The Great War

This page commemorates the OTs who died or were wounded in the conflict and provides some insight into school life during the War. Over time, we will add information about all OTs who served in the Great War.

OTs in the War

In total 193 Old Boys had served in the Great War, 32 lost their lives. These casualties represents approximately 15% of the total who fought; the BBC has said that UK service casualties as a percentage of men mobilised was about 11.5%.

DSOs were won by Captain W G Bailey (with two bars), and Major D.P Shaw who distinguishing himself in the initial attacks across Ancre. Shaw was also in command of the 6th Battalion of the Dorsets. Henry Shrimpton 1900-05 won the Military Cross as did Lieut. R Rhodes, Capt. Reginald Harris 1899 -1902 and 2nd/Lt Frank Mitchell. Captain E.W Rose was awarded the MC after being killed in action. Captain R Lidington was mentioned in despatches as was Reginald Harrison.

(The information below was mainly published in The Tamensian school magazine during the War and is not comprehensive.)

1914: John C Hoadley started work: collecting taxes at Somerset House (joining two other OTs who were working there.)  A.W.S Wagner rowed for St John’s Oxford. The football match was cancelled due to lack of players as most were serving in the Forces. Hugh Kidman was farming in Waterstock. W.H Smith had married.

By the end of the year, 67 OTs had joined up. Lieut G.L Edsell (Ist Battalion Hampshire Regiment) was one of the first to be wounded. James Arthur Greenhalgh had taught Classics as an Assistant Master from 1911-12 before moving to Ashton-in-Makerfield Grammar School, Lancashire from 1912 to 1914. He had been a member of Manchester University Officers Training Corps and was on the Reserve of Officers. At the outbreak of the War, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment in August and left for France on 7 September 1914 to oppose the German attempt to reach the Channel ports. His battalion took part in the Battle of the Aisne, the fighting at La Bassee, Festubert and Violaines. On the 20 October the Germans launched a huge offensive stretching from Arras to the Channel. This included a massive assault on the 1st Cheshire’s positions at Violaines. James was among 53 men of his battalion killed in action at or near Violaines on 22 October 1914.

The two Shaw brothers had enlisted as had the Hoadley, Wagner and Mitchell brothers.

Hon. Major B W Lidington was seconded from the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars to the Royal Marines.

The annual OTA dinner was cancelled.

1915: 70 Old Boys were serving in the forces. Cpt Edsell and Lt Tomlinson had both been wounded and were back in England. Sergt W.E. Roberts was killed at Ypres. Major Brighton Webster Lidington of the Royal Marines was stationed at Blandford Camp while he awaited an attachment.

Max James Singer (1907-1912) was interned as a civilian at Ruhleben near Berlin. He had been studying at Lausanne University and then working. From the handbook of the Ruhleben Football Association Season 1915, Max Singer was noted as being from 92 St. Mary’s Mansion, Paddington, and as having been born in London in 1896. He worked as an apprentice and was arrested in Bremen on 6 Nov 1914. He was sent to Ruhleben, where he was interned in Barrack 7. (In 1914, thousands of British civilians and merchant seamen, along with foreigners from other nationalities with British connections, were interned at the hastily constructed prisoner of war camp at Ruhleben racecourse by Spandau, near Berlin, Germany. Most would not see freedom from the camp until the end of the war, but managed to maintain a unique way of life for the four years of their unwelcome internment. From a web-site about the camp.)

R.J Culverwell was killed by a shell while entering a dug-out in a trench. C.G Clarke was also killed by a shell. Brian Perry died from an illness contracted at camp. Donald Shaw was seriously wounded and narrowly escaped death in the hospital ship ‘Anglia’ when it was mined in the Channel. He was later to rejoin his regiment.

1916: Francis Willoughby Fielding 1902-6 fell leading his men against the line of enemy trenches. He was with the Queen Victoria Rifles and he died on 1st July. William Smith died whilst in the front-line trenches. Noel Target 1906-09 was killed at the Somme. Henry Bernard 1905-1912 was killed in France after returning to the Front following his recovery from wounds and enteric contracted at Gallipoli. Jimmie Hobbs was missing and presumed dead; John Hoadley 1906-11 had been killed. E.G S Wagner was shot down and killed over the Somme. Harold Joseph Bradley was shot down but survived. Reginald Harrison was mentioned in Despatches.

(No further information is available for the years 17-18 as the Tamensian magazine, which carried news of OTs, ceased publication during this period.)

On Armistice Day, 11th November 1918, an evening service was held in St Mary’s to say thanks to God that the War had ended and A E Shaw helped take the service alongside the Vicar.

Information about the OTs who were killed in the Great War

These notes combine work done by Buckinghamshire Remembers, the Thame Remembers project, and research undertaken by the OTA.

While some information is known about all the OTs who died, the depth of information varies but is expected to grow over the next few years.

Henry Claude Bernard served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Gloucestershire Regiment, 7th Battalion – although at the time of his death he was attached to the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire regiment. Aged 22 he died in France on 3rd September 1916. His name is carved on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Bernard was born at Bristol in 1893. (His parents, Dr Claude Bernard and Florrie Bernard lived at 1 Spencer Terrace, Fishponds and then later at 564 Fishponds Road, Bristol.)

He was educated at Lord William’s Grammar School and St John’s College, Cambridge. Whilst at St John’s, he was in the Officer Training Corps and, following the outbreak of War, he was appointed to a Temporary Regular Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the General List and was posted for duty with 7th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.

Lance Corporal Edward Benoni Burgess, was born in the Transvaal, South Africa in 1892 but subsequently his family moved to England. He enlisted in the South African Scottish Infantry. He was killed on 6 Jan 1918 and is buried St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, and his name is also present on Haddenham’s war memorial.

Reginald John Culverwell was born in Nether Winchendon in 1893 where his father was a coachman. He enlisted with the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 4th Battalion and died of wounds on 17th August 1915. He is buried at the Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Somme, France and his name is carved on the village memorial at Nether Winchendon.

