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Queen attends memorial service for 18 children killed in school bombing

The royal couple also met descendants of some of the victims and later revisited the rebuilt school, now named Mayflower Primary School.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have honoured the memory of 18 primary school children killed 100 years ago in a First World War bombing raid on London’s East End.

On June 13 1917, a daylight bomb from a German aircraft hit Upper North Street School in Poplar, killing the youngsters, most of whom were aged between four and six.

In the summer sunshine, the Queen and Philip went to a memorial service at nearby All Saints Church, Poplar, where the funerals of 15 of the children took place.

The royal couple also met descendants of some of the victims and later revisited the rebuilt school, now named Mayflower Primary School.

At the church, the 91-year-old monarch and Philip, 96, joined the 250-strong congregation in also remembering the victims of this week’s tragedy at Grenfell Tower across London in North Kensington.

The Reverend Jane Hodges, team rector in the Poplar ministry, told the worshippers: “We will pray for peace in our hearts, peace in our community and peace in our world.

“Today we will also hold in our hearts all those affected by the dreadful fire in west London.”

A children’s choir sang The Lord’s My Shepherd before the names of all 18 pupils killed in the raid were read out.

All but two were in the infant class on the ground floor, where the bomb exploded after scything through the roof and upper two floors. A girl aged 10 and a boy aged 12 were the others killed.

It is thought the bomb had been meant for the docks nearby.

At least 37 more pupils and teachers were injured in the bombing. School caretaker Benjamin Batt found his own son, Alfred, five, dead in the rubble.

The Queen and Philip met relatives of some of the victims. They included Donald Challen, 90, from Braintree, Essex, whose cousin William Challen died aged five.

Mr Challen, a former fruit merchant who served in Italy with the 16/5 Lancers in the Second World War and escaped from his own family home in Walthamstow, north-east London, when it was hit by a V1 “buzz bomb”, saw the service as part of continuing efforts to bring reconciliation between Britons and Germans.

“I think it’s needed to bring us and Germany back to the status we had in the time of (Kaiser) Wilhelm I when the Germans were our best friends,” he said.

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