Back in 2019, the OCA and Cranbrook School began planning how to commemorate the sacrifice of Old Cranbrookians in World War 2, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day this May.
The hope had been to invite OCs back to School for a reception alongside the CCF’s Biennial Inspection, but of course the current lockdown situation and school closure made this impossible, so our commemoration has moved here on line.
There are seventy old boys and Masters on Cranbrook School’s Roll of Honour 1939-45, but clearly there will be others, unknown, who also lost their lives in service to their country or community in those years.
As early as 1944 there was a suggestion that Cranbrook’s war dead should be commemorated with a new gymnasium, which was much needed at the time. A War Memorial Appeal was launched in 1946 and was generously supported by Colonel Barham, Chair of Governors from 1934 – 1952, and many Old Cranbrookians. By 1959 sufficient funds had been raised for the new gymnasium (designed by architect Donald McMorran) to be built on what was then the old vicarage garden and orchard. The building is appropriately severe in style, dignified by the Portland Stone Memorial Porch on the south wall where a dedication service was held on 9th July 1960. The memorial porch is used today as the setting for year 13 leavers photos, and in 2017 the Old Gym (as it was known by that stage) was converted to become the new Sixth Form Centre and was reopened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.
Although a commemorative event will not be possible this year, we hope you will take some time soon to visit our Roll of Honour gallery (in the Gallery section of this wesbsite) and read a few of the brief accounts of lives cut short that sit behind each commemorative panel. Our research has been based on the Military Records and Commonwealth War Graves Commission websites. If you have any other information we should include, please let us know.
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