Cyril George Clarke was born in Haddenham c1890 where his parents are recorded in the 1890 Census as bakers on the High Street. He enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment 8th Battalion where he was commissioned as a Lieutenant; he died on 24th September 1915 of wounds. His grave can be found at Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais and his name is recorded on Haddenham’s war memorial.

Francis Willoughby Fielding was born in Towersey on 8th October 1892. His father Harry Fielding was an auctioneer. After leaving LWGS and by 1911, Francis had moved to Coventry and begun work in the fledgling motor industry as a draughtsman. (By 1911, his parents had moved to Essex House on the Chinnor Road, Thame.)

He was commissioned in the London Regiment (Queens Westminster Rifles) 9th Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant but was killed in action on 1st July 1916 at Gommecourt. That day, over 200 men of the 9th Battalion were killed including nine officers. (NB: his name is not on the Roll of Honour found in Towersey Church.)

The attack at Gommecourt was one part of the Somme Offensive. At 7.30 a.m. on Saturday 1st July 1916, the men of the British divisions selected for the offensive clambered out of their trenches to cross No Man’s Land. Ten minutes earlier, a huge mine had been set off under Hawthorn Ridge near Beaumont Hamel giving the German artillerymen and machine gunners more than enough time to bring their guns into action.

By the end of a day, the carnage recorded was unprecedented in the history of the British Army: 19,240 men had been killed, 2,152 were missing and another 35,593 were wounded; a total of 57,740 casualties in not much more than twelve hour’s fighting.

Fielding’s grave can be found at the Gommecourt British Cemetery No 2, Hebuterne, Pas de Calais, France.

Christie West Fletcher was a Lance Corporal in the Canadian Mounted Rifles, 2nd Battalion. He was one of the older volunteers and was aged 42 when he died in France on 30th September 1916. He had been born in Kew, and his father was a member of the London Stock Exchange. Sometime after leaving school, Christie moved to Vancouver where he married Louise. (His wife’s last known address was 10 Stanley Court, 920 Bidwell St, Vancouver, BC.) Christie’s memorial can be found at the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais.

William Elhanan Gascoyne was born in Long Crendon in 1895. His father Gilbert was Manager at the Horner’s Works. He was commissioned into the Oxfordshire & Bucks Light Infantry 2/4th Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant in early 1915 and died 22nd August 1917 while they were capturing an area known as Pond Farm near Ypres. (Some 100 men in the same Battalion were killed that day.)

In a book written about the 2/4th Battalion Gascoyne is mentioned:

From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. “A party of the enemy round their way back and were soon firing into out men from behind. During the early stages of consolidation, when personal example and direction were required, John Stockton, Scott, and Gascoyne were all killed by snipers or machine-gun fire.”

His name can be found on memorials at Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Long Crendon Church and at the School. At the time of his death, his widow was living at Prospect Villa in Long Crendon.

James Arthur Greenhalgh: The first war casualty from Lord Williams’s was James Arthur Greenhalgh who had taught Classics as an Assistant Master from 1911-12 (before moving to Ashton-in-Makerfield Grammar School, Lancashire). He had been a member of Manchester University Officers Training Corps and was on the Reserve of Officers. At the outbreak of the War, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment and left for France on 7 September 1914 to oppose the German attempt to reach the Channel ports. His battalion took part in the Battle of the Aisne, the fighting at La Bassee, Festubert and Violaines. On the 20 October the Germans launched a huge offensive stretching from Arras to the Channel. This included a massive assault on the 1st Cheshire’s positions at Violaines. James was among 53 men of his battalion killed in action at or near Violaines on 22 October 1914.

Private Richard John Green was the last OT to be killed. He joined the Royal Fusiliers as soon as he was 18. He saw service in Palestine, Egypt and France. He had returned from leave in England, on 16th October 1918 to rejoin his unit on the Western Front having volunteered for service with the 4th Royal Sussex Regiment. On 2nd November he was at a dressing station attending to the wounded when he was killed by a German bomb dropped in an air-raid over the British lines, this just 9 days before the Armistice.

Private Green is buried at the Harlebeke New British Cemetery, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium Plot: IV. BB. 5.

Richard Green was born 9 April 1898 in Streatham, London and he boarded at the School from September 1907 to July 1915. At LWGS he was in the Cricket and Football XIs.

His father John Green was a Tailor and the family lived in Camberwell but Richard’s mother Mary Jane nee Arnold) died shortly after his birth possibly from complications during labour. Why Richardattended LWS is an interesting question that can’t resolved at the moment. During this period, there were always a sprinkling of boarders who came from London but usually from north London. A tenuous link might be the name Arnold, his mother’s maiden name as there have been Arnolds in Thame for many years – indeed there was an Elizabeth Arnold living in the Nags Head in Thame in the 1881 Census.

After Richard left school he moved to live with his aunt near Stratford upon Avon to take up farming.

Walter Sydney Harris was a Private in the London Regiment (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles 15th Battalion). His family lived in Shirburn near Thame when he was at the School in the 1890s but Harris had been born in Southampton. After leaving, he joined the Post Office as a Clerk. He was aged 37 when he was killed in France on 30th November 1917 and his name is commemorated at Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

(In 1917 the London Regiment saw in action in The Battle of Messines, the Third Battles of Ypres, and The Cambrai Operations where they captured Bourlon Wood and fought against the German counter attacks.)

Owen Charles Hawes was part of a farming family in Brill. He joined the 4th Batt. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry at the beginning of the war in 1914. He was wounded but returned to the front, where he was taken prisoner, and died aged 21 of wounds on 16th May 1918 in a German war hospital. His grave can be found at the Avesnes-Sur-Helpe Communal Cemetery. His name is also commemorated on the memorial at Oakley where the name of his father is also carved.

At LWGS he was in the Cricket and Football XIs.

