November 10th 1920

Dr Hubert Burge

The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Oxford,

(Headmaster of Winchester College, 1901-11)

Any description of The Service of Dedication would be incomplete without recording the contribution made by the Bishop of Oxford more fully.

After the reading out of all the names of those being commemorated and the recitation of Dr Alington’s poem, ‘The Trust’, the Bishop performed the dedication with these words:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We dedicate this Cross to the Glory of God, in proud and grateful memory of the Old Boys and the Masters of this School, who gave their lives in the Great War. May their example inspire us to courage in the greater war against all evil: may their memory ever burn brightly in those who remember their deeds, and, strengthened by their fellowship, look forward to reunion with them in the inheritance of the saints in light.”

After further readings and prayers, the Bishop gave the following address:

“The ceremony in which we are taking part means a great deal to everyone present, and may I say it means also much to me personally – perhaps as much as it does to anyone. My heart is full of memories of many of those to whom we are paying tribute this afternoon, of those who came to Winchester full of the promise of all their brilliant gifts. I can see them standing on Lavender Meads as they wait to pass before me at roll-call; I can see them again as they kneel in chapel. All their gifts, all their promise – light-hearted and happy they were, on the threshold of the Golden Age of early manhood – they put on one side in the choice they made at their country’s call. The truest comradeship, undaunted, unflinching courage, and loyal service and self-sacrifice for their country and her cause in the hour of her deep need marked that choice…

They gave without reserve to the cause that claimed them. There was nowhere else they could possibly think of being; there was nothing else in the world they could conceive of themselves as desiring or doing. And a noble tribute they paid…

There is a joy incalculable in facing and doing duty, in self-sacrifice and service: it is in truth the crowning joy of human life. And the secret of that joy is the completeness of the self-surrender, when there are no reserves, no keeping back from what we give to our duty: something to ensure our own comfort and ease: something that will make the effort less difficult: some thought of self. 

That joy, I know, crowned the lives of these our brothers: one of them, Roderick Haigh, was writing to me in a short spell after the days of terrific fighting in the first autumn of the war: these were the last words he ever penned: ‘We have been having a most tremendous time of it these last ten days, but I never enjoyed myself more: you won’t understand me: I never knew what it was to be taken so out of oneself.’

Those whose names are inscribed on the cross differed in their lives and in their temperaments; some had surely been cut out for great things, and some for the quieter life of the student. Yet at the time of great emergency all took their stand for the right. 

May you also be given the same power to take up the challenge when it comes, to accept the high, and, maybe, the seemingly impossible line…”

 

Of the nine Wykehamist Old Dragons on our Memorial, seven were at Winchester in Dr Burge’s time as headmaster:

Robert Pringle – the first to fall.

Roderick Haigh – killed in the 1st Battle of Ypres

Geoff Clarke – the son of our first headmaster

Robert Gibson – a Somme casualty

William Sheepshanks – the son of the late Bishop of Norwich

Revere Osler – the only son of Oxford’s Regius Professor of Medicine

Geoffrey Buck – a winner of the DFC

 

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