Ahead of Armistice Day on Saturday 11 November, the entire school stood together solemnly on the Quad, taking a poignant moment to pause, reflect and remember during the Act of Remembrance, on Friday 10 November.

The service was supported by the CCF Guard of Honour and led by the School Chaplain. A floral wreath was laid upon the war memorial in the centre of the Quad by The Head, Alex Tate, alongside poppy adorned wreaths placed by the School Captains, Hannah and Luke, and Old Johnian and Chairman of the Council, John Gravett, on behalf of the Old Johnian community.

The Last Post was performed wonderfully by Upper Sixth pupil, Henry, and the Schola Cantorum performed a spellbinding rendition of ‘Upon Your Heart’ (Eleanor Daley).

The remarkably moving Act of Remembrance saw silence fall across all four sides of the Quad. Every year, the Act of Remembrance provides us all with a resounding awareness of how lucky we are to be safe, well, and able to take this moment together as a community to reflect. Many years ago, pupils who walked the paths that we now do, sacrificed their lives for the freedom we have today. The School community are encouraged to visit Chapel if they wish to take a moment for private remembrance and reflection, and to view the names of pupils who gave their lives for our freedoms, inscribed upon honour boards.

The CCF Regimental Dinner will take place on Friday evening, with a number of different uniforms in attendance.

Several pupils took part in the Western Front Association research competition last academic year where they researched the lives of two Old Johnians who fought in the First World War. Following their research, we are delighted that they have been invited to partake in the national parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, to lay a wreath and attend the Guards’ Chapel ceremony that follows.

On Sunday, the School will provide a further opportunity for remembrance and reflection, as our community commemorate those lost and affected whilst serving our country at a Remembrance Service in the Chapel. During the service, the Last Post will be performed by Lower Fifth pupil, Harry, and alongside the Schola Cantorum performing again, the choir will be singing Lacrymosa (Howard Goodall).

St John’s School, Leatherhead and the Great War 1914-1919, written by our archivist, Sally Todd, and former staff member Neil Pudney, is an absorbing account of the School during the First World War. Beautifully designed and illustrated, it details the lives of pupils, staff, alumni, and the School itself during one of the most tumultuous periods in modern history. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please email: development@stjohns.surrey.sch.uk. To receive your order in time for Christmas, please place an order by Friday 8 December 2023.

Furthermore, the St John’s War Memorial website commemorates those who served in the First World War. Please visit the website to find out more, including the roll of honour and some individual biographies: http://stjohnsleatherheadatwar.co.uk/