John Hoadley brother of William (see below) was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1895. His Service Record records the following: Rank: Cpl Service No.:106153 Regt.: ROYAL ENGINEERS Unit: 1ST BN , SPECIAL BDE Date of Death: 24/08/1916 aged 21 Next of Kin: Son of the late John Hoadley Esq Additional Information: Cpl, Royal Engineers, Chemists’ Corps. Joined July 1915. Killed instantaneously on 24/8/16 by the bursting of a German shell as he and a fellow soldier were going up the trenches to superintend some work there. FYB1919 Grave: I.B.4 Cemetery: SAILLY-AU-BOIS MILITARY CEMETERY, France. Commemorated on Port of Spain Cenotaph, at the School and on the Roll of Honour of the Exchequer and Audit Department at Somerset House, where he worked.

William Cecil Hoadley (1898 – 1918) attended Lord Williams’s Grammar School from 1908-1912. He was the younger brother of John Clare Hoadley who also attended the School (and who was also killed in the 1st World War), and the youngest of five children born to John and Miriam Hoadley. James Hamlyn b:1885, Elsie Margaret b:1890, Katherine Phyliss b:1894 (and who boarded at the Girls Grammar School in Thame), John Clare b:1895, and William born 14 November1898.

William was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His father John ran the long established Hoadley and Co business, the foremost gentlemen’s tailors and military outfitters in Trinidad.

William joined the Royal Navy in May 1916 as a Cadet, undergoing training at HMS Conway. Subsequently he served as a Temporary Midshipman on HMS Otway across 1916-17 and then joined HMS Bittern on 29 October 1917 – where he was assigned gunnery duty.

HMS Bittern was part of the Devonport Local Flotilla, undertaking convoy escorts and defensive patrol duty in and around the English Channel.

On 4 April 1918, six months after William had joined HMS Bittern, she was involved in a collision with SS Kenilworth off the Isle of Portland, England in thick fog. The Bittern was overwhelmed and she sank quickly with the loss of all hands. A Court of Inquiry found negligence on the part of the master of SS Kenilworth. His instructions had been to hug the coast as closely as possible from Portland Bill to Start Point. Instead he headed straight across, showing no lights nor sounding for fog. At 0315 the Kenilworth saw a red light and a ship ‘small and low down’ at the moment of impact.

William is commemorated on the Port of Spain Cenotaph, the Plymouth Naval Memorial, and on the Roll of Honour at Lord Williams’s Grammar School.

James Hobbs was married and aged 30 when he died in France on 4th June 1916. He and his wife were living in 1232 Cameron St, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada when he joined the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry Eastern Ontario Regiment. His occupation was recorded as fireman.

The regiment was raised in 1914 and became part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was named after the Governor General of Canada’s daughter Princess Patricia of Connaught.

His father was a cattle dealer and lived in Medmenham near High Wycombe; it is not known when James Hobbs moved to Canada.

His name can be found on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, and records show that during the War over 1200 officers and men of the regiment were killed.

Willis Janes‘ father was a police constable living in Long Crendon. Janes was born in the village in 1890 and attended LWGS in the early 20th century.

He joined the Kings Own Scottish Borderers 6th Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1914 and died of wounds on 22nd January 1917. His grave can be found at Le Treport Military Cemetery, Seine-Maritime and is name is honoured at Long Crendon.

Sergeant Hugh Kidman, His parents were farmers at Waterstock and before enlisting, Hugh Kidman worked on the farm. He joined the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars and was reported wounded and missing on 23rd March 1918. Aged 30, he died in a war hospital while in German hands on 30th March and is buried in the military cemetery at Maubeurge in France.

Bertram Wheeler Mason, for reasons unknown Bertram Mason is not included on the OT list of casualties even though he was a boarder at Lord William’s Grammar School from 1909 to 1911.

He died at sea in 1915 on the HMS Clan McNaughton – Mercantile Marine Reserve.

Bertram’s father was a District Judge in the Ceylon Civil Service and after retiring he and his family lived in London. Bertram came to LWGS as a boarder and stayed until 1911. Sometime after leaving school he joined Mr Philip E Farr FSAA as an articled clerk and began his training to become an accountant. In December 1914 he volunteered to join the crew who were preparing to sail on HMS Clan McNaughton. His role was to act as Clerk to the ship’s captain Commander R Jeffreys.

The Clan McNaughton was a 4985 ton passenger cargo vessel, built in 1911 and requisitioned November 1914 from the Clan Line Steamers Ltd, Glasgow, becoming an Armed Merchant Vessel and formally commissioned on December 7th 1914; she left Sheerness on December 15th and arrived in Liverpool on January 17th; she left Liverpool on 23rd and sailed ‘to the north’ but was back (according to Naval records) by the week ending 31st January. There after she left again and was last heard of at 6am February 3rd when she was in the Atlantic north of Ireland and west of Scotland and when she made ‘a wireless signal to HMS Hildebrand.’ No distress signal was received and no wreckage or survivors was found by HMS Hildebrand – who searched until 5th February. The Clan McNaughton was therefore presumed sunk on 3rd February with the 281 strong crew.

(Details from the National Archives. In these Naval records there is no speculation as to the cause of the sinking although records suggest there was a severe gale at the time. Some speculation on-line claims that perhaps the vessel had been badly adapted and the crew inexperienced. However in answer to a question in the House of Commons in March 1915, Mr. Falle asked if His Majesty’s ship “Clan Mcnaughton” was surveyed after her guns were put aboard; and, if so, was she passed and by what authority? In reply Dr. Macnamara replied, ‘The “Clan Mcnaughton,” a nearly new vessel of the Clan Line, classed by the British Corporation Registry, was fitted out for His Majesty’s service at Tilbury under the supervision of naval, constructive, and engineering officers deputed to act for that purpose. The armament placed in the vessel was light in comparison with her size, and all necessary stiffening to take it was fitted. Investigations as to the loading and the stability of the vessel were made at the Admiralty, and instructions were issued to the commanding officer of the ship. The Admiralty are satisfied that the vessel was in good condition and seaworthy, and that she possessed ample stability.’ )

However in the PhD paper http://gala.gre.ac.uk/9397/1/Terence_Dawson_Lilley_2012.pdf Terence Lilley concludes that several of the requisitioned merchant vessels were clearly unsuited to their new task, and that the Admiralty had turned a blind eye to this and had not conducted ballast tests to see if these ships – with their holds empty and with the newly installed guns on their decks – were stable. He quotes the diary of another Captain who had written that the officers of the Mcnaughton were convinced that nothing would stop her capsizing if they met with bad weather ‘and their fears unfortunately were too well founded.’  He also provides evidence from Admiralty papers that shows that inadequate testing was done and that this was covered up.

