Today we remembered the fallen. In a very sombre but moving service conducted by Reverend Rachel Heathfield, here in Chapel, it was time once again for us to reflect and pay tribute to those brave souls who have died defending our country over the years.

One of my favourite war poems, ‘Disabled’ conveys this stark message of pain and sacrifice in a most plaintive way. Wilfred Owen painted the most graphic picture of a soldier who was fresh from school but completely incapacitated by his wounds. The man, a gifted sportsman who had conned the system to sign up at 19, now sits in his wheelchair waiting for nightfall. Unable to move, he is chilled in a legless grey suit which is sewn at the elbows. Voices of play and pleasure ring out in the nearby park. Finally, sleep takes the sound of boys away from him, the lonesome, disabled figure….

On the theme of Remembrance, we had a strong turnout listening to a very thought-provoking lecture on the Centenary of the October Revolution by Dr. Rees of the University of Birmingham. I would like to thank Mr Newman for organising this talk, and for his dynamic lecture to Year 6 on the same topic. The feedback from both events was first rate and we look forward to hosting future lectures.

It is hard to imagine the terror that the Bolshevik uprising must have caused in 1917. Unthinkable that anything like that could happen in the modern day, is it not? And yet, what we see going on in Catalonia is chillingly reminiscent of what happened in the Franco era.

Back here in Blighty, the children continue to work hard in and out of the classroom. Year 6 are delighted that all but a couple of entrance exams remain. A special well done to them all. You will see from the sports reports that it was another positive week for BCS Sport. The Under 10 and 11 boys had good wins against Warwick School and at the Wolverhampton Rugby Festival, and the girls did very well against Solihull and Hallfield.

On Thursday it was lovely to join Year 4 for their recital. Once again the musicianship was excellent. Well done to all for their hard work and dedication. I must also mention that the Chapel Choir have been asked to sing on ‘Hear the Bells’, a Christmas song written by Nick and Becky Drake. This is a great feather in the cap of the Music Department and the School. Mr Nicklin will send further details in due course.

I must also not let this moment pass without thanking The Friends for a wonderful firework display last Friday. It was a truly memorable evening and it was lovely to see the school community come together as one. I still have images of fire and rockets fresh in my consciousness. Even at an event full of such joyfulness and celebration, there is always an eerie silence that follows the noise and fun. This silent moment of reflection combined with our Remembrance service calls to my mind the poem ‘Exposure’ by Owen. In this poem he captures the cold, the misery and the sheer vacuity during the awful eerie silence in the trenches, waiting…..

“Tonight, this frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands, puckering foreheads crisp.
The burying-party, picks and shovels in shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces.
All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.”

So, as well as wishing you all a lovely and restful weekend, I would also like you to take time to reflect and be thankful that, due to the sacrifice of others, we are able to run, to play, to gambol about, and to express ourselves with freedom.

 

NOEL NEESON | HEADMASTER