Loyal lives: QE pays tribute to its war dead, including Old Elizabethan awarded the Victoria Cross

Loyal lives: QE pays tribute to its war dead, including Old Elizabethan awarded the Victoria Cross

Pupils and staff honoured those who lost their lives in conflict in remembrance events held both at the School and in the centre of Barnet.

With 11th November falling on a Saturday this year, the School held its 2017 remembrance event on the preceding Friday, while on Remembrance Sunday, 19 cadets from QE’s Combined Cadet Force turned out for the church parade, which started from the Barnet Army Reserve Centre.

The Headmaster said: “As a School, we continue to cleave to the importance of remembering Old Elizabethans and others in our local community who made the ultimate sacrifice. Such ceremonies are important not only because they honour the past, but also because they inculcate values of service in the pupils of today that will strengthen the School for the future –  a sentiment reflected in the petition of our School prayer that “even as we are being helped by the remembrance of the loyal lives of those who came before us, so our faithfulness in Thy service may aid those who shall take our places”.

At the end of a week in which poppies had been sold in School, the QE event began when a party of CCF cadets marched to the World War I memorial in the Crush Hall (the boys’ time-honoured name for the main entrance area). The short act of remembrance that took place there included the playing of the Last Post by Year 11 pupil Tristan Boldy and a two-minute silence at 11am.

The ceremony also included a reading about Old Elizabethan Allastair McReady-Diarmid, which featured the Account of the Deed – the summary of the events which led to him being awarded the Victoria Cross. On two consecutive days in late 1917, Acting Captain McReady-Diarmid led soldiers through a heavy barrage on the Western Front, engaging the enemy and regaining ground which had been lost. The Account states: “It was entirely due to his marvellous throwing of bombs that the ground was regained, but he was eventually killed by a bomb.” On next month’s 100th anniversary of his death, a memorial paving stone is being dedicated to his memory in New Southgate, where he was born. The School will be sending representatives, including members of the CCF, to the event.

For the Remembrance Day Parade, QE’s cadets gathered in the cold at the Army Reserve Centre, where they were led by the Contingent Commander, Major Mev Armon, who is a Biology teacher, together with Charlie Maud-Munro, a Schools Direct trainee teacher in the Technology department, who is also part of the CCF.

“We met at 9.30 and stepped off at 10.15, marching with two Army reserve units, Army veterans, the Army Cadet Force, the Air Cadet Corps and others, including the St John Ambulance and the scouts and guides,” said Major Armon. They marched to the accompaniment of the Corps of Drums of Mill Hill School.

“When we arrived at St John the Baptist Parish Church, our wreath was laid on the memorial by Cadet Sergeant Major Shyam Gadhvi, of Year 13. A service was held at the church and we all marched back to the Army Reserve Centre. Many parents were in attendance.”