The date of Bertram’s death means that he was the first Tamensian to be killed in the War.

(At the time of Bertram’s death his parents were living at 22 St Paul’s Avenue, Cricklewood.)

Duncan Haldane Ostrehan was a Lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 4th Battalion. He was born in Aylesbury in 1891 and attended the school in the first years of the 20th Century. After leaving LWGS he went on to Agricultural College. He was killed in France in 1917 aged 26 and is remembered on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium.

George Bertie Parker was the oldest OT who died – although this was not on active servce. Aged 48, he was a Sergeant and Storeman in the New Zealand Army Service Corps. He died at Wellington Hospital on 5th April 1917 while stationed at the Featherstone Training Camp, the cause of death was cancer. His grave can be found at the Wellington (Karori) Cemetery, New Zealand and his name is on the Featherston Cemetery Memorial, Featherston, New Zealand. Before he joined the NZEF he was living in Foxton, a town in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand, located on the lower west coast of the North Island. Here he worked for A J Gibbs, a flax miller in the town.

Parker was born in Oxford, where his father was Clerk of the University Schools.

Brian Perry died of meningitis at the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth after contracting the illness at a camp. He was 18 and a Sergeant in the Inns of Court OTC. His grave can be found at St Peter’s Church Cemetery, Great Berkhamsted and his name is written on a memorial tablet in the Church:

To the glory of God and in thanksgiving for all who served their Country & especially remembering before God those here recorded who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1919 their friends and fellow townsmen make this Memorial.

“So they passed over and all the trumpets sounded for them on the other Side”.

His father was an advertising agent and the family lived in Berkhamsted although the Census shows that Perry was born in Enfield. He boarded at the school until 1914.

William Edward Roberts was the son of William who ran a drapers shop on the High Street in Thame. The younger William was working at the shop when he enlisted in the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars Henley Sqdn. A Sergeant, he died in action in France, on 15th May 1915 aged 30, and is buried at the Bedford House Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium. His name can also be found on Thame’s War Memorial.

Second Lieutenant Eric William Rose MC elder son of William Rose of Ford Aylesbury. On leaving LWGS in 1915 he joined his father on the family dairy farm (Moat Farm, Ford) but in 1916, he enlisted with the Artists Rifles and then gained a commission in the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1917. A letter he wrote to his family records that he travelled to London, stayed overnight in a hotel close to Victoria Station and the next day they took the train before he sailed for France 18th October 1917, sailing from Folkstone to Boulogne. A few months later he was killed in fierce fighting at Bucquoy on April 18th 1918. The London Gazette recorded on July 23, 1918, that he had been posthumously awarded the Military Cross. The Gazette said it was: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action.

“Although a very junior officer, he commanded his company with great courage and ability, and his resolution in leading a counter-attack was worthy of the utmost praise.”

His commanding officer wrote that he died ‘a most gallant death, fighting to the last with the remnants of his Company.’ His division, the 42nd, was mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig as contributing greatly to the successful maintenance of the line in Bucquoy. His Officer Commanding also wrote: ‘He had the makings of a great officer and was beloved by all ranks, he is a very great loss to the Battalion.’

He was listed as ‘missing’ although some soldiers were buried in Bucquoy. His name is commemorated at Ford as well as at the School.

Donald Patrick Shaw DSO died of his wounds some years after the end of the War. He was the son of the Headmaster A E Shaw and was born in Weymouth before the family moved to Thame. He died on Oct. 9, 1924 in Westminster, London.

His wife Maud V Stephens – who he married in 1919 – had the following written on his grave, ‘To my dearly beloved husband Donald Patrick Shaw DSO, late Major 6th Dorsetshire Regiment, House Master Westminster School, died of wounds received in France in 1915.”

Shaw was buried in West Norwood Cemetery and Crematorium, London and a memorial plaque can also be seen at Balliol College in the Chapel Passage, over the Gate to the Fellows’ Garden.

In addition, these notes have been made about his life:

– He was born on 29 Mar 1888 Melcombe Regis, Dorset

– Educated at Lord Williams’s Grammar School from 1899-1907.

– His father The Rev A.E Shaw was headmaster at the school. (Alfred died aged 61 in 1921.)

– After leaving LWGS, Donald went up to Balliol in Sept 1907 and rowed bow in the winning Morrisons Four at the College. He was also a Lance Corporal in the University OTC.

– In 1908, he was one of the Founders of the Old Tamensians Association (the Old Boys for LWGS)

– He graduated from Balliol in 1910 with a 2nd in Modern History

– From 1910-12, he was a Form Master at Wemouth Collage

– In 1912 Donald Shaw was appointed an Assistant Housemaster at Westminster School

– In 1914 he was awarded his MA. In September he enlisted with the Dorset Regiment as a 2nd Lt.

– His Medal Record shows he was sent to France in July 1915. He was seriously wounded in the neck and spine shortly thereafter and then nearly drowned when on the hospital ship Anglia which was mined off Dover.

– 1916 Captain Shaw was gazetted Major after a period of study at the 4th Army School in France

– On 7th September 1918, Shaw was promoted to acting Lt Colonel while commanding a Battalion.

