Ethos and Traditions
The Grey Quad races were inspired by the film “Chariots of Fire” which deals with the rivalry between two famous Olympic athletes – Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell – before the 1924 Olympic games. In the film, Abrahams becomes the first man to beat the chimes in the famous quad race at Caius College, Cambridge in 1919.
As Grey had both the cloisters and the necessary clock tower, it was decided to hold our own version of the quad races. Matric boys do time trials and the two fastest qualifiers are chosen to compete. They then toss for position, the winner usually choosing the inside lane. They wait for the four quarters to strike before they are set off by the Rector on the first strike of the chimes. They begin the race directly in front of the war memorial and they run in an anti-clockwise direction. They race against each other and also against the eight chimes which take approximately 20 seconds to ring.
The record stands to the name of Greg Miller, with a time of 19,8 seconds. He is one of very few who have beaten the clock.
Robert Selley Memorial Concert
The Selley Concerts were inaugurated in 1986 in conjunction with the Founder’s Day celebrations to recognize Robert Selley’s contribution to music at the school and in our city. This event is hosted annually in the Feather Market Centre, during Reunion week. It showcases the depth and talent of musicians Grey High School, with appearances by the Grey Symphonic Winds, the Grey Big Band, the Grey String Orchestra, the Grey Voices and the Grey Orchestra. The Grey Junior Wind Band is invited to perform as well. The music that is played is chosen not only for its entertainment value, but also to show standard of musical accomplishment through the mastering of complex arrangements in the widest possible variety of music styles.
Grey Big Band
Remembrance Day Service
Traditionally held to honour those who gave their lives in the two World Wars. Armistice Day: this moving ceremony continues to draw many comrades each year. Members of all local military, police and veterans’ groups are invited to lay wreaths at the War Memorial in the Quad. There is a flypast at exactly 11 o’ clock. The ceremony marks the end of the cadet activities for the year.
A route-march styled passing out parade, done by the Matrics with the Military Band.
Trooping the Colour
Flags or their equivalents have served to remind men of past resolves, past deeds and past the sentiments of esprit de corps, or personal devotion, patriotism or religion.
Regimental Colours have a history almost as old as man himself, for they have their origin in the desire of primitive man to distinguish himself from his neighbours. Primitive man painted distinguishing marks on his body to denote to which family or tribe he belonged. When making war the badge of the Chief was hoisted upon a pole so that it could be seen at a distance and serve as a rallying point.
The placing of family badges on banners ended when professional leaders ousted noblemen from positions of authority. However, companies and regiments were assigned colours which would be recognisable on the battlefield. Thus the term “Colour” came to be used to designate regimental insignia. The ceremony known as Trooping the Colour is believed to have been originated by the Duke of Cumberland during the reign of George II.
The ceremony stems from the days of the early mercenaries when men were taught to use their flag as a rallying point in battle. It became customary in the British Army, before a battle, to salute the colours by beat of drum (this is what the expression “trooping” means) before carrying them along the ranks so that every soldier could see them and be able to recognise them later.
The guards march on to the parade ground, halt and proceed to form up, and post their warrant officer’s (WO’s) and student officers (SO’s). The No 1 Guard (Escort to the Colour) marches to where the Cadet Detachment Colour will be handed to the Ensign who carries it. The Escort presents arms, while the right and left guides turn outwards to show that they are ready to prevent anyone from taking liberties with the Colour. The Colour is then solemnly carried at a slow march between the ranks of the assembled troops, escorted by an armed guard. The Escort then re-joins the main guard. The Dias Party then takes its place on the dias, where after the colour is paraded, first at a slow march, followed by a quick march, before the Officer taking the Salute, the assembled members of the cadet detachment and spectators. To conclude the parade, the band and guards then march off to the tune of School Song.
The first Trooping the Colour at Grey High School was held on 31 October 1938. Lt. Col. JJ Hamman, Officer Commanding Eastern Province Command, took the salute at this parade. It was only in 1951 that the ceremony was again performed. The Trooping the Colour held on 3 June 1955 was the climax of the Centennial celebrations. However, it was not until 1957 that it was decided to hold the Trooping annually. An addition to the parade for the 150th Anniversary in 2006 was a flypast by the SAAF. This ’new tradition’ was continued in 2007 by the flypast of a Hawker Sea Fury, piloted by Stu Davidson.
The Retreat Ceremony
The modern retreat originated in the 16th Century when it was referred to as guard mounting. The Drum Major of the regiment would summon, by the beat of the drum, those required for guard duty.
In 1727 Humphrey Bland wrote: “Half an hour before gates are shut, which is generally at the setting of the sun, the drummers of the Port-guards are to go onto the ramparts and beat a Retreat to give notice to those without that the gates are to be shut. As soon as the drummers have finished the Retreat, the officer must order the gate to be shut”. Towards the latter part of the eighteenth century the Retreat was described as follows:
“Retreat is also a beat of a drum, at the firing of the evening gun at which the Drum Major with all the drums of the battalion, beats from the camp colours … the trumpets at the same time sounding at the head of their respective troops.”
The Retreat Ceremony is performed by B and C squadrons which consist mainly of students in Grades 9 and 10, and commanded by Grade 12’s.
Number 1 Guard is the senior drill troop. Number 2, 3 and 4 Guards consist of students in Grades 9, 10 and 11 who also form the main contingent of the Trooping the Colour the following year. The only Matrics participating in this parade are the Officers and NCO’s of B and C squadron.
The present day ceremony of Beating the Retreat has evolved with a Guard of Honour forming up and dividing into four sections, with the Band and the Drums formed on the spectators’ right; the band and drums then perform by marching up and down in front of the Guard. On the completion of their performance they take up position in front of the flagpole. The National Anthem is played in honour of the flag. By “presenting arms”, the troops pay respect by proffering their weapons in unison, as a token of trust and homage. As the Retreat is sounded by the trumpets the flag is slowly lowered.