Remembrance Day: Highgate pupils lead poignant ceremony for fallen WW1 ex-schoolboy soldiers
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Children who pieced together the lives of former Highgate schoolboys who died from battle wounds after fighting in the First World War laid a remembrance cross in a poignant ceremony at their final resting place.
Pupils at Highgate Junior School in Bishopswood Road, Highgate, unearthed reams of information about four forgotten alumni who returned from the battlefields only to die of their injuries for a project on the Great War.
They gathered at a fading war memorial in Highgate Cemetery on Friday where one of the men, a former Highgate School head boy called Murray Stuart Pound, was buried 100 years ago on November 11, 1914 - the day which four years later would signal the end of the war.
Assistant principal Deborah Blackburn said: “It made the war come to life for them. Rather than just studying World War One, they were able to make connections about what was going on at our school.
“That stimulated the children and they started to ask questions at home, and family stories came up which would not have been unearthed without this project.”
The focus of the six-week project was on learning about the four schoolboys-turned-soldiers - Christopher Frank Challen, A.H. Boney, Claude Neville Beamish and 2nd Lt Pound.
They found that 2nd Lt Pound, whose life was the best documented of the four, was a member of the school’s shooting squad and officer training corps.
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A poem he composed about leaving his schooldays behind, called On Leaving, was published in school magazine The Cholmeleian in 1910, when he left to be a scholar at the University of Cambridge.
Four years later, he was severely wounded near Ypres in Belgium and despite being treated at Guy’s Hospital, he died of his injuries aged 23.
An obituary from “boys’ club” the Highgate School Mission, which was analysed by the pupils, detailed the tragic circumstances around his death.
It stated: “With supreme self-sacrifice, surprising to no one who knew him, he refused to allow his comrades, who were retreating, to carry him off the field, where he lay for 30 hours before he was picked up.
“Had his wounds been attended to at once, they need not have proved fatal.”