Today our thoughts turn to Remembrance Day and all our former pupils who have died in conflict. I wish to look in particular at those who served during WW1. It can seem very distant to us, the old black and white photographs of men in uniform from a conflict of another age, but I was reminded a few weeks ago how untrue that perception can be. In October, the family of Lieutenant Harry Greene came to visit us at Dean Close to see Henry’s name on the WW1 memorial in Chapel.
Henry arrived at Dean Close in the Michaelmas term of 1904 leaving in 1909 to go on to Trinity College Dublin. He was already a serving officer when war broke out having chosen to join the Indian Army. He served in Egypt with his regiment, the 6th Gurkha Rifles, as part of the force defending the Suez Canal before he was sent to join his Brigade at Gallipoli in July 1915. He was killed in action at the Battle of Chanuk Bair, or Sari Bair, on the 21st August 1915. Every British officer in his battalion bar one, the medical officer, was killed or wounded. He was just 24 years old.
Henry was one of three brothers who attended the School; George was the eldest and John the youngest. John served with the 9th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. His battalion fought at the Somme in the battles of Guillemont and Ginchy and later the 3rd Battle of Ypres at Messines and Langemark.
John Geddes Greene
Henry and John were half-brothers to the Mother of one of our visitors, Mrs O’Flynn. Indeed, Mrs O’Flynn remembered John visiting her Mother during the 1950s and bringing with him bottles of bubble mixture to amuse his niece. An interesting morning was spent revisiting the places that Henry and his brothers would have known and looking at old sepia photographs of the boys at school which really brought home how immediate World War 1 remains. Those black and white photographs are not so distant after all.