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King Edward's School and the Great War

King Edward's School is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War with a series of events held over the next four years.

Hundreds of the school's old boys and masters fought and died in the many campaigns on land, sea and in the air. The contributions made by these Old Edwardians will be remembered through a programme of events, the initial plans for which are outlined below.

Exhibition: King Edward's School and the Great War

In November 2014, an exhibition opened in the School Chapel to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.

The exhibition will run for four years and develop throughout that time to mark some of the key events that took place 100 years previously. To begin with, the exhibition explored the School on the eve of the war, the involvement of Old Edwardians in raising the Birmingham City (Pals) Battalions, and a short film revealed the impact of the conflict on Tolkien and his school friends. The second phase of the exhibition opened in May 2016 and commemorates the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, in which 52 Old Edwardians lost their lives. The new exhibition explores the Somme campaign in greater detail and tells the individual stories of Old Edwardians who fought and died in the campaign. 

Photographs of the exhibition provide an insight into the commemoration so far.  

Visitors to the exhibition are also able to browse through photographs and biographies for every Old Edwardian listed on the bronze memorial plaques in the Chapel, via a virtual roll of honour. Book to view the exhibition. 

TFP Sanders with batallion

Battlefields Trip

During October half term, 40 pupils travelled to the battlefields of Belgium and Northern France to mark the contributions made by all in the war, but especially those of Old Edwardians and the Birmingham Pals.

The trip was based around Ypres and the Somme and boys were able to visit all the key battlegrounds, trenches, museums and monuments. They attended a service at St George's Memorial Church in Ypres, during which a plaque was dedicated to Old Edwardians who lost their lives in the First World War.

Along with the Chief Master, a contingent from the school's Combined Cadet Force represented King Edward's School at the Menin Gate ceremony where a wreath was laid. The group later moved on to the Somme battlefield and visited the graves of Old Edwardians killed in the area, and a short ceremony of remembrance followed at the Thiepval Memorial.

Finally the group attended the French National Memorial at Notre Dame de Lorette. This was a dramatic ending to a visit which boys found to be thought-provoking and moving in equal measure, evident via the many photos taken from the trip.


British troops at Serre

Tolkien Lecture 2014

Professor Gary Sheffield, one of Britain's foremost military historians, was the speaker at this annual academic lecture on Tuesday, 7 October 2014. The lecture was titled 'British Army Officers in the First World War: Recruitment, Training and Performance'.
Professor Gary Sheffield

Tolkien Lecture 2016

Professor Sir Hew Strachan, the world's most eminent historian of the First World War, talked about the Battle of the Somme at this annual academic lecture on Wednesday, 4 May 2016. 
Sir Hew Strachan

For information on other events and attractions related to Birmingham's heritage, visit Birmingham Heritage Forum's website.