Family & Education

Private on parade at Gateshead Jewish Primary School


Lining up for morning assembly can, at times, be a military operation.

But that is nothing compared to the ceremony seen last week at Gateshead Jewish Primary School in Newcastle when a Second World War veteran came to visit.

Pupils and staff formed a guard of honour as 94-year-old Richard Atkinson, a former private in the Durham Light Infantry, made his way through the school gates, accompanied by the DLI's secretary, Tommy Nicholson.

Mr Richardson, who fought at Dunkirk and Normandy and also drove a lorry full of troops into Nazi Germany towards the end of the war, came to speak to year-four pupils about his experiences during those years.

"We were very honoured to have such an esteemed visitor come to us," said the school's administrator, Dovid Katz.

"Mr Atkinson brought what the children had been learning to life and he brought first-hand knowledge, something which none of the teachers could have done.

"The children were enthralled and have asked when he is coming back."

He added that the former private was "articulate and his memory is as sharp as a needle. He knows all the dates of when everything happened.

"It is the first time we've had a war veteran in school, and the children were so proud and grateful for him being there."

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