A poignant ceremony
Exeter School Remembrance Service
Exeter School remembered the fallen in its annual Remembrance Service held on 10 November in the school hall. As pupils entered the hall slides were projected with extracts from the journals produced by Lower Fifth pupils in response to the Battlefields Trip and the Vocal Ensemble sang ‘Do not be Afraid’ by Phillip Stopford.
Reverend Tom told pupils that this year we remember in particular the Third Battle of Ypres which took place one hundred years ago during the First World War. He informed pupils that the name of 2nd Lieutenant Stanley Hannaford of East Lancashire Regiment was added to the memorial in the Chapel this year and a wreath laid at his grave during the Lower Fifth Battlefields trip. Stanley Hannaford was killed in the 3rd Battle of Ypres on 5 October 1917.
The entire School stood to sing ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ and then fell silent as the Heads of School, senior CCF cadets and the Chairman of the Old Exonian Club lay wreaths. Matthew Francis in the Upper Sixth played ‘The Last Post’ followed by the ‘Reveille’.
We listened a Bible reading, from the prophet Isaiah, which looks ahead to a time of peace. This was read by Aimee Dearness (3A). We then heard four eyewitness accounts from the Third Battle of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele, to give a sense of the terrible muddy conditions. There were read by Toby Collins (4B), Kareena Pandit (L5A), Stan Hart (M5E) and Olive Harper (U5A).
Our visiting speaker this year was the Reverend Tim Wilkinson QHC RN. Tim is a Methodist Minister who served in Hartlepool before working as a chaplain within the Royal Navy in 1997. He completed Commando training at Lympstone in 2001 and has been Padre to many Royal Navy and Royal Marine Units over the years, including 45 Commando in Afghanistan, Commando Logistics Regiment in the 2nd Gulf War and as chaplain on board HMS BULWARK, one of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Capital Ships during operations in the Gulf and the evacuation of Beirut in 2006.
Revd Tim challenged us to ensure that Remembrance isn’t merely sentimentality and allow it to make an impact on our lives today. In the light of Remembrance we should seek to live more peaceably with our neighbours and develop the virtues of kindness, generosity and courage.
The Heads of School and Mrs Marks then led us in our prayers of intercession, praying “for men and women the world over, that they may have justice and freedom, and live in security and peace”.
The service closed with the Vocal Ensemble singing 'That Lonesome Road' by Taylor and Grolnick, and a blessing given by Revd Tom.
The Heads of School, senior CCF cadets and the Chairman of the Old Exonian Club then laid wreathes on the Chapel’s altar.
As is customary at this time of year, the Senior Cadets from each section lay a wreath on Old Exonian Trooper Jack Sadler’s grave shortly before Remembrance Day which was particularly poignant as this year marks the tenth anniversary of his death. A service of morning prayer will be held in the Chapel on 4 December, the anniversary of his death, to remember him.