I was a teacher at the only school in the world called Montgomery of Alamein, in Winchester. Monty himself performed the naming ceremony.
Each year, in the summer term, I would lead a party of 12 year olds over to Normandy so that they might learn at first hand what the invasion involved.
We visited the town of Arromanches, complete with remnants of the Mulberrry harbour, but the highlight was always when we entered the invasion museum.
When the custodian heard the name of the school he unceremoniously pushed aside all other visitors and ushered the boys to the front so that they might have the best view of the exhibits.
Lunch was always eaten on the grassy hilltops above the German gun emplacements – one up to the British! In the afternoon we went to the cemetery in Bayeux, where I did as the Queen did on Friday and paid tribute to the thousands who had died by laying a wreath which contained the three lions from the Montgomery family crest.
One year as we left the scene we met three ex-servicemen who immediately recognised the symbolic lions on the badges of the boys’ blazers. On learning that we had paid tribute to their fallen comrades they became very emotional and real tears came into their eyes. The boys were affected too as they learnt from the details on the gravestones that some of those who had been killed were only a few years older than themselves.
As a postscript I might add that when Monty died in 1976 the school captain was given an honorary place in the choir stalls at the memorial service in London and the school prefects formed the guard of honour lining the path to his grave in his home village in Hampshire.
Note: The current Kings’ School in Winchester on Romsey Road was formed in 1985 by merging the two previous schools on the site: Danemark School (girls) and Montgomery of Alamein School (boys).