On the morning of Friday 9th November, the entire school body of Brighton College, including staff and pupils from all schools, united at the front quad for a short, but moving service, as we remembered with gratitude all those who have died in the course of war.
A familiar sight on the Thames at London Bridge, HMS Belfast is a Royal Navy light cruiser, launched in March 1938. Initially part of the British naval blockade against Nazi Germany, from November 1942 Belfast escorted Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union, and assisted in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst.
Last November The Telegraph published an article, after receiving a letter from the previous College archivist, regarding the theft of the sword of General Sir Harry Prendergast VC GCB from Brighton College.
Chris Terrill (Al. 1965-70) has a brand new 3 part series starting on BBC2 at 8pm on Sunday 15th April telling the story of "Britain's biggest Warship". It is the inside story of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest and most advanced warship ever constructed in Britain.
At this year’s remembrance service, the Head Master will read the names of Old Brightonians who lost their lives during the Second World War. Some of these men, like John Sulman, lived to marry and have children, while others were children themselves, like Frank Stuttaford. Although their lives were very different, each would have walked through the archway in the College’s gatehouse. They would have posed for their house photograph in September, and sat in the chapel each morning, alongside their friends.
Almost two years ago, Hew Prendergast emailed the College about his ancestor, Sir Harry North Dalrymple Prendergast (BC 1849-50). We were thrilled to hear from a descendent of such an illustrious OB, and invited Hew to speak to our 4th Form. Much to their delight, Hew brought along one of Sir Harry’s swords. It was fascinating to see an object with such an exciting story; an object which also prompted me to learn more about the sword that had once been kept in the College’s chapel, above Sir Harry’s plaque.
The 2014 / 2015 Fourth Form pupils and their families were each assigned one name from the Roll of Honour as part of our Lest We Forget Project. Their task was to discover all they could: where each was born, where he lived, when he was at Brighton College, and how and where he died.
On Friday 17th June we gathered to remember the 976 Old Brightonians who served in the Great War and in particular the 149 who died, never to return.
Brighton College commemorates the Old Brightonians who died at The Somme 100 years ago this year.
The North family bestowed a great favour on the College in June 2015 when they arranged for the medals of Lister Durrell Wickham to be donated to the College. Head Master Richard Cairns was delighted to meet with the Phillipson family and to receive the medals, which are now on display in the College Chapel. After serving at Gallipoli Lister had been home ill, and had married his sweetheart musician Marguerite Dickensen.
The story of William Gill (BC. 1856-61) is told in the forthcoming book, "These Chivalrous Brothers"
My book ‘These Chivalrous Brothers. The Mysterious Disappearance of the 1882 Palmer Sinai Expedition is to be published on January 29th. The book tells for the first time the story of the Palmer Sinai Expedition, a spying and terrorist mission that ended in the murder of its participants and was one of the great cause célèbre of the nineteenth century.
We are sad to report the death of Peter Dingemans, who has died in hospital at the age of 80, having contracted pneumonia. His naval career is aptly summed up in the title his book: 'My Incredible Journey: from Cadet to Commander'. He entered the Royal Navy a year after leaving school and from the outset proved to be an able tactician, notably as an anti-submarine specialist. He had four commands in his career, the peak of which came in 1982 when he commanded with such distinction HMS Intrepid in the South Atlantic.
It can be a hard transition back to ‘civvy street’ for those military personnel who have served their country to keep us all safe. Years of tours, being away from family and not living a 9-5 life, can make it difficult for those who need to find a new direction when the time comes. Alex Hardman (Al. 1982-85) is Programme Leader at Plumpton College for 11 years and co-leads the HighGround Course, which started last year and is the only course of its kind in the country.
Earlier this month, I gave a short talk to our 4th Form Academic Society. Deciding on a theme was tricky, but since I’d recently worked on the school’s roll of honour – ensuring it was ready for our new memorial statue – the theme of ‘conflict’ seemed fitting.
The Brighton College Roll of Honour lists 147 former pupils killed during the Great War. One of the first two officers killed in the conflict was Second Lt. Vincent Waterfall, of Hampden House/Chichester House, aged just 22. Old Brightonians fought and died in Palestine, at the Somme, at Ypres, and in the final push for victory in the week before the Armistice was signed, on 11 November 1918.
Head Master Richard Cairns is re-introducing the classic Brighton College Boater for the first time in 47 years. The decree is a moving homage to the 147 Old Brightonians who died during the Great War, and will be in force from Thursday 23rd April to coincide with St. George's Day.
by Ewart Alan Mackintosh (killed in action 21st November 1917 aged 24)
So you were David's father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again.
Old Brightonians, including previous members of the Common Room and other ex-Brighton College staff, pupils, masters and parents came together for a moving Remembrance Service on Sunday 9th November. Houses in attendance were Aldrich, Durnford, Hampden, and Seldon. Wreaths were laid at the altar and at the 1914-18 and 1939-45 War Memorials by School Prefects and Head Master Richard Cairns, and CCF colours laid by representatives of the three armed services.
