The phrase "one picture is worth a thousand words" suggests that an image can more lucidly communicate a complex idea or experience. Perhaps overused, the idiom has lost some resonance over the years. However, I would argue my experiences in recent weeks, while searching for images linked to our roll of honour, have brought home the truth behind the phrase. In fact, three photographs had such a profound emotional impact, I felt the need to share them here.
Searching through photographs is one my favourite tasks in the archive – the moments frozen in time are just so captivating. I recently embarked on a search that was in equal parts captivating and upsetting.
My aim was to compare our collection of house photographs with the data we have on the boys who lost their lives in the Great War. It was a relatively simple task: I created a table for each house and used the boys’ years at the college as a guide. Unfortunately, our twentieth-century photographs are rarely labelled, so while it was possible to match the boy to a photograph, it was impossible to know which boy he was, or if he was actually present when the photograph was taken. Nonetheless, the figures are startling:
|Description||Date||Includes the following boys from the WW1 roll of honour||Total|
|Chichester House photograph||1898||Scott||1|
|Chichester House photograph||1903||Gandar-Dower||1|
|Chichester House photograph||1906||Gandar-Dower; Body; Vaile; Reade; Cubitt||5|
|Chichester House photograph||1909||Gandar-Dower; Reade; Cubitt; Vaile; Wickham; Williams; Frisch||7|
|Chichester House photograph||1910||Reade; Vaile; Wickham; Williams; Frisch; St. Vincent Morris; Archdale||7|
|Chichester House photograph||1911||Reade; Vaile; Wickham; Williams; Frisch; St. Vincent Morris; Archdale; Kemp; Fyldes; Uridge||10|
|Chichester House photograph||1912||Wickham; Williams; St. Vincent Morris; Archdale; Kemp; Fyldes; Uridge; Groves; Newton||9|
|Chichester House photograph||1913||Wickham; Williams; St. Vincent Morris; Archdale; Fyldes; Uridge; Groves; Newton||8|
|Chichester House photograph||1914||St. Vincent Morris; Archdale; Fyldes; Uridge; Groves; Newton||6|
|Chichester House photograph||1915||Groves; Newton||2|
|Durnford House photograph||1912||Bone; Hulbert; Nunn; Buckland; West;||5|
|Durnford House photograph||1913||Bone; Hulbert; Nunn; Buckland; West; Field;||6|
|Durnford House photograph||1914||Bone; Hulbert; Nunn; Buckland; West; Field; Knowles;||7|
|Durnford House photograph||1915||Buckland; West; Field; Knowles;||4|
|Durnford House photograph||1916||West; Field;||2|
|School House photograph||1903||Ridgway; Gaisford; Reeve; Nunn; Tolson||5|
|School House photograph||1908||Venner; Westwood; A Young; L Young; H Wright; Harvey; N Wright||7|
|School House photograph||1910||Oxley; A Young; H Wright; Harvey; N Wright; Blyth; Martin; Clapp; Halliwell; Parkinson;||10|
|School House photograph||1912||A Young; Clapp; Halliwell; Parkinson; Armbruster; Homer; Hodge; Duff; Hamilton; Schiff||10|
|School House photograph||1913||A Young; Halliwell; Parkinson; Hodge; Duff; Hamilton; Schiff; Hedgcock||8|
|School House photograph||1914||Hodge; Schiff; Hedgcock||3|
|School House photograph||1915||Schiff; Hedgcock||2|
|School House photograph||1916||Hedgcock||1|
|School House photograph||1917||Hedgcock||1|
As looked at the tables, it quickly became apparent that a significant number of boys in Chichester house, 1911, and School House, 1910 and 1912, went on to lose their lives. With this realisation, the impact on a whole generation was made clear to me. Not only did they leave our gates, never to return, but their loss touched upon so many. They were sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, and peers.
I would suggest that the images below communicate this message far better than any written attempt...