School pupils lay medals at service

A group of children and staff from a Sleaford primary school have attended 
Hull Minster for a centenary service to commemorate the tragic crash of an airship off the North Sea coast

William Alvey School pupil sDavid and Ithar with Year 6 teacher Natalie Mason at Hull Minster for the centenary service. EMN-210823-175650001
William Alvey School pupil sDavid and Ithar with Year 6 teacher Natalie Mason at Hull Minster for the centenary service. EMN-210823-175650001

Former William Alvey School pupil Charlie Penson tragically died in the R.38 airship disaster in 1921 when it plunged into the sea near Hull.

William Alvey pupils David and Ithar, who are similar in age to Charlie when he attended the Alvey, were invited along to the service on Sunday, escorted by headteacher Stephen Tapley and Year 6 teacher and history co-ordinator Natalie Mason.

They laid Charlie’s medals on the altar as part of the service. These were the Great War medals that the school raised funds to buy back from a collector to form part of its mini wartime museum within its renovated air raid shelter in the grounds.

William Alvey School pupils David and Ithar at the airship memorial in Hull cemetery. EMN-210823-175628001

They raised the money via a JustGiving page supported by the Sleaford Standard. The commemoration was based on the original order of service that took place after the disaster.

Mr Tapley said: “After the service finished we were driven in a vintage dome-top bus to Hull Cemetery to take part in a wreath laying ceremony and watch a Spitfire flypast.”

Mrs Mason said: “It was a real honour to be invited and we were proud to represent Charlie at this very special service. He is part of the history of our school and make us what we are today.

“Charlie has a gravestone in Sleaford Cemetery – in fact it’s part of the recently put together cemetery trail. Charlie Penson is important to the school and we are holding our own service of remembrance on Thursday, September 30, in St Denys’.”

William Alvey School headteacher Stephen Tapley, pupils David and Ithar, and Year 6 teacher Natalie Mason rode on a vintage bus to Hull cemetery for the wreath laying. EMN-210823-175617001

Several members of the Band of the RAF College Cranwell, where Charlie trained, will play. If you are interested in attending e-mail: [email protected]

Veterans march past David and Ithar in Hull Minster during the service. EMN-210823-175639001
One of Charlie Penson's medals. EMN-210823-175606001