This much heralded event is upon us today, but in advance of it we were delighted to have Rear-Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt to address the boys at the School Service yesterday.
It is good for a boy to be asked to record events on important occasions such as this (as with the visits of Jack Smyth VC and Archbishop Cosmo Lang) and this time it is John Brunyate who is responsible for what follows, starting with the Admiral’s excellent address of which this was part:
“I remember I was generally somewhere near the bottom of my form, but I did learn how to make up my own mind. Now it may seem a hard thing for you to prepare for the future, but it is not really difficult if you keep a straight course all along. Do not wander to this side or that, either through temptation or outside influence, and, above all, do not rely too much on others. Make up your own minds. The advice of others is very useful occasionally, but when one gets too used to outside advice one cannot help oneself, and when the emergency comes one cannot get on alone.”
Sir Reginald went on to tell of the raid on Cuxhaven (December 1914), when he was in charge of the light cruisers and destroyers accompanying the transports which were carrying a number of seaplanes that were to carry out the raid. However, they were spotted by the enemy and he had to make the decision as to whether to carry on or call the mission off. The manner in which he reached his conclusion was remarkable.
Opting not to ask for another opinion, which would only make him more undecided, he noticed a ball of light in the sky in the Cuxhaven direction.
“I was then joined by an officer who said, ‘Do you know what day it is, sir? It is Christmas Day.’
‘So it is,’ I replied, ‘I had forgotten. Then that’s the Star in the East and I’m going on.’ My mind was made up, and from that moment I had not the slightest doubt about the success of our enterprise.
The light in the sky proved eventually to be the planet Jupiter and it remained visible for quite a long time after the sun rose.”
Today the boys are enjoying an “extra half” and a number of the staff will be at the Oxford Town Hall to see the Admiral receive the Freedom of the City.