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Erith primary school children thrilled to hear Second World War veterans' tales

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 November 2019

The children from Belmont School with veterans. Picture: Heathfield Court

The children from Belmont School with veterans. Picture: Heathfield Court

Archant

Children arrived at a care home to visit a group of ex-servicemen and were amazed to hear some of their old stories.

Dennis kept this front page of the Evening Standard as a reminder of what he endured after the terror of the D-Day landings. Picture: Dennis KirbyDennis kept this front page of the Evening Standard as a reminder of what he endured after the terror of the D-Day landings. Picture: Dennis Kirby

Heathfield Court care home in Colyers Lane, Northumberland Heath, played host to 10 children from Belmont Primary School, Erith, and their headteacher Thomas Lynch.

The children, who are studying the First World War, came to chat with ex-servicemen living in the home and read a poem they had written about Remembrance. The poem was attached to a poppy wreath made by the children.

One of those they visited was 94-year-old Dennis Kirby who served in the Navy during the Second World War and was aboard HMS Glasgow for the D-Day landings.

He showed the children a cutting from a newspaper that pictured his ship in action in the waters off Normandy.

Dennis as an 18-year-old embarking on his military career. Picture: Dennis KirbyDennis as an 18-year-old embarking on his military career. Picture: Dennis Kirby

He said: "I am overwhelmed at the respect everyone showed and so pleased the children enjoyed seeing my medals."

Other veterans the children met included William Heywood, 93, who served on HMS Vengeance, ex-RAF Colin Woolgar, 87, soldier Bernard Bellamy, 94, and Raymond Hudson, 88, who was in the RAF during the Cold War.

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The children sang hymns with the residents, listened to a talk about the military and chatted to the ex-servicemen.

The children from Belmont School with veterans. Picture: Heathfield CourtThe children from Belmont School with veterans. Picture: Heathfield Court

Veteran Raymond Hudson said later: "It was an absolute honour to say the prayers and take the reading for the residents and the children.

"It is so import for us to remember all our servicemen and women wherever they are in the world."

Home manager Gina Kitchenham added: "This is always a very poignant time for us as we have so many ex-servicemen living here.

And this year was especially sad as we have recently lost Ivy Hermitage who was with us for many years and who served in the RAF. But it was made very special by the children from Belmont Primary School and all our residents appreciated the poem they had written and the wreath they had made.

Dennis as an 18-year-old embarking on his military career. Picture: Dennis KirbyDennis as an 18-year-old embarking on his military career. Picture: Dennis Kirby

"It was lovely to see them interacting with our brave ex-servicemen too."

The care home was a recent winner of the Caring at its Best award run by Bexley Council.

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