On Wednesday 7 November Eastbourne College held a whole-school event at All Saints’ Church, Eastbourne, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Armistice.
The College is inextricably linked with the Armistice, having lost many ex-pupils to the great conflicts of the twentieth century.
174 Old Eastbournians and one member of staff died in the Great War. The first memorial plaque was unveiled in the Chapel in 1924, and in 1930 the school completed the iconic Memorial Building.
Incorporating the original centrepiece, a castellated tower with a central archway called Memorial Hall, the interior walls were hung with engraved stone tablets in memory of the boys who gave their lives. An additional ten names of pupils who had not been previously recorded in any memorials were engraved in stones set in the floor of the Memorial Hall; these were unveiled on Remembrance Sunday 9 November 2014.
On 1 July 2016, Lionel Rees, an Old Eastbournian (1898-1901), won a posthumous Victoria Cross (VC) for his action as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps, engaging ten enemy aircraft despite being wounded. He survived the war and presented his VC and other medals to the College in 1931. A panel in his memory has been installed at the top of the pupil stairs to the dining hall in the recently completed Winn Building.
Over the years the College has made use of various modes of remembrance but this year chose to enrich the event with a combination of music, words, poetry and prayers. It was an opportunity for the whole school to gather and reflect upon the tremendous sacrifice made by so many in the First World War.