As dawn broke on Sunday November 11th, the centenary of the end of the First World War, the solitary figure of Gordon’s School Piper Edward Lee played the lone piper lament ‘Battle’s O’er’ at the Tower of Guildford Cathedral.
Seventeen year old Edward, a boarder at the school in Woking, Surrey was one of 1,000 pipers from across the country playing this haunting melody, a traditional Scottish air played after battle. Each piper was based in individual locations within their communities. At the same time a specially written tribute was read.
A piper for the past six years, Edward is now in his final year at the co-educational boarding school which has, since its inception over a century ago, always boasted Pipes and Drums. Edward has led them at many of the eight school parades performed every year as well as the annual parade along Whitehall in London. He also joined them at the Lest We Forget Concert in Birmingham as part of the National Youth Pipe Band of England and the Concert for Peace at GLive in Guildford.
He took up the bagpipes when he joined the school and soon rose up the ranks of the marching musicians, becoming Pipe Sergeant.
The lament is one he knows well, but piping at Guildford Cathedral was particularly special for him: “I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s a great opportunity to take part in the centenary anniversary.” It was especially poignant as his great-great-grandfather, who served in the Durham Light Infantry was killed in the Somme, along with his three great-great-great uncles.
The event marked the start of a day in which students, parents and staff from Gordon’s in West End, Woking joined together for the Parade and Remembrance Service taken by the School Chaplain the Reverend Sarah Norbron.
Dressed in their Blues uniform, the student body marched and remembered the sacrifices of so many including the 155 former students killed in action during the First World War.
Wreaths were laid and the two minute silence observed by staff, students and their families, many of whom are currently serving their country in the Forces.
Preparations for the event had begun in July during Make a Difference Day when over 700 poppies were made by students from the school – many inscribed with the names of Gordonians killed during conflicts. These poignant symbols were ‘planted’ next to the statue of General Charles Gordon.
These poppies will be sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Deputy Head Rob Pavis commented: “We are proud to be playing a part in this historic international event to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War, and to recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by students from Gordon’s as well as the men and women from the wider community. “
Click here to see the Remembrance Parade
Click here to see the commemoration of the 155 former students killed in action in the First World War