School Diary – Post WW1

Extracts from the School Diary -Between the wars 


Dec 17 A collection on behalf of the funds for providing prizes for soldiers in the hospitals, made yesterday and today, realised £4.2.2.


Jan 6 The Head Master briefly addressed the children on the importance of the year 1919 and of the necessity for children to prepare themselves for a larger citizenship when they are older. The Head Master also read several letters from wounded soldiers at the Highfield Hall Red Cross Hospital thanking the children for the prizes they had provided for a New Year’s Whist Drive.

Feb 3 Mr Harrison, who has been absent on War Service since March 16th 1916 and was a second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, resumed his school duties this morning. He takes charge of Std IV, but Miss Robertson will continue to teach music while Mr Harrison takes the drill for Std. II & III boys. In order to carry out this arrangement the following alterations of the timetable are made from today:- Mrs Millen, the temporary teacher.. has received notice that her engagement will be terminated on Feb 28th 1919. During the month she will devote her attention chiefly to needlework and the backward children of Std. II.

Feb 20 The boys ……. went this morning to see the Exhibition of Canadian War Pictures in Commercial Rd.

Feb 21 The Girls….went to see the Canadian War Photographs this morning.

Mar 21 Information has been received that an old boy of the school, R.S.M. [Regimental Sergeant Major] G.G. Smith R.H.A. [Royal Horse Artillery] has won seven distinctions including the Military Medal, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Medaille Militaire, Long Service Medal and Meons Star.

Apr 2 The registers were closed at 9.15 and secular work commenced at once, in order to allow the school to be closed at 11.20. This was done in order that the children should be able to assemble – voluntarily – at 1o’c to proceed into town to welcome the Commander Beak R.N.V.R., D.S.O., M.C. (WITH BAR), V.C., who was formerly an elementary school-boy at St. Denys School IN THIS TOWN, and was to receive today the “freedom” of the borough.

May 20 A re-union of “Old Boys” who have served with H.M. Forces – naval, military and mercantile – during the war, was held this evening in the Institute. Between 40 & 50 old boys attended and they included boys who had served on all the various fronts. The Head Master mentioned that close upon 200 ex-scholars had joined the forces – 26 of whom laid down their lives.

Jul 10 In preparation for the forthcoming peace celebration the children of Std III and upwards went to Portswood School this morning for a combined practice under the general conductor.

Jul 18-23 School closed for festivities in connection with the Peace Celebration.
On Monday 21st the children assembled at the school….and were presented with Commemoration Medals by His Worship the Mayor of Southampton (Alderman Kimber) …… scholars marched to the Common, where, in conjunction with all the other elementary schools in the town, they sang hymns and national songs. They afterwards formed a living device which included the word “Peace”, the letters G R and a star. 
In the afternoon the infants assembled….. and received Commemoration Medals……and then went to the playing field of Oak Mount School where they were entertained to tea and amused in various ways.
On Tuesday 22nd the children…… were to have been taken (by the kindness of Lord & Lady Swaythling) to the grounds of South Stoneham House and there entertained, but the weather was so unsettled that those arrangements were cancelled, and, instead, the children assembled at 2pm were taken to the Common for sports and were afterwards entertained to tea in the school-room.

Jul 25 H.M. the King having expressed a wish that all school children should be given an extra holiday in commemoration of the signing of peace the school is closed for that purpose for a week …….

Sep 3 Mr Henry Richard Leggett commenced work here this morning as a Trained Certificated Assistant.

Oct 7 Mr Leggett is absent this morning owing to a recurrence of malaria contracted while on active service with the Army.

Oct 28 The Head Master wrote to the Secretary of the Education Committee asking that his requisition, which exceeded his allowance by about £11, might be passed. He pointed out that during the war the prices of school materials had greatly increased and it had been impossible to provide reading books, etc out of the allowance. He further stated that the books – both “readers” and arithmetic books – now asked for represented the utter minimum upon which the school could work.

Nov 11 Today, being the first anniversary of the coming into force of the Armistice, was specially marked in the school. In the opening service a special prayer was included for all those who fell in the service of their country, and the Head Master then addressed the school on the significance of the day and read the King’s message to the people. In accordance with the King’s desire a period of two minutes’ silence & stillness was observed at eleven o’clock during playtime.

Dec 17 As a result of a Christmas appeal, the sum of £12 was collected and sent to the central fund for Blinded Soldiers & Sailors.


Nov 7 Miss Bennett has leave of absence this morning, in order to meet her brother on his return from five year’s service with the troops in India. 

Nov 11 Armistice Day. A few minutes before 11 o’clock the children assembled in the main room and the Head Master reminded them of what was being done throughout the Empire to commemorate the sacrifices made during the Great War. He then recited a prayer for the departed and all preserved complete silence for two minutes.


Nov 11 In accordance with national custom the two minutes’ silence was observed…… headmaster spoke to them upon meaning of the observance and the necessity to “by love serve one another”.


Nov 10 Tomorrow being “Armistice Day” and the school not being open, the Headmaster today spoke to each class and explained the significance of the “two minutes’ silence”. 
The children provided the money for a wreath in memory of the 27 “old boys” who were killed in the war and this wreath was placed – after school – on the parish memorial in the church yard.


Nov 11 Today being Armistice Day the Headmaster used a special prayer at the opening of the school. At 10.40 he addressed the assembled school on the significance of the day, and read the list of names of “old boys” who laid down their lives in the Great War. The two minutes “silence” was observed and, at its close the Headmaster recited a prayer for lasting peace. A number of boys, members of the church choir, were absent in the morning in order to lead the singing at the Cenotaph, and, as a consequence, the Woodwork Class was deferred until the afternoon


Nov 11 Armistice Day. The Headmaster read a special prayer at the opening of the School in the morning. At 20 minutes to Eleven the school assembled and the Headmaster gave an address on “Armistice Day Thoughts”, speaking of it as a day of Remembrance and as a Day of High Resolve, and urging the children to cultivate kindly feelings to all people. The “Silence” was observed and the names of Old Boys who were killed in the war were read. A chaplet in memory of the fallen was placed on the War Memorial in the churchyard and a sum of Two Pounds was sent to Earl Haig’s British Legion Appeal Fund.


Nov 11 Armistice Day ….the time table was suspended at 10.30 and the school assembled to “listen in” to the broadcasted programme from the Cenotaph at Whitehall. The two minutes’ silence was observed and the Headmaster read the names of the 27 “Old Boys” who gave their lives in the Great War, and to their memory a cross was placed on the War Memorial in the Churchyard. 
A sum of £1.6.0 was sent to the Haig Fund for Disabled Soldiers and Sailors and £2.2.4 was raised by the sale of Flanders poppies before school.