Remembrance Weekend, although always special at WBS, held even more poignancy than usual as we commemorated one hundred years since the beginning of World War One; and remembered those 58 old boys and staff who gave their lives for their country. The whole school community: alumni, parents and staff, past and present in addition to families of 6 of those boys who fell during 1914-18 gathered together on Saturday night.
Families had generously loaned items for an exhibition which focussed on 5 old boys who died across all theatres of war; Cyril Mecreate Butcher, John Lovelace Carter, Edgar Winzer, Ernest Symons, Albert Abell and Ernest Squire, father of one of our oldest old boys, who fortunately survived. For those who attended, it showed a human face to the war as we glimpsed life on the front through an old kit bag, an entrenching tool, or binoculars and saw the beautifully drawn portrait of John Carter, done months before his death. Year 10 students had also used the stories of the 58 to inspire an art exhibition, on display along the gallery of the 150 building.
Chris Allin (01 – S) gave an hours talk on his comprehensive research into the experiences and contributions of those 58 West Bucklanders. Members of staff and guests gave readings, including Bill Butcher, nephew of Cyril Mecreate Butcher, who read a letter from his uncle, sent from the trenches to his family.
A meal in the Karslake among the Poppies allowed us time to reflect, and there were not many people who did not have a lump in their throat as John Squire (33 -36 C) spoke about life at WBS between the wars, and how it cast long shadows. 80 years ago, he was a bugler on the steps of the Memorial Hall. 5 years later, he too was at war.
As the Last Post was played by a current West Buckland Student on Sunday at 11 am, we stood in the autumn breeze, and we remembered.