Chapter III

Remembrance Day, 1949


THIS DAY, Sunday, 6th November, 1949, I have been to the Remembrance Day Service at the School Chapel. It was most impressive and a very beautiful service. The Cadet Corps sat in the first five pews at either side, looking so much like their predecessors through the years, in spite of the slightly different uniforms. I prayed for those boys that they might never know the horrors of another war. After the service, the Head Boy of the school and other officers marched down from the Altar, where the poppy wreath had lain, they and the Corps went to the shrine in the porch of the swimming bath, and laid the wreath at the foot of the tablets bearing the names of those who fell in the 1914-1918 war. Amongst all the congregation, I was the one to know most of the boys who gave their lives in both wars.

Sergeant Young was there—he is a splendid and lovable Grammar School ‘institution’. But he came to school two years after I did, so he would not know quite all those I knew; my being born in Leeds, too, makes a difference.

DURING THE SERVICE I could picture so many of them as they used to be; ‘young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow’. Some of those who gave their lives in World War I were my contemporaries, boys I had played with, boys I had met at children’s parties; none of them much younger than I, some older, and some were just names to me. Those who fell in World War II—I had taught most of them and I knew them as small boys.

During a weekday service in the Chapel in my early days, the Head used to read the list of all those serving, until the list got too long, then he read about a quarter of it each time, he read always the list of those who had fallen, using the full Christian names. He had a beautiful voice; I remember the catch in it when a new name was added. Each death was a personal loss to him, and his sympathy overflowed.

From him I heard of one boy (who once signed his name on a cricket list at the High School as ‘Villy Brodiome’ when I was there, and captain of St. George). He volunteered when he was 17, and told a fib about his age. When the Head tackled him about it, he said, “I want to die for my country.” He did. Two sons of a widow were killed. The Head went to see her. She said: “If I had another son he should go too.” What bravery! I picture an auburn-haired boy, full of promise, 18 years old. He was killed on his first day in the trenches.

Then I saw those of World War II: the boy who said he was a conscientious objector, changed his mind, joined up, and was killed; a fair-haired blue-eyed boy, once in my form, killed in the R.A.F.; Canon Wynne-Edwards’ youngest son, also in the R.A.F. His plane was in difficulties; he saved the life of a pupil he was instructing, and crashed to death; the middle one of three brothers, who served in the first World War and need not have joined up, met his death in Burma; a boy who was one-time leader of the Choir died on the Dunkirk beaches; a boy who was a medical student, and so could have been exempted, killed in Burma; a boy who was an expert swimmer—one of the ‘naughtiest’ boys I ever had in my form—drowned at sea. I have a photograph of him wearing one of my bathing costumes once when he came to Linton. All these and so many others, such fine fellows, and their going is such a loss to the nation.


Quick Links -
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15 Chapter 16

Back to
“PLEASE” - opening page

Back to
Home Page