This year’s Senior School Remembrance Assembly was led by Mr Jarrett and a group of history pupils selected from across the year groups. Students and beaks heard a number of poignant stories which covered different styles of remembering and commemorating those who gave their lives in war; from poetry and song to the history of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. Ellie Shaw, Isabella Harkins and Nur Faruki (Hundred) then gave a fascinating talk on the design and symbolism of war memorials from around the world. The assembly was brought to its traditional conclusion with the two minutes’ silence and Last Post played beautifully by Auni Suhaimi.
Pupils in Prep School have been collecting plastic bottles since the beginning of term. In recent weeks they have used these to create a field of upcycled poppies, which became the focal point for our Remembrance Assembly on Monday. Poppies worn by all included some stunning homemade versions made by staff and families, also raising money for service families’ support funded by the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. The first part of our assembly was held in the traditional place of the Wykeham Hall where we reflected upon the bravery and trust in peace shown by veterans through the years. Music accompanied by Juliette Bhogal and Eilidh Matthews (Y8), artwork (Florence Gibbons) and poetry written by pupils (read by William James on behalf of Year 7) helped create an atmosphere of respect. At 11am we filed out of the Hall to our poppy field where Year 8 pupil Charlie Muller introduced our minute’s silence, playing the Last Post on his trumpet. The Master concluded the proceedings with the Komina Epitaph. As we left the field, it was particularly touching to see pupils looking back at the place that had hosted such a moving moment in the week. There is no question that we do not need to fear ‘lest we forget’.
Kranji War Cemetery
Despite the poignancy of the occasion, it is always a delight to climb up to the War Memorial at Kranji on Remembrance Sunday. It is a beautifully serene place where nature is abundant amidst the pristinely kept gravestones which mark the burial of some 4461 soldiers who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars. The hill on which the memorial sits serves as a vantage point where there once stood a military camp, looking out across the Singapore Straits to Johor. It is now somewhere which allows one to monitor the rapidly evolving skylines of Johor Bahru and Iskandar Puteri. Indeed, it puts into perspective the area which is home to Marlborough College Malaysia, and how it is quickly becoming Johor’s Garden City as it grows up out from the redundant palm plantations.
The Service of Remembrance at Kranji, hosted by the British High Commission in Singapore, has grown significantly since the College first became involved in 2015. This year the Marlborough choir had the honour of leading an amassed choir of seventy singers including pupils from the Singaporean international schools of Tanglin, Dover Court and Dulwich. The Marlborough pupils represented both the Prep and Senior Schools and performed to a congregation of over 1500 people. Performing the lyrical melodies of ‘Remember Me’ by the English composer Bob Chilcott; ‘May It Be’ by the well-known Irish vocalist Enya; and a most rousing arrangement of the hymn tune ‘How Great Thou Art’ by Mary McDonald, the choir helped to set the perfect atmosphere for the Service of Remembrance. Special mention must go to Reilly Grose-Hodge and Meredith Regan who sang outstanding solos at the event.