Lancaster Royal
Grammar School

Remembrance and Springtime

Schools are powerful places for remembrance.  An unbroken chain links stories of loss to our lively pupils today.  They sat where we sit;  they walked up the hill we know so well. 

Jack Mockett was the first of 110 former LRGS pupils to be killed in the Second World War. He was a submarine engineer on HMS Oxley, sent to patrol the coast of Norway on the day that war broke out. 

Another British submarine, HMS Triton, patrolled nearby.  On 10th September 1939, HMS Triton spotted an unidentified vessel which ignored all warning flares.  The captain gave the order to fire. 

HMS Oxley was the unidentified submarine.  It had drifted from position for reasons that will never be known. 

Jack Mockett died with 52 other men as HMS Oxley sank.  His family were not told that his submarine was sunk by torpedoes fired in error in the fog of war.

There are another 109 stories of bravery and loss from our former pupils. 

But let’s not finish there.  War eventually ended, and the school’s then Headmaster spoke at Speech Day in October 1945.  After every crisis, he reminds us, there will be a springtime: 

“It was a strange feeling to come back in September at the beginning of this new School year, the annual Springtime of every Schoolmaster’s and every Schoolboy’s life.  To consider planning for the future instead of for the next day was a most unusual experience.”

Spring will come again.  Hold that hope!   

We will remember them.