Officers Mess to mark Somme

Ashville College has continued a term of Somme centenary commemorations, with an Officers' Mess style dinner.

The dinner, held in the school’s Richardson Room, heralded the reintroduction of the Eric Duckworth Memorial Scholarship, named for an Ashville alumnus who, having enlisted in 1914, was killed a year later on the front line. As a tribute, his parents gifted £1,000 to the College as a bursary.

The new Eric Duckworth Memorial Scholarship will be awarded on an annual basis to an Ashville pupil from a military family, with the first award being made in September 2017.

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Attendees on the night included Lt Col Mark Steed, the Garrison Commander at Catterick Garrison; Lt Col Richard Hart, Commanding Officer of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery; and Major Ben Redshaw, representing 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment; as well as Old Ashvillians with military links.

Ashville College Headmaster Mark Lauder said: “It is important we never forget the sacrifices made by our former students and teachers, not only in the Battle of the Somme, but in both World Wars.

“It was a pleasure to welcome back the Old Ashvillians who have served in the armed forces and also to reaffirm our links with today’s military, particularly the Yorkshire Regiment in which so many of our Old Boys have served over the last 100 years.

“We have a long and proud tradition of schooling the sons and daughters of service personnel, particularly those based overseas, and long may it continue.” At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, 29 Old Ashvillians were killed in action, including seven on the first day.

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The school will be continuing with its Somme commemorations, including an art installation mapping out the Western Front in poppies and the creation of a replica World War One trench, which will be used for re-enactments.

And, to coincide with the centenary of the ending of the Battle of the Somme, a service of remembrance is being held at the school on Thursday, November 17.