The Great War – Autumn Term 1914

Miss Mary Alice Douglas: Headmistress 1890 - 1920

Miss Mary Alice Douglas: Headmistress 1890 – 1920

Never before in the history of our nation has there been such a terrible war. The magnitude of the struggle, the multiplicity of human interests concerned, the complexity and difficulty of the many problems involved, the anguish of anxiety and suffering, and the glory of the countless deeds of heroism, altogether make a bewildering atmosphere in which the great tragedy is being enacted. It is therefore of paramount importance that we should one and all try to see certain points quite clearly, and try to disentangle the simple straight issues from the general mass of actions and events that are piled up from day to day.

We ought to be very grateful for all the help that has been given to us towards doing this since the first day of the war. Great sermons have been preached; great success have been made by statesmen; great messages hae been framed by the King, and by Commanders at home and in the battle line or afloat; simple words have come to us from the front; hymns and verses have been written, all helping to clear our vision and make us see points of light and threads of gold through the darkness.

Will you let me try to set down some of the thoughts which have been given to us at this time?

  1. In the words of the great Christian hero who is being laid to rest in St. Paul’s today, “We are at War – to hold our promise, to help our friends, and to keep the flag of liberty flying not only over our own Empire, but over the whole world.”
  2. The spirit of patriotism is aflame and burning to make any sacrifice for the Motherland.
  3. The countless deeds of heroism done every hour by sailors, soldiers, chaplains, doctors and nurses shine with a light which will never be quenched.
  4. The brave love and splendid fortitude of those whose dear ones have given their lives for the country are amongst the most beautiful things on earth, and we have examples of these daily before our eyes.
  5. Thousands of men and women, boys and girls, and little children all over the Empire are helping with their sympathy, their works and their prayers to hold up those who are in posts of honour and of danger on land or afloat, and to mitigate the sorrows of homeless Refugees.
  6. The most selfish soul alive is faced with a priceless opportunity for forgetting self.
  7. The greatness of the present moment consists largely in the hope that the soul of England will be cleansed through the suffering and ennobled by the sacrifice of her sons, and will live again in all simplicity and Christian faith and humble obedience to God’s will.
  8. What we humbly hope for England we may hope for Europe, and through the vitalising of Christian nations we may hope for the spread of God’s Kingdom of Truth and Love through-out the world.

These are some of the thoughts which may help to keep our hearts brave and our wills strong and our prayers fervent through all these sad days. For sad days they are, and we may pray God that there may never be such sad days again. As the Bishop of Salisbury said in his sermon in the Cathedral, there is much in war that must be hateful in God’s sight. We are probably all feeling that modern methods of warfare are hateful. The cleverness of man is surely misdirected by making larger and larger engines for the wholesale destruction of human life, and the hidden hand that strikes in the dark by mines cannot surely be counted an honourable weapon. May there be a world-wide consensus of opinion ranged against such methods as these when this most awful war is over. But besides these things, which must be hateful to God, there are all the faults and failings of individuals which have helped to make the sum total of that which is displeasing to Him. So whilst we take courage, we must seek out the weak places in our characters, and must pray for penitence, real personal penitence, which will result, with God’s blessing, in real personal renewing,  for again, the renewing of the world is the sum total of the renewing of individuals. This war can leave none of us as it found us. God grant that we may all so learn its lessons that the world may be prepared to serve Him not slothfully through the peaceful days to come.

M. A. Douglas
Headmistress
Old School Crest

The Nations Roll of Honour – Autumn 1914

Autumn Term 1914

Killed

  • Harold Oliver, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
  • Ralph Hancock, Devon Infantry
  • Philip Furneaux, King’s (Liverpools)
  • Francis Mackwork, Royal Artillery
  • Carol Awdy, Munster Fusiliers
  • William Sommerville, Royal Navy
  • H. T. Acland Allen, Welsh Fusiliers
  • Richard Magenis

