St John's School in Wartime

A blog about the history of St John's School Leatherhead in wartime and those Old Johnians who served in the First and Second World Wars.

The War Memorial

Dedication of the War Memorial: 19th June 1920.

From: The Johnian Magazine Vol. XXXV. No. 4, July, 1920.


There were two impressive ceremonies at the School on Saturday afternoon, June 19th. The first was the dedication of a floor Cross in the chancel of the chapel, and the second the unveiling of a Cross in the Inner Quadrangle. Both Crosses were in memory of the 150 old boys of the school who were killed on war service.

The Cross in the chapel was dedicated during a short service by the Bishop of Buckingham, in the presence of a congregation so large that there was not room in the School Chapel for all who wished to attend.  The service opened with the processional hymn "O God, our help in ages past," and then prayers were offered for the Nation and for the Church by the Headmaster (the Revd E A  Downes). Psalm 150 was beautifully chanted by the choir, and there followed, as the lesson, Ecclesiasticus XLIV, 1-15.  Immediately prior to the unveiling and dedication of the Cross came the hymn " They whose course on earth is o'er," while after the  prayer of   dedication and the prayer of commemoration for the old boys who died in the war, the " Last Post " was sounded with memorable effect by a bugler. The service concluded with the Blessing and the National  Anthem.

The memorial in the chapel consisted of a brass Cross with a border of brass on the floor of the chancel.  The inscription was "Our Glorious Dead, 1914- 1919. All live unto Him".  The Cross in the Inner Quadrangle was next unveiled. Admiral Lord Jellicoe had arranged to be present to perform this duty, but, owing to illness, he was prevented from fulfilling the engagement.  

Major H.H. Gordon Clark, High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant, acted in his stead. A guard of honour - composed of a company of the School O.T.C. lined the path through the Quadrangle in the centre of which the Cross had been erected. The Union Jack covering the Cross was removed by Major Gordon Clark, and the dedicatory prayers were said by the Bishop of Buckingham.

The "Last Post" was sounded by the buglers of the O.T.C., while the Guard of Honour presented arms, and the spectators assembled round the Quadrangle stood in silence. The poignant notes of the call reverberated through the cloisters of the Quadrangle as if they were an ethereal echo from the gallant dead to whom tribute was being paid. These moments were deeply impressive. The surpliced choir sang the hymn " Ten thousand times ten thousand," and the ceremony concluded with the National Anthem, played by the drum and fife band of the O.T.C.

The Cross is of Portland stone, and simple in design.  The Latin inscription is as follows : —