World War I Centenary

2014-18

During these four years we will be reflecting as a School community on the meaning and impact of the First World War in order to ensure the sacrifice of our fallen OGs is not forgotten. A number of events have taken place in 2014, including :

Corps band, 1902

Corps band, 1902

  • Students participating in an exhibition on Norfolk in World War I at the Norfolk Record Office (June – August)
  • Centenary cricket match held on the anniversary of the 1914 game (18 July)
  • Third form battlefields trip with centenary focus (Michaelmas half-term)
  • Commemorative chapel service in memory of the first fallen OG John Kempson (15 October) Each of our fallen staff and OGs will be remembered in Chapel on the anniversary of their death.
  • Lecture by Adrian Barlow on the memorial window in Chapel (3 November)
  • Exhibition entitled ‘Gresham’s and the First World War’ researched by a group of sixth formers in conjunction with the School Archivist  (School Chapel Michaelmas term)
  • Outreach event for local prep schools with themed arts activities (7 November)
  • Reprint of Sue Smart’s poignant book on the fallen ‘When Heroes Die’ (September)

2015

  • Heritage Lottery Fund awards Gresham’s £10,000 grant under its First World War Then and Now programme for a commemorative website (April)
  • In search of our military ancestors family history day at Holt Library in conjunction with the School Archives (4 May)
  • Symbolic handover by headmaster Douglas Robb of single ceramic poppy in Chapel (6 June)
  • Richard Peaver launches his ‘Gresham’s Military Roll of Honour’ limited edition, hand-produced, book containing the names of OGs who achieved military decoration, and his book on the ‘History of Gresham’s School CCF’ (11 November)
  • Formal dedication of 114 ceramic poppies from the Tower of London installation by Paul Cummins purchased by the Prep School Parents’ Association (November)
  • Members of the CCF commence the planting of 114 trees in memory of each of the fallen (November)

2016

  • Service to commemorate the Centenary of the opening of the School Chapel (22 January)
  • Commemorative website www.greshamsatwar.co.uk went live (18 April) The website is still very much a work in progress, with much information to add over the course of the centenary.
  • Service to commemorate 10 pupils and one member of staff who fell at the Somme(1 July)
  • Year 9 Battlefields trip to the Somme.  Pupils visited the graves of 3 OGs and held an act of remembrance at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing which includes the names of 8 OGs(3 Oct)
  • Representatives of the CCF visited the local graves of 3 OGs – Frederick Chestney, Robert Beeton, and Mervyn Trendell and led an act of remembrance as part of the Imperial War Museum’s Living Memory Project(11 November)

We plan to make Centenary events cross-curricular, involving music, art, drama, and languages where possible, and to include all three schools in an effort to engage the pupil community and leave a positive educational legacy.

Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College and author of many books on the subject has published ‘The Great War and the Public Schools’ (2014) which includes a great deal of Gresham’s material drawn from our archives.