Vivian Ingram Rackley Clark

Vivian born on 2nd October 1894, son of Walter Clark, ‘costumier’ or owner of a drapery shop, and Mary nee Rackley. They were living at 11 Village Terrace, South Shields, County Durham.

He was not baptised until 1897 and a double baptism too with his elder sister. Also the baptism did not take place in South Shields but in Fishponds, an outer suburb of Bristol. The precise reasons why this should be the case are unknown but it is known that the family were living in Dublin for a period of time during the 1890s, and that Vivian’s paternal grandmother lived in Fishponds. Perhaps Vivian’s parents decided to postpone the two children’s baptisms until they were back in England and also undertake the ceremony where the grandmother could attend.
In the 1901, Vivian, his mother and sister are living with the mother’s father Stephen Rackley, a retired Master mariner/ship owner, in Sunderland at Lampton Coal Offices House. There is no record of his father. (However by 1911, the family are reunited and living at 11 Village Terrace, South Shields.)
The next question is why Walter chose to send his son all the way south to LWGS as a boarder, having already attended ‘Miss Wilson’s Private (secondary) school in South Shields is unclear. Whatever the reason, it appears not to have been a success. Vivian was admitted on 2nd April 1909, placed in form III but stayed only two terms leaving on 18th December of the same year.
In 1915 he received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Durham Regiment and later transferred, on promotion to Lieutenant, to the Royal Engineers TF (Territorial Force) and spent a period of training at R E School of Electrical Lighting, Gosport. In spring 1917 he married Helena Thurlbeck from South Shields.
He survived the War and in 1920 he applied for Associate Membership of the Institute of Automobile Engineers when it was noted that he was the owner of Clark’s Garage and Agency.
In 1921 in another record he was noted as being a motor engineer living at 5 Camden Street, North Shields. In the same year he applied for his medals and was awarded the Victory Medal and Territorial Force Medal.
A son also named Vivian was born in 1933.
In his business he gradually went down the age-range; from cars, in 1934 he was a cycle agent and dealer living at 50 Bedford Street North Shields. Two years later he was a ‘baby carriage dealer’ at the same address.
In the Second World War he was definitely on the reserve list from 1939 to 1945 with the Royal Engineers as a Lieutenant. It is not known if he saw any active service during this time but none the less it does make him still one of the few OTs who served in both world wars.
He died on the 2nd August 1952 at St Mary’s Nursing Home Whitley Bay having previously lived at 21 Millview Drive Tynemouth, leaving £7,331 to his widow Helena. His wife died a few years later in 1958 having moved in with their son, who also lived on Millview Drive.

The Bush Brothers

In the late 19 century, the family lived on the Chinnor Road, Thame, and Issac the father is listed as a railway agent and hence possibly connected to the nearby Thame Station. By 1901 the family had moved to the Upper High Street and the family had grown to five children. It was Issac’s trade that brought him to Thame as both he and his wife were originally from Bristol. Later Issac became a merchant in the town.

Edward Colston Bush

One of the three Bush siblings who went to War. He was born 8 Jan 1888 in Thame.

In 1914 he joined the Oxfordshire Hussars but later served with the Manchester Regiment and fought in France in 1917. This was shortly after he married Rose Emily Cocks at a ceremony in Kent (where he was possibly stationed) as Rose was a Thame girl born and bred.

He was awarded the British and Victory medals with his medal card noting that he lived in Thame in 1920. In the 1920s he administered the Thame Agricultural Association at their offices in the Market Place.

His wife died in 1938 aged 49; they had no children. In 1939 Edward was living in 15 Upper High Street Thame and the census and directory records show that he is a Certified Accountant. In the 1950s he had moved to High Wycombe.

His Probate Record shows he died 3 June 1963 when living in Southsea near Portsmouth. The record indicates he had not remarried.

Frederick Howland Bush

Frederick was born in the summer of 1889 in Thame.

