This week we have been remembering those former students of TWBS who gave their lives in both world wars. In assemblies this week we reflected on the reasons men and women in a democratic society take up arms in answer to a national need, to defend and protect what they believe in. But we also reflected on the awful loss of life in both world wars, and hoped for a more peaceful world, which has learned from the past and is able to resolve differences without resorting to violence. Students were encouraged, once again, to consider the important values of democracy, liberty and tolerance of others.
We remembered why our eight houses are named after randomly selected old boys who gave their lives for their country. Through the house activities and all the positive joie-de-vivre displayed in them, our current students daily show that the sacrifice was not in vain and will not go unremembered. The names of the houses are a living and daily memorial to those TWBS men and indeed all the men and women who have made sacrifices for others. We focused in particular on a boy called Herbert Hiley, who was possibly the very first all round ‘Windsor Boy’ – he was head boy, captain of football, rowed for Eton Excelsior and played for Windsor and Eton Football Club, which is the typical model of excellence we encourage today. After volunteering for the Berkshire Yeomanry at the outbreak of war he was sent to Gallipoli on 18th August 1915, and was killed in action on 21st August. Three days! He was aged 21. This terribly brief active service was typical of so many young men, and highlights the loss of a generation of talented people at that time.
Today we held our annual remembrance service around the flagpole which is always a tremendously moving and fitting event. This year we were honoured to host Admiral Sir James Perowne, Governor of Windsor Castle, Lt Col Jolyon Willians and Lt Col Mike Harding, both Military Knights, as well as school governors and former members of staff. The sixth form and staff were in attendance, as were many other classes who asked to join the event. The cadets led the parade impeccably and delivered a wreath from the school, and as the flag was lowered the last post was beautifully played by our buglers. Then each house captain laid a memorial cross on behalf of the boys in each house, and the exhortation was read out. All the school then observed a perfect two minutes silence, reflecting on the young men of the school from before who, for our tomorrow, gave their today.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.