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Pupils re-enact horror of Somme

Pupils re-enact horror of Somme

To honour the 707 former Wellington College pupils killed in the First World War - including Rudyard Kipling's son Jack and poet Jack Girling - the same number of students lay motionless on the ground in the independent school's front quadrangle.

Students at the £10,500-a-term school in Crowthorne, Berkshire, commemorated the lives of the hundreds of alumni who died on the bloody battlefields of the Great War.

 Silence fell as the youngsters, girls and boys aged between 13 and 18 years, passed into the quad in front of the school, established in 1859 and named after the Duke of Wellington, which houses a memorial and roll call of former pupils from the Berkshire college, killed during military service.

The school's chaplain, Father Tim Novis, led a prayer before a reading of AE Housman's poem Here Dead We Lie by college head boy and girl, Harry Randall and India Ayles.

Including the 501 Old Wellingtonians who were killed in the Second World War and dozens more in conflicts since, the school has lost 1,340 ex-students on the battlefield.

In 1915 the Crowthorne-based college - which now boasts more than 1,000 pupils - had 526 students.

Wellington's Master Dr Anthony Seldon said: 'One is always trying to find ways of making the extent of the sacrifice meaningful to young people.

'This year we came up with the idea, to make it real for them, of selecting 707 - which is about 70 per cent of the pupils - to lie down on the ground," said Mr Seldon, who is also Tony's Blair's biographer.

'It was quite damp and cold and I think that helped them to realise how utterly devastating these numbers are.'

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Posted in General By Sarah


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