A hundred years ago

I hope all those in the AKS community have seen the ‘News From The Front’, a monthly publication researched and produced by Kevin Adamson, one of our highly valued volunteer archivists. In August 2014 his first edition began:

‘The centenary of the start of the Great War is now upon us. The idea of the bulletin is to give a brief insight to the events of the war as it unfolds, the local people involved and where possible provide information on those Old Boys who were serving in the armed forces. This first ‘News from the Front’ will concentrate on August 1914. Source material will be primarily from ‘The Official History of the Great War’, The National Archives, Local Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, local newspaper reports and the schools archives.’

For over four years Kevin has reported month by month what was happening exactly one hundred years ago. I have been fascinated, and greatly moved, by stories of the impact on people living in houses that surround my own home, of families that attended Arnold, King Edward and Queen Mary schools. Most touching of all being the reaction to the loss of so many of our former students.

The final edition talks about the origin of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We are reminded that 16 Arnold and King Edward Old Boys who served in France and Flanders were never found. The Unknown Soldier could be one of ours. There is also an account of how both schools sought to commemorate the students who died and how we came to have the memorials now at the back of our school hall. There is further information about local memorials, particularly the symbolism of the bronze figures at St Annes. As every year on Remembrance Sunday, our CCF will represent the school at the St Annes memorial, our choir will be at Lytham.

For me, News From The Front has enriched my understanding of the history of this community and my appreciation of those brave alumni who gave so much. Kevin concludes the last edition with a quote from Sir Douglas Haigh in 1919, words that all of us involved in education might reflect on:

‘We have won, and if my reading of history and current events is correct, we have won because our national character is sound; because it is founded in honesty and a love of justice, inspired by comradeship and self-sacrifice, secured by a great capacity for common action in pursuit of high ideals. Let us do our utmost to keep it so and to hand it on strengthened to our children’

M H P Walton