BBC World War One at Home – Emanuel School

Emanuel School’s World War One story is now part of the BBC World War One at Home series. It covers the story of the Grundy brothers and the origins of the School song which can be heard on the piece.

Book photo

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The day before: One soldier’s last letter home before the opening day of the Battle of the Somme

Ronald Grundy002

Ronald Grundy painting
2nd Lt. Ronald Edwin Grundy was 19 years old when he was leading a platoon of the 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment on the 1st July 1916. Just before 7.30 am he was shot through the throat by a German sniper. He fell instantly but less than a day before that fateful moment he had written home to his mother. On the eve of the 97th anniversary of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme I reproduce the last page of his letter. The family received the letter on 4th July 1916.
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Before he was killed Ronald bequeathed money to be left to Emanuel School for a trophy to foster the inter-house spirit. In addition to the trophy a chalice was made for the School Chapel in Ronald’s memory.
Ronald’s body was originally buried close to where he fell but due to continued fighting his body was lost. A grave stone in Ovillers Military Cemetery bears his name but his remains are believed to be buried nearby. Today we remember Ronald’s bravery and the sacrifice this young man made all those years ago.
Ronald’s older brother Cecil died of wounds in November 1915 after being hit by a sniper on the evening of 28 October 1915 and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery. Ronald’s younger brothers were too young to fight in the First World War but one, Jack Grundy served in the Second World War and having attended Emanuel School as a boy later became Headmaster at Emanuel between 1953-1963.

With thanks to the Archive Modern Conflict for the letter.