Harry Willoughby Weaving plaque unveiling report with photographs of the event
The Great War of I914-I918 commenced on 4th August 1914 and to honour a long forgotten WW1 poet and former master at Craigavad, Rockport School nominated his name for a Blue Plaque.
On 24th November 2014, staff, pupils and guests gathered in front of the original School building to be welcomed by headmaster, Mr. George Vance. Harry Willoughby Weaving had been associated with the school from 1911 until 1920, and during this time had penned several poems, the first collection being published in 1913. War intervened and as with so many other schools and colleges, young men set off to fight for King and Country. His military service was in the Royal Irish Rifles and during the period of the war, he wrote his poetry in the trenches – ‘Between the Trenches’ and ‘Warrior Months’ in 1917 to name two of many. He also wrote the 3rd verse of the School hymn.
He returned to the school in 1919 and left to co-found Elm Park in Co. Armagh in 1920. This largely forgotten war poet continued to write until 1952.
Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, thanked the Headmaster of Rockport for the permission to place the plaque on the School, where it could be seen by for all future generations of pupils. The school had fully supported the plaque in honour of their former master, and had interviewed Chris Spurr and UHC Secretary, Alan Boyd as part of their studies into the WW1 poets. Chris said that the Circle had entered a period where many soldiers across the nine historical counties of Ulster, would in the next four years, be receiving Blue plaques for their bravery for which they had received the Victoria Cross. This plaque was the only one in Ulster to a First World War poet.
After further presentations and the unveiling of the plaque by Professor Fran Brearton, School of English at QUB, and Mr. George Vance, headmaster of Rockport, guests enjoyed refreshments in the old Library.
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Photographs left to right:-
- Harry Willoughby (Willow) Weaving with pupils of Elm Park, Co. Armagh which he co-founded.
- Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle addresses staff and pupils of Rockport School, Craigavad.
- L.R. Councillor Peter J. Martin, Mayor of North Down with Mr. George Vance, Headmaster of Rockport.
- Rockport Staff and pupils with guests in front of the School.