The 4th of August commemorates 100 years since Australia – and by extension Trinity – became involved in World War I.
At the outset, the feelings at Trinity reflected the mood of the nation. In the 1914 Fleur-de-Lys, the desire that the College does its bit is apparent:
‘The call for volunteers has been nobly responded to by Trinity men and the College has the honour of contributing eight men from the fifty at present in residence and four from those who have recently left.’
These men received a farewell dinner on 4 September, preceded by a short service in Chapel. Trinity’s first Warden, Dr Alexander Leeper, rose to the occasion with an inspiring speech. He concluded by emphasising the seriousness of the occasion and the need for self-sacrificing action.
By the end of the war, and from what was still a relatively small population of residents and alumni, nearly 300 College men responded to the ‘bugles of England’, and 41 died, either in action or as a result of injuries or illness contracted during the four years of fighting in this ‘war to end all wars’.
The impact on Alexander Leeper, who had been Warden since 1876, is particularly difficult to contemplate. Leeper knew all the men of Trinity personally: none closer than his nephew Humphrey Moule, who was killed at Lone Pine in 1915.
Trinity College remembers and honours all those – including the many Trinitarians – who served and made sacrifices in World War I.
A more detailed account of Trinity’s experience of the Great War is published in the August 2014 issue of Trinity Today.
To commemorate the occasion, the College has compiled an album of images and documents that mark the anniversary.