English 31 students commemorate the Armisitice
By Leslie Albiston
As we mark the centenary of the First World War, the Armistice ceremonies on November 11th have an even greater significance for us. English 31students in Seconde were asked by the Mairie de Colomiers to join their French and German colleagues in two ceremonies, one at the Monument aux morts and the second at the Mairie. Each group read out in their own language letters from soldiers who fought in this conflict, revealing the common hardships all faced.
For English 31 students it was also an opportunity to commemorate the suffering of women as well during that terrible conflict. At the Monument aux morts they read extracts from Vera Brittain’s “Testament of Youth” an autobiography tracing her experiences as a young woman during the conflict. Reading alternately letters from Vera’s fiancé Roland Leighton and her letters in reply, they traced the progress of a young man from initial thoughts of heroism and nobility through disillusionment to a final denunciation of war and its destructive pointlessness.
At the Mairie they read an extract from the closing pages of the book where Vera, having lost in the War her fiancé, her only brother and all their friends, manages to find a commitment to peace and a determination through her work to ensure future generations would be warned of the terrible consequences of such conflict. The book finishes with a message of hope and it is much to the credit of the nine English 31 students and their presentation of this true story that the hundreds of people present felt so moved by what they read. They all received praise and a very well deserved vote of thanks from the Mairie for their significant contribution to this important event.
In the picture at the Monument aux morts from left to right:- Lucy Crossley, Morgan Drian, Suzie Royston-Smith, Julia Darrou, Adam Backhouse, Paul Merviel, Pierre Simonson. At the Mairie with a flag bearer from the Anciens Combatants from left to right:- Julia Darrouy, Margaux Gilbert, Isabel Whyte.