Remembrance Day Memories
What does Remembrance Day mean to the Caterham School community …
“For me, remembrance is a time when we can all too briefly step out of our own busy, self-centred existence and ponder the selflessness of others, marvelling at the amazing human capacity for courage and humanity, amidst tragedy and suffering. I particularly think about the many trips to the WW1 battlefields and the fallen Old Cats.”
Rob Salem, Senior Teacher (Academic)
“I feel proud of the men and women who are serving, as well as those who have served, and humbled by the many who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to maintain the freedoms we enjoy.”
Wing Commander Bage
“My grandfather, a Lietenant Commander (Royal Navy), who served from 1938-1946. He lost school friends and teachers in both wars. He is 97 this year and remembers all of them every year.”
“The Kohima Eptaph: ‘We you go home, tell them of us and say, “For your tomorrow, we gave our today.'”
Lieutenant Owen (OC 1994-2004)
“On Remembrance Day I fondly think of my Grandmother’s cousin who was a serving Officer in the Royal Navy whom my Grandmother spoke very highly of as I was growing up in New Zealand! I was left with a box of special letters and all his medals when my Grandmother passed away. I also like to think about my Grandmother and all the people around the world that lost people during war times past and present either serving their countries or at home waiting for their loved ones to return.”
Marie Dodwell, Head Matron
“We are grateful for the many sacrifices which our ancestors made to make our lives what they are today. This is from the two wretched world wars to current foreign conflicts. We are thankful for those who have died for the country, each one of them has made this great country what it is today.”
Shibiram, Andrew, Laura, James, Cam, Leon, Zach, Jake, Harry – Film Club
“In the two minutes silence I will remember all the soldiers who fought bravely and lost their lives so that the future generation would have a fighting chance and the new generation would have a better life then they did. I think I might have had ancestors who fought in the war and I think that if I ever met them and asked why they gave their life for me I know they would say they didn’t regret a second or a decision they made.”
Zachary, First Year
“Remembrance Day is very important to me. Because of them our futures are safe and secure”
Leon, First Year
“This Remembrance Day I will be thinking about Dorothy Lawrence who was 18 when she cycled to the front lines of the Western Front in the hope of becoming a war reporter. Her story encapsulates many issues around the war that are only just starting to emerge. I will be remembering her courage and determination. The ful story is available in History today volume 67.”
Ruth Nagar, Teacher of History
“On Remembrance Day my thoughts are with my:
Grandfather, James Mash – He fought and was injured in WW1
Uncle, Lawrence Mash – He fought and survived WW2
Great Uncle, Oswald Glover (the brother of my Grandma) – He fought and died in WW1 and is buried in Greece. My sister and I went to visit his grave 3 years ago. When we were growing up my Grandma always used to talk about her eldest brother with such love and sadness.”
Julie Hillier, HR Officer
“I recall when I had just left school I, about 1982/1983, at an Old Caterhamians Day meeting the then “Father” (ie the Oldest living OC at that time) of the Old Caterhamians (I think it was Dr Whale) by the OC first World War Memorial Stone.
He pointed to the name of his great friend, A. R. Garcia, who he told me was killed in action. He said he had been expelled (he said sacked) from the school having been over friendly, and caught, with one of the housemaids in his boarding house! He enlisted and was later killed in action. The OC then walked away saying, with great respect, at least he enjoyed his last weeks at School – may he and all those OCs who made the supreme sacrifice, rest in peace.
Whenever I walk past the memorial at the front of School, I always think of Garcia and all OCs that made the supreme sacrifice and who served and fought to give us the freedom we enjoy today – lest we forget!”
Andrew Latham (OC 1972 – 1981), Lately Captain and OC Army Caterham School CCF
“Ronald Griffiths (1897 – 1991) was a volunteer in the 1st World War, joined the London Regiment (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles) and served from 1915 to 1919. As many other volunteers did, he increased his age to enter the Army. He did his training under canvas at Twyford, near Winchester. He was promoted to Sergeant within 8 months and then stayed on in Twyford for about a year as a trainer of new recruits. His last duty at Twyford was to get his platoon of recruits to plant an avenue of trees on both sides of the access lane up to the site.
He then served in France for 6 months. He was wounded at Messines in June 1917 and returned for hospitalisation at Dartmouth. Whilst he was on weekend home leave, his friend and co sergeant, Tommy Cornell, volunteered for them both to serve in Africa. They felt that “anything was better than returning to France”. In September 1918 they set off by sea to Entebbe in Uganda, where they trained the local troops in the Kings African Rifles for 10 months. On the outward journey they learned Swahili. He returned and was demobbed in August 1919. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Before he died, my wife and I took him to see the Twyford site and the avenue of trees, which were still there.”
