Black History Month and Remembrance Marked with Spotlight on the ‘Forgotten’

Pupils across the senior school have marked Black History Month and the month of Remembrance this year with a poignant focus on ‘remembering the forgotten’.

Following a wider celebration of Black History Month throughout the school, with displays and classroom events during October, the History department has launched a new KS3 curriculum which includes some key specific features to mark the event. Year 8 pupils were asked to consider ‘who were the Black Tudors and what is their lasting legacy and significance?’, leading to a study of John Blanke, the African trumpeter who played in the court of Henry VII and Henry VIII, while Year 9 pupils examined the First World War through a new enquiry ‘Whose World War?’, exploring wartime experiences based on location, ethnicity and gender. This led them to discover Will Robbie Clarke- the first Jamaican pilot to fly for the Royal Flying Corps in WWI.

The school’s Remembrance commemoration continued the theme, shining a light on often overlooked service personnel, including at the annual Remembrance assembly where Sixth Form Historians, CCF cadets and Ms Onor Crummay, Head of History, spoke expressively of the work of the voluntary RAF Mountain Rescue service, who support rescue missions in busy locations like Snowdonia and Ben Nevis, and the ‘forgotten’ men of the Indian army who fought in the Far East – alongside former Colfeians.

Pupils heard about oft-forgotten female operatives, such as the Polish spy Krystana Skarbek (an inspiration for James Bond author Ian Fleming), and Virginia Hall, a disabled American volunteer who supported the British Secret Service in WWII. The assembly also included a focus on the legacy and life of Britain’s first black footballer-turned-British Army officer, Walter Tull.

The one-minute silence was dedicated to those who are currently serving, and those who have fallen in all major conflicts, including the 129 Colfeians from WWI and the 97 Colfeians from WWII. The youngest Colfeian to lose their life in WWI was just a few months over 18 – the same age as several of the Year 13 students attending the assembly.

Onor Crummay, Head of History, said:

“Telling the stories of these people, who did remarkable things during remarkable periods of history, is a way of shining a light on the contribution people have made around the globe, as well as discussing important aspects of modern conflict and how society should, and can remember.”

Colfe’s will mark the two-minute silence on Friday 11 November, and the CCF will lead the parade on Sunday at the school’s annual Remembrance event at the Old Colfeian Rugby Club Horn Park ground.


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