The School gathered to remember the fallen

On Friday morning, we came together in Chapel for our annual Service of Remembrance, to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by the 190 old boys and masters during both World Wars. It was especially poignant this year as Cargilfield is celebrating its 150th anniversary and it is also exactly 100 years ago since our Chapel was built in memory of the 126 old boys who died in World War 1 and whose names are remembered on our War Memorial. In his address, the Headmaster spoke about a number of these brave young men, many of whom had only left Cargilfield five years previously before heading off to the Front Line to experience unimaginable scenes of death and destruction as they fought at Ypres, the Somme and Loos. 

In August, as part of our 150th celebrations, and along with other members of the school community past and present, he walked part of the The Western Front Way, a sacred path along the Western Front which was first imagined by former Cargilfield pupil 2nd Lt Alexander Gillespie in a letter home to his old Headmaster at Winchester College. He wrote ‘There are graves and crosses scattered all about, some with names on them, some are nameless, as I think my brother’s must be. I have been fighting around the village where he was killed these last eight months. That doesn’t trouble me much for every soil provides a grave but still, these fields are sacred, in a sense.I hope that, when the peace comes our government might combine with the French government to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea or, at least if that’s too much, from la Bassee to Ypres all along the line of this Western Front. I would make a fine broad road in No Man’s Land with a broad strip of ground on either side for pilgrims on foot, well planted with fruit trees and trees for shade. It would be a useful war memorial as a great road is always useful. It is a sentimental idea perhaps but we might make the most beautiful road in all the world besides being the most interesting road for future generations of Englishmen and Frenchmen.’The Headmaster placed around 70 wreaths at the graves of former pupils killed in WW1 and also unveiled a special Cargilfield plaque in St George’s Memorial Church in Ypres to honour those who died. 

As always, it was a very moving Service of Remembrance attended by a large number of parents as well as former pupils and former members of staff, and congratulations to all those who read prayers and readings, to the Chapel Choir for their beautiful singing, to Harry for playing The Last Post and to the Pipe Band who played afterwards in Ash Court. The two minutes’ silence was observed and we heard the names of one fifth of the Cargilfield Roll of Honour, listing 190 brave men who died so we can enjoy our freedom today.

‘The sons of Cargilfield, whom this building commemorates, were numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, gave up their lives that we might live in freedom. See to it that their names be not forgotten.’

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