Queen visits All Saints Church in Poplar to remember Upper North Street School bombing victims
PUBLISHED: 16:15 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:36 15 June 2017
The Queen and Prince Philip joined families of 18 children killed when their Poplar school was bombed during the First World War to mark 100 years since the tragedy.
The royal couple attended a ceremony at All Saints Church this morning, where the funeral of fifteen of the children took place a century ago.
Among the 250 guests were Jean Hyde, her sons Steven and Philip and their cousin Andrew Hyde, all relatives of George Hyde, who was just five years old when he died.
The Queen spoke to them, and other relatives, after the service, which Jean, who lives in Dagenham, said was “fantastic”.
“She was very interested by it all,” Andrew added.
Children from Mayflower Primary School – then known as Upper North Street School – and eight other primary schools in Poplar were involved in the multi-faith service, carrying a procession of paper doves – one for each victim – along the aisle.
Year Six pupil Ikraam Ali read a poem his class had composed, while members of Mayflower and St Saviour’s school choirs performed.
The service was the culmination of four years of hard work by a team of researchers, led by Stan Kaye.
“There are relatives of all of the victims here except one,” one of the researchers, Alan Clarke, said.
“He was born illegitimately and his surname was changed.”
Alan added that more than 100 relatives had been able to attend, many of whom travelled to Poplar especially for the ceremony, led by the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney.
In his address, the bishop said: “There is something about the killing of young children that is profoundly disturbing: all that innocence, all those unwritten stories, and all that unfulfilled potential.”
After the ceremony, which lasted just under an hour, the Queen unveiled a plaque bearing the names of the victims outside the church, before members of the congregation walked to Poplar Park.
Firefighters at Poplar Fire Station stood outside to pay their respects as the procession, led by a marching band, walked along East India Dock Road.