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Remarkable Old Monmothian remembered in Armistice Day Service

November 12th, 2019

An extraordinary former pupil at Monmouth School for Boys was remembered in a special Armistice Day Service.

Distinguished guests, including Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Gwent; The Royal Welsh and Major-General Lennox Napier CB OBE MC DL, gathered for the re-dedication of the school’s War Memorial and a new plaque unveiled in honour of Angus Buchanan MC VC.

The War Memorial, conceived in 1919 by the Old Monmothians to remember the 76 old boys who fell in World War One, was originally opened by Captain Buchanan.

And the whole school, including musicians from the Chapel Choir, were present on Monday 11th November as Brigadier Aitken and Major-General Napier re-dedicated the War Memorial and the plaque, respectively.

Major-General Napier, aged 91, said: “We remember Angus Buchanan’s life of quiet service in our community, and give thanks for the memory of a great, yet humble man.  May this plaque inspire generations of boys to lead lives of honour and service.”

It was a very special day at the school as Headmaster, Dr Andrew Daniel, hosted the Royal Welsh (the successor to the South Wales Borderers, Buchanan’s regiment) and its Regimental Goat, Shenkin IV, with Sgt Mark Jackson.

The Bugler, Sgt Johnathon Bowden, played The Last Post, in a beautiful and moving service, which included a two minutes’ silence, singing of the National Anthem, The Rouse played by  Year 10 pupil, Jack, the Kohima Epitaph read by Year 8 pupil, Gwyndaf, and wreath-laying.

Angus Buchanan was educated at Monmouth School for Boys, where he was Head Boy. The school has a boarding house named in his honour.

He went on to study Classics at Jesus College, Oxford, and joined the army, where he served in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1916.

At just 21 and a temporary captain in the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, Captain Buchanan displayed conspicuous bravery in the face of enemy fire to save the lives of comrades during the First World War for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

In a later incident, however, Captain Buchanan was shot in the head in 1917 by a sniper and blinded.

Despite his blindness, Captain Buchanan returned to Jesus College after the war and read Law, rowing for the college in 1919. After graduating in 1921, he worked in a solicitor’s office in Oxford before returning to his family home in Coleford in the Forest of Dean to work until his death in 1944.

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