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05th August 2014

Rector, Chaplain and Exonians commemorate outbreak of First World War

Rector Frances Cairncross, Chaplain Andrew Allen, Exeter alumni, current students and staff attended a commemoration at St Michael’s Church in East Peckham, Kent, on 4 August 2014, to mark the centenary of Britain’s declaration of war with Germany.

During the commemoration, the Rector placed a wreath under the church’s memorial plaque to John Norwood V.C., the first Exonian to die in the Great War.  He had been awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Boer War. Members of the Exeter College Chapel Choir sang Psalm 121 and Never Weather-Beaten Sail by Thomas Campion.

The ceremony marked the start of a pilgrimage by the Rector and Reverend Allen to visit as many as possible of the 143 Exonian graves and memorials, mainly in Flanders, Italy and northern France, during the summer of 2014.  At each grave they will leave a sprig of rosemary from the College gardens, tied in Exeter ribbon.  In doing so they hope to show that, even in this year of great celebration for Exeter, we remember the sacrifices of those who came before us.

Further information and updates on their trip can be found at A complete list of Exonians who died in the First World War can be found in the College’s Roll of Honour. If you are able to visit any of the graves outside of Flanders, Italy and northern France please email

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