|10 Nov 2020
|Archives & History
Today marks the signing of the armistice in 1918, which saw the end of the first world war, ushering in a day of remembrance for the fallen. The OD Union, along with the Bishops Community, remembers those who sacrificed their lives in the many wars since 1918, so the rest of us may exercise freedom.
On 5 November 2020 a Remembrance Day Service was held in the War Memorial Chapel at Bishops.
Top Left: Opening of The War Memorial Chapel, 31 October 1926 (note umbrellas). Top Right: Building of the War Memorial Chapel, 1926.
Bottom: The War Memorial Chapel Today.
The Chaplain Father Monwabisi Peter welcomed the congregation which was followed by several prayers and there were readings from the Bible. Fr Monwabisi Peter explained that the service was to honour the memory of all who died or who were injured physically or mentally in violent conflict in the many wars fought between people in the name of freedom and security.
At the Calling of the Roll, the congregation remained standing followed by the ‘Piper’s Lament’ from Piper John Imrie. The Principal and Head boy fetched the wreath from the Altar and placed it at the Memorial Plaque.
Principal Tony Reeler and Head boy Jonathan Roche seen just seconds before placing the wreath at the Memorial Plaque
The stone is the WWI Commemorative Stone and the Brass Plaque the WWII Commemorative Plaque.
This was followed by ‘The Last Post’ from Trumpeter Max Molyneux; a Minute’s Silence was observed in honour of the Fallen. Followed by ‘The Reveille’ from Trumpeter Matthew Newton.
The Chaplain declaimed Laurence Binyon’s words from ‘The Fallen’:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The congregation responded: We will remember them.
We also take this time to remember the sacrifice of South African peacekeepers deployed with AU and UN forces, the many people who have suffered as a result of on-going civil conflicts and those who have endured violent crime in our own country.
OD Tour (2017) to The Western Front to permanently honour the ODs who gave their lives – Nicky Bicket (1973F)
Bishops until 2017, was the only private school in the world not to have commemorated in the Somme its old boys who gave their lives in the Great War. 112 out of over 800 ODs who signed up were killed and although memorialised on several monuments around the major battle sites, their names are listed under regiment or country, but not, as many others are, by school.
During the course of 2016 – the centenary of the Somme – David Walsh, former Second Master of Tonbridge School and now the Chairman of the Old Tonbridgian Society and Great War historian suggested that it might be time for Bishops and the ODU to have closure on this dreadful conflict and permanently honour our dead.
And so the planning began culminating in the departure from London on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 of 43 ODs and family members from around the world in a very large coach bound for Ypres and Arras. The purpose was to visit the battlefields where our ODs had fought and fallen and, importantly, honour them by dedicating a special plaque in St George’s Chapel in Ypres and the laying of a wreath at the Menin Gate Ceremony. We were delighted to have Guy Pearson (Principal) and Mike Bosman (1978O, Chairman of the College Council) with us and they played a key role in the service and ceremony. Guy was also honoured by being chosen to say the Kohima, the prayer which traditionally ends the daily Menin Gate Ceremony.
The tour was supported by a special booklet written for the occasion which given its small print run might even become a collector’s item in itself. It is prefaced by messages from Guy Pearson, WP van Zyl (1997K) Executive Manager of the ODU and Christian Rohrer, Headboy of Bishops. Download the booklet by clicking on the link below name "OD Tour of the WF".
It also includes the itinerary and touring party details. Paul Murray, Bishops Head of History and School Archivist wrote about life at Bishops during the time of the War and David Walsh provided the historical notes to the sites and ODs involved in the conflict as well as maps of the regions we visited. The booklet also contained the full text of the Commemoration Service, with prayers, readings hymns and psalms.
All the photos of the visit can be found by clicking here.
The night before our departure we gathered at a local pub in Victoria to meet each other and decide on the social pace for the tour. Start as you mean to finish seemed to be the general strategy.
Below is a collection of relevant stories from our archives:
Click here to read about Captain Reg Hands in "Honouring a Century of Silence" - His death saw the establishment of one of the great gestures of respect of the modern age.
Click here to read Dr Paul Murray's piece "Flick's Last Dive" in issue 6 of The Old Diocesan. The story looks at four brave ODs, one of which was the commander of the HMS Regulus.
Click here to read an extract from the 2011 September Issue of the old Diocesan magazine on Angus Stewart Duncan, an OD war hero.
Click here to read Richard Cock's (1966O) moving article about Two Prefects at Bishops in 1934
Click here to read a fascinating article from The Observation Post by Peter Dickens, about an incredible man we are proud to call one of our own, Captain Oswald Reid VC.
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