Brentwood School pupils and staff joined forces today to mark the centenary of the end of The Great War and remember all the men and women who have given their lives in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts.
Special Remembrance Services were held across the campus, but this year’s tributes, on the eve of the Armistice Centenary, held a special resonance. “We gather today, just a few days from the most important act of remembrance that we are likely to witness in our lifetime”, said School Chaplain, the Revd Dr Adrian McConnaughie.
Addressing a congregation of Fifth and Sixth Formers in Brentwood Cathedral, the Revd Dr McConnaughie also reminded students and staff of the important role the School had played during the First World War and asked those present to renew their commitment to peace.
As temporary barracks for Territorial Battalions - so packed, that many men had to sleep on tables in the Chemistry laboratories - to a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, the School played its part in the war effort. In fact, the School field, a compound for three battalion transports, was so damaged that traces of dug trenches could still be seen 10 years later.
Headmaster, Ian Davies joined the Revd Dr McConnaughie for the moving service, which witnessed the traditional Laying of the Wreath by the student Head of School, Victor Sarpong.
A Bible reading, given by Deputy Head of School, Tom Haward, was followed by the Headmaster’s poignant reading of lines from ‘For the Fallen (September 1914)’ by Laurence Binyon. Second Year, Ore Fashesin-Souza, played the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ before the packed Cathedral fell completely quiet for the two-minute silence.
The Chamber Choir, conducted by the School’s Assistant Director of Music, Mr David Revels, and accompanied on the Cathedral’s impressive pipe organ by Musician in Residence, Mr Sam Barber, sang a moving rendition of ‘They Are at Rest’ by Edward Elgar.
The day of remembrance started at 8.45am at the Preparatory School with the Chaplain leading a special assembly. Later in the morning, Brentwood School’s youngest pupils attended a commemoration at the town’s war memorial at 11am.
The Senior School’s Third and Fourth Year pupils took part in a Remembrance Service in the Wessex Auditorium which was led by Mr Steve Kersys, Children's & Families’ Adviser, Chelmsford Diocese, where Fourth Year, Sarah Prior, and Second Year, Savannah Morrish, played the ‘Last Post’ They were accompanied during the service by Mr Florian Cooper, Director of Music, on the piano.
The Memorial Hall was the setting for the Second Year service which was led by Mr Ian Kemble, Director of Schools Work at the Brentwood Schools’ Christian Worker Trust. Second Year, Alex Lockyer, played the ‘Last Post’ and pianist for the service was Sixth Former Jack Marks.
The First Years took part in a special Remembrance Enrichment Activity in the award-winning Bean Academic Centre.
This Sunday, Brentwood School’s Combined Cadet Force will take part in the town’s Remembrance Day Parade. Cadets will also be raising funds for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal by bag packing in Sainsbury’s tomorrow, Saturday 10th November.