Mass for the Fallen - Remembrance Sunday 2018

Mass for the Fallen - Remembrance Sunday 2018

The Prior Park community came together in Our Lady of the Snows Chapel this morning for a moving Remembrance Sunday Mass to mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One. In honour of those Prior Park boys who went to War but did not return to family or friends, the Headmaster unveiled the Prior Park Memorial Chapel which was blessed by Father Simon during the service.

The Headmaster took the opportunity to reflect on the lives of three of Prior Park’s ‘old boys’ who fought and died in the two World Wars - Archibald Mankelow, Ralph Goulstone Gale and James Williams - remembering them as representatives of all those who served their country, paying the ultimate sacrifice. He also welcomed the descendants of the James Williams’s family, who travelled from New Zealand and Zambia, to be with us in our collective remembrance of these young men.

During the service, Headmaster James Murphy O’Connor officially unveiled The Memorial Chapel, which contains an installation in honour of Prior Park alumni, killed in warfare – including eight in WW1 and 25 in WW2 that are known.

“Over the past four years, leading up to the centenary of The Great War, Prior Park has been trying to find all of those Prior Park boys who went to War but did not return - those former students - our lost boys – whose stories had slipped from our memory. Carole Laverick, our PPA Secretary, has dedicated countless hours looking for these boys and today, in their honour, we dedicated a Memorial Chapel to those we now know about and who can now be remembered by name with gratitude and affection.”

The installation, for which we owe thanks to local ceramicist Mary-Jane Evans, Mr Rob Faulkner, our Head of Creative Faculty and to Ms Stephanie Saville, our Head of Art, is designed around falling leaves. Autumn, the season of falling leaves, is an often reflective period and the time we formally commemorate those lost in conflict on 11 November. Each of our fallen Prior Park boys will have their names inscribed on to beautiful, ceramic, sycamore leaves. 

We have chosen sycamore leaves because of the New Testament story of Zacchaeus who climbed the sycamore tree to gain a clearer view of Jesus; the leaf has thus come to symbolise clarity and a coming in to view. However some of the leaves remain unmarked as we believe that there are still Prior Park boys ‘out there’. We aim to inscribe the blank leaves with the names of these Prior Park boys as we find them in the future”.

The names of the eight known Prior Park boys who lost their lives in World War One are:

Francis Patrick BRANIGAN

James Francis BRENNAN

Allan BUSH

William COFFEY

Ralph Goulstone GALE

Thomas James GOLDING

Benjamin Hilton LEIGH

Archibald Henry MANKELOW

More information on all the ‘Lost Boys’ of Prior Park College in Wartime Conflicts, including Archibald Mankelow, Ralph Goulstone Gale and James Williams, can be found here:

The entrance procession for today’s Mass was Pie Jesu (from Requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber), sung by The Paragon Choir.    Mass concluded with the final hymn, I Vow To Thee My Country.