BLANDFORD SECONDARY SCHOOL
WAR MEMORIAL UNVEILED AND DEDICATED.
On Wednesday afternoon an interesting and impressive ceremony took place at the Blandford Secondary School, when the memorial to the members of the teaching staff and old boys of the school who lost their lives in the Great War was unveiled and dedicated. The memorial also commemorates its founder, the late Mr. Thomas Horlock Bastard, who is now only remembered by the older generation of Blandfordians, and who was a great educationist, and in 1865 founded and endowed the school to meet the local requirements for an establishment at which greater educational facilities could be given. The school, as it then stood, was not more than one-fourth of its present size, but its popularity and influence grew so quickly that various additions have had to be made to the buildings until it has reached its present size even now the accommodation is insufficient to meet all the necessities of such an institution, and the outdoor space is considerably restricted.
The fountain or pump erected at the entrance by the founder for the use of the boys had long outlived its usefulness. A tablet in the surrounding archway recorded the details, when the question of a memorial to the old boys and former masters of the school was raised attention was immediately drawn to the pump, and the governing body decided to incorporate the two, and at the same time make the entrance to the school premises more convenient and fitting. In this they have succeeded. The old arch has been retained in its entirety, but the pump has disappeared. The arch now contains a pair of wrought iron gates of beautiful design, in each of which has been worked the letters “B.S.S.” On each side of the arch pillars hare been added of similar brick and stone, and in a recess on each pillar untarnishable bronze tablets have been fixed. At the top of each tablet appears the school arms and motto, ” Non sine pulvere palma.” (“Nothing without effort.”)
The tablet on the left-hand pillar bears the following inscription:
” In proud and grateful memory of the Masters and Old Boys of the Blandford Secondary School who gave their lives for freedom and right in the Great War, 1914-18. This memorial gateway is erected by the Governors and past and present staff and pupils of the School.” The other table contains 20 names, the first three of which are those of former masters on the teaching staff
Davis, J. Ford, B.H.
Ormesher, W. Fry, G.A.
Robinson, R. George, J.W.
Arscott, B.J. George, S.
Bastable, W.H. Mesher, A.W.
Broadbent, S. Munden, A.G.
Cherry, A.D. Richards, R.I.
Cherry, K.C. Sims, F.H.
Cluett, H.F. Smith, D.A.
Durdle. R.W. Wyatt, F.L.
From the footpath two steps lead up to the memorial. These are of Cornish granite, and extend from pillar to pillar, and they added greatly to the beauty and dignity of the memorial. The old single gate entrance to the school yard, which stands to the right of the memorial, has been retained, and to give balance a new gate has been placed on the other side. At each end of the work are two new pillars. which give it neat finishing touch to the scheme. The footpath has been made up and extended along the whole width of the entrance, and this makes a distinct improvement to the place. The whole work is a great credit to the county architect (Mr. Matthews), who designed it, and to that noted Dorset craftsman Mr. W. H. Evans, of Milton Abbas, who made the gates.
THE DEDICATION CEREMONY
There was a large gathering of past and present pupils, parents, friends, and the general public to witness what proved to be a deeply impressive dedication ceremony. The first part took place in the street. The members of the staff, Governors of the school, Mayor and Corporation, and others left the school yard and faced the memorial, which was covered by the Union Jack. The remainder of the company stood silently in the yard—parents, friends, and public on one side, and scholars, Girl Guides, Brownies, and Wolf Cubs on the other.
The Chairman of the Governors, Mr. T. H. Webb, opened the proceedings with an address, in the course of which he said it was his duty and privilege to welcome them there that day, on behalf of the Governors of the school. to join with them in honouring the memory of those connected with it who fell in the Great War. Those of them whose privilege it was to know the Assistant Masters had additional sorrow in the knowledge that their abilities were lost to the nation. The old boys were typical of those brave fellows for which the county of Dorset was famed. The Headmaster and the Assistant Masters occupied the unique position of having taught in that school every boy who fell and described them as noble fellows each one of them. Mr Thomas Horlock Bastard who founded the school in 1863 erected in the centre archway a pump for the use of the pupils. but the advent of the waterworks did away with the necessity for it. The Governors, with the approval of the Board of Education, and the assistance of the county architect, had erected the gateway they now saw as a memorial to those who fell. The architect had solved a difficult problem and they were grateful to him. The cost of the masonry and the gates came from the school funds. but the past and present staff and the present pupils had had the privilege of paying for the tablets. Mr. Green, the builder, always did his work well and they thanked him. The gates, which were things of beauty, were the work of a native of the county of Dorset—Mr. Evans, of Milton Abbas—who had been most aptly described as “an artist in iron designing,” and his fame had gone far beyond the confines of his native county. They were delighted with the beautiful production he had given them.
