WW2 Commemoration

On 4th September pupils, staff, Old Scholars and guests commemorated the death of past pupil, Kenneth Day who was one of the first casualties of the Second World War.

WW2 started on 3rd September 1939 and the first casualties were the crews of Wellington bombers who had been on a mission to destroy German naval bases on the second day of the war. Aircraftman Kenneth Day had been a radio operator on one of two aircraft that were shot down when German Messerschmitt fighter planes intercepted the bombers on their way to the naval bases. His body was found in the sea on 14th September by a German cargo ship. Two days later he was buried with full military honours by the German Air Force in one of their cemeteries. Headmaster, Paul Spencer Ellis commented “This is an example of humanity and respect shown by the German Air Force to an enemy flyer and is a positive spark of humanity in the grim business of War.”

Kenneth joined the Royal Alexandra School in 1927 (before it merged with the Royal Albert School in 1949). At the time, the School was an orphanage situated in Maitland Park, North London. Kenneth was admitted at the age of 8 because his father was ‘incapacitated’. At the age of 14 Kenneth left the School and joined the RAF as an apprentice.

It is the first week of term at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School and pupils behaved impeccably at the service of commemoration. Special guest Colonel Jean-Xavier Chabane, Head of L’Ecole des Pupilles de L’Air, read a passage from the bible and Group Captain Les Hakin, RAF laid a memorial wreath by the School’s Roll of Honour. The School choir and clarinet soloist, Hannah Dees performed beautifully during the service.

Headmaster Pau Spencer Ellis said “I have been in contact with an Old Scholar who was at school with Kenneth Day. He had clear memories of Kenneth from the time when they were both pupils at the Royal Alexandra School and he greatly regretted that he was unable to attend the service today. It shows that the events of the Second World War are very real to many people. I am pleased that Colonel Chabane, Group Captain Hakin, governors and old scholars were able to join us to remember Kenneth Day in this special service.”

5th September 2014

Back to press releases