Admirable leadership: In memory

13 November 2018

The passing of 100 years since Armistice Day is so significant for our country that it warrants considerable symbolic gestures of remembrance. At USH, Mr Farley led a series of events to commemorate this centenary. Specially created lessons, tutor time and assemblies culminated in our biggest ever Remembrance event on Friday. A service in school was attended by Grandparents, Vicar Dan Clark & Youth Worker Josh Cook from St James’ Church, who brought a wonderful recreated historical memento from WW1- a pocket-sized St John Gospel for those ‘in active service’. A gift gratefully enjoyed and appreciated by many.

I read from the Log Book of the headteacher of the then Regents park Boys (Latterly Bellemoor Boys) who wrote:

‘Armistice between Allied Forces and German forces signed. News received at 10.05am. Boys informed and play extended by a quarter hour. Boys assembled in large room after play. Short address: England triumphed by keeping her promise. The honourable position of the British Empire in the world and our duty to maintain that reputation.’

To stand and re-read this short but momentous speech was an almost overwhelming experience and one which I feel privileged to have delivered a century-on.
Guests were universally enthralled by the opportunity to see this Log Book entry and feel for themselves how important this was for the school community.

Sunday concluded the formal contributions to the centenary with Head & Deputy Head Girls, Olivia & Tamsin giving speeches at St James’ Church, & Deputy Head Boy, Pip performing the Last Post for the congregation.

On Monday, we discussed the feelings around remembrance and it’s clear that all three students profoundly understand the gravity and scale of this year’s commemorations and their contribution to it. Words from the classic poem by Robert Laurence Binyon, 'For the Fallen' are held in mind and ‘we will remember them’ is a pledge which demands our children carry forward the spirit and memories passed down between generations. Speaking with Olivia, Tamsin & Pip, we can be assured that that they will.

Olivia (Head Girl) said 'This year, being the 100 year remembrance from the Great War, was a momentous occasion for the nation. It’s obvious that reflection on such phenomena is to be praised, but as head girl this year, my awareness of its importance was heightened. Through being part of the commemoration service on Sunday 11th November with the local community, I was able to feel a sense of pride, honour and most importantly inspiration from the stories which were shared. Despite not having an immediate relative involved in the war, the prospect of the Great War was laid out in front of me; urging me to consider each and every soul involved. Having contributed through a speech and by laying a wreath, I felt a real emotional duty to remember those who lost their lives. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity and have gained so much from it. The whole experience was something I will never forget. A memory that I will always treasure.'

I am delighted with our student leadership team this year; a group which embodies good character, warmth and intelligence; and one which is admirably building on their predecessors’ community influence. 

Black and white photo: Armistice Day in London, 11 November 1918 Q47852.jpg from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

England triumphed by keeping her promise.
The whole experience was something I will never forget. A memory that I will always treasure.