Pensioner appeals to Magdalen to restore war memorial cross in quad

College News News

Image Credit: Des Blenkinsopp (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The nephew of Lieutenant Geoffrey Ellwood, a soldier who died in the Battle of the Somme, is urging Magdalen College to restore a memorial cross (pictured) which once stood in its quad.

Geoffrey Ellwood was a student of Magdalen college and was killed in action on July 14th, aged 25 in Bazentin le Petit Wood.

Mr Ellwood hopes the cross will be brought back from Wheatley to the college so it can be appreciated by the current general of Magdalen students.

In a letter to Professor Sir David Clary, President of Magdalen College, in 2016, Mr Ellwood wrote: “ The cross was dedicated in the quadrangle on February 8, 1921, in the presence of the Prince of Wales, who was at Magdalen at the time the First World War broke out.

“He laid a special wreath at the ceremony as several of his close friends had lost their lives in the war.”

He added: “The cross was originally erected and dedicated to Magdalen students who gave their lives in the service of their country so how can it be acceptable for it to be in Wheatley village?”

Mr Ellwood first raised the issue in 2016, during the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, but has now raised the issue again in the hope the college can restore the cross before the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in November.

Prof Clary wrote back to Mr Ellwood, saying: “I have taken soundings in the college. We regret nowadays that the war memorial was taken out of college.

“However, the quad has been redesigned since then and there is no plan to bring the memorial back.”

Geoffery Ellwood has no known grave but his name does feature on the Thiepval Memorial in France.