War medals and mementos were passed around Form 3 on Wednesday as Mrs Merkin came in to school. Former teacher Mrs Merkin now volunteers listening to the children read each week. Her grandfather survived in battle thanks to a metal cigarette tin that was in his pocket, deflecting a bullet from his chest. The lucky tin was carefully passed around for the children to feel and look at, whilst Mrs Merkin shared more stories about her family.
Mrs Merkin’s mother’s first husband died in the war aboard the HMS Neptune, which struck a mine on the 19th December 1941. The tragedy isn’t very well known but children and grandchildren of the victims have helped tell this story to raise awareness of the disaster. Mrs Merkin visits the National Memorial Arboretum every year where her mother’s first husband’s name is engraved on a memorial to the 837 men who died on both the HMS Neptune and HMS Kandahar. She also showed pupils the scarf and umbrella she bought from the arboretum and explained how part of the money will go towards helping soldiers and their families.
The children were captivated by Mrs Merkin’s stories and were very keen to learn more about the War, as well as share their own stories they have heard about through their parents and grandparents. Following on from their trip to the Royal Armouries the day before, Form 3 linked Mrs Merkin’s stories to the ones they had been learning about at the museum.
During Poppy week, all pupils are learning about War and the importance of remembrance through outdoor activities, History lessons, Poetry, Music and Art. You can read about more what the children have been up to this week on the Ghyll Royd News page.
Conveniently situated on the A65 between Ben Rhydding, Ilkley and Burley in Wharfedale, Ghyll Royd School, Pre-School and Nursery is ideally located for families living in or commuting to the surrounding cities, towns and villages of Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, Burley in Wharfedale, Addingham, Menston, Guiseley, Baildon, Bingley, Otley, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate, Skipton and Keighley.