The Latymer Link - page 13

 very special Remembrance Day service was held at Latymer on 11th November 2014, marking one
hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War and remembering former students and staff who gave
their lives in this conflict and subsequent ones. It’s a thought-provoking occasion every year but somehow
this year felt especially moving: the centenary commemorations highlighting the fact that World War One is
slipping into a distant past which very few people alive today have any first-hand memory of.
The wreath laying ceremony was led by several former students, now in their eighties and nineties, some
of whom saw active service in World War Two. Their stately progress from the back of the Great Hall was
witnessed by c.1300 present-day Latymerians who did themselves proud with total silence and exemplary
behaviour. The Last Post, played out in the corridor thus allowing the sound to echo eerily though the school
building, was sounded by Freddie Ridout (Year 12), and Andrew Granath, Head of History and our School
Archivist, made an unforgettably poignant address about Latymer during the First World War.
The school had been re-established on Haselbury Road only four years before war was declared and at that
time was ably led by Headmaster Richard Ashworth. Andrew Granath shared with us the programme for
Latymer’s “Annual Athletics Sports”, held on July 11th 1914, just three weeks before Europe was plunged into
war. The day was full of innocent fun; potato races, three legged races, a 200 yards handicap, skipping races,
an egg & spoon race, a slow bicycle race, a blindfold race and a game of “Hunt the Bellman”. However Andrew
drew special attention to Heat 1 of the 100 yards for boys: W. Elms, A. Chittenden, R. Hobbs, V. Sharpen, E.
Lurton, F. Wood, V. Grimshaw and V. Rogers. Of the eight boys running in that heat, five would be dead within
four years; just some of the sixteen Latymerians killed during the conflict.
Some time later, Richard Ashworth wrote “When I look back on the years when the sun shone so brightly, in
the year after the school was opened I would never have thought that the burden of our sorrows would weigh
so heavily upon us.” He was referring to the news that he had received in one week in 1916 of the deaths on
the Western Front of three Latymer pupils. I felt so moved by Andrew’s description of the loss Mr Ashworth
felt for these boys that I stopped at Edmonton Cemetery on my way home from work that day and left my
poppy on his grave, in their honour.
Emma Halstead, LOSA Administrator
with thanks to Andrew Granath
Remberance Day
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