This week every pupil at the College given a copy of the book “Never to Return Brighton College’s Fallen 1914-18”. There have been many touching stories shared throughout our remembrance activities and just this week the Head Master heard from Lucy Spink, a current College parent, which she has kindly agree to share with the College community:
“Many thanks indeed for the copy of Never to Return given to Phoebe. It is an amazing and tragic work, and I have been absolutely fascinated by it. I thought I ought to share with you that my maternal grandfather, Douglas Lewes Mortimer Neame, known as Morty, was first cousin to five of the fallen – Gordon, Raymond and Harold Belcher (brothers), Geoffrey Neame and Gerald Tassel-Neame (cousins).
Monty was 14, the same age as Phoebe is now, when the first of his cousins was killed. He served in both World Wars and died in 1988. He never spoke of his lost cousins, or ever mentioned either war. Harold and Raymond Belcher and Geoffrey Neame are listed in his address book, crossed out and annotated with ‘Killed in Action’. The effect of the losses upon him and the family must have been devastating.
All five were, therefore, first cousins thrice removed to Phoebe who is now in Fourth Form at the College. Additionally, Rev Thomas Hayes Belcher Head Master Brighton College 1881 to 1892 was her great-great-great uncle, and Arthur Belcher, Head Master Brighton College 1933-44, her first cousin thrice removed.”
Following the letter, Phoebe kindly brought in the address book to share with us. The simple act of crossing the names of loved ones from an address book is incredibly moving to see, and we are most grateful to the Spink family for sharing this with us.
It is also wonderful to know that the Belcher-Neame-Spink dynasty continues with us here at the College.