Taunton School Main Building at Dusk

Taunton School adds forgotten heroes to war memorial

Posted: 18th November 2022

Taunton School added four names to its war memorial at the weekend as pupils, staff and former students came together for four days of Remembrance events.

The four veterans had been missing from the monument in the school grounds and were added as the school commemorated Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

The names added to the war memorial were:

  • Gaston Vincent (French Resistance radio operator who saved 30 Jewish children), who attended Taunton School in 1909 served in both World Wars and died in 1944
  • Sergeant-Gunner Gerald Gainsford (RAF), who joined Taunton School in 1929 and died in June 1940 when his aircraft was shot down over the North Sea
  • Corporal Thomas Arlidge (Australian Army), who joined Taunton Prep School in 1926 and died fighting in Crete in May 1941
  • Corporal Richard John (Prince Alfred’s Guard, South African Army), who joined Taunton School in 1929 and died in Italy in June 1944

The recent additions mean there are now 320 names on the Taunton School war memorial – 168 from World War I and 158 from World War II.

John Brown, Taunton School’s archivist, said: “It may look like just a list of names but these were real people who died fighting in wars and who have interesting stories to uncover. It was a poignant moment when we honoured their memory by adding their names to the memorial.”

An Act of Remembrance was held on Armistice Day on Friday 11thNovember, with 15-year-old student Eliza Hopwood playing the Last Post on the trumpet. Attendees observed two minutes’ silence and members of the school’s Combined Cadet Force laid a wreath on the chapel altar.

On Sunday there was a Combined Cadet Force parade for boarders and the wider school community, followed by services in the school chapel and at the war memorial.

On the previous Thursday, children from the Pre-Prep school, aged seven and under, made their own poppies and a wreath which they laid on the altar. On Saturday all day students attended a Remembrance service.

Eliza Getman, Taunton School Chaplain, said: “Our community came together to remember those who through death, injury or bereavement, suffered to bring a greater measure of peace and freedom to our world. We gathered to pray, to reflect and to remember.

“Our Combined Cadet Forces were impeccable – they marched and laid wreaths on the altar and at the war memorial.”



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