The River Thames outside DLD College London

From the Principal #94

13th November 20

On Wednesday, we came together, both in-person and online, to remember the fallen at our annual Service of Remembrance. In Remembrance of the fallen, we treasure what they fought for – our freedoms, our privileges, the democratic processes, and our peace. It was a poignant service and a time to remember and commemorate those service personnel, including those from DLD College London, who gave their lives during the Great Wars. We remembered former DLD College London student, Lt Col Herbert Jones VC OBE (the 14th of May 1940 – the 28th of May 1982) for his valiant actions as commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross after being killed in action during the Battle of Goose Green.

We also remembered the hundreds and thousands of men and women who died and were not buried. Many of their bodies were never found, and many were left on battlefields across the world.  The pain of this knowledge needed a solution and in 1920 Westminster Abbey, across the bridge from us, recognised the campaign of Reverend David Railton, a chaplain who had served in World War I.  A plan was devised to bring one of the unknown fallen back from France, and bury him in Westminster Abbey with full military honours. So on the 11th of November, exactly 100 years ago on Wednesday (in the grips of the Spanish flu pandemic), the unknown warrior was buried in London.  The tomb of the unknown warrior stands as a reminder, and it reminds us of the fallen, but more significantly, the self-sacrifice of the soldiers and their families.

They fought not for recognition or reward.
They fought not for ego or power.
They fought for something greater than themselves.
They fought for something abstract and yet shared by their community.

The act of Remembrance is a reminder to us all of the need sometimes to place the ego, our pride and our privilege to one side, and to fight for what we believe in and what our community believes in. We fight for a right to an education, we fight for each other, we fight to stay healthy in these unprecedented times, and within all of this, we take the example of the unknown soldier in our self-sacrifice and selflessness. I hope our students will gain and learn much from this experience. They are the next generation who I hope will work tirelessly to avoid such conflicts from happening again and will endeavour to bring peace to our world.  We have much to thank the courageous and selfless acts of these young men and women (some as young as our Year 11s) who gave their lives in fighting the Great Wars and other conflicts so that we could enjoy our freedoms today and tomorrow. We will remember them.

Best wishes

Irfan

Irfan Latif, Principal

Photos: Oskar, Year 13 & Irfan Latif

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