In the early summer of 1914, the Head Master of Brighton College, Canon W. R. Dawson, spoke to the school in Chapel. He called on every boy present to stand ready to sacrifice his life in defence of his country.
No shot had yet been fired in anger, Austria’s Archduke still lived, few anticipated a European war, and yet Brighton’s Head Master seemed to sense the approaching clouds of conflict.
There were probably 280 boys in the Chapel that day. By November 1918, many of them were dead, some of the 149 Old Boys killed in the Great War. Ten of them were still teenagers.
100 years on from the outbreak of that terrible war, we have created a new memorial at the College in honour of the sacrifice and suffering of the 149 Old Brightonians who never returned to this place. In this act of remembrance, I hope to provide every pupil here with a daily reminder of how very lucky we are.
Our community has come together to remember each of the boys from our Roll of Honour, and I would like to thank all of the donors who have generously supported the College’s efforts to ensure that we remember each and every one of them. It has been both humbling and life-affirming, and I thank you unreservedly for your support. The statue that we have created together is both a poignant reminder of the sacrifices that were made, and also the kind-heartedness of the Brighton College community. The new chapel courtyard has given us an area for quiet and contemplation, both so important in the hustle and bustle of College life.
The Lest We Forget project and the details and stories in our Roll of Honour will ensure that our commemoration will leave a lasting legacy. When we say together “We will remember them”, we can stand proudly and know that we truly do.
Head Master Richard Cairns