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1922 WWI War memorial dedication

The School War Memorial

War memorial
The war memorial

On Tuesday, 27 June 1922, with the Duke of Connaught, President of the Board of Commissioners in attendance, a memorial to the death of Old Boys in World War One was dedicated and unveiled at a cenotaph at the Deal Gate. What follows is a report of the event published in The Dover Express and East Kent News on Friday, So June 1922.

The report is published in full for the reason that Bishop Taylor-Smith’s sermon speaks volumes that one may only appreciate with a full reading . As an enlisted soldier of World War Two and dedicated historian of this history site, I shall exercise the liberty of making editorial comment. That is to say, even allowing for the social, patriarchal and parochial tenor of the times, Bishop Taylor-Smith’s sermon strikes one as exceedingly patronizing and condescending. Offering  sycophantic adoration of the Almighty, Taylor-Smith invokes God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost for granting victory, leaving no doubt in the minds of his listeners that victory was justly earned. Accepting the exhausting effort that won victory - munitions, guns, aeroplanes, ships, supplies and all the paraphernalia of war - not to mention the entry of the United States of America into the conflict, one has to wonder what grace of God was left over to acknowledge the deaths of a noble enemy and the bereavement of their loved ones.   
The Duke of York’s Royal Military School Memorial


On Tuesday the Duke of Connaught, the President of the Duke of York’s Royal Military School unveiled the War Memorial cross at the School and inspected the boys. The Duke of Connaught, who arrived at Dover by the 12.45 Boat Train, was accompanied by General Sir N.G. Lyttleton, Lieut-General Sir. H.E. Belfield, Lieut-General Sir Francis Lloyd, who are Commissioners of the School, Major-General Rover, Colonel Gordon and Mr. G.B. Crossland. The Duke’s car, which carried a Union Jack, drove through Dover and up Castle Hill. Awaiting His Royal Highness’s arrival, the officers, warrant officers, the students, who were in khaki, with rifles, and the boys, under Major Thomas, were drawn up on the parade ground, and His Royal Highness was received with the Royal Salute.


The Duke of Connaught made a closer and lengthy inspect of the ranks, talking to the officers and men and boys, the latter of whom wore the badge of their father’s regiment. At the conclusion of the inspection, some 100 of the Old Boys, who were drawn up in the enclosure, were inspected by the Duke. The students and the boys then marched past the Duke, in open company columns, and afterwards in close company columns; and it need not be said that the march past was a perfect example of such ceremonial. The march over, the boys formed into columns for fours and headed by the band and bugles marched to the Chapel, where the Memorial Tablets with the names of the 247 Old Boys of the School, who fell in the Great War, were to be dedicated by the Chaplain General Bishop Taylor-Smith.


These names are engraved on alabaster tablets of beautiful design, which are placed on the walls of the Chapel. The first tablet contains the names of those who fell in the War again Napoleon, and comprises those who fell in the Peninsular and at Waterloo. Following are the names of those lost in the wars since, but none contain such a list as that of the late war. It commences on one tablet that is only partly filled and takes two more completely and partly fills another. The body of the Church was crowded with the Boys, their bright red uniforms making a striking feature in this beautiful building of red brick, with white stone mouldings. After the Boys had entered, their colours were brought to the chancel and during the service, were fixed to either side of the chancel rails. The Duke of Connaught and his staff were seated on the cross-bench on the south side of the Chapel. The Old Boys and relatives of those fallen filled almost all the remaining space. The service opened with the hymn “How bright those Glorious Spirits shine,” sung with spirit by the boys. Major Dryer read the Lesson from Ecclesiastics xliv., verses 1-14. The two prayers The Lord’s Prayer and the prayer, Almighty God with Whom the spirits of them who departed hence.” were read by the School Chaplain, the Rev. R.G. Semple.

Bishop Taylor Smith then, from the pulpit, dedicated the tablets, saying, “To the glory of God and in loving and grateful memory of those who laid down their lives for King and country in a righteous cause I dedicate these tablets. May we all look upon them and realise the peace of sins forgiven, the joy of faithful service, and the power of the endless life to which may God vouchsafe to bring us all through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

The Bishop took his text from the 12th Chapter of St. Paul to the Hebrews, the first and part of the Second verses: “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us - Looking unto Jesus.”

