Current and past school pupils will witness the end of an era on Friday (25 June) as Normandy Veterans lay down their standard for the final time.
The Newcastle-under-Lyme branch is being disbanded 66 years after D-Day and the Normandy campaign of World War Two.
Members will lay down their standard at the Memorial Hall of Newcastle-under-Lyme School at 4.15 pm on Friday.
The school has enjoyed a long relationship with the association with pupils joining veterans on trips to Normandy to learn about the history of the Second World War.
The association is disbanding due to the inevitable problem of dwindling numbers.
Head Master Nick Rugg said:
“The school is honoured to have been chosen by the Newcastle-under-Lyme branch of the Normandy Veterans as the place that they will lay down their standard.
“The school treasures its links with the association as a tribute to the veterans and the victims of war and because of the educational enrichment the links with the veterans group has given to present and past school pupils.”
Newcastle-under-Lyme School became linked to the veterans’ group after research revealed that former pupil, Major George Robert Leason of the North Staffordshire Regiment had died during the Normandy campaign in July 1944.
A group of pupils laid a wreath to Major Leason on a field trip to Normandy in 1999 and this was spotted by Major AW Mitchell, President of the local Normandy Veterans branch, during a visit to Major Leason’s grave in the same year.
Major Mitchell, who had served under Major Leason, wrote in a letter to The Sentinel of his amazement at spotting the Newcastle-under-Lyme wreath and was then invited into the school.
Major Mitchell subsequently accompanied pupils and staff on field trips to Normandy.
History teacher Danny Cawdron recalled:
“Major Mitchell’s memories of listening to Monty’s pre-battle speech to rouse the troops just days before D-Day were delivered to the quietest students I have ever known and he then received a spontaneous round of applause ““ unheard of on any school visit I have been on. I knew at this point that the visit was going to be something special.
“Until this moment, the students had naturally treated the near 80-year-old gentlemen, whom they had only met once, with respect and reticence. However, his impromptu talk broke down any barriers and for the remainder of the trip he was surrounded by friendly, enthusiastic students keen to seek his opinions and mine his memories on every conceivable aspect of warfare.”