War and the School: 1914-18, 1939-1945

The first world war (1914-18) started not long after boys started leaving the school. Several wrote about their experiences in the war in the school magazine and a memorial was raised by subscription to those killed in the war.

Each November on Remembrance Day we still commemorate our very first students who started school in 1906 and fought and died in the First World War, as well as those involved in later wars with a Remembrance Day Service. 

To the right are students in the Army Cadets and staff at the school Remembrance Day Service.

During the second world war children were evacuated with their schools. On 1st September 1939, 225 Acton High School students (the school was then named Acton County School) left by train to arrive in Weymouth and be billeted with local families and attend a makeshift school. 

London was comparatively peaceful in the early days of the second world war though and so by September 1940 many boys and staff had returned to London – just in time for the blitz! For three months classes were in and out of shelters five or six times a day as bombs rained down on London. 

In November 1940 just over 100 boys and half of the staff evacuated for a second time. This time to Morestead House, near Winchester. The rest stayed in London. The school was therefore divided for about three years with Morestead dwindling and Acton growing.   

In September 1943 the whole school was once more united in Acton, only to be scattered in driblets by the blitzes of double bugs (flying bombs) and rockets in 1944-45. Some stayed in Acton for their GSE examinations and in 1944 three double bugs went over the school during just one exam paper!

At the end of the war in 1945, 400 boys returned to school in Acton, many having had years if disrupted schooling.   

Some of the teachers and pupils evacuated to Weymouth in 1939 can be seen below.

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