By 1911 he had joined the 3rdDragoon Guards, regimental no 304900 and this was the Regiment he went to war with in 1914. Shortly afterwards he was wounded in the head and hospitalised. He later transferred to the Tank Corps. He reached the rank of Sergeant and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

He married Florence Elizabeth Abraham in 1917. They had two daughters Mary Joan (who had been born before the marriage) and Hilda.

In the 1939 Census he is listed as living at The Chestnuts, 27 Upper High Street Thame a Salesman for Cattle Feeding Cakes and Coal. (His father had become a coal merchant by 1911 and so Frederick appears to have taken over the business and moved into the family home.) His wife was recorded as a housewife, and daughters Mary a saleswoman, and Hilda a hairdresser. Mary was married three times, her first to Gordon Wade, who’s name appears on the Thame War Memorial.

Frederick was the last of the three brothers to die – in 15 May 1973 while living at The Chestnuts with Probate showing that his estate was worth £18314. A year later, his widow Florence passed away.

Percival James Issac Bush

The youngest of the three brothers he was born 21 Sep 1896 in Thame. He was at the school when the 1911 Census was taken.

After school he became a clerk (possibly working in his father’s business) and then, like his brother Edward, in 1914 he joined the Oxfordshire Hussars. But in 1916 he joined the Australian Army – this may have been because he emigrated or more likely he joined them in the UK (it was not unknown that soldiers were recuited in the UK.)

If he had any intention of emigrating this did not happen. In 1924 he married Bessie Howlett in St Mary’s, Thame. His occupation was noted as a clerk. Bessie lived in the High Street, and her father Albert was a coach builder. The Howlett family being long established in Thame.

Percival had moved with his wife and two children, a daughter and son, to Wycombe by 1939, and he is listed as an agricultural merchant.

He died in 1970.

Horace Victor Burrell

Horace was born on 12thMarch 1898 in Forest Hill, London, the son of George Burrell a licensed innkeeper who was running the Chandos Public House on Brockley Rise in SE London.

Prior to arriving at LWGS as a boarder on 17thSeptember 1913 he had been four and a half years at the Commercial School Margate, a boarder in 1911 at 22 Addington Square. The reasons for becoming a boarder in Thame are not clear as there appears to be no family connection to the area but possibly Dr Shaw’s advertising campaign was the reason. He was placed in form IVb but stayed only two years, leaving on 29 July 1915 from form IV.

A few days later, on 4thAugust 1915 he enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company, regimental number 929, later 625149, attached later to the 126thBrigade Royal Field Artillery as a driver. He served in Egypt, where he was hospitalised in 1916. He was still abroad in 1918 as he is included in the absent voters list for Wandsworth; Upper Tooting Road his home address.

He was discharged on 17thFebruary 1919 from the HAC depot, on account of his wounds and he returned to Upper Tooting Road. He was awarded the Victory and British medals.

At some time during the next four years he emigrated to Canada and met up with an American girl. On 2ndSeptember 1923 he crossed from Canada to the USA, in the words of the border official, ‘coming to visit the father of a girl in whom he is interested. If he finds a job will stay till he gets a job (sic)’. His Canadian address at the time was Belleville, on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario; his intended destination was Syracuse about 180 miles away round the lake in New York State.  It seems that he was successful in getting a job, and probably ‘the girl’ as well as it was at Syracuse that he died 35 years later on Christmas Eve 1958. His will was not proved back in England until 1962, payment made to the solicitor of Lillian Harriett Burrell, a miserable £362.

Edward Benoni Burgess

Edward was born in Transvaal, South Africa on the 17th June 1892. His father was Alfred Augustus Burgess, (a self-styled gentleman at the time of Edward’s baptism but whose father had been a blacksmith), and his mother Ada Eliza (néeJones, the daughter of the innkeeper at the Eight Bells in Haddenham as well as a coal merchant).

Travelling to England at a few months of age, he was baptised at St John the Baptist church, Bisley, Surrey, on 28 August 1893. The middle name Benoni seems to be an attempt by his father to inject a degree of exoticness into the family. The truth was that Alfred was a philanderer, drunk and conman and Edward’s parents were divorced in 1898 with Ada divorcing her husband on the grounds of cruelty and adultery. Subsequently Edward, and his elder brother Alfred, went to live with his maternal grandparents, Frances and John Jones now a retired innkeeper and coal merchant in Skittle Green, Haddenham.