– 1918 Shaw was awarded the DSO for gallantry during an attack in Ancre in France; he was also mentioned in despatches.

– Shaw resumed teaching at Westminster in 1919 and was appointed House Master of Grant’s.

– In the summer holidays of 1919 he married Maud Vivian Stephens in Oxford. She was the daughter of Thomas Albertus Stephens, HMI of Schools. (Maud had been born in Manchester around 1894.Her mother and father were both Welsh.)

– Besides winning a DSO, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War Medal, and Victory Medal

– His rank of Lt Colonel was relinquished on 27th October 1920 and he reverted to Major.

– Shaw commanded the Westminster School OTC.

– A daughter, Joan P.V. Shaw, was born in 1922

– He was an usher at the royal wedding of Princess Mary in Westminster Abbey in February 1922

– Shaw died at the Empire Nursing Home in Westminster on October 9th 1924 – his home address at the time was 2 Little Dean’s Yard, Westminster

– The funeral service was held at Westminster Abbey on 14th October with full military honours. His coffin was borne on a six-horse gun-carriage. At the graveside in Norwood Cemetery, volleys were fired and the Last Post sounded by soldiers of the Grenadier Guards. Two weeks later, his widow gave birth to his son, Donald John.

– In his will he left £6936 to his wife Maud. In turn his wife died 10th July 1960 at her home 120 Murray Road, Northwood Middx. leaving her estate (a considerable £33699) to her daughter (a spinster) Joan Patricia Vivian Shaw. (Joan lived with her mother.) She was buried in the Shaw plot in Norwood.

This should link to a photograph.

George Henry Sherwin was an Airman Mechanic 2nd Class in the Royal Flying Corps. He was born in Aylesbury in 1883 and the family lived in Waddesdon, where his father was a building contractor. After leaving school in the late 1890s, he worked first for his father. When his father died, the widowed mother (Emma) moved the family to Leicester (she had been born in Leicester) where they lived in Victoria Park Road – according to the 1911 Census. In 1912 George married Evelyn Webb and they lived in 64 Queens Road. He died in 1917 aged 34 and is buried in a war grave at Leicester’s Welford Road Cemetery. The circumstances of his death are unknown.

William Noel Smith was a printer’s assistant for his father when he joined the Oxfordshire & Bucks Light Infantry 1/4th Battalion as a Private. When he attended LWGS the family lived first on the Chinnor Road before they moved to Essex Road, Thame, – they ran a printers and stationers business. He was the only son and had three sisters (two other siblings had died).

Smith was killed in action on 13th June 1916 and is buried at Hebuterne Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. He was 24.

His mother Emma E. Smith was a native of Basingstoke and as William was born there his name can also be found on the town’s War Memorial.

Ralph Wentworth Stone joined the Royal Fusiliers 4th Battalion as a Private and was penultimate OT to be killed during the war, killed in action on 8th October 1918. He was 28 and is buried at the Forenville Military Cemetery, Nord, France. His name is also on the War Memorial in Long Crendon Church.

Born in Long Crendon in 1890, his father was the late Robert Warner Stone, a retired Lt Colonel of the 2nd Bn. S. Staffordshire Regt., and JP who died when Ralph was three years old. The family lived in the Manor House.

Lieutenant Noel Alexander Target MC attended LWGS from 1906 to 1909 before finishing his education at Haileybury College, Hertford where he stayed until 1912.

An official record reads: Regiment: Durham Light Infantry Unit Text: 13th Bn. Date of Death: 04/08/1916 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C Cemetery: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

Born 23 November 1895 at London, son of Felix Alexander Target MICE, Civil Engineer, Indian Public Works Department, of Donnington, Pinner, by his wife Nita, daughter of Harrison Chilton; educated at Lord Williams’s Grammar School and Haileybury College. First commission as temp 2nd Lieutenant 13th (Service) Bn DLI 22 September 1914; temp Lieutenant 3 March 1915; commissioned regulars, 2nd Lieutenant DLI 4 April 1916 (3 May 1916). Served European War 1914-16, France and Belgium 20 November 1915 to 4 August 1916, with 13th Bn DLI, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, (awarded the MC for conspicuous bravery while leading a successful raid on the enemy’s trenches, in company with a brother officer; by their pluck and dash in keeping their party so close under our own bombardment of the enemy trench, our shells were bursting over them while entering the Hun wire, and the Battalion was thanked by General Headquarters for the success it achieved.) MC (London Gazette 24 June 1916, citation London Gazette 27 July 1916) “For conspicuous gallantry. Lieuts Clark and Target led a successful raid on the enemy’s trenches. At least twelve of the enemy were accounted for, and live deep occupied dug-outs were bombed. Owing to the skill and rapidity of action there were only three slight casualties in their party.” Was originally intended for the Indian Police, for which he had just qualified when war was declared in August 1914. Killed in action on the Somme 4 August 1916, while defending a section of trench under heavy machine-gun fire. The Brigadier-General wrote “I always regarded him as a promising officer, and he proved his gallantry on many occasions; his loss will be felt very much in his regiment, where he was admired by all ranks. In all the strenuous fighting in which we were engaged, he, by his cool daring, shone amongst the many brave men associated with him. He was buried in the trench he gave his life to hold”.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

Albert Alexander Trinder, Albert’s parents were William and Annie (nee Way) Trinder. By 1911 his father was widowed and worked as a manager of a boot and shoe shop in the High Street, Thame. Albert was a private in the Essex Regiment 10th Battalion, and he died aged only 18 at the end of the War, killed in action on 8th August 1918. His name can be found on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France as well as on the War Memorial in Thame.

