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Queen Margaret's Remembers...

Queen Margarets Remembers
Queen Margarets School in York commemorated Remembrance Day with a variety of events across campus, designed to increase girls awareness of both the history of QMs involvement in the World Wars and the military service of those in their community.

Hosting veterans and their families from The Royal British Legion Fulford & District Branch, girls had the opportunity to hear stories spanning a number of years of history covering several conflicts namely World War II, the Cold War and the Gulf War. Serving in myriad locations and with varing roles, the experiences shared were fascinating.

I was most affected by realising many of the veterans we spoke to were really close to our ages when they went off to war, noted Grace, currently in Upper VI. It was an important reminder that war doesnt just affect the soldier, it involves entire families and generations.

The school is also exhibiting letters, journals and other memorabilia reflecting the impact of both world wars QM, and marking the contribution made by students and women to the war effort. The exhibition illuminates the central role QM girls played in the war effort while revealing the intricate history of the school in and around Yorkshire during the era, says Mrs Cynthia Batten, the schools Archivist, who is responsible for mounting the exhibit.

It is hoped the exhibition will teach current girls something of the experiences of their grandmothers and great grandmothers, while also informing the larger community of Queen Margarets history.

In both wars the school was evacuated - in World War I, the shelling of the schools original campus in Scarborough by German destroyers forced the school to evacuate to Pitlochry in Scotland; in World War II the school was evacuated to Castle Howard. In 1949, the school found its final destination at Escrick Park, just six miles south of York.

The experience of the shelling of Scarborough was vividly recorded by a young Winifred Holtby, one of the school's most famous old girls and author of the acclaimed South Riding, televised by the BBC last year. While at Castle Howard, girls experienced a devastating fire but were instrumental in helping to save works of art. The school magazine recorded the impact the wars had on the girls, including the deaths of fathers and brothers, and the ways in which they tried to help the war effort.

Published: November 13 2012

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