Winchester Training College War Memorial
Click on the names carved into the Winchester College Chapel Rail to find out more about the soldiers life, battle and death.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out more about the Winchester Chapel Rail.
The Winchester Training College War Memorial
When we attended King Alfred’s College in the 1970s, we had a very modern Chapel on the campus. The original Chapel was used for other purposes, lunchtime music recitals were held in there, as well as being used by music students for instrumental practice, as it had access to a piano and an organ. The Chapel annexe was used at times for evening prayer, but the religious life of the College was usually conducted elsewhere. In the early days when the College was Winchester Diocesan Training College, and men only, the Chapel was a very important part of the College life for the students. As a Church of England teacher training establishment, attendance at Chapel was compulsory on a daily basis and at least twice on Sundays. In later years, although still a Church of England College, Chapel attendance was no longer compulsory and I’m sure that many students spent their time at College without ever setting foot in the Chapel. I’m not sure how many of the students of the 1970s and later, were aware that within the old Chapel there is an oak dado rail, carved with the names of the former students who died in the two World Wars. There would have been several amongst the dead of the Great War who had interrupted their education and had every hope of returning to complete their course at the end of the war.
Many commemorations have been held over the past few years, as we reached the centenary of one major offensive or another of the First World War. It occurred to one of our number, who has a keen interest in the history of the Great War, that it would be a fitting tribute to our old college to try to find out more about the men whose names were carved on the WW1 part of that rail. So the War Rail, as we refer to it, became the starting point for our project. As such it deserves an explanation of how it came to be in the old Chapel, which is once again the focus of religious worship at the University.
The Wintonian Magazine 1920-1925 reported on the dedication of the College War Memorial.
The Memorial in the Chapel was erected by the past and present Students of the College to those who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War. It was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Winchester on Saturday September 25th 1920, at an afternoon service which was attended by several relatives of the fallen, some past students, and the whole of the present Senior Students.
The Memorial consists of oak panelling wholly around the lower portions of the interior walls of the Chapel, additional stalls at the west end and two inscribed panels.
The names of the fallen are incised upon the frieze of the panelling. On the north wall there is a panel inscribed “To the Glory of God and in Memory of those members of this College who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918”. This panel work is placed by Masters and Students Past and Present.”
On the south wall is a quotation from 2 Maccabees vi 31 “These men died leaving their deaths for an example of a noble courage and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men but unto all their nation.”
The names are given in the order in which the men attended College.
There have been changes to the Chapel since the original dedication, which have resulted in sections of the rail and the inscription, being moved to different parts of the Chapel. In the course of our research we have discovered that some of the names had been carved incorrectly. Mistakes like this are common on War Memorials up and down the land. We also discovered that two of the names on the Great War section of the rail do not truly meet the requirements to be included. We are unlikely ever to find out if that was because of a genuine mistake, or possibly because someone believed that their war service deserved their inclusion.
When we began this project we believed that these men deserved to have their stories told. We now pass the baton on to another generation to tell the stories of the WW2 men on the War Rail sometime in the future.
47M91W/P2/12 The Wintonian Magazine 1920-1925 – from the University of Winchester archive held at the Hampshire Record Office