The war memorials mounted on the walls at each end of the Memorial Library testify to the courage and sacrifice of its former pupils – Old Portmuthians – who served in the armed services as sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen. The Second World War memorial was unveiled 70 years ago. The wartime Commander in Chief, Portsmouth, Sir William James did the honours. In his address he said that “it was with humble hearts that they recognised the debt they owed to those young men who had lit a lamp which would never go out as long as the school endured”.
The names of 103 former pupils were commemorated and a Book of Remembrance compiled and put on permanent display in the library. But, as the years passed, a few additional names came to light and were added. Until recently the number of former pupils thought to have died was 110 but, following a research project an additional 38 have been identified, including two civilians. This presented the school with a problem – the memorial was full up.
With the generous help of former pupils – the Old Portmuthian Club – two additional wings were crafted in the style of the original memorial and a signwriter commissioned to add the names of the forgotten men in gold leaf, with space left for future identifications. A new Book of Remembrance was also printed and bound with assistance from the Club, it is also available on the school website, please click here to view it.
On Remembrance Day the new memorial extensions and Book of Remembrance were unveiled by Ken Bailey, an OP in his 90s who served in the Army during the war (pictured in the centre above). The lost men will take their proud place in gold leaf and on the printed page, alongside their fellow pupils and comrades in arms.