We were pleased to be able to return to the traditional format for our annual service of remembrance Friday 11th September.
The service was attended by guests from the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association as well as Old Armachians and some current and former staff. There were representatives of each year group present as well as all members of Sixth Form. The officiating minister was the Dean of Armagh, the Very Rev’d Shane Forster. Members of the school’s Combined Cadet Force contingent showed gusts to their seats in preparation for the service to start at 10:40am.
Following a welcome from the vice principal curriculum, Mrs Murray the congregation sang ‘Abide with me’. This was followed by the Head Girl and Head Boy reading from Psalm 121 and Revelation 22 verses 1-5 respectively. The chamber choir, under the direction of Mr Boyd sang the evocative, ‘For the fallen’ by Douglas Guest after which the headmaster, delivered the remembrance address.
This year the address focused on Old Armachian James Norman Watson from Avon Lodge, Armah. James school in 1905 and when he left it he became a bank clerk with the Bank of Ireland in Tullamore, Co. Offlay.
After being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in December 1915 he was sent to France. On 8 August 1916 he was stationed in trenches in the Ypres Salient when the Germans launched a heavy gas attack. Gas attacks were notoriously cruel, and Watson died of his horrific injuries on 10 August aged twenty two. The headmaster read from the Armachian magazine of 1917 which reported the death saying, “No boy’s death came as such a shock to us as his as he seemed so young to be exposed to this peril at all.”
Following the address vice principal pastoral Mr Hooks led the Act of Remembrance before the Rev’d Forster led prayers which were followed by the Act of commitment. The service concluded with the hymn ‘How deep the Father’s love’ and the blessing.
After the service wreaths were lain at the Great War Memorial in the school and at the cricket pavilion which is the schools memorial to the former pupils who perished in the Second World War. Following the wreath laying guests were entertained to tea in the dining hall which was served by prefects.