Jul 23

Harold Henry Berridge

Harold Henry was born on 21 July 1897 at Forest Hill, Middlesex, the eldest son of Alice and Harold Berridge Esquire, CIE, OBE, who was listed as a civil engineer in the 1891 census. By the time HH was aged 3 the family were living at East Stonehouse in Devon. Possibly his father was engaged in a civil engineering project in that part of the country. The fact that his father moved around the country may account for HH arriving at LWGS as a boarder. His date of admission is missing from the records but it was no earlier than September 1905 when he had just turned eight and most likely January 1906. Being so young he would have been placed in form II. He stayed at LWGS for eight terms leaving in July 1908 at the age of 11. He continued his education as a boarder at Dover College Preparatory School, one of 19 pupils aged between 8 and 13, and probably stayed on in the senior school.

He somehow managed to enlist in the Army Service Corps on 11 November 1914, under-aged 17½ (later called the Royal Army Service Corps) and was quickly promoted to temporary Acting 2ndLieutenant on 1stMay 1915. He took part in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.  He seems to have leap frogged the next rank and was promoted acting Captain, based at Aldershot, on 1st February but on 29thNovember he was ‘removed from the Corps’ though still kept on the Active List. It is difficult to interpret this unusual service career. He must have been a highly capable young men to become an officer so young and quickly promoted. Service in the Service Corps suggests that he may not have been fit enough medically for fighting in the front line.

What he did for the rest of the war is unclear but in 1919 he was posted to India, where he became a member of two Masonic Lodges, initiated in Khyber Lodge, Peshawar on 16thOctober 1919 and the M Mahon Lodge, Quetta on 21stOctober 1920, having moved from one India (now Pakistan)/Afghanistan frontier town to another 500 miles south-west.

In the autumn of 1922, he returned to England and on 4 November 1922 married Elizabeth Abbott Rogers at St Clement Danes church in the Strand, London. Elizabeth’s father was a stockbroker living in West Kensington. At that time Harold’s address was Kingsmead, 61 King’s Road, Fleet near Aldershot. However, he returned to NW India until 1924, probably remained in the army until 1930 and possibly continued to live abroad as he is not mentioned in the 1939 Register.

In the spring of 1942, aged 44, he remarried at Thrapston Northamptonshire but continued to live at Fleet, dying at the age of 80, leaving a fairly modest £8917.

(Research by Derek Turner)

Jul 23

H Bennett

All that is known of him is that he served in the Great War in the Royal Engineers. He can possibly be identified as Sapper Henry H Bennett but in the Roll of Honour he is said to be a Pioneer.

This is another instance where the only record of the OT is the record in the Roll of Honour.

Jul 23

Philip Bell

Philip was born on 30thJanuary 1899, the youngest son of John Bell and brother of John Stanley Bell (see earlier post). Philip entered LWGS in January 1910, placed in form II, and left in July 1914 from form IVA. He was good at games, a member of the cricket team in 1914. The Tamensiancritic’s view was: “plays well in practices but fails to reproduce his form in matches; must learn how to field.” This judgement is a little harsh: he was top scorer in the first innings of the match against King Alfred’s Wantage but did score a rather large number of ‘ducks’ later in the season. He captained the football team in 1913/14. Because of infectious illness in the autumn term all the school matches were cancelled. The results in the spring term were: Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3, including a 16 to nil loss against Oxford High School, probably the worst drubbing a LWGS football team ever suffered. The critic stated of him: “plays a fair inside game but needs to cultivate shooting harder.”

He was 5 foot 6 ½ inches tall with fair hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.  Unlike his elder brother he initially followed his father into farming, helping on the farm after he left school, but like John, it seems that he did not wish to remain a farmer and he became a motor engineer. Once he was old enough to serve in the forces he joined the Royal Flying Corps on 3rdMach 1917, posted to 51 Squadron. On the 1stJuly 1918 he transferred to the newly founded Royal Air Force. He reached the rank of Leading Aircraftman but was reclassified as a motorcyclist. He continued to serve in the RAF after the war but was transferred to the RAF Reserve on 24thMarch 1921 and finally discharged on 16thJanuary 1923.

Nothing is known of his later life.

