Jeremy Black opens the Memorial Hall Festival

The Memorial Hall Festival opened with a blessing from the school chaplain and a brief welcoming speech from the Master before the main attraction, which was a lecture by the renowned historian Jeremy Black on “Why commemorating the First World War is more important than ever”.

Beginning by making reference to readings from actual diary’s kept by officers at the Western Front, Professor Black weaved an engaging narrative contextualising the evolution of the war by also drawing parallels to the Second World War as well as skilfully splicing interesting comparisons between society 100 years ago and today. He emphasised the intrinsic unfairness of war by describing the serendipity of a random shell killing one soldier whilst sparing another close by with the eventual outcomes of the war for the participating nations.

He concluded that it was important not to forget that this war represented timeless values such as service, duty and sacrifice which were easy to mock in this cynical age but which had successfully underpinned this country for generations.

Matt Gow
Head of Politics

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