STUDENTS who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War will “not be forgotten” by Shakespeare’s school.
King Edward VI School’s archivist Richard Pearson has created a website remembering those who lost their lives during the Great War.
At the time KES was a small grammar school with only 69 boys enrolled. It had a reputation for stability with a headteacher who had been there long before before the war began.
But this stability was rocked with the outbreak of war in 1914 which saw 39 students and one teacher killed.
The website charts in detail the story of each student or old boy who lost their life during this time.
It includes the incredible life story of pilot Rex Warneford who was awarded the Victoria Cross after blowing up a German Zeppelin over Belgium, before losing his life in 1917 after a test flight accident near Paris.
Other stories include those of 18-year-old Victor William Hyatt, who died on December 5, 1914 after being crushed by sandbags in the trenches, to the death of Percy Fisher, who was shot through the heart during a patrol in no man’s land on September 12 1916. The following day his brother Raymond Fisher – also a KES student – was found dead after falling from his motorbike with shrapnel lodged in his skull.
Mr Pearson told the Observer: “I started the website to commemorate 100 years since world war one started.
“I felt these boys should always be remembered. I wanted to do that with the website which is going to be made accessible to schools all over the world. It is so important we do not forget them.”
It is not the first time retired history teacher Mr Pearson has delved into the school’s history.
Since 2007 he has published books about the KES students who fought in both world wars.
He said: “It has been a wonderful journey. I taught history at the school for ten years and now I am archivist here. I have no plans to leave.”
Visit www.kes.1914.net to view the website.
*AN INSIGHT into what life was like in Stratford during the First World War is the focus of a new exhibition.
The story of the town and its people will be showcased through items such as diaries, photographs and historic documents.
The First World War Shakespeare and Stratford exhibition will open on Saturday (July 12) at Hall’s Croft in Old Town.
And Stratford residents will be able to visit the exhibition for free the following weekend – Saturday and Sunday (June 19 and 20).
A spokeswoman from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – which created the exhibition following funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund – said: “This intimate exhibition commemorates the experiences of Stratford people during the war years and examines the influence and use of Shakespeare’s works at the time.”
To help with the exhibition the trust is searching for new volunteers to research material and record information online.
Call 01789 292179 to find out more.
Sub-Lieutenant Rex Warneford VC pictured in 1915. (s)