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WW2 Veterans Visit St Gabriel's

On Tuesday 1st December, St. Gabriel’s was honoured by a visit from several local heroes: five WW2 veterans who came up from the Royal British Legion in Newbury. 

On Tuesday 1st December, St. Gabriel’s was honoured by a visit from several local heroes: five WW2 veterans who came up from the Royal British Legion in Newbury. 

First, Leslie Weaver told us about his time flying a Lancaster bomber, including a hair-raising tale about having to land it with just one engine left. Second, Bill Austin told us about his career as an RAF engineer and some of the ways in which the war affected him. He also related the story of witnessing the first testing of a British atom bomb in 1954 – apparently he was just 9 miles from the explosion! Our third speaker, William Clark, was reluctant to speak about the war itself but told us where he served – North Africa, Italy and Palestine amongst other places - and told us that he prefers to remember the good times. This was echoed by our fourth veteran, Norman Fox, who recalled the wonderful entertainments provided on board his ship as it travelled around the Mediterranean. He also spoke about meeting Churchill and the King of Saudi Arabia. The fifth veteran, Gordon Smith, recounted tales of the Normandy campaign. He described the endless bombing and shelling as ‘like a fireworks display that lasted 6 weeks.’ 

Mr Smith ended the evening by telling us about the time that he saw a friend lose a leg. He assumed the chap had died as a result – until he got a tap on the shoulder by a man with a wooden leg at a Royal British legion bash in London in 2008! Mr. Smith said to him ‘I thought you’d died.’ The friend replied ‘I did wonder why you didn’t visit me in hospital!’

WW2 Veteran

WW2 Veterans
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The talk was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to hear about the war at first hand, and to thank five local heroes for defending our freedom. 

Visitors to St Gabriel's quickly recognise that this is no ordinary school. Parents are always impressed by the sense of purpose and enthusiasm of the talented, committed staff and the confidence of the extremely happy pupils. We offer girls the opportunity for a seamless journey from Nursery through to Sixth Form, with our boys leaving us at the at the age of 11 for their senior schools.

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