First World War Centenary Commemoration

This term’s First World War Centenary Commemoration programme came to an end with a showing of the film “Joyeux Noël” about the 1914 Christmas Truce, and a recreation of the famous football match that took place in no-man’s land that Christmas 100 years ago by our Remove and Hundred students on an exchange visit to Germany.

The College has done justice to the memory of those who served and died by a number of events this term, including David Walsh’s excellent lecture on Club Day, Michael Morpurgo’s inspiring talk to the school on The Pity of War, and Olivia Gill’s and Charlie Poulsen’s Mount House exhibition With New-Won Eyes. All these and more have helped us to focus our minds on those events of one hundred years ago, and on the people who played their part. Not least of the many other commemorative activities has been the association of every member of the Shell with one of this year’s WWI fallen, the on going research into some of their stories, and the very moving act of remembrance with wooden crosses which now takes place at most Shell Assemblies in the Mem Hall.

As has been mentioned in previous newsletters, the College has also commissioned a film to be part of the legacy of this period of commemoration. That film was shown to the whole school on November 11th, and is now in the process of being produced as DVD which will be available to members of the wider Marlborough community in the New Year. It can also be accessed via a link on both the College and the Club websites.

The film is entitled “The 749” and tells the stories of some nine people from that community of one hundred years ago who served and fought and some of whom died in the war. It is based very much on their writings and on their experiences told through their own words, or through the words of those who have known them either personally or by studying them. It attempts to link their past with our present, and in so doing to preserve the collective memory of all those who sacrificed so much.

Next year’s programme will be less intensive but no less meaningful. Among the highlights already in place is a lecture in March by Sir Hew Strachan, probably the country’s foremost historian of the First World War, and a Colloquium on the life and work of Charles Hamilton Sorley (C1 1908-13) in October, the centenary of his death at the Battle of Loos.

David Du Croz
WWICC Co-Ordinator

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