School used to plan D-Day landings marks Remembrance Day

War memorabilia Saint Felix school

War memorabilia from ‘Desert Rat’ Herbert Griffiths, on display in Saint Felix Chapel brought in by grandson Garth Wray. - Credit: Saint Felix School

A Southwold school used to plan the east's role in the D-Day landings has commemorated Remembrance Day.

Students gathered at Saint Felix School where they listened to headmaster James Harrison read out the names of former pupils who died during the First and Second World Wars.

New operations manager Garth Wray then shared memorabilia from his grandfather, Herbert Griffiths, who was one of the original 'Desert Rats', the nickname for the 7th Army Division.

St Felix School remembrance day ceremony

Heads of school together with headteacher James Harrison and pupils from the Pre-Prep Department lay wreaths in the Cloisters at Saint Felix School, Southwold for Remembrance Day. - Credit: St Felix School

Mr Wray said: "Talking to my new colleagues I know there’s at least one other in the team here with a Desert Rat in his family. Maybe they fought side by side.

St Felix Entrance plaque

Saint Felix entrance plaque. It says: "From Headquarters in these building during the early months of 1944 the flag officer commanding Force L planned and directed the operations in which ships manned by British and American sailors carried the 7th Armoured Division (the 'Desert Rats') and other units of the British Army from the ports of Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Harwich, Southend and Tilbury, to the victorious assault on the Normandy beaches". - Credit: Saint Felix School

"I’m so proud of what my grandfather did for his country and it’s been great to share this with the pupils today.”

Mr Harrison said the chance for pupils to hear the memories of someone who played an important role in the Second World War and see artefacts at such close quarters was "a real privilege".

The school has wartime links - a plaque there says that from headquarters in the buildings "during the early months of 1944 the flag officer commanding Force L planned and directed the operations in which ships manned by British and American sailors" carried the Desert Rats from ports in the east, including Yarmuth and Lowestoft to the Normandy beaches.

St Felix School remembrance day

Saint Felix Year 9 pupils react to memorabilia on display in the Chapel brought in by new staff member Garth Wray whose grandfather Herbert Griffiths was one of the original 'Desert Rats' who took part in the Normandy Landings planned from the school buildings in 1944. - Credit: Saint Felix School

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