He said, “I want to speak to you very briefly this afternoon of three great things. I want to speak of a great goodness and then of a great debt and then of a great work. I want to turn your eyes in three directions to-day. First, I want you to look upwards and thank God for his great victory. But, says someone, was it not the men who brought us victory? No, it was not the men, though they went forth, many of them never to return, and those that came back fought bravely. No, it was not the men who saved us. But was it not the money, says someone. No! People gave liberally every time until it hurt, but it was not the money that saved us? But, says another, was it not the munitions, the ships, the guns, the aeroplanes? No, it was not the munitions though we saw them piled up on the battlefield and in the dear home land. It was God who gave us victory. To an unprepared people God was most gracious. So this afternoon I want you to lift up your eyes and lift up your hearts and thank God once again for His great goodness in giving us victory. And now I want you to look in another direction. You have looked up and put God first, now we are going to look back. We are going to think of those who died for us, especially the Old Boys of the Duke of York’s School, who played the game and fought magnificently and added fresh laurels to this school. They went forth never to return that you and I might go in and out of our home in safety. They went forth, forming a living wall between our enemy and our homes and when that was not enough they laid down their lives that we might live. Do not let us think of these dear boys as dead. They are with Christ, which St. Paul said is far better. Death, then, may hide, but not divide: they are but with Christ on the other side. So we may speak of Him of them as they speak to Him, no doubt, of us. They have received great promotion. They were excused the intermediate service, for this life is only the beginning of service, and so we think of them to-day serving still, without hindrance, without temptation, without sin. And their names are not only inscribed on these beautiful tablets, but their names are inscribed on your hearts and mine. So we look back and think of those who laid down their lives that you and I might live. We owe to them a great debt which we can never repay. And the third direction I would ask you to look. Having looked upward and having looked backward, now I want you to look forward and to consider the great work that lies before us. We have built again that which has been broken down. It will require the best and the most if we are going to build well; and who is there amongst us who will hang back from the task? There are three great essentials. First, that all who look upon these names may realise that peace of sin forgiven. That is the first general essential for every soul, young and old, rich and poor - the peace which tells of pardon through the precious death of Jesus. There is no satisfaction in our work whatever that work may be, unless we realise that peace of sin forgiven. Then, boys, when you run races you strip off everything that is possible to be done without so that you may not be hindered and that you may touch the tape first. Seeing we are compassed about with such a cloud of witnesses, the angels in the heavens and men on earth, if we are going to make the most of and do the best for our country then we must get rid of everything that hinders just as we cast away our garments and put on the lightest, so we must cast aside sins that hinder, whatever those sins may be, whether lying, or stealing, or swearing, or uncleanliness, whatever it is, if we are going forward. As we look forward we must cast aside every weight and the sins that so easily best us. Racing men will tell you that a man cannot run with weight and I tell you we cannot run well with sin. The second thing we ask God to grant us all who look at the Memorial, is the joy of service. There is no joy on earth like the joy of faithful service - service for God, service for King and service for country. The joy that I am speaking of was possessed by the great soldier whose body we laid to rest yesterday afternoon in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson. He knew the joy of faithful service. The very night before he was called home he was dining with the Chaplain’s Department in London. He stayed by my side for two hours and a half. I think of that last dinner and the conversation we had. He was such a splendid man. I wish I had time, I know I have not, to tell you the points of his character. He was strong intellectually, he was strong physically and he was strong spiritually. He loved God and he loved men and everyone loved him in consequence. I never attended a service in St. Paul’s and I have attended many memorial service, which so impressed me as that yesterday. I saw strong men having the greatest difficulty to keep tears back. He was frank, he was fearless, and he was frisky - that is the way someone described him, and you see what a noble character was his. He had the joy of faithful service. There is one thing more we pray for and that is that we may possess, all who look upon these memorials, the power of endless life. The endless life means an indwelling Christ. It is not enough to read about Jesus Christ. It is not enough to associate with Jesus Christ in service and in sacrament; it is essential you should received him into your hearts, and then you will be the man that England needs, and you wish to be, you will be true men, strong in the Lord and strong for the Lord, good soldiers living with a great purpose and faithful unto a glorious death. So I turn your eyes in these three directions. This day we look up and thank God for His great goodness in giving us victory. We look back and we remember our great debt to those who died for us, and we look forward to consecrating ourselves to the great work that lies before us. Seeing we are compassed about with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us; let us run with patience and the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, Leader of our Faith.”

The hymn, “For all the Saints,” was sung, and then “God save the King,” and the Benediction concluded the service.


The memorial cross is near the gate on the Deal Road. It is the Cross of Sacrifice to be found in all war cemeteries, with a bronze Crusader’s sword, and bears the following inscription:-

