veterans were reduced to tears during a Roll of Honour, read out by six students at the Neale-Wade Commun
MEMORIES of what it was like to serve in the Armed Forces came rushing back for war veterans at a Fenland school's remembrance service.
Many of those veterans were reduced to tears during a Roll of Honour, read out by six students at the Neale-Wade Community College's service on Friday morning.
More than 50 veterans, representing the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, Royal Naval Association, Burma Star Association, Prisoner of War Association and Royal Air Force Association, to name a few, were present at the March school's service.
References to the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendale, in which one million people lost their lives, evacuation and bailing out of a war aircraft in the Second World War were also included in the school's service.
A minute silence followed, along with a playing of The Last Post by Year 11 student, David Groome.
Following the service, veterans enjoyed a quick cup of tea and a biscuit. It was also a chance for them to share their stories of war with some students.
One of those veterans was 82-year-old George Darlow, of Friday Bridge, chairman of the Burma Star Association. He served in the Manchester Army Regiment in a part of Burma near the end of the war, just after fighting finished in the area.
"The most distressing thing I saw was when our boys were coming back to the same area," said Mr Darlow. "I was stationed at a place called Insein where there was a big hospital and I was helping our men out of trucks and into the hospital.
"I also remember taking Japanese prisoners of war to nearby Rangoon for interrogation. We would transport one load of prisoners by truck to Rangoon, return to Insein and then do the same the next day."
March veteran Dick Housden, 82, joined the Navy shortly after turning 18. One of his memories was sailing to Canadian waters in 1943 to rescue a crew on-board a Canadian Corvette boat which was torpedoed.
He said: "There were 90 people on board and we managed to rescue 27. It was a bit heartbreaking at the time.
"I also remember being 'shelled' off the French coast which was a bit scary. There was shrapnel flying everywhere and I always remember having to take cover because we could not fight back."
And March man George Church shared his memories of D-Day, travelling from Southampton to Normandy in the early hours of one morning in 1944.
"There were shots being fired all over the place, but we went straight into battle," said Mr Church, 86, who served as an army infantry soldier in the Hertfordshire Regiment.
"From then it was just digging and walking and battle until we got to Germany - where I got wounded and was shipped back to Southampton. That was the end of my war."
But Derrick Harman's greatest memory of war was of surrender - more specifically, the signing of the official instrument of surrender by Japan on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.
"I served on the HMS Duke of York and the admiral on board that ship was Sir Bruce Fraser," said Mr Harman, 81, of Riverdown, March, who served in the Royal Navy in Atlantic and Pacific waters.
"He needed someone to carry his bag and I was in the right place at the right time to do it.
"I will always remember that a gold pen was made for the occasion and when Mr Fraser signed it he went to put it in his pocket, but it was taken from him as it was property of the president of the United States.