SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE

“Complete suspension of all our normal activities, so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious day” – Jonny Grew (C77), President of St Gregory’s Society.

Remembrance Day holds a special place within the Downside Community, and is a day when the School and wider Community can come together to recognise the Old Gregorians, and all other War Veterans that lost their lives in World War I and II. The School Service was slightly different this year due to current restrictions and therefore, St Gregory’s Society wreath was laid by Simon Potter, House Master of Barlow and Honorary Old Gregorian.

This year’s Service remembers an extraordinary man, Wing Commander Robinson (B35), an Old Gregorian sacrificed his life on behalf of his country. A brief synopsis of his story can be found below taken from Fight Pilots Summer

Friday 10th April, afternoon, Wing Commander Robinson took off at the head of the Tangmere Wing with orders to carry out a sweep behind Boulogne. Micky was leading No.340 Squadron on their first operation of this kind and they flew in three fours, with the Wing Commander and Captain Duperier leading. Whilst carrying out the orders, Wing Commander, followed by his No.2, No.3 and No.4, chose to carry out a sudden manoeuvre to follow a pair of Me109s. Whilst in the dive other members of the squadron lost contact and visuals of the 4. It was reported after this that one spitfire was seen ‘going down in flames’ with another diving vertically with two FW190s on its tail. It was believed that Micky would have parachuted out of his Spitfire before impact or found himself with the French Resistance. It was later found out that Micky had unfortunately lost his life in battle.

More about Michael Robinsons Story can be found in Fighter Pilots Summer, a sequel to the best-selling Fighter Pilot. Written originally by Wg Cdr Paul Richey but finished by Normal Franks. Paul Richey (C35), also attended Downside alongside Micky Robinson, graduating in the same year. Both Richey and Robinson were great friends both whilst attending Downside, and in the war as fighter aces, with Robinson later going on to marry Richey’s sister.

We come together today to remember not only Micky Robinson, but all those who fought and lost their lives all those years ago. To view a list of all Old Gregorian Airmen who tragically lost their lives can be found here. 

Jonny Grew’s full speech can be found below.

We Will Remember Them. Requiesce in Pace.