One hundred years on, Trinity Sixth Formers have helped their school remember events that took place in 1915.
Historians Joe Rooke, Connor Stevens, Clare Ritchie and Luke Saint (all Year 12) spoke during Remembrance Day assembly about the course of the war, the impact upon the Home Front, and the sacrifice made by Old Boys. The year 1915 witnessed the lights go out on hopes for a short conflict and saw the first casualties amongst former and current Trinity pupils.
Having undertaken extensive research, the four Sixth Formers recounted the efforts and sacrifice of the people of Croydon during the Great War. In a moving tribute they spoke about the three Currie brothers, pupils at Whitgift Middle School (as Trinity was then known) aged 10, 14 and 15, who were killed in October 1915 during a zeppelin raid in Croydon, and the 23 Trinity Old Boys who had responded to the call to arms in 1914 and paid the ultimate sacrifice during 1915 (in total 132 would lose their lives in WW1). One of these was Lance Corporal Thomas Ferguson of 27 Waddon Park Avenue, Croydon. He enlisted in a volunteer battalion in September 2014, disembarked at Le Havre (France) on 16th March 1915, entitling him to the 1914-15 Star Cross. He died in the following May during the Battle of Festubert (Pas-de-Calais, France) aged just 18.
To mark their commiserations, The Croydon Advertiser and Surrey County Reporter of 6 June 1915 carried the following article printed under the title: “Territorials’ Terrible Trench Fighting - Croydon Lad’s Gallantry and Death”: -“Another promising young Croydon soldier, Lce-Cpl Thos. Richard Augustus Ferguson, 1/24th Battalion the London Regiment, has laid down his life in his country’s service. He was the son of Mr Ferguson, manager of Farrow’s Bank, High-Street Croydon, and was only 18 years of age.”
Trinity Head of History, Gerry Spreng said: “1915 was a year when the optimism and innocence of the people was shattered in the face of rising casualties both on the battlefields and at home, and the resolve of the nation was key to the survival and efficiency of the Home Front. By engaging with local history and the school archives for our Remembrance assembly, our current students will have gained a valuable appreciation of the national context.”
To close the assembly pupils listened to Rachmaninov’s reflective Prelude in G Minor played on the piano by Nadia Eskandari (Year 13). The Headmaster accompanied by senior pupils and the CCF Honour Guard then laid a wreath at the foot of the war memorial bearing the names of former pupils who died in action during the two World Wars.
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