Warminster School
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Issue 41
19 october 2018


I am proud to say that, as an adjunct to the research into the new history of the School (the manuscript of which is now almost complete – if anyone would like to suggest a title, please let us know), I have made it my mission to ensure – as far as possible – that the details of the former pupils and teachers of this school who died in World War One are accurate. To be frank, this is something that should have happened much earlier during the course of the past century; however, in recent weeks, we have uncovered an additional OV who was killed in action, corrected the Christian name of another (wrongly identified as his brother) and found out more information, including the ages, of many. In 1914 there were only fifty-nine boys at the School, yet well over 230 fought in the war. 33 boys and three masters were killed. Eight of them were teenagers, the youngest, Philip Lister, only 17. Twenty five of them were captains or subalterns: the majority of the junior officers who served in the British Army in the First World War came from British public schools. On average they lasted six weeks before being killed or wounded; archivists estimate that over 90% of public schoolboys eligible to serve did so. 25% of VCs won in the War were gained by public schoolboys, an astonishing statistic.
On 11 November, we will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War with a Service of Remembrance in the Minster Church. An email about this was sent by the Deputy Headmaster earlier this week. After the service, we will plant a tree on School House Lawn, the first of 36 around the School to commemorate those who died. Each tree will have in front of it a plaque identifying one of these men, when and where they died and the years they attended the School. I hope you agree that this is a fitting memorial; it also offers a healthy dose of perspective. Those of you on Twitter may have seen that I am tweeting the details of one man a day for the thirty six days leading up to 11 November.
Aside from this important work, it has been a typically busy half-term. Earlier his week, we had the wonderful community event that is house cross-country, while last week we enjoyed – despite poor weather – the Biennial Inspection of the School’s CCF (Combined Cadet Force). A cadet force has existed at the School since 1908 and it continues to thrive under the dedicated and outstanding leadership of Major Garner and Captain Holt. We were honoured to welcome Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, an old boy (Old Verlucian) and Governor, to conduct the inspection and it was a great success.
One of the greatest strengths of Warminster is its international component, something that adds such a richness and sense of global perspective to a rural school. As you read this, I am in Ghana and I spent last weekend in Hong Kong, where it was a great pleasure to host a reception for the parents of current pupils, as well as those of former pupils and also OVs. One of the latter, who left here in 2008, told me that he is getting married in December to a woman he met here at Warminster. A lovely story.
Although he didn’t win, I am very proud of our Head of Catering, Alex Rall, who made the shortlist of three for the award of ‘Independent School Caterer of the Year’. As I am sure you agree, his nomination was well deserved and a fitting tribute to the dedication and excellence of Alex and his team. Quite rightly, they took full advantage of their black-tie awards evening in London. As I have said many times before, we are fortunate to have at this school a wonderful set of support staff – most of whom work behind the scenes and in unglamorous roles, all of which are nonetheless vitally important.
On the subject of outstanding ambassadors for the School, the recent Open Morning was a great success, despite heavy rain and simultaneous events at a number of other schools. Without exaggeration, I lost count of the amount of praise and thanks I received from visitors about staff and pupils. Our pupils are always our finest ambassadors and their engagement, friendliness, good manners and enthusiasm were much appreciated and most impressive. You would have been proud of them.
After half-term, the pace remains frenetic in the run up to Christmas: the prep pupils are performing ‘Macbeth’ and the senior pupils ‘The Comedy of Errors’ in mid-November in the Merlin Theatre, Frome, as part of the Shakespeare in Schools Festival; both plays will be repeated at The Athenaeum on Wednesday 28 November. Meanwhile, Sara Symington OV, the Performance Director of England Netball, will be giving a Thomas Arnold lecture on 14 November. The annual WSPA Fireworks Display takes place on Friday 9 November, and you will have received a recent email about the wine-tasting event for staff and parents on 19 November, to which you are all warmly invited.
Good luck to the 83 (that’s not a misprint) pupils who depart for Holland this weekend on the six-day hockey tour – they are very fortunate and I am sure they will appreciate what a wonderful opportunity it is. I wish them well and look forward to hearing how they got on in their 35 matches (neither is that a misprint!)
Lastly, many congratulations to Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Bull, whose son is at the School: over half-term, he will be in Sydney to represent his country in the fourth Invictus Games as vice-captain of the Team UK squad, a tremendous achievement. He will compete in both the swimming and sailing events and I am sure that all members of the school community would wish to join me in wishing him every success in Australia.
I hope you all have some time off over half-term.

Mark Mortimer

Latest News


19 OCTOBER 2018
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19 OCTOBER 2018
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18 OCTOBER 2018
Annual Cross Country at Warminster. Read more


18 OCTOBER 2018
Talented runners tackle the West Wiltshire Cross Country. Read more


17 OCTOBER 2018
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17 OCTOBER 2018
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16 OCTOBER 2018
The manuscript of the updated history of the School is almost complete. Read more


15 OCTOBER 2018
Marking European Day of Languages. Read more


14 OCTOBER 2018
The spirit of the CCF. Read more


13 OCTOBER 2018
Come along to the WSPA's Fireworks Festival. Read more


12 OCTOBER 2018
Old Verlucian, Sara Symington delivers the next TA Lecture. Read more


11 OCTOBER 2018
Alex Rall was on the receiving end of first class hospitality. Read more


9 OCTOBER 2018
There are many benefits when joining the CCF. Read more


8 OCTOBER 2018
Luckily, rain did not dampen spirits on our Open Day. Read more


5 OCTOBER 2018
Ivy girls washed out in Weymouth. Read more


4 OCTOBER 2018
Ben Austin is awarded an Arkwright Scholarship. Read more


3 OCTOBER 2018
Warminster welcomed Matt Dickinson. Read more


2 OCTOBER 2018
The value of patience and listening: IB pupils organise a special morning. Read more


1 OCTOBER 2018
We enjoyed our own Ryder Cup a little closer to home. Read more


30 september 2018
Edward Vickery and his cricket success. Read more


The Journey to Pride Rock

Upcoming events





Please use the relevant online calendar

Senior Calendar


The spotlight shines on our 'resident DJ and quiz-master', English teacher Jeremy Robertson.

Born in north west London, Jeremy had an interesting upbringing as both his parents were wheelchair users having developed polio in their youth. However, they always ensured he had as much of an exciting childhood as his friends, taking him to the theatre (often the National) and to musical events (particularly Gilbert & Sullivan) as well as museums (he can remember going to the great Tutankhamun exhibition in 1972). He is married to Becky and has two boys, Tom and Andrew. Like his parents, he is a keen quizzer but his first loves are music (the noisier the better) and Darlington FC. Jeremy has been teaching since 1985. Read more

Warminster School
Church Street
Warminster, Wiltshire
BA12 8PJ

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Warminster School · Church Street · Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 8PJ · United Kingdom

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