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Remembered Today:

What do you think?


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Whilst researching the WW1 dead of St Georges school, Harpenden, Herts, one of the men who died was a Private Frederick Cain. He is buried in Zuydcoote Military cemetery, and is on the CWGC site. However the school's view is that he should not be commemorated at the school "because he wasn't a pupil he was only a gardener."

Forgive me if I am getting on my soap box, but my blood is boiling! What do people think? I am not posting this to have a go at the school, more to find out whether someones profession makes them any less worthy of being commemorated.

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My Friend,

I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone agreeing with the School's position on this forum or anywhere else.

Take care,

Neil

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Many schools commemorate the men who they employed in addition to past pupils.e.g. teachers. The question I would ask is "If it was one of the governors would he be included on the memorial?"

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christine liava'a

Are any other staff commemorated? If so, how?

With the pupils or separately?

As a colonial, this looks like British class-consciousness to me!

Include him!

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I agree with you all.......have been researching the war for many years and I just find it incredibly sad that's all.

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Of course it is sad, but memorials are as much historical documents about the people who made them as they are about the people named on them.

The school isn't just refusing to add the gardener now - they excluded him at the time, remember.

I hope that Gunner Cain is commemorated by name on a memorial elsewhere thanks to the good offices of those who loved and respected him as a brother, son, husband or friend. Better that, than to be remembered reluctantly, and then only as a hired man.

Tom

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Is the memorial commemmorating "ex-pupils" of the school? I've seen the occasional one like this and they don't include any teachers or other staff. Just pupils.

Dave.

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the school's view is that he should not be commemorated at the school "because he wasn't a pupil he was only a gardener."

Matt

Is that the school's view now, or when the memorial was being raised? and who was the spokesman?

Most organisations were only too eager to record their losses in the great war, but whatever caused Pte Cain's omission, I'm sure you will enjoy restoring his memory all the more.

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I don't like to make assumptions, but I guess this is a public school of some kind?

As a SAD campaigner I'm frequently reminded by my betters that we have to remember we can't use our modern values to judge things that happened 90 years ago by today's values. During the 1914-18 period it was very much a class conscious society where everybody was expected to know their place etc. etc. Matt you say the school's view IS still against him being commemorated so it looks like sadly things haven't changed much.

The answer seems to be in the opinion of this school a man's profession does make him less worthy. Shame on them. :(

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Success! As of November 11th the War memorial will be redone and Private F Cain will now be included on the school memorial. Massive well done to Hobbsy for all his hard work in getting this change.

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As a SAD campaigner I'm frequently reminded by my betters that we have to remember we can't use our modern values to judge things that happened 90 years ago by today's values. During the 1914-18 period it was very much a class conscious society where everybody was expected to know their place etc. etc.

Touché, Alan, touché. The re-writing history argument tends to be used very, very selectively.

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That is assuming that the historical account was correctly interpreted in the first place!

Assessing facts does have its problems even if you are writing after the event, no matter who you are.

Interpretation causes the problem in many cases.

John

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Well done indeed, but has it occured to anyone that Private F Cain's family may not have wanted his name included at the time.... just a thought ;)

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You may be right, but I don't think he had any family. I think this is more of a class issue than anything else. That said a huge pat on the back to the school for finally getting on of the hero's remembered now.

Cheers mate

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