Sometimes heart-wrenching, often humorous, excerpts from letters written by Old Boys at Gallipoli, in Egypt and the Western Front brought fresh perspective to this year’s Founders Day Assembly, which focussed on the centenary of the First World War.
Held in the Lawrance Quadrangle, the Assembly was led by Senior Prefect Jack Bennett and Middle School Monitors Nicholas Barnier, Henry O’Neil, Kieran Dennis and Will Forsythe.
Old Boy Clifford Richardson, who was wounded on landing day at Gallipoli and was the first Australian in the war to be awarded the Military Cross, wrote to his father:
“One shell fell in a boatload of 30 men and killed everyone on the spot. Not a soul moved, but sat there dead as if for a moment hypnotised – but never to wake again.”
While the ultimate sacrifice of 46 Old Boys and Staff was a century ago, it was clear that this spirit of service to others, the mateship that developed between soldiers, and a keen sense of adventure are enduring elements of a TAS education to this day.
Representing the courage of so many, Will Claridge (Year 12) rode into the Assembly on horseback, wearing a uniform of the 12th Australian Light Horse. The uniform, usually on display in the Sandilands Studio, is on permanent loan to the school by Major Bill Upjohn, who kindly brought his horse Cyclops who was also appropriately fitted out.
Following the sounding of The Last Post by Sam Wright (Year 9), the TAS Singers performed a moving rendition of the song In Flanders Fields, before everyone shared in special Founders Day cake to commemorate the school’s 121st birthday.
Click on the image below to view a gallery of photos from the Founders Day Assembly.