No. 42 Spring 1940.
Editor:D. E. MILLS.
A frequent cause of complaint with former editors has been the paucity of material. This time, owing to lack of space (caused by the war-time shortage of paper) and the wealth of experiences which every boy in the School has had since last September and which provide ample matter for articles, no such complaint is necessary; we thank both masters and boys for their response to our appeal. This. magazine may seem somewhat different from previous "Monovians "; the usual House Notes. for instance, are missing. We can only express our regret that the House System seems so utterly to have ceased to exist, and our hope that it will soon be revived. We regret also the other inevitable omissions that have been made and sincerely hope that this magazine will both be interesting and also serve in time to come as a reminder of the days when the School was transported lock, stock and barrel "into the wilds of Bedfordshire." We now look back on our stay there with mixed feelings; with regret at having left our new-found friends and the beautiful Ampthill scenery, and with amusement at the idea of the Sixth Form working in the vestry of a chapel, while a Women's Meeting carolled away above. We are indeed greatly indebted to the Colchester Royal Grammar School for the kind way in which it has received us, and we take this opportunity of expressing our deep gratitude. One shudders to think of the fate of the Monoux School, had it been left any longer to the tender mercies of Ampthill, kind as the inhabitants were. This edition, we hope, may present some idea of the lighter side of evacuation; its more unpleasant aspects and the grim circumstances which have rendered it necessary it is not our aim to mention, though at the same time one must, of course, not refuse to face facts. However, the immediate purpose of this magazine is to recall some experiences the School has had, and we trust that it will succeed.
D. E. M.
Asked by the editor to write a foreword for the magazine, I made several attempts and tore them up, for it should have referred to happenings in the School since September, but I found it impossible to write of our little life here. My mind immediately went to those, young Old Monovians who not long ago were also enjoying their little life at School. They left with bright visions of their future, confident with the glorious confidence of youth that life was well worth living, and that they would play their part worthily in that life which was opening out before them. As, on the last day of the Summer Terms, I have looked down to the back of the hall, knowing that for the last time we were meeting as Master and boy, I have often been reminded of those lines:
"A young Apollo, golden-haired,
Stands gazing, at the edge of strife,
For the long littleness of Life."
They were not, by any means, all Apollos, but I wondered how they would react to the inevitable tediousness of business life, and how many of them would be able to keep up to the best level they had reached at School. Now, almost suddenly, they have been called from the office, warehouse, workshop, or University, to face the grimmest test of Life-or Death. Too young in many cases to be allowed to influence their country's policy by their vote, they are yet called to give their lives, it may be, to implement that policy. They are faced with terribly important decisions. With so little time given them to enjoy the fullness of life they are called to face the imminence of death. Because we of my generation have failed to make peace secure, and made no adequate protest against the doctrine that Might is Right, as instanced successively in the case of Manchukuo, Abysinnia, Spain, Czecho-Slovakia, etc., that doctrine is enthroned, and too late comes the full realisation that possibly the best of our youth and manhood will have to be sacrificed to restore sanity to the world. The pity of it! It is easy to be wise after the event, but many of us realised that unless we were prepared in peace time to make great sacrifices for peace, unless we were prepared in the relations between countries and nations to be guided by those feelings of consideration for others which alone make possible decent private life in a community, we sooner or later be forced to make the far greater sacrifices which modern war entails. So long as we are unprepared to give that full freedom to others, which we consider an inherent right for ourselves, we shall never attain real freedom; the world is much too interdependent. But now that the die is cast what must we do? For those who are still at School I think that the answer is that you must more whole-heartedly than ever before, show consideration for other people in your private life no less than in your life at School. That means that you must be prepared to put up with many things which make life less comfortable, so that your people may not be worried by your grumblings. You must help anybody whenever the opportunity occurs, and if you have brothers or relatives in the Forces be extra considerate to those who are feeling their absence. And at all times keep as cheerful as possible, and so do your little bit to brighten life. If you will only dedicate yourself to doing it, there are hundreds of ways in which you can help your country now in its hour of need. Value your freedom, and show yourself worthy of it. Imagine what life must be like for decent people living in Germany, where children are trained to spy upon their parents, where without trial people disappear into concentration camps and are never heard of again. This sort of thing must be stopped or civilisation will perish. But all the time we have to remember that we are fighting not for the freedom of a privileged England, but for freedom for the world, for the Germans, the Kenyans, the Hindus, the Czechs, etc. Perhaps this is getting perilously near to Pi-jaw, but I do want you to realise that we must make the sacrifice of our Old Boys worth while; we cannot allow them to give up everything they value in life, and then let them down. We must see that this time the sacrifice shall not be in vain, and that cannot wait until you grow up. You will help to fashion the new world which, if only we will it intensely enough, will grow out of the ruined hopes of to-day; and you must begin NOW. To all Old Monovians we send the wish that their strength and courage may not fail them, and that in their darkest hour the memory of what in the past has made life worth the living shall sustain them, and that deep in their souls they shall have abiding peace.