Shortly before 11 o’clock on Friday 10th November, work in the classrooms and offices at University College School stopped to allow pupils and staff to pay tribute to those who lost their lives serving their country in the First World War and other conflicts. Some 1200 pupils from across the three UCS schools gathered around the Foundation’s war memorial to hear a moving tribute from the Headmasters of the Senior School and the Junior Branch. Mark Beard, Headmaster of the Senior School, paid a particular tribute to those who fought and died during the Battle of Passchendaele, which finished on this day exactly one hundred years ago. During the First World War 1,565 UCS staff and former students served their country: 316 received special distinctions for actions beyond the normal call of duty; 309 returned from the battlefield wounded; 252 died.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the UCS Old Gowers Club who processed with members of teaching staff and pupils up to the memorial to lay three wreaths in memory of those who had fallen. Pupils and staff were moved by Mr Beard’s address. He read “Memorial Tablet” by Siegfried Sassoon and then recited the names of the fifty-eight former students and staff who lost their lives fighting in 1917. As the last post sounded, pupils and staff were left with a lesson none of them will forget about the sacrifices made by others in order for us to live with the freedom we enjoy today.