I have had a copy of the Book of Remembrance on my bookshelf for a number of years and have always found the descriptions of the Old Victorians, as well as masters from the College, who lost their lives in the First World War fascinating. Of the 126 named, whilst many were their twenties and thirties when they died, there were also the fresh faced teenagers, the youngest two being just 17 years old. At the other end of the spectrum, some were in their fifties and the eldest was 60 years old.
The other interesting thing about these men was where they had been born, brought up and where they had fought. Nowadays our lives are global, principally as a result of technology and for those able to travel to far away places, but back then, Great Britain had an empire which wrapped itself around the globe and a fair proportion of those Old Victorians lived and died in far flung places and not just on the battlefields of France and Belgium.
All of those named in the Book of Remembrance are also commemorated on the granite panels of the Sir Galahad memorial in the quadrangle at the College. Subscriptions for the Book of Remembrance, with bank interest earned, created a fund of about £1400. The quoted cost of the bronze statue was £850 and the quote for the granite plinth and engraving came to £200. Two scholarships were also provided from the funds to cover sons of fallen Old Victorians and a sum of £70 was set aside for contingencies.
The statue by the sculptor Alfred Turner, ARA, and memorial were unveiled on the 25th September 1924. The names of each of the men were carved only with initials and without rank or regiment since it was considered that in their sacrifice, all men were equal. On the front of the plinth, a commemoration by the statue of Sir Galahad to the Victorians is followed by the words from Tennyson’s “Holy Grail”, which are symbolically carved:
“And come thou, too, For thou shalt see the vision when I go.”
As we are about half way through the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War, I thought that sharing the details from the Book of Remembrance starting from this year’s Remembrance Week and over the next year, would be of interest to others. There will hardly be a week which goes by without the anniversary of an additional Victorian’s death a hundred or so years ago.
In setting out each of the entries, I will set out details of his regiment and his age when he died. Other than adding a few words to clarify dates (particularly those which refer to when he was at the College which was taken for granted as a “College” publication) and abbreviations etc. which would not be as familiar now as it was then, the text will be as it appears in the Book. Sometimes there is other information and relevant photographs about the individual elsewhere, and I will also include a link to the Channel Islands Great War Study Group website which has most of this extra information.
I hope you will find the posts over the next year interesting and please share if you enjoy them.
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