The annual Act of Remembrance was very thought provoking as I watched the whole School, Old Millhillians, and Governors line up in reverent silence along the crescent driveway, before passing through the Gate of Honour. After the formal proceedings, guests, staff, Upper Sixth Form pupils, Governors and Old Millhillians attended a moving Chapel Service led by Mr Selvaraj, during which I read out the names of 193 former Millhillians who lost their lives in the First World War. The Fourth Form watched a moving and informative historical account presented by Mr Dickinson, Head of History and Politics, and pupils in the Remove, Fifth Form and Lower Sixth watched a presentation from Mrs Adams, Second in Department History and Politics. The 320 fallen soldiers of Mill Hill School from both World Wars were honoured through an Art installation in the Chapel Garden. Ninety-two canvas ribbons, with oil pastel rubbings of each of the names from the Gate of Honour, were ceremonially placed on the tree in the Chapel Garden. Since the Act of Remembrance, it is wonderful to see the canvas ribbons blowing in the wind, surrounded by nature, allowing pupils and staff to stop, look and remember them. I would like to thank those members of staff who led the various parts of the event; their support is very much appreciated by pupils and staff.
As the Act of Remembrance is such an important event at Mill Hill for staff, and pupils past and present, I asked for different perspectives of the event to share with you, which can be found below.
The Call to Remembrance at Mill Hill School is the most significant event that cadets take part in and for those in the Upper Sixth that are still in the CCF, participation in the Guard of Honour is an immense privilege. The cadets’ appearance and drill being smart and polished, contributed greatly to the success of the ceremony and are commended for devoting the hours required for training and committing themselves to such a special school event.
On Remembrance Day, the Upper Sixth pupils were given a moving service after paying their respects to the fallen at 11 am. This service highlighted to me the importance of not only celebrating the bravery of those who selflessly risked or gave their lives for the freedom of the modern world but also a chance to remember and honour those who were never able to experience the modern world that was born from their heroism. It was truly inspiring to see the whole school come together for singing, prayer and mourning in such a poignant way and, amazingly, this tradition has held strong at Mill Hill for over 100 years. The most memorable and chilling part of the service was when Mrs Sanchez read all of the names of those Millhillians, who were scarcely older than us, who made the ultimate sacrifice for both king and country- these stories must not die with human death but are foretold in traditions such as this to help us realise the lengths these young men went to keep us from horrors and to learn from them the lessons that help us develop and grow, the lessons that keep us from similar mistakes and lessons that help us to remember. It was an honour to be a part of this tradition and I hope that both old and young Millhillians were able to share a moment of togetherness in memory of those who had fallen.
It had been six years since my last Call to Remembrance and five years since I left Mill Hill. It felt a tad surreal attending the service as an OM, particularly since so much has changed at the School since my time there, the Call to Remembrance included, but the respectful atmosphere and beautiful service remained the same. The profound speech of Mr Antony Spencer and Mrs Sanchez’s reading the Names of the Fallen were some of the most poignant and deeply moving moments of the day.