War memorial unveiled at St Augustine’s Church in Ramsgate

The war memorial honouring former pupils at St Augustine’s College

A new war memorial honouring former pupils at St Augustine’s College, Ramsgate, lost in the Great War and World War Two, has been unveiled at St Augustine’s Church in Ramsgate.

The memorial plaque was unveiled by Lt. Col. Paddy Williams MC, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and a former student at both St Augustine’s College and the Ursuline College.

The ceremony was also attended by Cllr Jason Savage, Chair of Thanet District Council, (also a former student at St Augustine’s College); Cllr Raushan Ara, Mayor of Ramsgate, Craig Mackinlay MP for South Thanet and Camilla Crampton, Principal of the Ursuline College, Some 70 former students and teachers of St Augustine’s College and Sixth Form students from the Ursuline College also attended.

At a special Mass in St Augustine’s church, Canon Brian Coyle, a former student and Principal of St Augustine’s College, led tributes to those former pupils at the college who had died in the Great War and World War Two.  A Roll of Honour was read by Sixth Form students from the Ursuline College, the successor school to St Augustine’s College.

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 on Sea. The memorial was lost too.

The Second World War memorial is now in storage after the school closed in 1995.  The new memorial has been funded by generous donations from former pupils at the school, The Old Augustinians.

Secretary of the Old Augustinians, Andrew Sharp said: “ We are very pleased that 100 years after our first war memorial plaque was unveiled, we have been able to raise funds for 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 also grateful to the students from the Ursuline College for reading out the Roll of Honour and saying a little about each individual person who had all been to school at the college in Ramsgate. They were not just a list of names. It’s important too that generation of students in Thanet Catholic schools should remember those before them.  Some of those killed in action were as young as 18 and had only just left school.  In one family, all three brothers lost their lives.”

Photos by Marie Muscat-King