In this connection of Milton Abbas with the school, it might not be out of place if he referred the sister institution, whose name was derived from that delightful spot in Dorset, which was second to none in the county. They wore pleased to see its headmaster with them, and they hoped friendly rivalry would always exist between the two schools, and should the Milton Abbas Grammar School change its abode, the good wishes of the Governors of the Blandford Secondary School would follow it. (Applause)
Mr. Webb added that they were all pleased to see Lady Hambro with then that afternoon. and that one of her first public functions in Blandford was in Connection with that school. Referring to the attendance of the Mayor and corporation, he said the ancient borough of Blandford was not too well off as to beauty in architecture and the Governors believed they had added not only to the dignity of the school, but also to the beauty of the town and he hoped their action would meet with the approval of the inhabitants. He would like to add that the drinking fountain having been done away with, they hoped the memorial tablets would be an inspiration to all who came into that school, and that those who passed by it would raise memories of those who had gone before, and they hoped that the sacrifice of those whose names were so recorded had not been made in vain. They must all work diligently for the good of their country, remembering the motto of the school, which might be translated as ” Nothing without effort.” They must endeavour that the efforts of all of them should be to repair the damage of the past, and in so doing they would be following the principles laid down by the founder of that school. (Applause.)
The hymn, ” 0 God, our help in ages past” was sung. and the Headmaster (Mr. W. Greenhalgh), read the roll-call of the fallen, amidst an impressive silence, which was broken immediately after by the sounding of the “Last Post ” by buglers of the Dorset Regiment.
UNVEILED BY SIR PERCY HAMBRO
Major General Sir Perry Hambro. C.B, C.M.G, K.B.E., unveiled the memorial and unlocked the gates. Dedicatory prayers were offered by the Rector (Dr. Greenwood), and one of the senior boys (R. Draper) and the head girl (D. M. Usher) Placed laurel wreaths, adorned with the school colours, on the memorial as the school’s tribute to its heroes. The Governors and others with them then passed through the gateway and proceeded to a temporary platform erected at the further end of the school yard. where the second part of the service was proceeded with. The Mayor (Mr. A. Hobbs) read the well-known verses from the “Wisdom of Solomon.” chapter 3, verses 1-9. and the Rev. A. Wilton Morrow. H.C.F. (Wesleyan Methodist), offered prayer.
In the course of his address Major-General Sir Perry Hambro said, in speaking to them that day, he spoke as one who had spent years in France, and he spoke to them something of what they felt when these young men came across the seas and of the high ideals they had, and the great sacrifice which they made—ideals which were held equally, not only in England. but in the great Dominions overseas, in the Colonies, and throughout the world, wherever Englishmen were to be found. For those who had lost those who were near and dear to them they reverently bowed their heads and asked that strength might be given them in their sorrow. They were proud of those young men who went overseas to fight for England. (Applause.) He spoke with the full knowledge of what he saw of them. and they might hold very high indeed the honour and glory of those young men: they came out facing perils if which they knew nothing, but their high spirit never faltered. (Applause.) The name of the English soldier and sailor and airman to-day stood for two things—honour and great strength in times of troubles. (Applause.)
He would ask them to remember those that lived. Many were wounded, and many of them were still wounded and lying in hospital: and some who came back wounded had found things not quite what they expected. They found themselves sometimes homeless and out of work. He asked them of their kindness and sympathy to remember these.
THE SCHOOL’S TRADITIONS
Speaking more particularly to the children of The Secondary School, he said the high position and high ideals those young men went forth to uphold were ideals and traditions that wore not born in one day, and that there were no higher traditions that he knew of in this world. Their school was founded by a man of Charlton Marshall—Mr. Thomas Horlock Bastard—in 1863. The school had grown since then and it was still growing. By 1913 they gained the honour and record of successes in high places of the world, and their governors and their directors were well pleased with the marked success the school was making. In 1914 the training and teaching they had received before made them ready for the great trials put on them and to-day the traditions of that school were far higher than they were in 1913. To the children he would say those traditions were theirs to keep and to add to. The gateway had been well placed at the threshold, of their school, and was emblematic of those who stood in the gateway of their lives. The gate would, he trusted, always stand open, that they would freely pass to and fro, and he charged the children that they would remember for what that gateway stood. There remained one other thing for him to do, and that was to ask the Chairman of the Governors and the Headmaster to grant them a holiday in memory of that. day. (Applause.)
AN ANNUAL HOLIDAY
Mr. Webb said that, on behalf of the Governors, the request for the holiday was unanimously agreed to. (More cheers.)
Sir Perry Hambro said he would further ask that the day be kept annually as a holiday. (Applause.)
Miss Denne. the Senior Governor said she considered it a great honour to be asked to propose a vote of thanks to Major-General Sir Percy Hambro for coming there that day to take the part he had in connection with their memorial gateway, especially as he was in Scotland at the time he was asked to come there and had curtailed his visit there to be present with them that day. The Mayor seconded, and the proposal was carried by acclamation.
Mr. Webb apologised for the absence. through inability to attend, of a number of ladies and gentlemen including the Lord Lieutenant of the County (the Earl of Shaftesbury). Frances Lady Portman, Sir Eric Hambro, Mr J.S. Ismay, Sir Randolph and Lady Baker, the Rev F Salmon and many others.
The buglers sounded “Reveille” and the hymn, “On the resurrection morning” having been sung, the proceedings closed by the singing of the National Anthem and relatives then came forward and placed their floral tributes at the foot of the memorial.
Before the company separated, Mr Webb invited any parents of the pupils and others to inspect the school, an invitation accepted by a considerable number of people.