On Friday 9 November, Whitgift held a poignant Remembrance Day assembly and service for the School, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The morning assemblies for Lower School and Upper School were honoured by a visit from Old Whitgiftian Colonel Michael Cornwell OBE, who gave tribute to all the OWs who participated in the First World War. Head of History, Mr Keith Smith delivered an engaging talk on the history of the war, asking half of the boys in the hall to stand up and physically represent the 251 Whitgift boys that went to war 100 years ago. There were also readings by the boys from soldiers that lost their lives, presenting a cross with the poppy in memory of each of them. Headmaster Chris Ramsey closed the assembly with some thoughts on how to remember all those who gave up their lives in the line of duty.
After assembly the Lower School congregated in preparation for the annual remembrance service, opened and led by Reverend Alan Bayes. Members of the CCF performed the role of Flag Party including the tradition of flags at half-mast, followed by the laying of the wreaths by student Ben Goldby, History Teacher Mr Oliver Roberts, and Old Whitgiftians Lord David Freud and David Straw. Thought provoking readings were delivered by Upper and Lower School Captains Ben Goldby and Nifemi Bankole, followed by the choir and brass ensemble performing a moving rendition of ‘For the Fallen’ by Douglas Guest.
The Whitgift Corp of Drums did an honourable job of playing at the start and end of the service, with many OWs visiting for the service. The Headmaster was delighted to receive OW Reginald Gordon Hill’s set of campaign medals, presented to him by Old Whitgiftian Nigel Platts, who generously donated the medals as a ‘thank you’ for his time at the School and his 10 years as School Governor. Reginald Gordon Hill lost his life on 11 October 1917 serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps [R.A.M.C.] in France. The framed medals will be displayed in the Whitgift Archive for visitors who wish to view them or learn more.
Thank you to all the staff, boys and visitors attending the service last week and thank you again to Nigel Platts for his generous and historical donation of the medals to the School.