11th November 22
We came together this morning on Armistice Day to remember the fallen at our annual Service of Remembrance. Every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we pay our respects and remember those who sacrificed their lives for us. We treasure what they fought for – our freedoms, privileges, democratic processes, and peace. This year’s service was very special – the respect shown during the two-minute silence, remembering all those who have lost their lives through conflict, was moving. Thank you to the school community for their respect and to those colleagues and students who led the service this morning.
It was a time to reflect 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 (14th of May 1940 – 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 One. 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, over 100 years ago, the unknown warrior was buried in London. The tomb of the unknown warrior stands as a reminder, reminding 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 reminds us of the need sometimes to place our ego, pride and privilege to one side and fight for what we believe in and what our community believes in. We fight for a right to an education, fight for each other, fight to stay healthy, 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 memorable 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 for 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.
Irfan Latif, Principal