Jul 23

John Stanley Bell

John Stanley Bell 

 John, the fourth child but first son of Amy and John, a farmer, was born on 17 June 1893 and lived at Ivy House Farm, High Street, Bierton near Aylesbury. He was admitted to LWGS as a boarder in 1908 but stayed only a year. He played in the school football team in 1908/9, though not regularly. The Tamensian wrote of him: “Played one or two games. Very awkward at first but improved during the season”; adding rather mysteriously “a course of running would improve his place.” He also played in one school hockey match against Thame Hockey Club, a rare mention of hockey in the school’s annals of that time. On leaving school, John was not keen to follow his father into farming and instead became a bank clerk. He soon realised that he wanted something more adventurous so he enlisted in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, otherwise known as the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars, as a Private, no. 360, on 1 March 1912.

On the outbreak of war, the regiment was first employed on coastal defence in Suffolk. In April 1915 as part of the 2ndMounted Division, the yeomanry, with their horses, were sent to Egypt, first to Alexandria and then to Cairo. But in August 1915 the regiment was ‘dismounted’. A few officers and men were left behind with the horses. The remainder, John included, embarked for Turkey to take part in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.  They made an amphibious landing at Souvla Bay which, despite light initial opposition, was badly mismanaged, ending in chaos and defeat. Many, including John, were wounded and were returned to Egypt. John probably spent some time in the British Military Hospital in Alexandria. For certain, he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was promoted to Sergeant no.165529.  The details of his remaining military service are not known except that he was discharged on 21stFebruary 1919 and listed amongst those entitled to the ‘Silver War Badge’ awarded to those who were honourably discharged on account of war wounds or illness, which suggests that he never fully recovered from the wounds he received at Souvla Bay.

After the war he married Mary and had a son John Frederick. By the early 1930s he was the owner of a butcher’s shop at 31 Stoke Road, Aylesbury. He died in March 1970 at Eastbourne in Sussex.

Jul 23

Edgar William Baverstock

Edgar was born on September 7,1898, the third child but first son of Mary and William Baverstock, at that time living at 29 Chinnor Road, Thame. In 1901 his father was a joiner and carpenter, presumably working in Thame. Edgar spent nine years in the British (Elementary) school in Thame before entering LWGS in September 1910 with a free school place. He was placed in form III.  By that time the family had moved a few hundred yards nearer the town centre, to 57 Park Street, probably to a three-bedroom house. His elder sister was a self-employed dressmaker working at home, the younger, aged 19, was a schoolteacher, probably at one of the local elementary schools, and Edgar had a brother six years younger than himself.  In 1914 Edgar obtained a Pass in the Oxford Local Junior examinations.

Unusually, Edgar left school half way through the term on the 1stFebruary 1916. He had reached the sixth form, which few pupils achieved, so this premature departure is rather strange.  Although he was only 17½ he perhaps felt he should help the war effort rather than continue his education as he became an assistant draughtsman in a munitions factory at Hayes, alongside the women who had replaced the male workers there.  This was dangerous work. After 14 months of factory work, according to the school’s admissions register, George joined the army on 24thOctober 1917 as Private No. 14244 and joined D Company 13 Platoon, 245 Infantry Battalion, based at Sheffield.  The Roll of Honour, lists him as an RAF cadet and military records for 1918 confirm this.

In the spring of 1926 Edgar married Ivy Bushbridge at Milton in Kent but he continued to live in Thame at 57 Park Street where he died in the spring of 1978 leaving £4,643.

Jul 23

Harold V Bateman

Harold was born in the spring of 1875, the only son amongst the four children of 44-year old Agnes, living in Alma Square in the Marylebone area of London. No occupation is given for his mother, who had been born in the West Indies, so she probably had private means to bring up her children and could afford boarding fees. Why she chose LWGS for Harold is unknown. Harold arrived as a boarder at LWGS at some time between 1888 and 1890 and left after 1891. In the 1901 Census, he was living in Woodbridge, East Suffolk, ‘living on his own means’ again suggesting that the family was well off. He enlisted in the Munster Fusiliers and in December of 1914 was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain.

