More than 100 former pupils of Hereford Cathedral School have died fighting for the country in various conflicts around the world, and their sacrifice was commemorated on 11November with the planting of a tree in Castle Street. Following a service of remembrance in Hereford Cathedral, the school’s headmaster Paul Smith was joined by his three immediate predecessors: David Richards, Barry Sutton and Howard Tomlinson. It was the first time that all four headmasters had been together at the same time.
Paul Smith said: “It was a very moving day for the whole school as we remembered all the former pupils of Hereford Cathedral School and Hereford Cathedral Junior School who gave their lives whilst serving their country. Many of those who were killed in action during World War One would have been the same age as members of our current sixth form.
“The planting of this commemorative tree, with its characteristic red leaves at this time of year, made the day all the more poignant to everyone involved. In the evening, we welcomed back our chamber choir, who had been representing the United Kingdom in a major international festival of remembrance at the Basilica in Brussels, to the school’s annual service of words and music held in Hereford Cathedral. The words and music event included extracts of poems written by D B Haseler, a former pupil who served in the trenches. It also featured a specially commissioned piece, ‘Skylark’, which set one of Haseler’s poems to music composed by Michael Neaum and was performed by the school’s nationally acclaimed cantabile choir. Whilst in Belgium the chamber choir also sang at St George’s Chapel, Ypres where a commemorative plaque was laid for the 70 former pupils who fell in WW1.
“It was fantastic that four heads covering the last 46 years of the school’s history could meet on this particular day. We enjoyed hearing stories of the pupils, staff and governors who have contributed to the life of the school over the years. Whilst the school has seen many changes over the period of service of the four heads, it is remarkable that many of the core values which make up the distinctive ethos of the school have remained the same.”