Jul 23

Hubert Alfred Briars

Hubert was born on 24 September 1894, the younger brother of Arthur Jessie Briars. He was at LWGS for seven terms as a Foundation Exhibitioner from September 1907 to December 1909, placed on entry in form III, and leaving from form V. On leaving school he became a clerk to Mr F E Burrows, an Auctioneer and Estate Agent in Thame. He enlisted as a territorial soldier for four years’ service in the 4thBattalion of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry in 1912. The attesting officer was (Dr.) John Orlando Summerhayes, LWGS school doctor and in command of the Thame Territorial unit, which was mobilised at the start of the war and sent to France in April 1915. Hubert later transferred to the 11thBattalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment, No. 207962, where he reached the rank of Corporal, earning the right to the Territorial Force War Medal. On being demobbed he went home to 69 Park Street.

After the war he returned to being a clerk but now worked in a bank.  At the age of 30, on 5thAugust 1924 in Cheltenham Parish Church, he married Hilda Fanny Harvey, daughter of a building foreman. Most likely he left the family home after his wedding and moved to 48 East Street, Thame where he was living in 1939, still working as a bank cashier. His father died in 1927 and his mother four years later. Hubert died on 14thFebruary 1955 at the Old Bank House, Thame, leaving £1,134 to his widow. It seems that they had no children.

Jul 23

Arthur Jessie Briars

Arthur was born on 8 February 1891 the son of Mary and George Briars, headmaster of the Royal British School in Thame, where unsurprisingly Arthur received his elementary education. He was one of three brothers to both go to the school and fight in the Great War.  Arthur arrived at LWGS on 19 September 1902 with a free place. He sat and passed the six preliminary, junior and senior Oxford Local Examinations between 1903 and 1908, gaining 1stclass honours in the preliminary exam of 1904. He became a pupil teacher on 1stAugust 1907 and stayed at the school until the summer of 1909, after which he followed in his father’s footsteps as a schoolmaster, becoming an assistant teacher at a school in Chorlton near Manchester. According to the school records he enlisted in 1914 in the 4thbattalion of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry and reached the rank of Lance Sergeant. However, no military records exist to confirm this. He married in the autumn of 1915 and he is not listed alongside other members of the family in the absent voters list of 1918/19 so it may be that as a teacher, a reserved occupation, his military service was cut short.  By 1939 he had changed careers and become a customs officer living at 20 Eastwood Avenue, Fulford near York and was still living there in 1962. At some point he moved to the Fylde where he died aged 76 in March 1967.

Jul 23

Charles Blood

Charles was born in on 2 February 1870 in Silverdale, Lancashire, son of Thomas and Mary Ann. Thomas seems to have changed his job and residences fairly frequently. In 1881, aged 11, Charles was living with his mother, grown-up sister Charlotte aged 25, elder brother, Henry two years older born at Woodhouse in Staffordshire, two younger sisters and a younger brother aged 6 all born at Rugby, but by 1881 the family had moved again to Gumley in Leicestershire. All but father Thomas who is not listed, perhaps away.  The five younger children were all at school. Mother Mary Ann is not listed as having an occupation and her marital status clearly confused the census enumerator; the original entry, now illegible, was crossed out and replaced with ‘unm’[arried] – not true!

For Charles and his siblings, not to mention his mother, it must have been a rather confusing and stressful life.  However, all that was to change. At some time during the next ten years, probably in the early 1890s, the family, including Thomas, moved to Thame, living in the High Street, and Charles attended LWGS. The Blood family had finally found their niche. Charles and his parents never moved anywhere else apart from Charles’s military service. By 1891 Charles was 21, living at home and working as an ‘engine driver portable’ but he was looking for something more adventurous.

As Sergeant Blood he served in the 15thBattalion of the Imperial Yeomanry during the South Africa (or Boer War), which lasted from October 1899 to May 1902 and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal. His father meanwhile was now a ‘beer agent’ and this may have been how Charles, before he became a soldier, found in Thame the girl he wanted to marry, Mary Summersby, the daughter of the publican at the Bird Cage. Either that or it was a whirlwind courtship after his return as he and Mary were married on 30 October 1902. By that time father Thomas, now 67, had changed his occupation yet again to brickmaker, no doubt at the then brick factory in Park Street. Charles and Mary continued to live in the Bird Cage after 1902 and at some time before 1911 Charles took over running it from his father in law.  In 1911, he was a ‘licensed victualler’ living in the pub with his wife Mary, daughter Hilda and his widowed mother Mary Ann.

Seemingly, Charles’s military career was over and as a husband and father he looked set for a quiet middle age in Thame. But then came The Great War. By 1915, aged 44 or 45, he had re-enlisted as a Frontiersman in the Royal Fusiliers, regimental number 13313 retaining his rank of sergeant, but later with advancing years, transferred to the Labour Corps with the number 213433 and still a sergeant.

Charles survived the war and there is no record of him being wounded. He probably returned to being publican at the Bird Cage. By 1939, however, he had retired and was living at ‘Roslyn’,12A Nelson Street, along with his wife Mary and a 70-year old widow, Gertrude Elliott, a ‘domestic’. He lived on at the same address until he died in aged 81 on 27 January 1952, a few days short of his 82ndbirthday. He left £2,735 to his by then widowed daughter Hilda Fulford.

Jul 23

A F Birch

Very little is known about him. In 1909 he is recorded as living in Maida Vale, London, He is listed in the Roll of Honour as a 2nd Lieutenant and later a Captain in the 10th battalion Highland Light Infantry. He may also be the A F Birch. Rank: Captain. Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal. Regiment or Corps: Royal Tank Corps

Jul 23

Arthur Bidmead

Arthur was born in Thame on 17 December 1879 and while his precise dates at the school are unknown they are likely to be the very early 1890s. The family lived on Buttermarket adjacent to the Saracen’s Head, his father was an ironmonger and Arthur had seven siblings.

By 1911, he was married to Lillie May Gibbons (who he married in 1903) and Arthur worked as a grocer and sub-postmaster at the Norfolk Park Sub PO, Maidenhead.

In the War, he served in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, as 2ndLieutenant. He was wounded on 6 July 1916 while serving on the Western Front. It is likely that his wound made him unfit for further frontline service as he transferred to the Labour Corps and was promoted to Captain.

After the War he continued to work as the sub-postmaster in Norfolk Park, where he and his wife had one daughter Majorie.

Little more is known of his life but he was living with his wife on Belmont Road, Maidenhead in the 1930s. However in the 1939 Census he is listed as a grocery wholesaler. He died 22 July 1959, still living on Belmont Road. His wife had predeceased him in 1953.

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.

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