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.
Remembering the 149 - OBs in The Great War
From the very beginning of the War, efforts had been made to collect and classify information as to the services of Old Brightonians, but the great mass of material rapidly became difficult to handle. A War Record was first published by the Old Brightonians in 1920 featuring a full Roll of Honour and a list of all those who had served. It was admitted at the time that it was incomplete and may contain errors. It has for the last 100 years been our most valuable source of information about those who served, and those who lost their lives.
The Brighton College Roll of Honour to date lists 149 former pupils killed on active service during the Great War. One of the first two officers killed in the conflict was Second Lt. Vincent Waterfall, of Hampden House/Chichester House, aged just 22. Old Brightonians fought and died in Palestine, at the Somme, at Ypres, and in the final push for victory in the week before the Armistice was signed, on 11 November 1918.