Proud and longstanding ANZAC Link
A tradition, which started sometime after the First World war, and included the participation of the school children, is the annual ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Service.
During the War Australian soldiers were billeted in camps near the village and New Zealand troops were on Salisbury Plain. In 1918 there was a serious outbreak of Spanish “flu” in the village and camps. Sutton Veny House served as a Convalescent Hospital during this war. Many soldiers and nurses died and 173 were buried in the churchyard at St. John’s the Evangelist.
ANZAC day (April 25th) commemorates the landings, which took place on Gallipoli peninsula on this date in 1915. Since those times, the 25th of April has been set aside as a National Holiday, when Australians and New Zealanders remember those men and women of all three services who have fallen in all wars. On ANZAC day each year, a service is held in the churchyard or in the church. Australian and New Zealand army personnel attend this service and each child from the school places a posy on a war grave. The participation of Sutton Veny School in the ANZAC day ceremony continues to foster the relationship between members of the Australian and New Zealand forces and British society. With this, we have developed strong overseas links in New Zealand and Australia. Visitors, and relatives of those who died, frequently contact the school, or visit to share memories and gain information from our expanding range of resources. Our class names reflect and recognise our commitment to the ANZAC link.
On Remembrance Day (November 11th), poppies are sent from Geraldton, Australia. Each child lays a poppy on one of the war graves. This has a profound impact on the children’s empathy and cultural understanding. It is a very moving service.