The Great War – Christmas Term 1917

Miss Douglas, in her Report, read at the Governors’ Meeting on December 7th, said: ­
I must now turn to facts which lie behind everything else at this time-the great facts that make the school life of boys and girls of unspeakable importance, and demand that the regular daily duties be performed with increasing zest and earnestness on account of the value of the opportunities now and here for becoming fit to do other duties and other service in the future. It appears to me that two main ideas should govern the arrangement of school life at the present time. First that the regular education and training should be as sound as it is in our power to make it; and secondly, that there should be definite opportunities made for doing a small share of work immediately necessary to the country’s needs at this moment. I feel that it would be unfair not to let every member of a school give direct help in what is called war-work, and more than that, this direct help to the country helps us all to keep steadily in view the smallness of what any of us can do at home, compared with the glorious heroism of those who have left all they possess and are ready to give their lives in the cause of righteousness and freedom. I am, of course, referring to those of us who have not been called to the front, as it were, in sharing in the supreme sacrifice, for those past or present members of the school whose family names are on the country’s Roll of Honour we can only express profound respect and a sympathy which certainly cannot be expressed in words. On the anniversary of the sinking of the Hamp­shire, we held a memorial service here, in order to pay our tribute to the great soldier and selfless patriot who was taken from us on that day. We remembered besides all those sailors, soldiers, and airmen who have fallen in the war, and mentioned by name those on our own Roll of Honour, who are closely connected with this school. Lady Hulse’s address on Lord Kitchener will always help us here to remember the debt of gratitude that England and the Empire owe to that great hero.
We have here done a little work in spare time in the evenings, and 1460 treasure bags for the men have been made by the school this term. We have ploughed up St. Margaret’s playground and planted it with potatoes, and we have planted an acre of potatoes for women in the City, and have worked on the land at Harnham, and the mis­tresses have had an allotment here. Many girls saw the Food Exhibi­tion in the City. Instead of our half-term holiday we had the garden sale here, and the historical scenes and concerts, towards the success of which the whole school worked very faithfully, and which was backed by all the City and the country round, so that £800 was the result, which was divided between the Red Cross Society and Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild. Besides this, Miss Handing gave a concert here in aid of prisoners in Germany, Lady Hulse engaged some Belgian musicians to give a concert here in aid of St. Dunstan’s Home for the Blind, and the sale for Serbia realised £52 4s. 6d
I cannot speak of what the present school has been doing in this way and not mention the good work of the Old Girls. Many of them have been able to give their whole time to direct service of their country, and one of the greatest pleasures I have is signing the papers of recom­mendation which come to me from Devonshire House and from the different Government offices. There they are all over England, nurses in hospitals, as V.A.D. workers, or in munition works and aeroplane works, at the Admiralty and War Office and Ministry of Munitions and Censor’s Office, or on the land, or working in canteens; and there they are also in South Africa, India, Russia, Malta, and many in France. Margaret Fawcett, working in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, has won the Roumanian Order, and Evelyn Gilroy has been mentioned in despatches for her really noble work in France.
Besides these Old Girls there are the very large number of them who are married and we are very proud to think of the many good homes where Godolphin grandchildren, as we like to call them, are being brought up in the very best way. We constantly hear about them, and there is a good sprinkling of them now being educated, as their mothers were before them, in this place.