College Unites in a Series of Poignant Acts of Remembrance | Epsom College
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College Unites in a Series of Poignant Acts of Remembrance

Remembrance was marked with visual displays around the College, a poignant service of Remembrance, and cadets reliving the lives of fallen soldiers. The Epsom community reflected on the 334 Old Epsomians who paid the ultimate sacrifice in active service – some 163 OEs lost their lives in the First World War, 151 in the Second World War and 20 former pupils have died in other conflicts throughout the world.

Lower and Middle Fourth Service of Remembrance

On Friday 8 November, the Third Form, alongside the Lower and Middle Fourth year groups, joined together with staff, parents, OEs and friends of the College in St Luke’s Chapel to observe a time of Remembrance for those of the College community who served and fell in times of conflict. The Revd Canon Andrew Haviland, Senior Chaplain, led the service where he encouraged the community to reflect, remember and commit themselves to a life of benevolence and service on behalf of those who fell.

Armistice Day

On Armistice Day, 11 November, the Senior members of the College community assembled in the Chapel. The Heads of Section of the Epsom College CCF presented their banners, the Contingent Commander of the College CCF, Major MacDowel, read the Kohima Epitaph, the last post was sounded, silence ensued, followed by the Reveille.

The College Book of Remembrance was  presented by the Head of School to the Senior Chaplain who placed it centrally on the altar with the banners either side.

The Chairman of Governors, Dr Alastair Wells, and the Headmaster laid wreaths on behalf of the College.

The Venerable Stephen Robbins CB, Chaplain General, HM Land Forces 2008-2011, gave the sermon. He reflected that those who fell were normal people caught up in extraordinarily violent circumstances.

At the end of the service many gathered in the Garden of Remembrance where poppy crosses were laid by the Head of School and Heads of House on behalf of the College community.

At the end of the service, the Senior Chaplain, led the community in an affirmation of commitment to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made.

Epsom Town Remembrance Day

On Remembrance Day, 11 November, the College was honoured to be invited by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council to field a small CCF contingent at Epsom’s town cenotaph ceremony, in memory of those who have lost their lives in conflict.

As the only uniformed contingent on parade, all five cadets were under close scrutiny from serving professionals and civilians alike, and their high standard of turnout was praised by the senior officer present.  In addition, Izzy Mitchell (R) and Will Butt (Rn) had speaking roles in the ceremony, which they performed with great distinction.

Remembering OEs lost in service

Fifth Form cadets wore their CCF uniforms in memory of the Old Epsomians who lost their lives in the First World War. Each College cadet was assigned a fallen soldier, given a name badge and a short biography from College Archivist, Rebecca Jallot. These stories provided a relatable and moving insight into the former pupil, from their school days through to their military career.

See an example below:

Cyril Cross Sheen

  • Died: 2/07/1917 – aged 20
  • 2nd Lieut – Suffolk Regiment (Cambridge Battalion)
  • EC: 1908-1914
  • Lower School and Propert House
  • Buried: Duisans, Etrun, (about 9km west of Arras) Plot II Q 31

Cyril took an active role in school life. He was a prefect, and played in the first Rugby XV. He was a member of the College’s Officer Training Corps for four years. He also played a musical instrument and won the Music Prize.

In 1914 he was contracted to Messrs Wyatt Williams and Co Chartered Accountants to train as an accountant.

In 1915 he joined the army as a private, and later obtained a commission in the 12th (Service) Bn, Suffolk Regiment (Cambridge Battalion). The colonel requested that he be posted to the Suffolk Regiment under his command. April 1917 saw the attack on Vimy Ridge, part of the Battle of Arras. Cyril received abdominal gun-shot wounds on 28 April 1917 at Roeux and died at 41 Casualty Clearing Station.

A brother officer wrote: “He died as had lived, a soldier and gentleman.”

Cyril left a touching testamentary letter addressed to his parents:

“I must thank you both for all the pains you have ever taken over me – my excellent education, your absolute generosity at all times to me resulting in, I now know, many sacrifices to yourself. “