Jul 23

Stephen Henry Bateley

Stephen was born on 16 May 1896 the eldest child of Victoria and Stephen, owner of a chemist’s shop, living at 682 High Road Tottenham in North London. His early education was at All Hallows Elementary School in Tottenham. Stephen arrived at LWGS as a boarder in 1908 and was placed in form III. He stayed for nearly four years, leaving from form V at the end of the spring term 1912 to join the City of London School where he was in the Officer Training Corps (OTC).  He enlisted in the Navy on 29thMay 1915, service number 5120 later F5913. After three months basic training on President II he served on land as a mechanic/driver in the Intelligence Department of the Royal Naval Air Division (RNAS), posted to Wing No 3. He served in France and Flanders – Luxeuil, Somme, Dunkirk,  as a driver and at some point was based at Paris. The Navy records describe him as 5ft 6 ½ ins tall with brown eyes, dark brown hair and a ‘medium’ complexion. On returning to England in 1916 he was promoted on commission to Assistant Paymaster. Towards the end of the war on 1stApril 1918 he joined the newly founded Royal Air Force as an air mechanic.

After the war he followed his father into the chemist’s business and continued to live in Tottenham still at the same address. He married Gwendolyn Bessie Holmes in the spring of 1927 who was also from Tottenham. 12 years later in 1939, he is described as a ‘’Master Chemist, retail pharmacy’ but was the only family member in the household. He and his wife had divorced. He appeared in the electoral register during the 1950s and 60s and died, aged 73 in September 1969.

Jul 23

George Ernest Bassett

George was born on 5 November 1894 in Candy, Ceylon/Sri Lanka, and educated at Kingswood College, Ceylon. His father had been a Sergeant Major in the 2ndBattalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment but on his retirement the family returned to England and settled in Thame. George senior became the proprietor of the Castle Hotel. George junior first attended Oxford House School but when that closed was one of several boys who moved to LWGS in January 1908.  He was placed in form III+ (probably an additional form to cope with the sudden influx of day pupils) but was promoted each of his three terms, leaving at the end of the calendar year from form Vb. On leaving school at the age of 14 he first became a clothier’s assistant. However, he was clearly looking for something more adventurous. Just before his 16thbirthday he enlisted in the Royal Navy, on 13thOctober 1910, as a wireless telegraphist with the rank of ‘boy second class’, service number J10031. Wirelessl telegraphy had had been used in the Navy from soon after its invention in 1895. The operator or ‘signalman’ used Morse Code to communicate with land bases or other nearby ships. It was a job requiring concentration, skill and accuracy. His service record shows that he alternated fairly frequently between seagoing vessels and shore establishments, but his job would have been essentially the same in both.

According to his personal record, he was 5ft 4 ½ ins when he joined the Service, growing eventually to 5ft 8 ½; with black hair, a dark complexion and a brown birth mark on his thigh.

His first ship was Impregnable, the harbour-based training ship at Devonport, but his first seagoing vessel was Hercules, one of the famous Dreadnoughtbattleships, part of Britain’s Grand Fleet and later to be involved in the Battle of Jutland.Clearly George had found his career, as on his 18thbirthday he signed on for12 years and actually served for 16 years as an adult and 18 altogether. He served in many different kinds of ships and shore establishments – see the table and photos below. During the war he served mainly in destroyers that were patrolling the English Channel off Belgium.

His character was rated very good throughout his naval career and his ability, after an initial ‘satisfactory’, always at least ‘superior; and often ‘excellent’. He rose steadily through the ranks and was eventually, three days before he retired, promoted to the highest non-commissioned rank of (Acting) Warrant Telegraphist, presumably to enhance his pension. At the same time he was presented with a Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

George left the navy on 3rdOctober 1928 but he lived to be 80, dying at Portsmouth in June 1975.

Jul 23

B Barnett

He served in the Army Service Corps as a 2ndLieutenant later promoted to  Lieutenant; otherwise nothing else is known of him other than his appearance in the Roll of Honour and mentioned as joining the school in the Tamensian magazine.

Jul 22

George Septimus Austin

George was born on the 13thOctober 1895, the seventh child in the large family of Kate and Joseph Austin, a paper manufacturer and owner of the Paper Mills at Bledlow, just across the county boundary in Buckinghamshire.  George was first educated at Bledlow Elementary School and entered LWGS in April 1909 as a day boy, placed in form III in which he stayed for four terms only, leaving to become a clothier’s assistant and apprentice cutter. He served in the Ox/Bucks LI and reached the rank of Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. No doubt his apprenticeship in the clothing trade stood him in good stead in his military work.

He married Tessie Grange, a local girl from Bledlow early in 1930. In May 1927 he bought from Leonard Purser, who loaned him £10,000, a shop that became known as Austins Outfitters in the High Street, Thame and which survived until it closed in 2017.  He died in 1961, leaving £45993 to his widow and son Joseph.

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