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
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.