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SHS Remembers 19th November 2014

SHS Remembers

As I reflect on last week’s Acts of Remembrance, I recognise how many aspects there were of which we should all feel very proud.

Our traditional Remembrance Day Service on the 11th of November was attended by the whole school community and was conducted with great dignity. The boys heartily sang ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’, which was followed by poignant readings delivered by the Deputy Head Boys, Oliver Hotchin and Arthur Stokhuyzen, and one of our  Prefects, William Law. The ‘Last Post’  and ‘Rouse’ was played prodigiously well by William Smith, following which we joined in prayers led by Mr Akhurst.  The Deputy Head Boys also laid a wreath at the Memorial on behalf of the School, whilst our Head Boy, Tom Wooldridge, and two Prefects, Edward Birchall and Louis McMillan, accompanied Mr Francis and Mrs Shine to represent the School at the Royal Star and Garter Home’s Remembrance Day Service where they laid a wreath on behalf of the School Community.

The pinnacle in commemorating the centenary of the Great War’s outbreak was the Re-dedication of the War Memorial to the SHS boys and staff members who fell in conflict. Mr Smart who led the research, supported by the Scholarship class of 2012-14, which led to the discovery of names that had not originally been listed. Also unearthed were many fascinating and inspiring accounts of the contributions made by these individuals to the war effort.

At Friday’s Rededication we were honoured to be joined by our Member of Parliament, the Right Honourable Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy Climate Change, who spoke so movingly and eloquently about the lessons we must learn from this chapter of history. We also welcomed senior representatives from the Italian Embassy, the Royal Air Force, the Royal British Legion, Royal Star and Garter Homes, Western Front Association, East Surrey Regimental Association, Royal Naval Association, King’s College School, Wimbledon, Lancing College, Kingston Local History Office, Kingston Police, Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames War Memorials’ Association, The Fusilier Museum, London, and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.  Many of these associations had provided invaluable support to our research and I was particularly pleased that they were so well represented on the day.

It was also delightful to welcome back so many of the boys who had been involved in the research and who, subsequently, had moved up to their Senior Schools: Josh Berman, Alexander Davies, Alexander Hammett, Will Hewes, James Hodson, Dan Jones, Sam Muller, William Reith, Hugo Streeter and Luke Streeter. They were also joined by Mark Etman, who had returned all the way from the British School in Kuwait to attend the morning.

The 59 names  of each of the fallen were read out by our Prefects. ‘Oh God Our Help in Ages Past’ and ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ were accompanied by Brass One. The Rev. Helen Hancock led the service, which was concluded with thoughtful prayers.  Poignant readings were delivered by  Bert Ryder (an R.A.F. veteran and resident of the Star & Garter), Jamie Abbate, Tom Wooldridge (Head Boy), Oliver Hotchin, Arthur Stokhuyzen (Deputy Head Boys) and Ethan Berman. William Smith impressed yet again in his playing of the Last Post and Rouse.  The Head Boy and Deputy Head Boys then joined the VIP Party to lay a wreath on behalf of our School Community in memory of those that were lost.

It was an exceptionally memorable, humbling and inspiring morning for everyone who played their part.

Mr Doble

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