Haileybury has a long and proud association with the British armed forces. Many Haileyburians have made the ultimate sacrifice, including 17 who were awarded the VC. Although not as prominent as it once was, Haileybury’s connection with the military still forms a significant element of school life.
Today, walking around the grounds, you don’t have to go far to be reminded of those who served – and the many who died fighting for their country.
Haileyburians have fought in service of the Crown, and many have held significant leadership roles.
The Royal Navy
For the Senior Service, the College has produced one First Sea Lord (Sir Jonathon Band), three Admirals, two Vice Admirals and six Rear Admirals. David Pentreath was captain on HMS Plymouth when he took the Argentine surrender of South Georgia in the Falklands War of 1982.
In his 1956 book, Random Recollections of Haileybury, RL Ashcroft lists the school’s contribution to the British Army alone as one Field Marshal (Viscount Allenby), seven Generals, four Lieutenant Generals, 32 Major Generals and 106 Brigadiers.
This number has since increased, not least with the promotion to Field Marshal of Sir John Chapple in 1992.
Royal Air Force
The school has produced two Marshals (Sir William Dickson and Sir John Slessor), four Air Chief Marshals, two Air Marshals, six Air Vice Marshals and one Group Captain.
Roll of Honour
More than 1100 Haileyburians have died in two world wars and more in fighting since.
Walking around the Quadrangle and along the Terrace, you are confronted with plaques and memorials to the fallen, including those who studied for the East India College, for the United Services College and the Imperial Service College.
The Victoria Cross
On the Terrace, close to the Master’s Lodge, Haileybury honours those who have received Britain’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
The school is proud to list 16 VCs on the monument and three others who have been awarded the George Cross, Britain’s highest civilian honour.
In total, 17 former pupils and one former member of staff have been awarded the VC and these are commemorated on the Victoria Cross panels in the Library.
Among independent schools whose pupils have been awarded the VC, Haileybury is in the top three with Eton and Harrow.
Military connections today
Haileybury still maintains strong connections with the military and all three services are active in the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), with pupils regularly taking part in CCF drill each Wednesday and on field weekends.
We also commemorate Haileybury’s fallen every year on Remembrance Day.
The Trench Trail
In 2014, Haileybury launched its Trench Trail, comprising a tour of Haileybury’s memorials and a visit to a reconstructed First World War trench on site.