HUNDREDS of schoolchildren sat in respectful silence to watch a film made in memory of a real life hero.

Private John King, from Darlington, died last year while on active service in Afghanistan.

The 19-year-old was a former pupil of Branksome School, now Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS), which has close links to the Armed Forces.

Loading article content

About 500 students attended a Remembrance assembly on Friday (November 9).

They watched Why We Should Remember Them, a film produced by student Liam Pape and edited by assistant headteacher Steve Parr.

With some students in tears, the film chronicled the life of an individual soldier, from the peer pressure teenagers were under to join up to fight in World War I, through the recruitment and basic training process, to the full horrors of trench warfare.

One tender moment recounted the famous Christmas Day truce where warring Germans and Allies stopped the fighting to share a drink among the barbed wire.

The film ended with a dedication to Pte King and students and staff shared a moment’s silence to remember him and those lost in war and global conflict.

Liam spent hours working on the film with Mr Parr and six other students, who provided character voiceovers.

The 14-year-old said: “I was really nervous watching the film because I didn’t know how it would be received.

"We have a lot of students here whose families are in the Armed Forces and I didn’t want to upset them; but at the same time it is right that we remember those who have fallen.”

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said the school had appointed a teacher to liaise with army families and there was also an official Army liaison officer working with DSMS.

He said: “When John died it impacted on everyone at the school and I know students are keen to do as much as they possibly can to support service personnel with a stream of fundraisers.”