A new show by Chris Terrill (A. 1965-70): "Commando: Return to the Front Line", ITV1, Wed 11th June 2014
"It feels pretty strange that I'm going to be going back there, I had thought that I'd seen the last of the place. I am fearful that nothing will have changed and that, indeed, it may have gotten worse. I think I probably was quite pessimistic when I left." - Bertie Kerr, former Royal Marines Commando
This new ITV documentary features former Royal Marine officer Bertie Kerr and his emotional return to Afghanistan, eight years after he was first plunged into the planet's most dangerous war just three weeks after passing out as a young officer.
Charles is flying over from the USA to attend our Pioneers Club next week at the College, and we are very much looking forward to catching up with his news. As a Lt Col. retired anaesthetist in the US Air Force we are sure he will have a few good yarns to tell us over lunch.
Alexander Blackman, a Royal Marine sergeant, was convicted and jailed for life for shooting an injured Afghan insurgent on the front line. Some condemn him as a war criminal; others claim he is a casualty of war. The nation is divided.
Channel 5's new show sees Chris travel to the most extreme environments on Earth, to meet people who endure ferocious conditions all year round.
Died 27th October, 2013, Aged 93. He was born in Hove on 15th August 1920 then lived in Kemptown until the outbreak of war.
In 1934 he entered Brighton College as a boarder in Chichester House where his main achievements were to play in the 1st XI Cricket team, 1st XV Rugger team, and first team captain of Squash. He also took female parts in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas until his voice broke. He joined the Territorial Army in his last term and in May, 1939 was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Engineers.
Sgt. Instructor S J Beckett served the College and its community from 1919 until 1956 and is remembered with great fondness by many Old Brightonians. Last month we launched an appeal for funds for a Memorial Bench for Sgt. Instructor S J Beckett.
Every year, 20,000 people leave the armed forces, but how do they cope with the return to civilian life? It's a question that British journalist and filmmaker Chris Terrill (A. 1965-70) has set out to answer in this four-part documentary series.
It is never too late to honour and pay tribute to a stalwart of Brighton College, who encouraged and inspired us as a friend during our time at the College. Sarge gave thirty seven years of loyal service from 1919 to 1956, being responsible for PT lessons, gymnastics, boxing, swimming and not forgetting school drill in the Quadrangle.
Rear Admiral Peter George Valentine Dingemans, CB, DSO, FIMgt was awarded the DSO during the Falklands campaign.
Following the recent death of Flt Lt Walker (G. 1927-31) Christopher Chave (BCJS 1954-56, D. 1956-60) kindly got in touch with the OB office and sent us some rather wonderful newspaper cuttings and photographs of his father, Flt Lt Owen Cecil Chave (C. 1926-1931) who was killed in action in WWII.
Flight Lieutenant William Walker, who has died aged 99, was shot down in his Spitfire during the Battle of Britain and wounded. Late in his life, having become the oldest surviving pilot of the Battle, he wrote poetry in memory of his fellow aircrew.
Charles Fraser-Smith (26 January 1904 - 9 November 1992) was an author and one-time missionary who is widely credited as being the inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond quartermaster Q. During World War II, Fraser-Smith worked for the Ministry of Supply, fabricating equipment for SOE agents operating in occupied Europe. Prior to the war, Fraser-Smith had worked as a missionary in North Africa. After the war he purchased a dairy farm in Bratton Fleming, Devon, where he died in 1992.
As reported in the last edition of The Pelican, Chris Terrill has been working on a project called 'Theatre of War' which will be shown on BBC1 at 10.35 on 26th June.
Having recently had dinner with a number of Old Brightonians in January, I was lambasted for not letting you know that I was presented with an OBE by the Queen on 30 November 2011. The award was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on 11 June 2011. Also in attendance on 30 Nov were Brian Ferry and Mark Cavendish and it appears they received more publicity than me!
My new series "Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan" starts on Jan 30th on Five at 9pm.
"On behalf of the wider O’Connell family, especially Shirley and Doreen I would like to wish you all a very warm welcome and thank you for attending today, to celebrate the life of Sergeant Major Chris O’Connell BEM. This large gathering clearly reflects the love and status with which Chris was undoubtedly held.
The Sgt. Major Chris O’Connell Memorial took place on a freezing January afternoon, but the warmth of feeling amongst the Old Brightonians who came to celebrate Chris’s life staved off the cold. Two former Headmasters were in attendance, Bill Blackshaw and John Leach, and Brighton College was represented by various staff including Deputy-Head John Weeks, Elizabeth Cody and Common Room President Steve Radojcic.
Old Brightonian Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal (L.1994-98) rescued 29 casualties in the heat of a battle in Afghanistan and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by the Queen for his actions.
Tony Eeles (L. 1934-39) enjoyed a reputation amongst those who served with him in battle as a brave and selfless leader. He was an enormously talented forward observation officer who used his skills to great effect in both the Second World War and the Korean War. Recommended for the MC on three occasions, he was an irrepressible young officer with a thirst for combat and a remarkably considerate manner towards his subordinates.
A former Brighton College pupil who rescued 29 casualties in the heat of a battle in Afghanistan has been awarded the freedom of the city. Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal (L. 1994-98) is one of only four people to receive the Honour.
I have just spent six months at sea with the Royal Navy to make a prime time series for Five.
Although not a member of the Common Room as such, Chris O’Connell became in his thirty year career at the College a truly legendary figure and, as one previous Headmaster has said, ‘simply the best Housemaster that convention prevented me from appointing’.