Bernard Griffiths (OC 1938-1945)
Bernard is now living in a retirement flat in Botley, in south Hampshire. He is the son of Ron Griffiths. He did his National Service from 1947 – 1949. After initial training at Guildford, he trained as a Battery Surveyor and a gunner in the Royal Artillery at Barnard Castle. He was then posted overseas to Singapore for 2 weeks, and then on to Hong Kong for 12 months in the 25th Field Regiment. He spent part of his time there in Kowloon and the remainder under canvas at Lo Wu on the Hong Kong/ China border. There he surveyed in gun positions along the border in preparation for a possible Red Chinese attack after they had swept south through main land China.
“For me, Remembrance Day means honouring the memory of those who died in the two world wars and in subsequent wars. It is because of the sacrifice of these men and women that I can, as a Brit, be married to a Finn, live freely in either country and travel without fear. It is a day to stop and acknowledge all we have to be grateful for, and how easily it could not be the case.”
“On Remembrance Day I think of all the young men and women who never came home. I think of the many innocent lives lost and I thank them for the sacrifice they made for their country so that we may live the lives we do today.”
“Remembrance day is a very important day for myself. As you probably know I was President of the Old Caterhamians Association a few years ago and I am now the Father of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths (a city Livery Company). Last year in September several of our blacksmiths went over to YPRES in Belgium and set up some forges in the town square and proceeded to make dozens of large metal poppies which they sold for charities. Ypres was one of the towns where thousands of Allied troops were killed as was many Germans. Now at Sunset the Last Post is played every day throughout the year to remind people of the tens of thousands who gave their lives so that we may live in Peace. This photograph shows just a few of the hundreds of the metal poppies that the blacksmiths made in Remembrance.”
Rodney Lyons (OC 1952-1954)
“During the Silence I remember my parents and their struggles. My father was in WW1 from Day 1 having been in the Territorial Army and was sent to France in the first batch. He survived the war, but was invalided home with mustard gas poisoning. The hospital saved his sight but the mustard gas eventually killed him. I also remember my cousin who was killed in a pathfinder bomber somewhere over Norway in WW2. I reflect on the futility of war – it does not solve anything and certainly does not bring lasting peace. WW1 did produce the League of Nations and WW2 built on that with the United Nations so that was something good as an outcome but it still has not stopped more wars. I was at the School during WW2 and after the Armistice Arthur Davies Jones was keen that there should be reconciliation between the youth of Germany and Britain. He organised a system of pen friends between us and boys in Marburg University in Marburg on Lahn and I teamed up with Bernt Berghauser. We have remained friends ever since and still speak to each other by telephone every 2 or 3 months – that is now 73 years of friendship; Arthur would have been very pleased to know that!
The photograph is of my father Alfred Elliott in his British Legion Bandsman Uniform in WW2 – he played the clarinet and they marched to a church service once a month to keep spirits up during the blitz (we lived in London). He also did ARP bomb watch every night, so he did his bit. Finding the money to send me to Caterham School was his greatest achievement.”
Roy Elliott (OC 1944-1949)
“As someone who served as an army chaplain from 2001- 2017 and saw lots of operational tours, remembrance of course is a very special day for me as I give thanks for those I served alongside who paid the ultimate sacrifice and for those who I know who still bear the scars (emotional, physical, or psychological) today. This year of course is special and I will particularly remember my predecessors in the Royal Army Chaplains Department who died the during the First World War whose graves some of us cycled to a few years ago to honour https://www.forces.net/news/memorial-unveiled-honour-service-army-chaplains”
Duncan Weaver (OC 1971-1979) (Where I was W.O. in in the ATC, as well as playing a lot of sport)
“I think about my Grandad’s older brother Danny, who was killed aged 21 at The Battle of Cambrai on 30th November 1917 during a German counterattack. His body was never found. After painstaking research, we finally located his name on the Louverval Memorial. When I became the first family member to visit it in 2014, I found a poppy growing just below…”
Mr Kim Wells, Director of Learning and Teaching
“In the 2 minute silence my thoughts always go to the impact of war on the women left behind, their families and my own. To my Grandmother born in 1912 who lost her own Father in the 1stWW who was hit by direct enemy fire in the trenches at Vimy Ridge. Her only memory of her Dad was the spurs on his boots! Her Mum brought her up single handedly and then she herself married my Grandfather in the 1930s and she had my Dad in 1938. War impacted her life once more. My Grandfather was conscripted in 1940 and did not return for 5 years from his post in North Africa. When he returned he was a different man, very anxious and my Dad was seven by this time and did not know my Grandfather at all. My Grandmother was steadfast through all her life in love and service to her family and the community. This photo is of my lovely Grandmother, Margaret Claydon, and my father, John, taken approx 1940. And Margaret in 1992. She lived until she was 101!”
Mrs Rachel Veldtman, Faculty Leader for the Visual Arts
“I remember my granddad who was the pall bearer for the unknown warrior that lays in the entrance of Westminster abbey.”
Ms Marilyn Teece, Housekeeping