leadership likes

of 3 /3
Leadership Likes EVERY ONE REMEMBERED The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has developed a project they call Every One Remembered, to individually commemorate over 1 million Commonwealth Service men and women who were killed during the First World War. This initiative struck a chord with me personally as it gave my family the opportunity to mark the sacrifice made by my great uncle, my grandfathers brother, who died from Spanish flu in a Prisoner of War camp, just three days after the war ended in 1918. We had heard many stories of Uncle Daniel over the years, but no one had ever been able to visit his grave until, with the British Legions help, we were able to locate his final resting place in Niederzwehren Cemetry, Germany. In early October, some of my cousins made the trip and spent several hours at his graveside, remembering the man we never knew and wondering what his life might have held had he lived beyond those 24 short years. They left poems and messages from the extended family and it is wonderful to think that that lonely unvisited grave has now been recognised. (Sadly, their trip clashed with the schools Open Morning as I would obviously have loved to have joined them but I am determined to visit one day to pay my respects). This Sunday I will be thinking of Uncle Daniel particularly of course, but this week I have also been thinking of those connected with our school who may not have made the ultimate sacrifice, but whose lives were undeniably altered forever by the so called Great War. Women like alumna Rhoda Brodie who received an MBE for her war work from the Director General for Voluntary Organisations and in 1915 established the Croydon Womens Patrols. The women volunteers patrolled in couples for two hours in the evening, carrying a police whistle and lantern. Rhoda also took charge of the Sun Life Insurance Companys local Branch Office in order that a man might be relieved for active service’.

Author: others

Post on 08-May-2022

9 views

Category:

Documents


0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

EVERY ONE REMEMBERED
The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has
developed a project they call Every One Remembered, to individually commemorate over 1 million
Commonwealth Service men and women who were killed during the First World War.
This initiative struck a chord with me personally as it gave my family the opportunity to mark the
sacrifice made by my great uncle, my grandfather’s brother, who died from Spanish flu in a Prisoner of
War camp, just three days after the war ended in 1918.
We had heard many stories of Uncle Daniel over the years, but
no one had ever been able to visit his grave until, with the British
Legion’s help, we were able to locate his final resting place in
Niederzwehren Cemetry, Germany.
In early October, some of my cousins made the trip and spent
several hours at his graveside, remembering the man we never
knew and wondering what his life might have held had he lived
beyond those 24 short years. They left poems and messages from
the extended family and it is wonderful to think that that lonely
unvisited grave has now been recognised. (Sadly, their trip
clashed with the school’s Open Morning as I would obviously
have loved to have joined them but I am determined to visit one
day to pay my respects).
This Sunday I will be thinking of Uncle Daniel particularly of
course, but this week I have also been thinking of those connected
with our school who may not have made the ultimate sacrifice, but
whose lives were undeniably altered forever by the so called Great
War.
Women like alumna Rhoda Brodie who received an MBE for her
war work from the Director General for Voluntary Organisations
and in 1915 established the Croydon Women’s Patrols. The women
volunteers patrolled in couples for two hours in the evening,
carrying a police whistle and lantern.
Rhoda also took charge of the Sun Life Insurance Company’s local
Branch Office in order that a man ‘might be relieved for active
service’.
E V E R Y G I R L - E V E R Y D A Y
Or Kate Luard, who attended Croydon High along with her
three sisters, referring to her time here as ‘a defining moment
in her life.’ Kate served as a nurse in the Boer War and was
one of the first nurses to join the British Expeditionary Force at
the start of WW1, initially working on ambulance trains
bringing the wounded from the battlefields. During the war,
she was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the
1st class Royal Red Cross medal and bar. Kate was Head Sister
of No 32 Casualty Clearing Station at Brandhoek during the
Battle of Passchendaele. She is the author of two books
describing her experiences.
Or Kathleen Mary Leeds who was also a pupil here, teaching
at Portsmouth High before returning to Croydon High as
Assistant Headmistress. Kathleen was the secretary of the
School War Savings Association that started in July 1916 and
culminated in a total collection of over £6,000 in War Savings
Certificates. Kathleen was also a member of the Croydon
Women’s Patrols. She died in 1921 and the school decided to
invite contributions to a fund to provide a special prize to bear her name. The Kathleen Mary Leeds
Award for Sciences and Mathematics still exists today and was recently awarded to former Head Girl
Praveena at Senior Prizegiving in September of this year.
These are just some of the ‘big names’ - if you like – associated with the school and the war effort. But
what is more moving in a way, is the realisation that so many of our alumnae were involved, like women
all over the country, in doing far more than just ‘keeping the home fires burning.’
An entry in Croydon High’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee publication in 1924 sums this up.
“No reference to the war years can omit the work done by our old girls. It
is with pride and affectionate admiration that we have watched their
patriotic and unselfish work. I think there cannot be many forms of
women's work during the Great War in which our old girls did not share.
They were V.A.D. nurses; they joined the W.A.A.C.S., the W.R.E.N.S.,
and the Women's Air Service. They drove Army motorcars in England,
France and Macedonia. They helped take care of Belgian refugees. They
served as Army cooks and as voluntary helpers in Y.M.C.A. and Church
Army canteens. They took part in munition work; they served in Police
patrols. Some took the places of men in Government offices and banks,
and had responsible positions; some taught boys in public schools. They
worked in the Land Army at all kinds of work, including ploughing,
milking, and driving cattle to market.
9 November 2018
Our old girls came forward at the call of their country. They did their best, forgetting everything but patriotism, and
they gave themselves to work which was sometimes difficult, uncongenial, and sometimes very dull though
necessary. I think that there was much quiet in many cases ; for instance, in those who did the hard monotonous
work of hospital orderlies, and those who had never in their lives before had anything to do with cows, yet persevered
in milking them by lantern light, week after week, on cold winter mornings. We have been led to admire many of our
old girls, who have shown a wonderful spirit of devotion and unselfishness.”
I found the final paragraph to be particularly moving especially as I felt it to be as true today as it was
then.
“Can we allow ourselves to believe that some of their power to be helpful in their country's hour of need was derived
from their training in public spirit as members of a large school? We trust that it may be so, and we earnestly hope
that the present generation of girls and those who succeed them will be helped by their school-life to develop into
good, capable, and unselfish women who will be ready and able to help in the great work of national reconstruction.”
We pray that our girls will never be called upon to make the sacrifices that previous generations have
made, but we also hope that the words of our school motto - May her character and talents inspire others
– will prove to be a continued motivation to them all, wherever life takes them.
And to all those who sacrificed so much…
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
With many thanks to Karen Roe for bringing together the archive material that commemorates Croydon
High’s involvement in World War 1 and which inspired this piece.
Fran Cook