Delville Wood Centenary celebrations held at St Andrews College

JULY 15, 2016

St Andrew’s College commemorated the Centenary of the start of the Battle of Delville Wood this morning with a sunrise Chapel Service, Clock Tower Parade and Planting of the Delville Oak.

The Headmaster addressed the congregation on the importance of keeping this history alive and relevant to our boys, so that they will not have to suffer the same horrors in order to fight for a world of peace and justice. 

In a most beautiful and touching way, the Headmaster described the College careers of three of the boys who died at Delville Wood, and it struck home that they could have been any three Matric boys at College this very morning.

The music was carefully chosen to connect the past to the present. Daniel Erasmus, accompanied by Ms Salomie Rocher, played “The Swan” by Camille Saint Saens, a piece that Mr Guy Nicolson played in the final concert in College’s second Chapel in 1914.  Mr Nicolson went on to be the founding Headmaster of The Ridge School in Johannesburg.

During the service, 18 guests and descendants of OAs from Delville Wood placed 18 red roses in a cross, essentially creating the wreath that would be laid at the Clock Tower.

After a moving military parade at the Clock Tower, with the sun just rising in the East, The Pipe Band, Guard of Honour, Servers and congregation marched to Crossways to plant the Delville Oak.  Mr David Wylde, 17th Headmaster of St Andrew’s College, planted the Oak and the Bishop of Grahamstown, The Right Reverend Ebenezer Ntlali, blessed the plaque and the tree. 

Summing up the whole morning’s commemoration, Mr Wylde said that the planting of the Delville Oak is symbolic of bringing our boys home.