Queen to attend memorial service for victims of school bombed in First World War

Four rabbis - Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, Rabbi David Mason, Rabbi Alan Plancey and Rabbi Abraham Levy - will be also pay their respects


The  Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are to join faith leaders, including four rabbis, at a memorial service for 18 children who died 100 years ago after a German bomber targeted an East End school.

The Upper North Street School in Poplar, east London, was hit by the bomb, which was intended to destroy the nearby West India and Millwall docks, on June 13 1917.

It crashed through the roof and two floors of classrooms before exploding on the ground floor, where infant classes were held, according to local historians.

It is believed that two Jewish children were among those present, although they both survived, according to local historian Stan Kaye.

Rabbi Livingstone will be accompanied by David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue, Rabbi Alan Plancey, emeritus rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, and Rabbi Abraham Levy, a former S&P congregation leader, at All Saints Parish Church in Poplar on Thursday.

Rabbi Mason said it was important not to allow events during the First World War to “recede into memory”, and that he was honoured to be asked to represent the Jewish community at the service.

He said: “It will be emotional, yes. We as Jews have Jewish memories, but it is also important to take part in a key national memorial service.”

Rabbi Livingstone also said he was proud to represent the community, adding that as an Armed Forces chaplain, he spends much time considering the risk warfare poses to civilian life.

He said: “There are things we can take from this event. Children of all backgrounds at this school were killed indiscriminately by a bomb which was supposed to fall on the docks. It is similar to the Manchester terror attack, in that children were the victims. This is quite a milestone.”

Descendants of the victims will also attend, and after the service the Queen and Prince Philip visit Mayflower Primary School, which was built on the site of the Upper North Street School.

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