Geoffrey Wellum

Geoffrey Wellum (pictured on the right above), who died on 18th July aged 96, was certainly an example of an Old Forester who made a difference.

He last visited the School on Remembrance Day in 2011 when in Chapel he spoke very movingly of leaving Forest in 1939 (little knowing what lay ahead) and described how Forest was much in his thoughts throughout his time as the youngest spitfire pilot to fly in the Battle of Britain, a conflict he felt he was lucky to survive, while many of his friends did not. He was just 18 when he joined the RAF straight from Forest and clearly remembered walking to his spitfire across the airfield each morning in the tranquillity of the pre-dawn: “For me at that peaceful moment was when memories of Forest School and the Chapel made themselves felt and came to the fore, with the offering up of a little prayer.”

And as his talk drew to a close, he looked directly at the teenage boys and girls who filled the Chapel on that day, some of them in their CCF uniforms, and declared his absolute faith in those young Forest pupils in front of him, with these hugely generous words: “The present generation of Foresters, your generation, is just the same as we were in 1940. You may live in a different world to ours of those days, have a different way of life and a different outlook, dress differently and have different rites and rituals, but if and when at some point in the future the cards are face up on the table, the chips are down, when no quarter is asked or given and there is a National crisis together with a true belief in the justice of your cause, you will respond as we did back in 1940, you will respond. You are just the same, you are Foresters and I, as a very Old Forester, salute you….In Pectore Robur!”