CLS Remembers fallen Alumni in 100th anniversary of Armistice Day


13 November 2018

On Friday, 9th November, CLS commemorated the centenary of Armistice Day, marking the end of the First World War. Of the millions of lives lost during the war, at least 365 of those were alumni of this school. This anniversary leads us not only to remember the fallen but also to celebrate the courage and conviction shown by our old citizens in almost every aspect of the conflict.

The activities of our alumni during the war reflect the richness and diversity that CLS has championed in its pupils from its inception until today.

H.H. Asquith (CLS 1864-70) was Prime Minister when the war was declared and lost his son at the Somme. We know of at least 1440 old citizens who fought in the war across all fronts, from conscripted privates to commissioned officers. The School Magazine lists their many honours and accomplishments.

Putting their careers and studies on hold, our alumni contributed to the war effort as best fitted their skills and training. At least 40 men served as doctors and medics with the R.A.M.C. and other organisations saving lives across the front. T.B. Hardy (CLS 1879-82) despite being deemed too old to serve, worked on the front lines as a chaplain, earning the Victoria Cross. Hardy was not our only chaplain, with V. G. Simmons (CLS 1900-02) being the second of only a handful of Jewish chaplains to travel to the front.

Some of our old students did not fight, interned overseas as prisoners of war. Others, such as Allan McDougall (CLS 1907-11) felt so strongly opposed to the conflict that they faced hardship in prison as conscientious objectors. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 was attended by several old citizens, attempting to bring an end to global conflict. Works such as Spero’s (CLS 1904-14) The Dreamer, and Montague’s (CLS 1879-85) Disenchantment offer insights into the war and its effects on our old citizens who experienced it directly.

We may never know the exact number of lives lost and irrevocably affected by World War I but anniversaries such as this encourage us to both research and reflect on the sacrifices made by our former pupils.

"Of the millions of lives lost during the war, at least 365 of those were alumni of this school."