By Ben Adams (U6, BH)
The annual visit to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire always promises to be a poignant occasion, one made more so by the First World War Centenary. As it has done since the start of such commemorations, College took all of the Third Form to the NMA, allowing the pupils to explore the ever-expanding site and to view the ‘Shot at Dawn Memorial’, which commemorated the British Army and Commonwealth soldiers executed after courts-martial for desertion. It was moving to see the year group genuinely reflecting on the stories being told and even taking the time to visit the memorials of Regiments of their relations, scanning the lists to find specific names. The visit ended with a remembrance service at the College memorial, conducted each year to remember the 675 Old Cheltonians who gave their life to the preservation of freedom during the Great War. Our thanks go to those that laid wreaths, read and especially to Charlie Meecham-Jones (3rd, Xt) who played the Last Post.
As always, the trip served as a poignant reminder of the human cost of war, reinforcing the tragedy spawned by the First World War and the proceeding conflict. But also acting as a reminder of the strong link College has with the Military, with over 6000 OCs having served. We look forward to next year’s visit and seeing again the Cheltonians of past and present.