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16 November 2009 / Truro High Remembers

After watching a series of moving photos projected onto a big screen to the accompaniment of music, the girls, from Year 6 upwards, listened intently to the Ode to the Fallen read by Headmistress Caroline Pascoe and to three readings describing three different women's experiences of war.

The first, read by Year 10 pupil Harriett Gifford, focused on Vera Brittain - a writer who lost her fiancé, her brother and two close friends during the First World War. Her devastation was captured in a series of novels and poems - one of which, 'Perhaps', was also read by Harriet.

The second reading gave an account of Second World War heroine Violette Szabo. Read by Year 8 pupil, Ellen Rodda, the passage described Violette's decision to join the Special Operations Executive carrying out clandestine operations in France after the death of her husband in battle. Violette was captured by the Germans and ultimately shot as a spy.

The third and final reading was a poignant reminder of the current conflict in Afghanistan. Year 11 pupil Poppy Ellison read an account of life in the war-torn country written by Royal Navy Lieutenant Jo Wood who is currently serving as an Air Traffic Controller based in Camp Bastion. She described aircraft landing routines which include having to don body armour and touching down in complete darkness in order to try and avoid being shot down, using Portaloos in 40° heat and huge amounts of dust.

She also described watching boys going out each day, not knowing if they'd come back.

The readings were followed by the Last Post, played on the trumpet by Year 11 pupil Katie Drake, and a two minute silence. The assembly, which was devised by English teacher Helen Nathanson, a close friend of Lieutenant Wood, concluded with a song performed by Year 12 student Sophie Peters and a prayer read by Year 7 pupil Hannah Lee.

'It's very important that the girls understand the importance of Remembrance Day," said Truro High Headmistress Caroline Pascoe. "The assembly was very moving and I'm sure we all came away with a heightened sense of the enormous sacrifices being made by our Armed Forces on behalf of us all."

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