Introduction from Dominic Oliver, Head Master
Hosts to the to-ing and fro-ing of Lancing life, the cloisters of the Lower and Upper Quads are a wonderful feature of the energy and vitality of the College. It is in striking contrast that we find the tranquility of the Memorial Cloister. A beautiful and calm place, it is the perfect environment in which to contemplate those connected to Lancing who suffered in the great wars of the Twentieth Century. The Cloister’s setting in the lee of the Chapel and alongside the rose garden; its carefully wrought design; the beautiful craftsmanship; the sheer extent of the lists of the dead; all are elements which combine to generate a powerfully contemplative impact on everyone who spends time there.
The generosity and labours of John Hamblin OL in creating this online memorial to match the inscriptions in the Cloister have produced an exhaustive work for which we must all be extremely grateful. The painstaking and thorough research on display enables us to go far beyond names and dates and to connect with the details of the young men who gave their lives; in looking through the archive the carved stone of bare fact becomes animated and deeply affecting.
In November each year the College community gathers for a solemn Requiem Mass. In watching Lancing’s young men and women take leading roles in our Act of Remembrance it is always arresting to be reminded that those who suffered so terribly and in such great numbers were youths just like them, many of them barely out of school. This contrast of vitality and recollected devastation will be all the more powerful as we approach the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The writer and philosopher George Santayana wrote in 1906 that
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Schools, by definition, must be places of learning and in our meditation upon Remembrance we aim both to reflect upon the sacrifice of those who have gone before us and to learn from history’s most profound and troubling lessons.
"To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
"Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
with All who died."
We do indeed hold high the torch all these heroes threw and we keep faith with those who died. This website will assist us in so doing as well as ensuring that we remain sincere and true to Laurence Binyon's lines of remembrance which the Chapel Choir sing at the War Memorial each November:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
"Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes.
Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore."