St Paul's Unveils Courtyard Cenotaph

Memorial for school's war dead, including Marine Sam Alexander

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St Paul's School now has its own cenotaph, thanks to a young civic minded pupil, Joshua Greenberg.

Although only 17 years old, Joshua, a current pupil and keen historian came up with the idea of the cenotaph to commemorate the war dead from St Paul's following a school trip to the World War 1 Battlefields in France and Belgium.

The unveiling of the newly commissioned school cenotaph took place place at the Service of Remembrance held on Friday, November 11 in commemoration of the Old Paulines who have given their lives in conflict.

The event was attended by the several war veterans and their families, who came together for readings and prayers and to pay their respects in a two-minute silence.

With the support of school staff, the Old Pauline Club and the governing body, Joshua has been at the forefront of every stage of planning the cenotaph; from design through to ordering the Portland stone for the monument, the same stone used in Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries all around the world.

On the day of the service, the school, in Lonsdale Road in Barnes opened its gates to 100 guests, including Admiral Sir John Treacher, former St Paul’s pupil and retired Commander-in-Chief Fleet, and Serena Alexander whose son, Marine Sam Alexander, MC (Old Pauline 1995-1998) died in action in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Laying the wreath on behalf of all the Old Paulines who have been killed in the most recent of conflicts, Mrs Alexander was particularly touched by the event to be held in remembrance of her son and fellow comrades. She said: " The opening of the cenotaph and where he and his fellow servicemen will always be remembered is a real tribute and one that means a great deal to his family."

The School’s Governors, Staff, Paulines and members of the school community gathered for readings and prayers by the High Master and Chaplain, while representatives of the school, including the President of the Old Pauline Club, Captain of School and Colet Court Head Boy, each laid a wreath at the cenotaph.

St Paul’s School is over 500 years old and many Old Paulines have been killed in military conflict. This heightens the importance of current pupils recognizing the sacrifices of former pupils, and the memorial symbolises that link and recognition. Also, the tragic loss of a recent Old Pauline in Afghanistan resonates with many of this generation.

The Cenotaph will be the focus of the central courtyard of the School in the future, and the focal point of the Remembrance ceremony in the future.

" The St Paul’s community is committed to the memory of all Old Paulines who have given their lives in conflict. We are proud to be holding a service on 11.11.11 to commemorate the war dead, to keep alive the words of remembrance in the poem by Old Pauline, Laurence Binyon, and to preserve the memory within the current generation of pupils," said High Master, Professor Mark Bailey.

 

November 11, 2011

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