Edward and his elder brother Alfred were both educated at LWGS. The date of Edward’s arrival at LWGS is unknown but probably around 1900. He was definitely at the school in the summer term of 1906 but was listed as absent in during the autumn term of 1907.

He returned to South Africa after leaving school and was employed as a pumpman. His estranged father died in 1914 at the young age of 50 and it is likely that Edward had not seen him for many years. By this time the father had moved back to Essex where he had been born.

Edward served in the 31stRegiment of the Royal Fusiliers, later transferring to the 4thRoyal Sussex and 4thSouth African Regiments, joining B Company, formed primarily from men of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment. The regiment formed part of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade, which in January 1916 sailed for Egypt to help quell a local uprising, before being transferred to the western front, landing in Marseilles in April 1916.  The regiment suffered heavy casualties throughout the war.  In December 1917, Edward, by now a Lance Corporal, was severely wounded, and evacuated to hospital in Rouen where his right leg was amputated at the thigh, and left leg fractured. He died of his wounds on the 6thJanuary 1918 and was buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France. He is commemorated in Thame on Lord Williams’s School honours board and is also remembered on Haddenham war memorial.

His elder brother Alfred Jnr. had followed the family profession and had become a blacksmith in England but at some point he returned to South Africa and died there in 1957.

[Much of the information provided by the Thame Remembers Research Group].

Reginald Loftus Briars

Reginald was the elder brother of Arthur and Hugh born on the 9thOctober 1887.  He probably left LWGS in 1901 or 1902 as he became a railway clerk accountant for the Great Western Railway on 9thJuly 1902 and was living at Paddington, London. In June 1907 he moved to Fishguard, still working as a clerk for the Great Western Railway; in 1911 was living with his elder sister Emily Maude in a small three-room house at 26 Vergam Terrace.

The following year, however, he resigned and seems to have moved back to London. On 9thOctober 1915 he married Agnes Rose Horwood, a carpenter’s daughter at Putney St Stephen’s Mission Church, Wandsworth in London.

During the war he served in the Uganda Railway Volunteers with the rank of Corporal. He is not included in the Absent Voters List of 1918/19 so he may have returned to England before the end of the war. However the record does become mixed as they had a daughter Olive Mary, who was born in Mombassa in 1917

For certain he was in Thame in 1921 when he became a Mason in St Mary’s Lodge, his occupation given as ‘civil servant’, which could mean any kind of public service. By 1922 the family were back in Mombassa as a son Ralph Algernon was born there in 1922. A second daughter Audrey Briars was born in 1923 but she died shortly thereafter. Perhaps this prompted a return to the UK where they lived in Putney, London.

Three years later  on 26thMarch 1926 he sailed 2ndclass from the Port of London on the SS Modasa, a liner of the British India Steam Navigation Company, to the port of Beira in Mozambique accompanied by his wife and his young son Ralph but not their daughter Olive. (It is likely that she remained in the UK and was at boarding school.)

His stay in Kenya was relatively short and on 26thJuly 1933 he and Agnes returned to England from Beira to Southampton in a German ship the SS Matussi of the Wörman Linie. He must have prospered in Kenya as they travelled back first class.  Ralph was not with his parents.  Perhaps he was in school as a boarder back in England.

On his return, Reginald seems to have moved from public service back to private enterprise. In 1939 he and his wife were living at 17 Rectory Close Newbury and he was a branch clerk of an electrical contracting company; also an Air Raid Warden. 17-year-old Ralph Algy was living with his parents, working as a costing clerk in the same business. In 1940, eldest daughter Olive was married in Newbury.

Reginald was still at the same address in 1950 but died on the 6thMay the following year, leaving a modest £735 to his widow.

Their older daughter Olive now Olive Ryan and her husband had emigrated to South Africa but on the death of Reginald they returned to Newbury. Olive died in 2009. Ralph had died in 2003, and their mother Agnes in 1968.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.