By Morgan Phillips
This year’s Remembrance Day marked the centenary of the Somme campaign, which cost so many young lives.
Recalling those days my grandmother once told me that she dreaded walking to the shops because on virtually every Fulham street she would encounter a woman weeping for a lost son or husband.
In Remembrance week, Year 6 pupils from Sir John Lillie primary school in Fulham attended a special outdoor ceremony conducted by the Rev Gary Piper, Fulham FC’s Chaplain, in Fulham Cemetery.
The children, who had been researching the Somme for a Living Memory project, took the opportunity of visiting some of the 238 Commonwealth War Graves in Fulham Cemetery.
Two popular members of Fulham's first team squad, Marcus Bettinelli and Cauley Woodrow, also attended.
Marcus saw it as: “An opportunity for us to reflect and to show our gratitude and respect for everything our brave soldiers did for the freedom we enjoy, and sometimes take for granted, today.”
He was moved by the ceremony, adding that ‘the children spoke and read out lovely poems’.
Striker Woodrow agreed: “This information needs to be passed on to future generations, so we don't forget. It was particularly pleasing to see so many young children take part.”
Sir John Lillie School is in Lillie Road, a thoroughfare of great significance for Fulham FC because the club, then known as St Andrew’s FC, was initiated by young men from the surrounding streets.
In 1884-85, St Andrew’s played on a piece of open land in Lillie Road, almost certainly the site of the present day school. It is believed that one of the team, full back Wilf Hobson, later served in the First World War.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.