Died of Wounds

  • Rex Pepys, 2nd Worcester Regiment
  • Dormer Legge, London Scottish
  • Edmund Foljambe, Rifle Brigade
  • Cuthbert Eccles, 16th Lancers
  • Frederick Brousson, Royal Field Artillery
  • Eric Brooke Anderson, Royal Field Artillery
  • Harold Somerville, Devons
  • Harold Budgeon, Yorkshire Regiment
  • Frank Douie
  • Gerald Kepthorne, R.A.M.C (wounded and prisoner)
  • Eustace Bourke, 60th Rifles

Missing

  • Elmhurst Luard, Norfolk Regiment

Prisoner

  • Phillip Lyster

School News – Autumn 1914

Autumn Term, 1914

Oak Panneld hall donated by Miss Mary Alcie Douglas Headmistress 1890 - 1920

Oak Panelled hall donated by Miss Mary Alcie Douglas Headmistress 1890 – 1920

September 22. – School re-opened, and assembled in the Hall for the first time after it had been made so beautiful by the great kindness of Miss Douglas and Miss Lucy. Miss Douglas said that though there would be no Commemoration this year, our Hall would, perhaps, receive a more sacred dedication in the prayers which would be offered there for those who had gone to the front.

Miss Douglas then spoke of the subject which was on everyone’s mind. In this time of our country’s great need we all want to do all we can to help. First of all, we must do our own daily work as usual, only better, putting aside al selfishness, greediness, weakness, and idleness.

Then Miss Douglas told us what special plans had been made for us. The Geography, History, and Literature lessons are to be made intensely interesting, because they are to deal with things connected with the war. Every House is to have the Times, and the set of maps had been put up at School and in the Houses. We have also got a gallery of heroes, including him who we are so specially proud, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien.

Miss Douglas then asked us to try and dwell on the glorious and heroic deeds, and not to read or talk about the shameful acts which the Germans seem, in many cases, to have committed. Miss Douglas then told us of the special plans which have been made for voluntary classes between 5.20 and 7.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, in which we learn useful things, such as carpentry, cutting out, laundry, bandaging, knitting, &c.

On Saturday evenings we give up dancing for pleasure, and have instead a big Mission Work Party, so that our Mission may not suffer. Miss Lucy reads to us.

School begins a few minutes earlier in the morning, and very day at 10.50 there is a special Intercession Service in the Hall. Different prayers are used on different days, and we often sing the beautiful hymn, “Mighty Father of Creation,” written by Miss Bagnall’s brother-in-law. On Wednesday we pray by name for our relations and friends at the front, beginning with “General Smith-Dorrien and the officers and men under his command”; then follows a list of some 150 names of those dear to us at the font in the Army and Navy, or serving as doctors or nurses. Some of these names are already on the Nation’s Roll of Honour.

Carpentry in the Main Hall 1

Carpentry in the Main Hall

The School has joined the Girls’ Patriotic Union of Secondary Schools, of which H.R.H, the Princess Mary is the Patroness; Miss Gray, head mistress of St. Paul’s Girls’ School, the Hon. Secretary; and Miss Gadesden, head mistress of the Blackheath High School, the Hon, Treasurer. It is delightful to think that the girls in the schools of England are all uniting together in earnest endeavour and useful work at this time, and a great deal of trouble is taken to circulate useful information. Knitting and needlework for the sailors and soldiers has gone on most briskly all the Term, and large consignments of socks and shirts and housewives and many useful things have been sent to Lady Smith-Dorrien and other people for distribution. The carpenters, under Mr. Atkinson, have been hard at work, and hae made many splints and three strong bed tables, with long legs on castors, so that they can be moved about in the hospital wards. The Godolphin laundresses at Rose Villa wash regularly, under Miss Furneaux, for the red Cross Hospital, doing about 100 dusters and cloths, &c., a week. We hear that Old Girls who learnt their work at Rose Villa and The Wilderness are most useful as kitchen maids at the Red Cross Hospital, and are particularly to be trusted to clean the saucepans well. Miss Ashford has been commandeered to cook or to nurse at the Hospital as is required, and all the Godolphin Staff are spending every minute of their so-called spare time in helping in most valuable ways to meet the many, many needs that arise in connection with the war – getting up music for patriotic meetings and helping regularly in the Soldiers’ Guest House and the Central Hall Evenings for Girls.