The Great War, Autumn 1918.
I am writing this in the week of the great victory in Palestine, when we have all been filled with thankful rejoicing at the wonderful feat accomplished under the direction and the command of General Allenby. Besides this, great news comes of the retreating Bulgarians, and ever since the beginning of August the line of the Allied Armies in the West has been advancing; sometimes with a successful and surprising great push, sometimes by many minor operations, which have paved the way for greater and more impressive successes; and the assistance of the vast and ever-increasing American Army cannot be too highly estimated. On the first morning of the new term, a special thanksgiving was added to our school prayers, and special prayers are needed at this time for all those amongst us whose share in the cost of victory is the largest. The men themselves do not seem to count the cost, and certainly their deeds of dauntless courage can never be counted, but let us pray that the undying spirit of them may pervade and influence our lives, and the lives of all generations to come. And now let us all brace ourselves to carry on all the work and service possible, so that with God’s help and in His strength each one of us may be allowed a share in securing the fruits of the sacrifice made for the triumph of righteousness and a righteous freedom. I think many of you may agree with me in feeling how easy it is to be thrilled at moments with a great desire for a share in self-sacrificing patriotism, and how easy also it is to be slack at moments in doing the daily duty as perfectly as possible, how easy it is to get a little tired of sonic particular form of service, and how easy even it is to grumble at some small but continued privation! Perhaps we are ashamed to own this, but do we not sometimes find ourselves longing too intently that life may be easier, as of old, instead of forgetting ourselves altogether in the rendering with complete willingness anything we have to contribute towards the good of our dear country? Some who will read these words have been called upon to give what makes the very happiness of home and of life, and may well feel that indeed there is no danger for them of ever again taking a small view of life, but for any of us who may not have been so touched with the very fire from the altar of sacrifice, I believe there may be a need “to make good,” and to make better still, the patriotism which we undoubtedly feel in our inmost hearts.
THE moment the news of the signing of the Armistice on llth November 1918 reached the school every one assembled in the hall and a short Thanksgiving Service was held, and outside the Union Jack was hoisted. The Thanksgiving Service in the Cathedral was on Sunday, 17th November.
On the 13th July 1919, the following words were written in the School Magazine:
“It is with an unspeakable feeling of thankfulness that I am able to record in our School Magazine that on Sunday last the nation gave thanks to God for the blessing of Peace. Many families and individuals will, no doubt, treasure the newspapers which described what took place in our cathedrals and churches, and many will also treasure the account of the Peace celebrations which, by order of the King, will take place on the national holiday on Saturday next. Here I will only say that the news of the great event reached the school on the evening of Saturday, 28th June. The school Houses on the hill all gathered on the asphalt outside the mistresses’ room, and I told them that Peace had come and that we must all try to do our part in making it a true and worthy Peace. We then said the General Thanksgiving, and a Special Thanksgiving, and sang the National Anthem.”
“28th July was Children’s Day in Salisbury. Peace celebrations were concluded by a pageant of `Salisbury through the Ages.’ The day was observed as a holiday, and windows and pavements were crowded with sightseers. The fourteen epochs of the pageant were assigned to the schools of the city, who all marched in procession to the Victoria Park. The Godolphin Epoch was the entry of Elizabeth of York into Salisbury. Vera Leys took the part of a ‘Tudor Rose,’ emblematic of the union of the ‘Reds’ and ‘Whites’ by the marriage of Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor. The part of Elizabeth was played by Jane Fisher, and of her attendant flower-girls, pages, court ladies and citizens by other Sarum girls. The school lined up in Exeter Street, and marched behind the Royal procession. The many long waits were enlivened by the gambols of Hob Nob in the Tailors’ Revel, just behind us.
“The schools were drawn up on the grass all round the Victoria Park. The different Epochs in turn advanced to the middle and were addressed by ‘Father Time’ and ‘Fame.’
“In the last Epoch there was a representation of ‘Peace,’ bringing freedom to the mourners of the Great War.”
“The singing of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘God Save the King’ brought the Festival to an end.”
In the Appendix will be found a list of the National Celebrations which the Godolphin School has attended, but no one of these is so important as the Peace Celebrations in July 1919.