Last week, Clayesmore was involved in a number of Remembrance events across the area to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.
On Friday, the Senior School gathered in the Chapel to remember the sacrifices made by Old Clayesmorians in all wars, whose selflessness enables pupils old and new, to enjoy Clayesmore and lot more besides, to this day.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Colonel Alison McCourt OBE ARRC QHN, the Army’s Chief Nursing Officer and Assistant Head of Health Strategy, who spoke pertinently about remembering the class of 1914 of Clayesmore, who would have just completed their exams and started their summer holidays when WWI broke out, and their plans changed altogether. But she also urged the congregation to think about their female siblings and how their lives would also have drastically changed, either because they served on the front line as nurses, or at home supporting the efforts. “When you remember them,” Colonel McCourt said, “give thanks to your predecessors in this school and in others.”
The service also included the reading of a poem “Remembrance of a Day”, written by Old Clayesmorian Bruce Venour (1937-1941), a veteran of the Second World War, Burma, Korea, Malaya and Palestine. Mr Venour’s poem refers to two of his school friends who died in the Second World War, Lawrence Craig and Keith Harris, a poignant reminder of the immediacy of the effects of the war on the Clayesmore community.
Remembrance of a Day
Let that gold autumn in my memory stand
As held in amber on a Baltic strand.
The sun that shone upon those Dorset hills
The vapour trails, the count of kills
My friends and I were young.
No work to do that day, we thought we will
Go where the mushrooms grow on Iwerne hill
And gather, cook and eat them then and there
And that we did and laughed all unaware
My friends and I, what web was spun.
Within two years one died beneath the sea,
Drowned for his country, leaving Craig and me;
And in another year he too had died
In flames above the German countryside.
Now I am old and they are young.
The Prep School held their own service on Saturday, and created a Remembrance display including First World War artifacts kindly lent by Sister Hillyard and Mr Wilson, and with poppies manufactured by Mr Blackburn and his Year 7 and 8 carousel groups. There are 76, each bearing the name of an Old Clayesmorian killed in conflict.
On Sunday members of our Combined Cadet Force were involved in Iwerne Minster’s own Remembrance Service where Year 11 pupil, Dominic, played the Last Post and Reveille at the War Memorial on his bugle. Clayesmore’s Pipe Band, once again, headed the Remembrance Parade through Stalbridge and Year 9 pupil, Lily, played the Last Post and Reveille at St Mary’s Church in that village for their Service. Elsewhere in Dorset, Fergus (Year 10) played the Last Post and Reveille in Charlton Marshall, at a Service where Year 11 pupil Jemima also sang two solos.
We have also head of two Old Clayesmorians playing as part of Remembrance Events: former Clayesmore music scholar Daniel Gray (left 2017) played the Last Post and Reveille for the Royal Marines at the MOD base in Hamworthy, Dorset and Ben Wakelin (left 2018) played the Last Post and Reveille at Ashmore church.
A limited number of copies of Clayesmore’s Roll of Honour book, commemorating each of the former pupils and staff who gave their lives in World War One are available to purchase via the school website.