St Dunstan’s College’s annual Service of Remembrance took place on Thursday 11 November.
This year, the Headmaster, Bursar, Chaplain, Head of School and the Chapel Choir were joined in the Great Hall by Years 10 -13, whilst the rest of the College watched live from their classrooms. The service was opened by a reflective performance of Edward Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ by the St Dunstan’s Concert Band.
Reverend Colin Boswell then delivered the opening prayer, reflecting on the loss of life during the First World War and other conflicts. He said: ‘We stand here to remember lives sacrificed in the service of our country and especially those who were members of our school community, those traumatised and those injured in conflict.
‘May we have such a devotion to justice and freedom, that the heroism of all who fought and still fight may continue to be remembered in a nation of service and in a world that longs for peace.’
Old Dunstonian Sam Hibbs then read Ecclesiasticus Chapter 44, Verses 1-15, which was followed by a stunning rendition of David Blackwell’s ‘Steal Away’ by the Chapel Choir.
Head of School, Xin, then read ‘MCMXIV’ by Philip Larkin, which was followed by the Headmaster’s reading of Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’.
The Headmaster, Bursar, Chaplain, Head of School and prefects then made their way out onto the front crescent for the two-minute silence and laying of the wreaths. The ‘Last Post’ was performed by Nona on the bugle before the two-minute silence.
During the First World War, more than 877 Dunstonians served in the forces, and St Dunstan’s suffered one of the highest percentage losses of any school in the country. Tragically 277 students and teachers lost their lives during the war.
St Dunstan’s Rivers of Poppies display was once again installed at the front of the College featuring more than 750 poppies. The display is made up of two rivers of poppies hanging down the side of the front building and a giant three metre by three metre poppy, which was placed on the grass.
The front crescent also included a large cross, where the wreaths were laid by senior and junior pupils, and a display of more than 100 smaller crosses to mark 100 years since the nation’s collective Remembrance traditions were first brought together.
St Dunstan’s Headmaster, Mr Nicholas Hewlett, had earlier spoken to students about the importance of Remembrance. He said: ‘I know I do not need to remind you that as the nights draw in we again find ourselves in the season of Remembrance. An occasion, every year, where we stop, reflect and consider those who have died in war.
‘We recall those extraordinary numbers suffered by St Dunstan’s, now emblazoned on the walls behind me and on the balcony. Our remembrance is of those Dunstonians and all others, in the Great Wars and in the many other theatres of conflict that have characterised our history.’
See St Dunstan’s Online Listing here.