Bernard George Turner was the son of school teachers who lived at The Gables, Bledlow Ridge and taught at the local elementary school. He attended the same school where his parents taught before coming to LWGS and subsequently High Wycombe Grammar School. After leaving school he won an open competition to join the London County Council and was assigned to the Fire Brigade Department. Shortly after the outbreak of War he joined up as a Private in the Coldstream Guards and left for the Western Front in January 1915. His role was part of a Maxim Gun detachment. He was 21 when he was killed in action on 27th September 1915. The Coldstream Guards were taking part in the Battle of Loos, a flat plain immediately north of the town of Lens. This was the third day of the battle, heavy casualties were already being reported. Tinder died after being shot through the heart. His name can be found on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, and in Bledlow Ridge church.

E G S Wagner, one of a number of Wagner brothers who attended the school in the early part of the 20th century. Ethelbert Wagner was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 32nd Squadron of Royal Flying Corps when he was killed on 7th January 1917 while flying in combat over France. He was aged 24. (NB: there is also an online reference that suggests he may have died as a PoW after being shot down.) An online source records the following: ‘when the DH-2 was shot down by Lt. d.R. Erwin Boehme of Jasta 2 in the cockpit of the DH-2 was E.G.S. Wagner, who did not survive. Wagner, a member of No. 32 Sqdn RFC, thus became Boehme‘s ninth victim. Boehme reached a total of 24 kills by the end of the war.’

A further source states that Wagner took off at 1100 as part of an offensive patrol and was shot down by Boehme at 1130 when they were flying over Beugny.

Wagner was born in Taifrin part of the Malay Federated States where his father was a Deputy Commissioner of Police and joined the school in 1904. After leaving, he went onto medical school at Birmingham University before first joining the Royal Warwickshire and then, after being awarded his flying ticket in September 1916 the RFC. He is buried at the Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery in grave II.M.25.

Charles Dorsett Ward was born in Aylesbury in 1891. After leaving school he emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada where he studied law before the outbreak of War when he enlisted with the Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment) 27th Battalion. He was killed in action aged 25 on the 15th September 1915 only days after disembarking in France. His name is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Here, inscribed on the ramparts, are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as ‘missing, presumed dead’ over the duration of the War.

Stanley Hugh Winkley was a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force and was killed over France on 1st April 1918. (His name is on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais.) Winkley was a boarder, having been born in Essex where his father Samuel was a Master Butcher. Before he joined up Winkley was an engineer.

The following is a list of OTs on the Honours Board in the School, who fell in the 1st World War:

Henry C Bernard Gloucestershire Regiment

Edward B Burgess South African Scottish Regiment

Reginald J Culverwell Oxfordshire and Bucks L.I

Cyril G Clarke East Yorkshire

F.W Fielding 9th London

C. W Fletcher Canadian Mounted Rifles

William E Gascoyne Oxfordshire and Bucks LI

Richard J Green Royal Fusiliers and 4th Royal Sussex

W. S Harris 15th London

Owen C Hawes Oxfordshire and Bucks LI

John Hoadley Royal Engineers

William C Hoadley HMS Bittern

James Hobbs Princess Patricia’s Canadian LI

Willis Janes Kings Own Scottish Borderers

Hugh Kidman Oxfordshire Yeomanry

Duncan H Ostrehan Royal North Lancs

G.B Parker New Zealnd ASC

Brian Perry Inns of Court OTC

William Roberts Oxfordshire Yeomanry

Eric W Rose MC Lancashire Fusiliers

D P Shaw Dorset Regiment

G.H Sherwin RAF

William N Smith Oxfordshire and Bucks LI

Ralph Stone Munster Fusiliers

Noel A Target MC Durham Light Infantry

A.A Trinder Essex Regiment

Bernard G Turner Coldstream Guards

E.G.S Wagner Royal Flying Corps

Charles D Ward 27th Canadian Infantry

Stanley H Winkley RAF.

As noted above the names of two OTs who fell are not listed on the Board: James Arthur Greenhalgh and Bertram Wheeler Mason.

The School during the War

Information about life at the School during this period is sketchy but we know the following – sourced mainly from The Tamensian magazine. The school of course was still a small school with some 30 day boys and 40 boarders leading up to the start of the Great War.

1914: life carried on as normal at the start of the War. Money was collected for the Prince of Wales’ Relief Fund and the Princess Mary’s Xmas Gift Fund. However, much to the boys delight, a cinema opened in the town. W E Cubbage had been Head Boy for the last two years. Two masters, Mr Ernest Loftus (1905-7) and Mr Davies had enlisted.
1915: the old school building on Church Row became a VAD Hospital and newspaper reports show that it had up to 20 patients. The Headmaster Shaw commented, ‘in the happy seclusion of the Chiltern Hills we can with difficulty realise the terrible struggle and bitter consequences of war.’ Boys contributed to the war effort effort by raising money for the Red Cross, and to making bed tables and splints for the local hospitals – one of which was the old Thame Grammar School. Masters were now being called-up and their absence was being felt. New classrooms had been built and pupil numbers were higher than they had been for several years. A chess tournament was played and football continued but with fewer matches against other schools. A fete was held at Thame Park to raise money for the local Red Cross. A Cadet Corps was officially started. The 4th and 5th formers were making hospital comforts such as splints, foot-rests and bed-rests for the wounded in the Manual Room. Prize Day was not a public function this year. R H Colby was Head Boy.

1916: numbers reached 100 for the first time. There were severe blizzards in March. The police complained about boarders not keeping black-out. The School played only two cricket matches: against Wycombe and Aylesbury. The Cadet Corps held a uniformed parade for the Governors of the School. New College presented the Governors with an old copy of the School Statutes. There was a private view of a film about the Somme in the Cinema Hall. Three football matches were played. H H Vertigen was Head Boy.
1917: The Tamensian ceased publication from 1917-19. J H Crook was Head Boy.
1918: the school leaving age was raised to 14. One of the Masters Mr Moss later wrote of a typical day which went as follows: ‘when on duty our day started at 6.30am to be in time to wake the dormitories at 7.00am; followed by morning prep from 7.30am-8.00am. The usual school routine followed from 9.00am to 4.30pm. In the evening, the Duty Master had to supervise ‘prep’ from 6.00pm to 8.00pm. The last of the Boarders went to bed at 9.30pm – after that the rest of the day was my own.’ R E Jeffries was Head Boy. The University of Oxford introduced the Oxford Higher School Certificate [equivalent to today’s A-Levels.]. “The HSCE is intended to test the work of pupils of about eighteen, who have pursued for about two years a course of study in accordance with an organised curriculum, and have also continued some studies of a less specialised character. As a rule, the exam will be taken about two years after the Senior Local Examination, or some similar exam.”
1919 – Peace Day was celebrated by taking a train to Princes Risborough and then walking up to White Leaf Cross. In the evening, the School watched the fireworks in Thame and on the distant Chiltern Hills.

