It’s a funny old world; I went along to a ‘school reunion.’ To cut to the chase, Barrow Boy’s Grammar School had two memorial boards for the old boys and masters who died in the two world wars.
When the school was demolished, the boards were saved and today there was a short dedication service as they were put up in the foyer of the Town Hall.
There was a chance to meet people who I might not have seen for forty or more years, and a chance to listen to a talk about some of the names on the boards.
Unusually the Grammar School had more names on the board for the Second World War than for the First. In the First World War, Grammar school boys were regarded as excellent officer material, and a high proportion died, leading from the front.
In the Second World War, apparently Grammar school boys with their first class all round education, were regarded as excellent material for air-crew. Again, leading and dying from the front.
And at one quiet point in the proceedings, it struck me that my Grandfather had gone to school with the lads whose names were on the first board. My mother had gone to the Girls Grammar School, and she would have known the boys whose names were on the second board.
And of course, I would have known the lads whose names were on a third board. But thanks to those whose names are on the first two, there isn’t a third board.
Because of the sacrifices made, not merely in wartime, but in peace time. There isn’t a third board because of the courage of people who took the steps necessary to keep NATO strong, and who were willing to take the steps necessary to ensure that conquering us was just too expensive for the Communists to stomach. Yes a lot of lads did die, in strange places, in places we’ve long forgotten, but there were never enough of them to warrant a third board. The fact that there isn’t a third board is perhaps the finest memorial they could ever ask for.
So I’d just like to say “Thanks for what you did lads.”