War Memorial inscription

Inscription at the base of the war memorial

“To the Glory of God and in Memory of the Old Boys of the Duke of York’s Royal Military School, who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War, 1914-18.
    “Sons of soldiers, they gave all for their Country:
    “Sons of the Brave.”
    The names and the regiments of the 247 Old Boys of the School here commemorated are inscribed on tablets in the School Chapel.”
   “Went the day well, we died and never knew, but well or ill, England, we died for you.”
The cross stands in a triangle, and round it were grouped the boys, with the Old Boys facing the cross. In addition to the Mayor and Mayoress of Dover, there were also present Councillor Mrs. Ord, Councillors Fox, Livings, Barnes and several Corporation officers, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, the Marquis of Camden, Lord Northbourne and Colonel-Commandant Marindin, and the officers of Dover Garrison. Before unveiling the cross, the Duke of Connaught said:- “Boys of the Duke of York’s School, it affords me particular pleasure to be with you here to-day on the occasion when we are dedicating and unveiling this memorial to those who were educated at this school, and who laid down their lives for King and Country. There are no less than 247 names on the tablet, and I am sure that every boy in this school, and after he leaves the school, will ever remember with pride and grief these splendid young men who were formerly Duke of York’s School Boys, who laid down their lives in this splendid way. Let the example of those who did not fear death ever live with you, and may it be an incentive to all you boys, sons of old soldiers, to emulate their spirit of devotion and bravery, to which this cross is erected. I take this opportunity of saying to the boys of the Duke of York’s Royal Military School how pleased I am to see them again to-day. I have been one of their governors for many years, and have inspected them on many different occasions, but always at their former home, Chelsea. I am very pleased to come and see you here. This is a more healthy place, in the neighbourhood of the old citadel of Dover, than ever it was in the old school at Chelsea. I was very pleased with the appearance  of the boys on parade and the smart manner in which they executed their march past. I feel convinced that the same spirit exists amongst you boys to-day as it has done in years gone by, which has always made the boys of the Duke of York’s School respected throughout the whole of the country. I hope that this memorial, that I am about to unveil, will increase that feeling of self respect, and that feeling of duty, which I think, had been always one of the characteristics of the Duke of York’s School. It may interest some of you to know what the record of the School was during the Great War. As I have said before, no less than 247 fell in the war. The decorations awarded were:-  1 D.S.O., 32 M.C.’s. 1 Distinguished Flying Cross, 7 O.B.E.s, 15 M.B.Es, 35 D.C.M.s, 24 M.M.s, 42 M.S.M.s and 22 various foreign decorations.” Just as the Duke was concluding his speech the threatening rain began to fall, and the flag hiding the memorial was almost torn off by the strong gusts of wind before the Duke could pull it off. The Senior Chaplain then dedicated the memorial in the same words as in the Chapel. The “Last Post” was sounded by the buglers and, after a pause, the “Reveille.”


The Duke afterwards inspect the School, the rain storm having blown over, first witnessing a very clever gymnastic performance by the gymnastic class under S.N. Instructor Wragg. As the Duke took his place to witness the performance, he was introduced to the Mayor of Dover. Speaking to the Mayor, he said that  he always had very pleasant recollections of Dover, with which he was associated in his early years; he enquired if there was any serious unemployment in the town, and if the ex-Service men were suffering, and expressed the hope that all that was possible would be done for them. He also referred to the unveiling of the Dover Patrol Memorial at Cape Blane Nez, which is to take place on July 16th at which his son-in-law (Captain the Hon. A. Ramsay) would be present.

The performance was one that showed the boys at their best. Despite the high wind, they were simply magnificent, and the Duke, as well as all present, repeatedly applauded them. At the close of the display the Duke went to Sergt.-Major Instructor Wragg and personally congratulated him.

After tea the Duke of Connaught returned to Dover en route for London, and as he left the School he was heartily cheered by the boys.


The Old Boys present included the following: Major Lickman, Captain Burrows, Lieut. Burrows, Captain Stanton, Flying Officer Gardner, Captain Cathcart, R.Q.M.S. Booker, S.M. Horton, Mr. Markham, Sergt. Matthews, Sergt. Dudley, Q.M.S. Vokins, Mr. T. E. Palethorp, D.C.M., Mr. Tofree, Mr. Huggins, Mr. Sampson, Mr. Bird-Howard, Q.M.S. Atkins, Mr. Lunam, Mr. Bowden, Q.M.S. Heaysman, Corpl. Culver, Corpl. Case, Bandmaster Dodoughan, Sergt. Earle, Sergt. Gillett, W.O.1. McCarthy, W.O.1. Smith, Bdr. Connolly, Bandmaster McDonald, Bandmaster Cole, W.O. Lee, W.O. Waterson, W.W. Smales, W.O. Meehan, Mr. Thomson, Mr. A. Brent, Mr Lurham, Lieut. Elmalie, W.O. Rove, Mr. Dartnell, Mr. J. Hunt, Sergt. Harle, Mr. Flynn, Mr. Dimond, Mr. McDonald, M.C., Mr. F. Dicken, Mr. Lewis Rudd, Bandsmen Burns, Stevens, Fisher, Bill, Harden, Coble, Boys Poole, Halford, Hills, Woodford, Ford, Coppin, Russell, Murray, Hillook, Edgar, Hubert Tatio, Evans, Hayter, Gilbert and Plunkett.

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