The Wounded in 1915

The army made every effort to care for its wounded soldiers to make them fit again as soon as possible. Most of the OTs wounded in 1915 returned to active service, like Leslie Sprenger in Egypt, some of them only to be wounded again, like his brother Ben Sprenger and George Lynton Edsell. Others, like William Roberts (mentioned on the previous panel) died of their wounds before they could be saved. Not all could be returned to active service. Ferdinand Raillon had to be invalided out of the front line. For some, like E B Rayner, it was the psychological rather than physical effects of his gunshot wounds that rendered them unfit for further service.
The wounded were brought to a Regimental Field Aid Post close to the front line by stretcher bearers where the Medical Officer, (MO) was in charge and minor injuries were treated. The more seriously wounded were stretchered back to a mobile Advanced Dressing Station or a Main Dressing Station, both liable to come under fire. These were manned by Field Ambulance units, which were mobile hospitals.
From the Dressing Stations the wounded were taken to Casualty Clearing Stations. These had reasonable hospital facilities and were staffed by RAMC doctors and nurses. From there the very seriously wounded were transported to Base Hospitals, well away from the front line in France, Belgium and, for example, Alexandria in Egypt where Henry Claude Bernard was treated. The very worst cases, such as Donald Patrick Shaw, were shipped back to British hospitals and convalescent homes.
It is commonly believed that it was machine gun fire that was the chief cause of death and wounds. In fact, the effects of bombardment by heavy artillery were just as devastating or even more so. Richard Hall and Francis W Fielding were victims of shrapnel wounds.
Many of the OTs wounded in 1915 were serving on the Western Front, like Raymond Hester and Cyril Walter Tomlinson, in addition to those mentioned above, but some received their wounds in other campaigns. In addition to the two Sprenger brothers serving in the Eastern Mediterranean, H E Allsebrook received wounds in Mesopotamia and Henry Shrimpton in Gallipoli.
Leslie Francis & Herbert Arthur (Ben) Sprenger

The two brothers were born on 13th November 1892 and 31st August 1894, to a military family in Kaffraria, Cape Colony (South Africa) where their father had the rank of Major. He died while the boys were young and his widow Mary Ellen moved to Liverpool. Both boys arrived at LWGS as boarders in September 1906, leaving in 1910 from form VI, and in 1911 from form IV respectively. On leaving school, Leslie attended the military training school at Sandhurst as a ‘gentleman cadet’. He served in the Wit South Africa Rifles, where he trained as a sniper, later transferring to the Transvaal Light Infantry with the rank of Captain. During WW1 he served first in Egypt, where he was wounded in 1915, and then in France where he was again wounded in the following year. After leaving school Ben returned to South Africa to undertake a career in gold mining. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Transvaal Scottish Regiment as a 2nd Lieut., serving first in South West Africa and later in Egypt where he was wounded.
George Lynton Edsell, and family

George Lynton, known by his second name, born in April and baptised in July 1888, was the eldest of three brothers all of whom, along with their father, served in WW1. The sons survived, but their father George, Lt Col RAMC, died of pleurisy in August 1915 while on active service in France. The Edsell family, direct descendants of Captain Cook, lived in Redholme (now Brewer’s House), Thame High Street. George senior was a doctor in partnership with Dr Lee from the time of his marriage in 1887 until 1908 when the family moved to Surbiton. All three sons were at LWGS in the early years of the century. George followed a military career, already in 1911 serving in the 1st battalion, Hampshire Regiment, promoted to Capt. By 1914. As a regular, he was part of the British Expeditionary Force, took part in most of the early engagements on the Western Front in 1914/5 and was twice wounded.

His two younger brothers, Arthur Reginald Kepp and Eric Valentine, both enlisted in the 6th battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Eric was posted to India early in the war and served in a machine gun battery in the Peshaware/Khyber Pass area. Arthur did not serve abroad, in France, until October 1917.
Ferdinand Raillon

As his name suggests, Ferdinand was French. He was born in Paris on 24th June 1893. His father was an architect from Annecy, who frequently moved around so Ferdinand attended a number of schools: Annecy Lycée, and Ashford Grammar School before arriving at LWGS in September 1910 at the age of 17 and placed in form V staying until summer 1911. At school he was a good long distance runner. After leaving school he worked ‘on business’ in France. Little is known of his war record except that he was invalided out of the front line but continued to serve as a ‘Caporal Ordinaire at Drôme attached to a rest hospital.
E B Rayner

He first served in the 1st Battalion Public School Corps, Royal Fusiliers, He was promoted to 2nd lieut. in the 6th Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) early in 1915. He wounded by gunshot and suffered a nervous breakdown.
Henry Claude Bernard

He was born in 1893, son of Dr Claude and Florrie Bernard who lived at 1 Spencer Terrace, Fishponds, Bristol, and nephew of W G Grace. He was head boy at LWGS in 1912 studied mathematics at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was in the Officer Training Corps. Following the outbreak of war, he was appointed to a Temporary Regular Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the General List and was posted for duty with 7th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. He fought in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign where he was wounded by shrapnel and subsequently hospitalized in Alexandria. He returned to the front line attached to the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire regiment and was killed on 3rd September 1916 aged 22 during the battle of the Somme.
Donald Patrick Shaw

