Dauntsey’s has marked the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme by planting the first in an avenue of 38 oak trees which will commemorate the 38 Old Dauntseians who died during the First World War.
The first tree was planted by Dauntsey’s Head Boy and Head Girl at a poignant ceremony during which The Reverend David Johnson said a prayer. A commemorative cross was then laid against the base of the tree. All 38 trees will be planted before the start of next term, forming an avenue from the school’s pavilion and stretching the length of the astro pitch.
Dauntsey’s Head of History, Ben Sandell, spoke of those fallen during the ceremony. Some 34 of the school’s casualties served in the Army, three in the Air Force and one in the Royal Navy. The youngest to lose his life was 18, and the oldest 37. Of those with known graves, 17 are buried on the Western Front; one in Sierra Leone; one in Jerusalem; one in Ireland and six in England.
Mark Lascelles, Headmaster of Dauntsey’s said: “As we reflect on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme this year, it is a fitting tribute to plant oak trees in memory of the 38 Old Dauntseians. As the oak trees flourish, they will be enjoyed by generations of Dauntseians to come and the sacrifice of these young men will not be forgotten.”