Berkhamsted Group | 15.11.2021

Memorial Garden and new acacia marks Remembrance Day 2021 

Memorial Garden and new acacia marks Remembrance Day 2021 

With Remembrance Day in mind, the Berkhamsted community took time to think of those affected by war. During the two World Wars, 368 pupils of Berkhamsted School were lost. Reflecting upon the history and honouring those who served to protect the nation forms a part of school life from Pre-Prep right through to Sixth Form at this time of year.  

We will remember them

Pre-Prep held a Remembrance Service thinking about the symbolism of the poppy and the importance of remembering those who sacrificed their lives. A poignant moment for the children, even at this young age.

Heatherton pupils explore the meaning

Whilst also reflecting upon those who were affected by war in a thoughtful Assembly taken by the Years 6 girls and the School Chaplain, the pupils at Heatherton learnt about the moving history of Remembrance Day. Year 3 discovered the meanings of the different coloured poppies, and the girls were educated by a pupil’s father from the British Armed Forces, through a powerful assembly. 

Year 6 readers and musicians

A collective act of remembrance took place at Prep, led by readers from Year 6 and The Last Post played expertly by their musicians. 

Senior School stands still in silence

The Senior School day stood still for one-minute. The still silence contrasted with the buzzing pace of school life, giving pupils the opportunity to reflect.  

A previous investigation into life during war time revealed a fascinating insight to life at Berkhamsted Girls in 1914.  

In an extract taken from the Berkhamsted Chronical in December 2016, Headteacher Miss Beatrice Harris wrote: 

 “The War has this term dominated our thoughts and activities. It is right that we should realise, right that we should sympathise, right we should help; yet right too we should first and foremost do well all the daily work and duties allotted to us, and make our School able to take place “at the front” if needs be.” 

The essence of the message notably draws a close comparison to our modern school values such as ‘aiming high with integrity’ and ‘serving others’. 

Lunchtime surprise

The Chartwells catering team shared a thought-provoking display in the lunch hall to highlight the ration allowances during the war. 

Remembrance Sunday

Corps of Berkhamsted Combined Cadet Force paraded along the High Street to mark Remembrance Sunday.  The community witnessed the skill and discipline as they marched in synchronisation donning the immaculate CCF uniforms. 

Photo by Gary Deacon.

Remembrance Garden renovation

In the closing stages of the First World War there was much discussion surrounding the erection of War Memorials. The Library was linked to the Chapel by the Remembrance Garden which is a prominent reminder of all those Old Berkhamstedians, who have lost their lives in the service of their country. A second bronze plaque was placed in the cloisters to commemorate those Old Berkhamstedians who fell in the Second World War. 

The Old Berkhamstedians decided that after nearly 100 years the Remembrance Garden was in need of further renovation and have worked with the School to place railings on each of the 4 walls with the simple message ‘We Remember.’ 

New acacia tree

Sadly, the summer saw the removal of the famous acacia tree that had stood in Gravel Quad for over 100 years.  The decaying tree was required to be felled to ensure the safety to people and property.  

The original acacia tree was replaced in 1919 on Armistice Day by masters who had served at the Front. 102 years later in 2021, that tree had to be felled, but the tradition has continued with the planting of its replacement, generously funded by the Old Berkhamstedians. 

During the service, President of the Old Berkhamstedians Brigitta Case declared – ‘it’s a great honour to plant the acacia tree today continuing a tradition of over 200 years whereby this tree has been and will continue to be a focal point of the Gravel Quad.” 

The images show the acacia tree as it stood in 2019 and in history. In the early 1900s, the original tree was photographed overlooking the Grass Quad (before the Memorial Library was built).

Former student, Keith Goddard, selected wood from the tree to be reused. His wood turning skills led to the creation of a collection of bowls and other items that will be sold to raise money for memorial charities.  Further details will be available, once they are on sale.  

Connect with the Berkhamsted Community

Join Berkhamsted Connections to reconnect with your schooldays and explore plethora of historic content.

Berkhamsted Connections

URL copied!