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19th June 2014

Rector and Chaplain to pay homage to Exeter’s victims of the First World War

In the First World War, 771 Exonians served and of these 143 died, including two Fellows. This was a huge toll at a time when only around 50 matriculated each year. Of the 59 who came up in 1911, the same year as JRR Tolkien, 23 were killed, the highest casualty rate of any year.

To pay homage to the College’s War dead, Rector Frances Cairncross, Chaplain Andrew Allen, and alumnus Tom Painter (2009, Lit Hum) are travelling to as many as possible of the Exonians’ graves and memorials (mainly in Flanders and Northern France) over the summer, to leave a sprig of rosemary from the College gardens tied in a slip of Exeter ribbon. They hope that students, alumni, or friends of the College will be able to visit some of the memorials in out-of-the-way parts of the British Isles and perhaps the Dardenelles.

The journey will start with a ceremony at East Peckham Church on the centenary of the start of the First World War, Monday August 4th. At this church there is a plaque to commemorate John Norwood, VC, the first Exonian to die in the Great War. The Chaplain and members of the Exeter College Chapel Choir will be present.

Any students or alumni who would like to come to this ceremony should email Further details including the schedule in France and Flanders will be available on If you are holidaying near by, please consider joining the Rector, Chaplain and Mr Painter as they pay tribute to the young Exonians who, in 1914, did not make it through the following four years.

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