|2 Sep 2022|
“A remarkable piece of work…truly immeasurable. Deeply moving, but also relentlessly fascinating…an extraordinary testimony to their collective sacrifice.”
Internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer and broadcaster (and fellow OB)
Charles Noble (P90/95) spent much of his childhood living in army bases across the world, which is where his love of military history started. Currently living in Oxfordshire with his wife and two children, Charles remembers the impact that seeing the 56 names of those who died in World War One had on him. Since leaving school, Charles went on to pursue a career in financial leadership, but his love of history never left him and The King's 56 is the result of a great deal of detailed research. A must read for anyone interested in World War One, or indeed anyone who is curious about the lives of the men whose names they would have seen in the Memorial Hall, the book can be ordered from this website https://thekings56.com/home-1
The King's 56
In total, 283 former pupils and members of staff served in the armed forces during World War One. Fighting for King and Country in various theatres of war around the world, 50 were wounded and 56 did not survive the conflict, paying the ultimate price for their service.
Today, their legacy lives on in the form of the striking Memorial Hall, an unmissable feature of the skyline in the attractive Somerset town of Bruton, that was built in the aftermath of the First World War as a tribute to the School’s war dead. Within the hall itself, the wooden wall panels were inscribed with the name, age, date of death and unit details of those from the school who died, but little was known of their individual stories until now.
Meticulously researched, this book tells the story of each man, chronologically by the dates of their deaths while covering all areas of the armed forces from infantry, the machine gun corps and the world’s first tanks through to artillery and those in the supply lines. The book also explores the conflict at sea through those who served in the Royal Navy and, in the air, we learn the story of military aviation through one of the 56 who was an early pioneer who helped set the foundation for the Royal Air Force as we know it today.
The result is a journey from the tense months leading up to war in the summer of 1914, through a number of eponymous battles including Mons, Loos, the Somme, Jutland, Passchendaele and the German Spring Offensive and more are all covered until finally, the Armistice was signed in November 1918 and the guns fell silent. The book then concludes with an insight into how the nation, and then the School, sought to process the catastrophe of the conflict in the post-war years, and to memorialise those lost to it.
Event: On November 13th, Charles will be launching his book at King's School, Bruton - a fitting location for a book that chronicles in such a detailed way the lives and stories of those pupils and teachers who fought in World War One. The event will take place after the annual Remembrance Day service and parade through Bruton. All are warmly welcome to attend - please register your interest here.
Current and ex service personnel are warmly welcomed to join the parade - please contact email@example.com.