• Empire Day - 24th May

    On the 24th May pause and raise a glass for Empire Day.

    This was first celebrated in 1902 but the idea had been under consideration since 1897. It's purpose was to "remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.", and that "The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it." School children across the Empire would typically salute the Union Flag and sing patriotic songs. They would learn of the heroes who built our Empire, such as Clive of India and Wolfe of Quebec. Most importantly perhaps they left school early that day (three cheers!) to attend marches and festivities held to celebrate the event.

    Celebrated for over sixty years Empire Day gave Brit-ons worldwide an opportunity to celebrate their pride in the British Empire and those who built and maintained it. As the Empire was deliberately undermined the occasion was re-named Commonwealth day. Even the date (originally Queen Victoria's birthday) was changed. Empire Day was relegated to the 'history hole' and only the oldest of our readers may remember the saying "Remember, Remember Empire Day, the 24th of May".

    In our small way let us reclaim Empire Day from the Frankfurt School history schoolroom dustbin and think, as I am sure most of you already do, of the greatest Empire the world has ever known. Let us take renewed confidence and courage from the deeds of our forefathers who gave so much of themselves, often under the most testing of conditions around the globe.


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