"We Remember" Booklet 2006
AND THE GREAT WAR
more than a century in Chelsea the Duke of York’s Royal Military
School moved to more spacious accommodation near Dover in 1909.
From then on Dover was the only home that some pupils had and
even term-time boarders spent the majority of their year there.
the pre-war years the majority of school leavers joined the
army. By the beginning of 1917 1,648 Old Boys were serving in
the army. Many hundreds more may have volunteered or been
“Dukies” served on all fronts and
in all services. A great many accompanied the British
Expeditionary Force to France in August 1914. They took part in
all of the significant battles. Former pupils fell in large
numbers on the Western Front but others are buried or remembered
worldwide especially at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia.
The majority of the dead had
served in the infantry. Regiments with reputations for hard
fighting were popular destinations and ten died serving with the
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders alone. But the education and
training provided by the school saw many serving with technical
corps like the Royal Engineers, the RAOC, the RASC, and even the
newly formed RFC.
Plaques in the School Chapel
commemorate 232 Old Boys who died between 1914 and 1918.
another 540 could have
The total of 772 represents a
decade of “Dukies” leavers today and this estimate is well below
the likely total. Numbers alone cannot bring home the human
tragedy. A number of pairs of brothers were killed like the
Falkners, John and Robert, who served with the Queen’s Own Royal
West Kent Regiment. Two other Old Boys died the day that the
Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.
The fallen are remembered by
plaques on the Chapel walls, a Book of Remembrance, and a Cross
of Sacrifice close to the school entrance. A service is held
there every Remembrance Sunday.
When the body of
the Unknown Warrior arrived at Dover 100 pupils formed part of
the guard of honour. Many of the boys who lined up at the
quayside had lost their fathers in the Great War.
B Carson MA,
Head of Humanities,
Duke of York's Royal Military School