Durham Johnston school pays tribute to war heroes

STAFF, students and dignitaries at one of the North’s newest school buildings honoured their dead by re-dedicating their war memorial yesterday.

STAFF, students and dignitaries at one of the North’s newest school buildings honoured their dead by re-dedicating their war memorial yesterday.

The ceremony came 90 years after Durham Johnston’s first war memorial was installed in the aftermath of the First World War.

The new plaque is displayed in the main hall of the school, which moved to a new £23m building two years ago.

Attending yesterday’s ceremony were the Dean of Durham, Rt Rev Michael Sadgrove, representatives of Ajex, the association of ex-Jewish servicemen and women, Durham county council leader Simon Henig and mayor Mamie Simmons.

Leading up to the re-dedication, students and staff uncovered facts about the heroism of some ex-pupils, including one who was a spy behind enemy lines in the Second World War.

Isidore Newman, who was Jewish and served in the Special Operations Executive, helped the French resistance movement as a wireless operator before being betrayed, captured and shot in Mauthausen concentration camp, aged 28 in 1944.

Headteacher Carolyn Roberts said: “The history and traditions of Durham Johnston are important to us and we are delighted to be able to restore the war memorial to pride of place in our hall.

“We are terrifically grateful to all who have supported us, from groups who have given us substantial funding to individual children who have offered their pocket money. There are 107 men named, most of whom were members of the Durham Light Infantry.

However, those remembered served in both wars and a variety of services and regiments.

The memorial is thought to be the only one in a comprehensive school in the region.

Durham City Freemen donated £2,000 towards the restoration of the memorial which was first dedicated in 1921 at the old school site in South Street, Durham.

 

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