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 (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) Service. This tradition was started by Mrs Elsie Poore who was a teacher at the school and suggested that children place wild flowers on the new graves, in the churchyard next to the playground.
As part of our proud and longstanding ANZAC link, the School holds an annual ANZAC service. This year will be particularly poignant in light of the current circumstances. The church is closed but Mrs Barnard will lay a special commemorative poppy and card on behalf of each child and member of staff in school. The poppies are generously sent from Geraldton RSL, Australia. Families wishing to bake ANZAC Biscuits at home can follow the recipe at the bottom of this page.
During the War, Australian soldiers were billeted in the village to train alongside New Zealand troops 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 Home 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.
When each child lays a poppy on one of the war graves for Remembrance or ANZAC Day, it has a profound impact on their empathy and cultural understanding. It is a very moving act.