Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time and Rememberance

Back from a weekend in Cambridge celebrating Son and Daughter-in-law's joint birthday and then seeing younger Daughter at lunch.  We went to the Trinity Remembrance Day service which had a fair number of decorated Trinity alumni - one of whom carried the wreath and another read some prayers (one was reputedly a Field Marshall but names were not provided). Of the 800 or so names of those who died in the wars, one stood out to us: EA Beale.

It turns out that Edmund Arthur Beale was born in 14 June 1911, the son of Edmund Phipps Beale. He read History at Trinity and joined the RAF Reserve, being made Pilot Officer on Probation in 1930 and promoted to Flying Officer in 1932. He was transferred from Class C to Class AA in April 1939 (which seems to have meant that he was pretty much first in line to fly in the event of war).  He relinquished his commission on grounds of ill health on 2 May 1940 and died on 5 Sept 1940 and is buried at St Mary's Whitegate in Cheshire. He left a widow, Margaret Joan. His service number was 70050.  No-one seems to know the circumstances of his death.  He was a 3rd cousin twice removed though he would probably have known my great aunt Eleanor Isabella Slade (known as Susan) who was one of the first female pilots and was killed on active service in 1944.

There is something very powerful about the institutional memory of a College as old as Trinity. The sermon preached contrasted the very pessimistic secular view of time epitomised by the chronophage locust on the Corpus Clock, with an optimistic view of time as kairos epitomised by the Trinity Clock (telling the time, as Wordsworth records, "twice over with a male and female voice").

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