Old Boltonians Remembered with Honour
Thursday, 26 June 2014
The boys attending the 2014 Battlefields Tour have been presented with copies of Eric McPherson’s book Remembered with Honour, which commemorates the Old Boys and staff of Bolton School who died in the First and Second World Wars.
Dr McPherson carefully researched the 145 men, most of them young, who were killed in action during the two World Wars. Where possible, the book gives details of the Old Boys’ lives prior to their military service: their parents’ names, academic achievements, previous employment, and details of their wives and children are listed as appropriate. Each entry is accompanied by the relevant regimental or service insignia to give context, and it is interesting to note the variety. This information is set against the details of their service during the First or Second World War, and of their deaths.
The entries have been arranged chronologically by date of death, starting with Second Lieutenant Albert Knowles Wilson, who was killed in 1915 on the first day of the first British offensive of the war.
As Head Boy Paul Greenhalgh said after the presentation, “Being given this book and reading the stories of those not much older than myself, who were once in the same position that I am in now, is extremely poignant. It has brought home to me the gratitude that we should all show to the sacrifice that these Old Boltonians made.”
Copies of the book containing a special commemorative book plate will be presented to all boys attending the Battlefields Trips between 1914 and 1918 as part of the school’s remembrance of the First World War. This is just one of the ways in which the School plans to observe the centenary of the First World War.
During last year’s Battlefields Trip, thirty-nine Boys’ Division pupils attended the dedication service for a new memorial which has been inaugurated to those Old Boys of the school who died in the First World War. The service was held at St George’s Church in Ypres: an English church whose walls are covered in memorial plaques commemorating the losses suffered by many of Britain’s schools, colleges, military units, sporting clubs, and other organisations. The boys read out the names of the eighty-one Old Boltonians who were killed in the First World War as part of the moving service.
The 11th of March 2015 will mark 100 years since the first Bolton School boy died in the First World War. To commemorate this solemn occasion, Old Boys and Old Girls from uniformed organisations will gather together on this date to offer their advice to current pupils and the Scout Troop.
The Girls’ Division History department has organised the first Battlefields Trip for girls, and they will visit Ypres and the Somme in October half term 2014. This follows on from a number of events throughout the past year which focused on the First World War. Year 10 girls were given a living history talk by an expert from Danelaw Living History in York; he dressed in a replica British army uniform and spoke to them about the realities of life in the trenches from the point of view of an ordinary soldier. Girls studying History at GCSE and A-Level also received alecture on the causes of the First World War from Professor Martin Alexander of the University of Aberystwyth.
In November, Armistice Day will be marked with special assemblies in the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions, with Old Girls invited to join current pupils for the occasion.