Whitgift School commemorates Battle of the Somme Centenary

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Whitgift School commemorates Battle of the Somme Centenary

On the morning of Friday 1 July 2016, a very special ceremony and service took place at Whitgift School to commemorate the Centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.


At 7am, a small number of staff and pupils gathered on the terrace to watch Whitgift’s Corps of Drums playing It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.

The Revd Canon Boswell, Vicar of Croydon, and the Headmaster, Dr Barnett, gave short speeches, and British, German and French flags were raised as a mark of respect to all of those that gave their lives during one the bloodiest battles in history.

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At 7.30am, everyone assembled to observe a one-minute silence in Whitgift’s First World War exhibition, Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front. As the bugle sounded to mark the end of the minute, all remained silent and took their seats in the Edwardian-themed room. Dr Barnett gave a talk on the First World War and included the names of the eight Old Whitgiftian’s who lost their lives on this day, 100 years ago.  Poignant German, French and British poems were read by members of staff, Mr Adam Jones, Mrs Tates Lisoire, and Mr Paul Wilson and Year 9 pupil, Edouard Nelson, leaving the audience moved. Year 7 pupil, Jerry Lin, played a beautiful piano recital as an extra special tribute.

As part of the remembrance, a photo call captured CCF boys, French, British and visiting German children, from The German School, Richmond, in our carefully-crafted British, French and German trenches.

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A busy morning in the Exhibition followed, full of visitors

Dr Barnett said of the memorable occasion,

‘Today has been a very special and poignant day for Whitgift, remembering the eight former students of the School who lost their lives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and all those, on both sides of the conflict, who died or who suffered life-changing injuries. We also remembered with respect all the nurses serving at the Front, and the mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts who had their loved ones in peril on this momentous day.

We were joined for this centenary commemoration by a large group of children from the German School in Richmond. With British, French and German poems from the time, with music, speeches, the Last Post on a 1915 bugle and the playing of Whitgift’s own Corps of Drums, we remembered the events at the Somme one hundred years ago.’

Whitgift honours the 251 former students and teachers who died during World War One in Remembering 1916 with a memorial set with 251 specially commissioned poppies.  The Exhibition will be open until 2017. For more information, please visit the links below.

Remembering 1916 – Life on the Western Front, 12 March – 31 August 2016, open daily 10am – 5pm (last entry 4.00pm)

Whitgift Exhibition Centre, South Croydon, CR2 6YT

More information on:

remembering1916.co.uk       remembering1916@whitgift.co.uk       +44 (0)20 8633 9902

The exhibition has received rave reviews, including featuring in the Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Evening Standard, The Big Issue and this one in the Londonist!

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Croydon residents are eligible for discounted tickets:

Adult £4
Senior £3
Child (under 16) £1
Child (under 5) Free

There is an Edwardian-themed café, offering cream teas and a selection of sandwiches, and the adjoining shop sells World War One themed merchandise.

For further details see the website :http://www.remembering1916.co.uk/ 

If you are on Twitter you can keep up with news by following @remembering1916

And find the exhibition on Facebook

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One thought on “Whitgift School commemorates Battle of the Somme Centenary

  1. Pingback: Lessons of the Somme | From guestwriters

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