As the haunting sound of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ carried over the school grounds girls dressed as ranks of soldiers and nurses stood still against the backdrop of St Augustine’s Priory.
All pupils and staff at St Augustine’s Priory, Ealing Catholic Independent School for girls, joined together in an act of Remembrance on Thursday 8th November. As the haunting sound of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ carried over the school grounds girls dressed as ranks of soldiers and nurses stood still against the backdrop of St Augustine’s Priory and pupils and staff gathered to observe the centenary of the ending of the First World War.
The Bursar stepped forward and read ‘To Germany’ by Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895 – 1915), a young soldier who died on 13th October 1915 only a few weeks after St Augustine’s Priory opened on its present site in Hillcrest Road, Ealing.
Five girls then stepped forward in front of the assembled school and recited monologues composed by Caitlin Parry, pupil in Lower VI. Words of a mother, a soldier, a young man rejected for military service, a nurse, a young woman - all rang out speaking about their experiences, their loves, their losses.
For the girls gathered there neither their fathers nor even their grandfathers were thought of at the time of World War One. These young women were all born this century, miles and years away from the mud of Flanders, but they all stood in remembrance, hearing words composed by one of their own calling back to over a century ago, compressing time and calling forth the agony of a long dead war.
The monologues over, as the last post sounded, played by one of the pupils, the waiting soldiers and nurses trooped in pairs down through the gathered girls, down through the grounds and out of our lives and into history.