This week’s Head’s Assembly was led by history teacher Mr Gallimore who before his teaching career served as a British Army Officer in the Welsh Guards for 17 years and served four tours of Afghanistan.

Assembly at private school

He delivered a poignant talk in which he remembered Old Tauntonian Frank Blaker, a member of Wills West house, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroics in the Second World War. He bravely led a mission in Japan and was fatally wounded when he was shot seven times. He was just 24 years old when he died in 1944. Following his death at just 24 years of age, the decision to award the Victoria Cross had never been made more swiftly.

Mr Gallimore also spoke incredibly movingly of former comrades in the Welsh Guards who had taken their own lives as they struggled to deal with the aftermath of active duty in Afghanistan.  In a society where suicide is all too prevalent, this approach to remembrance has a particular relevance and served as a reminder to treat our mental health with the utmost importance.

He also explained the Welsh word ‘cwtch’ – a term that describes an emotionally supportive hug or cuddle – something we all need now more than ever. He ended his talk with a hugely apt quote from the poet W.H. Auden: “We must love each other or die.” An important message for us all to reflect on this Remembrance Week and always.