The stories of those who have served our armed forces cannot be told too many times. In particular, the efforts of Walford Old Scholars form an important part of our story as a school. On Remembrance Day this year, the Year 10 Committee led a special Assembly, sharing with students the meaning behind traditions such as wearing the poppy, citation of the Ode and the performance of the Last Post and the Rouse (by Madeline Loucas). Sadie Proctor also spoke at this assembly to share with us the story of Old Scholar Mary McFarlane. Mary served in World War II and was on a hospital ship coming back to Australia. The ship is quite famously known as The Centaur. Although the ship had the red cross flag identifying it was not a war ship, it was bombed by a Japanese torpedo and sank. Mary did not survive this attack.
Sadie also shared with students the courageous efforts of Walford old scholars who joined the Auxiliary Services, entering careers that would have never ordinarily been accessible as they were traditionally considered with the domain of men including serving in the Navy (W.R.A.N.S.), Air Force (W.A.A.A.F.), and Army (A.W.A.S.), to free men up for active service on the front. In addition, these women took on jobs as mechanics and other typically ‘masculine’ roles including those of stenographers, telephonists, management roles, motor mechanics, engineers, driving tractors, operating light houses, sending messages to ships via morse code and keeping watch of the coast overnight. In this period of time, women demonstrated their strong capabilities to engage in work that was both physically and intellectually challenging.
Our specialist auditioned choir, ChanterElle performed at the Remembrance Day ceremony at Centennial Park, delivering a rousing rendition of In Flanders Fields. Our Boarding House Captain Sara Zanker and Student Council member Ellie Pontifex layed a wreath as part of this service.
We revisit these traditions each year, honouring those who have served with great courage. We are humbled by their service and grateful for the immense privilege we enjoy as a result of their sacrifice.
Lest we forget.
Head of Senior School