New war memorial to be unveiled at St Augustine’s Church in Ramsgate

Church of St Augustine

A new war memorial will be unveiled at St Augustine’s Church in Ramsgate on Saturday September 28 from 1pm.

The new plaque, which lists all the names of past students of St Augustine’s College and Abbey School who lost their lives in action in World Wars, will be unveiled by Lt. Col. Paddy Williams,

Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment  and a former pupil of St Augustine’s College. Lt Col Williams recently featured in ITV’s series, “Her Majesty’s Cavalry”.

The original World War One memorial was erected above the chapel entrance at St Augustine’s College in Ramsgate in 1919.  The chapel built by Peter Paul Pugin and the school building (St Gregory’s) built by his older brother, Edward Pugin, were both demolished in the early 1970s after the school had moved into the former Les Oiseaux Convent School in Westgate and sadly, the memorial was lost too. The Second World War memorial was put in storage after the school closed down in 1995.  The new memorial has been funded by generous donations from Old Augustinians.

Vice Chairman of the Old Augustinians, Andrew Sharp said: “ We are very pleased that 100 years after our first war memorial was made, we are able to provide a new permanent memorial to all those Old Augustinians who gave their lives in World Wars – and that it should be in St Augustine’s Abbey Church,  a beautiful church and the spiritual home of our old school.

“Future generations can visit St Augustine’s Church and not forget Old Augustinians killed in action in the two World Wars. We are delighted that Paddy Williams, one of our former pupils, has agreed to unveil this new memorial plaque.”

The Old Augustinians was set up in shortly after the school was inaugurated in 1865 and became a focal point for all those who had attended St Augustine’s College.

The Catholic school  was set up in Ramsgate by the Benedictine Monks from Subiaco in 1865.  The school moved from Ramsgate in 1971 to the former Les Oiseaux Convent School site in Canterbury Road, Westgate.   St Augustine’s closed in 1995.

Following a reorganisation of Catholic secondary education in Thanet, many students from St Augustine’s joined the new Ursuline College, also in Canterbury Road.  Although not a successor school, the links between them are very strong.  The new Ursuline College adopted the Old Augustinians tie as part of its uniform for its 6th form and the tie is still worn today.

During World War One St Augustine’s was a boys’ school, for ages 11 to 18, with a mix of boarders and dayboys.  The school temporarily closed in 1917 due to the fear of coastal bombardment and air raids on Ramsgate and reopened after the war.  It moved away to Huntingdonshire during the Second World War and returned to Ramsgate in the 1950s

A “Roll of Honour” will be published on  September 28.

Former pupils at St Augustine’s College include:

From the past:  Peter Paul Pugin.  The very first pupil to register for St Augustine’s College and the youngest son of leading architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. He also designed many buildings across the country, including St Ethelbert’s and Gertrude’s church in Hereson Road, Ramsgate.

Michael Thunder, grandson of Augustus Welby Pugin who is buried in St Augustine’s church.  He was killed in action in World War One and his name will appear on the new plaque.

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, inventor and leading electrical engineer, the founder of the global engineering company, Ferranti. One of his sons, who also attended the school, was killed in action in World War One.

In more recent years:  Alastair Stewart OBE.  ITV newscaster and journalist attended  the school in the 1960s and left in 1970.

Rear Admiral John Weale CB, OBE, Scotland’s Senior Naval Officer attended the school in the late 1970s

Lt Col Paddy Williams MC, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment  recently featured in the ITV series, “Her Majesty’s Cavalry”

Paddy attended St Augustine’s in the early 1990s and was the first ever Head Boy of the Ursuline College in Westgate in 1995/96 when it became a coeducational Catholic College.

History of the abbey

St Augustine’s Abbey church was completed in 1852 and was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who was the leading neo gothic architect of his time.  Pugin and other members of his family are buried there.

It is a Grade One listed church and is now a Shrine dedicated to St Augustine of England.  The church also housed the Nation Pugin Visitor Centre.  The church is situated next door to the Grange, the home which Pugin designed for himself and his family and lived in until his death in 1852.

The Grange later became part of St Augustine’s College.  Today it is owned – and has been restored by, the Landmark Trust. For over 100 years, the church was often used by the school for special services and many former pupils are buried in its graveyard.

Unveiling itinerary

12.40pm doors open at St Augustine’s Church, St Augustine’s Road, Ramsgate, CT11 9NY

1pm.  Mass to remember Old Augustinians who fell in World Wars One and Two.

Roll of Honour to be read out by students from the Ursuline College, Westgate on Sea

2pm. Unveiling Ceremony of new War Memorial

Refreshments to follow in the Cartoon Room, the Grange, next door to the church.