Sunday, 11 May 2014

Foyle College - Those that perished in the Second World War.

As was the case with the Great War conscription only affected those old boys of Foyle College who were resident in Britain. Accordingly the vast majority of the three hundred and sixty seven who responded to the call to arms were volunteers. Thirty nine of their number were not to return. Their sacrifice was acknowledged, honoured and remembered on a memorial handed over to the school by the Old Boys' Association on Thursday 12th January 1950. The dedication service took place in the School Hall with the entire school in attendance together with many of those who had served and survived.


The service opened with the appreciative words of, "O God, our help in ages past ..." Colonel H. I Cunningham then read from Revelation VII, 11-17. and this was followed by words of commemoration by Rev W. I. Steele. The assemblage then all joined in the Lord's Prayer. This was followed by the Headmaster, W. A.C. McConnell M.A reading out the names of the fallen:-

James Logan Adair

Finlay Kerr Austin

Stanley Maurice Austin

Ernest Henry Mackenzie Barr

Tudor Beattie

Walter John Best

Robert Desmond Connell

James Gilbert Crawford

Peter Day

Andrew Woodrow Dunn

Ronald Desmond Fletcher

James Edgar Glendinning

William Harpur

William Cecil Harris

Hugh Desmond Kelly

Mark Kerr

George Newman Laslett

George Ian Wikson Lusk

William McDermott

James Nesbitt McGranahan

Thomas Stanley Clarke McKee

William Alexander McKinley

James McNeary

Robert AllisonMcPhillimy

James Lyle Douglas Mark

Kenneth Arthur Marriott

William Ernest Norman Maxwell

William Daniel Miles

Samuel Cecil Morrison

Alastair William Perry

John Alexander Ree

Maurice Cheyne Reid

William Gardner Shannon

John Alexander Smyth

James Dickson Stewart

James Watson

Hubert Weir

Robert Wilson

Robert Gilmour Young


Captain A. F. Pugsley, C.B., D.S.O., RN then proceeded to unveil the memorial. Group Captain P. D. Cracroft, A.F.C read an extract from the Funeral Oration of Pericles. These words may be of considerable antiquity and the values they honour may be old fashioned and some might say irrelevant in the twenty first century but whenever I hear them I always have that lump in my throat and have to surreptitiously, as the lyrics tell me, " wipe that tear baby dear from your eye."

" Let your thoughts dwell day by day on your country's true greatness and when you realise all her grandeur, remember it is a heritage won for you by dauntless men who knew their duty and did it. In the hour of trial the one thing they feared was dishonour - they failed not their Motherland but laid their gallant lives at her feet. In one great host did they give themselves to death: but each one, man by man, has won imperishable praise, each has gained a glorious grave - not the sepulchre of earth wherein they lie, but the living tomb of everlasting remembrance wherein their glory is enshrined, remembrance that will live on the lips, that will blossom in the deeds of their countrymen the world over. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of heroes, monuments may rise and tablets be set up to them in their own land, but on the far off shores there is an abiding memorial that no pen or chisel has traced, it is graven, not on stone or brass, but on the living heart of humanity. Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity can only be for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."


The dedication of the memorial was then performed by the Dean of Derry and Rector of the Parish of Templemore, The Very Rev. L. R. Lawrenson. This was followed by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille. That concluded Captain Thomas A. Irvine, R.A. (T.A.) handed over the memorial on behalf of the Old Boys' Association to the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors, J. C. Eaton J.P. The School then joined in the singing of, " For all the saints who from their labours rest ..," The service concluded with the Benediction and the singing of the National Anthem.

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