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Haileybury's military heritage

Haileybury has a long and proud association with the British armed forces and has made a significant contribution to the leadership of all three services. Many Haileyburians of course have made the ultimate sacrifice (including 17 who were awarded the VC); all are commemorated every year on Remembrance Day. Although not as prominent as it once was, Haileybury's connection with the military still forms a significant element of College life.

Haileybury's military heritage

A proud and honourable tradition

Since its earliest days, Haileybury has had a strong connection with the military; enhanced further through its connections with the United Services College and the Imperial Service College.

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 in foreign fields.

On land, on the oceans and in the air, Haileyburians have fought in service of the Crown, and many have held significant leadership roles in each of the three armed services.

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. One of our alumni, David Pentreath, was captain on HMS Plymouth when he took the Argentine surrender of South Georgia in the Falklands War of 1982.

Army service

In his 1956 book, Random Recollections of Haileybury, RL Ashcroft lists the College'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

But the story doesn't stop there. For the Royal Air Force, the College has also 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

Of course, military service for many involves making the ultimate sacrifice. More than 1100 Haileyburians have died in two world wars and more in fighting since.

Walking around the Quadrangle and along the Terrace, the visitor is confronted immediately 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 (known across the world as the VC).

The College is proud to list 16 VCs on this monument and three others who have been awarded the George Cross, Britain's highest civilian honour (also awarded to members of the armed forces in actions where military honours would not normally be granted).

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. In the rankings of Public Schools whose pupils have been awarded the VC, Haileybury is second only to Eton and Harrow.

Reading the citations of these brave men, their dedication to duty and their commitment to those they led is a truly humbling experience.

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 remember our war dead and commemorate Haileybury's fallen every year on Remembrance Day.

The Trench Trail

In 2014, Haileybury also launched its Trench Trail, comprising a tour of Haileybury's memorials and a visit to a reconstructed First World War trench in the College grounds.

The Trench Trail, open to Haileyburians and non-Haileyburians alike, has proved a major success and, in the centenary year of the start of the Great War, has brought home to us again the debt of gratitude we owe to those who fight in our name in distant lands and far from home.

Learn More

To find out more about the Combined Cadet Force at Haileybury and about some of our famous alumni, please click the links below.

A link is also included to a site put together by former pupils detailing Haileybury's long and proud connections with the British military.

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