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The Queen to visit Poplar for 100th anniversary of First World War bombing of school

PUBLISHED: 12:06 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:10 02 June 2017

The Queen will visit Poplar on June 15

The Queen will visit Poplar on June 15

Archant

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will visit Poplar to mark the centenary of the First World War bombing of a school which killed 18 children.

The Queen will visit Mayflower School in Poplar. Picture: MIKE BROOKEThe Queen will visit Mayflower School in Poplar. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

The Royal couple will attend a memorial service at Poplar’s All Saints parish church before visiting Mayflower Primary, the name the school is known by today, to meet staff and pupils.

The school has been working on a project with journalist Tina Moran to commemorate the centenary with writing and researching workshops that delve into the story of the air-raid.

Their work will be included in a special centenary supplement the East London Advertiser is publishing in partnership with the school on June 15 – the day of the Royal visit.

Descendants of families who lost children or were injured in the carnage are arriving for the centenary from all over the world.

The school was bombed in June 13, 1917. Picture: TOWER HAMLETS ARCHIVEThe school was bombed in June 13, 1917. Picture: TOWER HAMLETS ARCHIVE

It follows painstaking research by Stan Kaye who has been working with the school to trace the families and help to organise the Royal visit.

Buckingham Palace announced the visit in an announcement yesterday.

The air-raid on June 13, 1917, was targeting the India & Millwall Docks but instead the 110lb bomb landed 200 yards away on the school, crashing through the roof, two floors of the three-storey building and exploding in the infants’ classroom on the ground floor.

The two class teachers manage to evacuate the surviving children before returning to search for others in the rubble.

Stan Kaye with an East London Advertiser cutting of the story. Picture: MIKE BROOKEStan Kaye with an East London Advertiser cutting of the story. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Panicked mothers in the neighbourhood arrived, desperately searching for their children, hoping they are not among the dead.

Rescuers searched the rubble for days.

The mayor of Poplar said at the time the children “had truly suffered for their country”.

The bombing attracted condemnation from around the world with it being described as an ‘atrocity’ rather than the collateral of wartime enemy action.

Memorial unveiling in 1919 held after the war in Poplar to the memory of the 18 children killed at Upper North Street School. Picture: TOWER HAMLETS ARCHIVEMemorial unveiling in 1919 held after the war in Poplar to the memory of the 18 children killed at Upper North Street School. Picture: TOWER HAMLETS ARCHIVE

A funeral procession on June 20, 1917, took place along the East India Dock Road, and saw tens-of-thousands of people lining the street.

Fifteen of the children were buried in a mass grave at East London Cemetery while the other three were laid to rest in family graves.

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