Boys and staff came together, with the help of digital streaming, to remember and honour all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Remembrance Day would normally see both Prep and Upper boys, along with academic and support staff, join together in our Great Hall to pay homage to fallen as a community. With boys packed in, younger ones jostling to share a seat, the experience is always deeply moving.
With COVID guidelines to adhere to, Remembrance Assembly this year needed to be a bit different. At 10:45 all boys, from our youngest in Year 3 right up to our Upper Sixth Formers, attended an assembly held in their classrooms where, simultaneously, they watched the Remembrance assembly broadcast live from the grounds outside our Memorial Hall. The boys heard from the Head Master, Headmaster of the Prep School, Head of Corps, our RSM, and the school Chaplain, as they gave readings, read poems and said prayers. The Head Master continued the tradition of reading out the names of fallen Old Bedfordians – this year resuming with surnames beginning with ‘R’.
At exactly two minutes to eleven, five trumpeters, placed at various points of the estate stretching from the Main Building across the Inky pitch to the Prep School Playground, played out The Last Post in unison to signal the start of the two-minute silence. The boys played beautifully as they stood with golden autumn leaves falling around them, the evocative bugle call filling the air. Boys and teachers listened from all around the school, stood in their classrooms, with windows open. Members of support staff also came out to stand and join as a community to observe the two-minute silence.
The silence was broken by the trumpeters playing the Reveille and was shortly followed by the Chapel Choir singing For the Fallen, pre-recorded from earlier in the week and cleverly edited into the broadcast.
After the assembly, the boys were able to talk through the service, and age appropriately, discuss how it made them feel. Some Y3 boys talked about the ages of the fallen OBs who were read out, and some shared stories about relatives who had served in the wars. They also learnt about Old Bedfordian Sub-Lieutenant Arthur Tisdall who was a pupil here between 1900 and 1909.
This year’s service also served to connect the school community, albeit online, as they came together in solidarity for this time-honoured act of remembrance.
On Sunday, instead of our usual Remembrance Chapel service, we recorded a special film, in which the school Chaplain led a programme of prayers, sermons, hymns, laying of wreaths and a two-minute silence to mark the occasion. You can watch the service here.