Born 29th August 1888 at Melcombe Regis, he was the eldest son of headmaster Dr A E Shaw. He had a busy and successful school career, passing a whole range of Oxford Local and Royal Society of Arts Commercial examinations. He was joint editor (with his father) of the Tamensian, captained the cricket team in 1906 and was head boy for his last two years. He went to Balliol College Oxford, where he excelled at rowing, the Balliol eight reaching the finals for two successive years at Henley Regatta. He gained a history degree, and on leaving university taught first at his father’s previous school at Weymouth and then at the prestigious Westminster School, from where his younger brother had gained a top scholarship in mathematics to Cambridge. In 1914 he enlisted in the Dorsetshire Regiment. He was seriously wounded in the neck in 1915 while serving in France and nearly drowned when the hospital ship Anglia was mined off Dover in the Channel. After convalescing he returned to France, was promoted to Major and was awarded the DSO in 1918 for gallantry in the attack across the river Ancre.
Richard Hall

He was born in 1893, the son of Eliza Lucy and William L A Hall, a farrier and veterinary surgeon, of 19 Paradise Street Oxford. Richard attended Bedford House (private) School in Oxford but probably as a result of his father’s premature death at the age of 42 in the winter of 1907, Richard was moved to LWGS for eight terms as a boarder. On leaving school in 1910 he became a Bank Clerk living in a boarding house in Dulwich. He enlisted in 1914 in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars with the rank of Corporal and was wounded by shrapnel in 1915.
H E Allsebrook

He lived in Warwickshire. He attended LWGS as a boarder from September 1901 to April 1906. He was quite successful academically and on the sports field, gaining the Oxfordshire Local Examinations junior honours prize and playing in the 1904 football team where “in spite of his size [he] has proved himself by smart dribbling”. In 1906 he passed the Cambridge Local Senior exam. After leaving school he studied banking and in 1909 gained a prize for passing the Lloyds banking examination with distinction. He enlisted in the 12th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as 2nd Lieut, later promoted to Lieut, serving in the Mediterranean, Persia and possibly India. He was wounded in November 1914, and again seriously in Mesopotamia in April 1915 leading to his hospitalisation in London. Later he transferred to the RAF.
Raymond Walter Hester

He was born on 4th July 1897 son of Charles Edward, a watchmaker living at 111 High St Thame. Raymond attended the British School Thame before entering LWGS in September 1909. He left in July 1913 to become a goldsmith’s assistant in London. He enlisted as a Private in the London Irish Regiment and kept a war diary. He was wounded in 1915 and returned to UK.
Francis Willoughby Fielding

He was born in the autumn of 1892, the younger son of Latitia and Harry Fielding, who lived in Towersey near the White Hart pub and worked as an auctioneer in Thame for Bond and Burrows. Francis was a day boy, leaving LWGS in the summer of 1907 at the age of 14 and started a career in the motor trade. In 1911 he was boarding in Coventry and working as a motor draughtsman. He enlisted in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and served in France as a despatch rider. In 1914 he was was wounded by an exploding shell while carrying despatches 1914 and invalided home. He later returned to the front and transferred with a commission as 2nd Lieut to the 9th London Regiment. He died in action on 1st July 1916.
Arthur William Gill

He was born on 20th June 1893, the son of Julia and William Gill, who had the unusual job of Steward of the Oxford Union Society and lived at Frewen Court off the Cornmarket. Arthur was at LWGS between September 1902 and December 1909. On leaving school he became a farming pupil. On 28th March 1913 he emigrated in the passenger ship Lake Manitoba to Paul Lake, British Columbia, Canada as a farmer. Things may not have gone well, however, as he gave his trade as ‘none’ when he enlisted in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary force on 22nd September 1914. He trained at the Valcartier military base near Quebec, which had been established in the previous month at the outbreak of the war, and joined the 15th Canadian Horse, with which he served on the Western Front. He was wounded in 1915 but subsequently returned to duty in the Canadian Ordnance.
Frederick Edward Clarke

He was the son of Josiah Clarke, a dairy proprietor living at Park Road at East Twickenham. He was a boarder at LWGS from January 1905 or earlier until February 1909, starting in Form II and leaving from Form V. He was in the school football team in the 1908-9 season. He was wounded in 1915.
F H Bush

Little is known about him. He probably entered the school earlier than 1901 and left before 1906. He was wounded in 1914. (The only Bush recorded in this era was P J Bush, who was at the school between April 1909 and July 1911.)
Cyril W Tomlinson

He was born about 1879 at Earls Court and came to LWGS around 1891 as a boarder. He married Evelyn Darbyshire on 24th January 1903 and they had a son Egerton two years later. In 1911 he was working as a chartered accountant for a foreign bank and living in Upper Richmond Road, Putney. He served in the Motor Cyclists Corps and was wounded in 1915.
Henry Leonard Shrimpton

He was born on 21st February 1889, the third son of Fanny and John Job Shrimpton, corn dealer of 30 High Street Thame. His two elder brothers, John Harvey and George Ernest, were 5 and 12 years older than him. All three attended LWGS and later served in WW1. Henry entered the school around 1900 and left before 1907. In 1911 he was working as a farm assistant at Beachendon, Aylesbury. He enlisted in the Royal Bucks Hussars successively as a Lance Corporal, Corporal and 2nd Lieut, later transferring to the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He was wounded during the Gallipoli campaign.

Horace Victor Burrell

He was born on 12th March 1898, son of George a hotel proprietor of Upper Tooting Road. As Horace was educated as a boarder at a commercial school in Margate, before he came to LWGS, also as a boarder in September 1913, leaving on 29th August 1915. Within a week, on August 4th, he enlisted as a driver in the Honourable Artillery Company with the rank of Gunner.

(We must thank Derek Turner for his work researching this section on the wounded.)

Buckinghamshire Remembers

This web site is an excellent resource for finding out more information about the OTs that fell during the Great War. They have detailed information on-line including photographs.

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