Founder’s Day 2019.

This is now confirmed for Saturday 9 November. The church will be opened at 0845 and the planned schedule of events is as follows:

Church opens 08:45
09:00 – 09:45: Service of Remembrance at St Mary’s Thame, including music performances by the Willie Howe scholars.
10:00 – 10:45: Coffee and our special archive exhibition at the school. This year the exhibition is featuring sports.
1100 – 1130: Dance performance (tbc)
11:30 – 12:15: AGM
12:30 onwards: Lunch (Cost £12 and please let us know if you can attend The archive will also still be viewable and music will be performed.
14:00: Rugby
1500: Tea, awards and photos for the rugby players and OTs

If you are looking to stay in Thame, the Travel Lodge provides a reasonably cheap and basic accommodation.

RAFFLE: Every year we hold a raffle on Founder’s Day. Small prizes are always gratefully received on the day.


These are biographies of some of the pupils who were at the school in the Plummer years (1879-1891).

THOMAS WYKES GIBBARD C.B., C.B.E., M.B. Durh. Major-General T. W. Gibbard, who died on Aug. 11 at the age of 92, qualified in 1886 and graduated B.M. with honours at Durham University three years later. After entering the R.A.M.C., he practised for some time as an Army specialist in ophthalmology. Work at Army Headquarters, Simla, was followed by appointment as medical officer in charge of the Military Hospital, Rochester Row, London, where he succeeded Colonel F. J. Lambkin, a pioneer in the systematic treatment of syphilis in the Army. Gibbard held this appointment from 1909 to 1914, during which time he was associated with Colonel L. W. Harrison in systematic tests of ’ 606 ’ (which was placed on the market in 1910) and of ’ 914.’ This work proved of immense value as a guide to the treatment of syphilis in the Army during the war In 1914 he was appointed an honorary of 1914-18. surgeon to the King and was promoted brevet-colonel. During that war he served in the Dardanelles and Egyptian ca,mpaigns and in France. For his services he was three times mentioned in despatches and was appointed c.B. in 1918 and C.B.E. in 1919. He was promoted majorgeneral in 1922 and retired in 1925. General Gibbard is survived by his widow

Biography of Arthur Forbes

These are biographies of some of the pupils who were at the school in the Plummer years.

Arthur Forbes: Cambridge University alumni bio: Pens. at CHRIST’S, Oct. 2, 1885. [4th] s. of Henry Twisden [Col., late Bengal Staff]. B. [Oct. 4, 1866], at Wanstead, Essex. Schools, Collège de Montreux, Switzerland and Thame Grammar, Oxford. Matric. Michs. 1885. Kept six terms. Entered I.C.S., 1885. Assistant Magistrate and Collector, Madras, 1887. Deputy Registrar of the High Court, 1893. Head Assistant Collector and Magistrate, 1895. Sub-Collector and Joint Magistrate, 1899. Postmaster-General, Bengal, 1899. Deputy Director-General of the Post Office, 1900. Postmaster-General of Madras, 1901. District and Sessions Judge, Madras, 1904. Resident, Travancore and Cochin, 1911. District and Sessions Judge, Madras, 1915; retired, Jan. 1922. Died Mar. 28, 1933, at Carlton House, Exmouth. (Burke, P. and B.; I.C.S. Lists; Peile, II. 718, which erroneously gives father’s name, Henry ‘Tiersden’; The Times, Mar. 31, 1933.)

Biography of John Biggs Denchfield

These are a series of biographies of pupils who were at the school in the Plummer years 1879 to 1891.

John Biggs Denchfield was one of the early pupils at the school – he appears in the 1881 Census – and also in 1891 officiated at Plummer’s funeral.
Born Nov. 3, 1864 in Bucks. Schools, Royal Latin, Buckingham first, and then Thame Grammar. Adm. pens. at CHRIST’S, Oct. 6, 1883. Matric. Michs. 1883, B.A. 1886; M.A. 1891. Ord. deacon (Rochester) 1887; priest, 1888; C. of All Saints’, Rotherhithe, 1887-9. C. of St Jude’s, Peckham, 1889-96. C. of Christ Church, Battersea, 1896-1908. V. of St Luke’s, Bermondsey, 1908-25. Died May 1, 1925, aged 60. (Crockford; Peile, II. 699; The Times, May 4, 1925.)

Ian Fleming

On the afternoon of Thursday June 24 1909, the school held a garden fete in aid of the cricket pavilion, when the pavilion was officially opened. The Oxford Town Band were in attendance, and tea was served at a cost of 9p a head.

A flyer noted that a number of distinguished patrons had put their names forward to support the fete. Two of these were Valentine Fleming and his wife Eve. These were Ian Fleming’s parents.

Valentine Fleming opened the pavilion and made a speech; while Eve played the violin in a small concert.

In 1906, Valentine and his wife had purchased Braziers Park in Oxfordshire (they also had a home in London where Ian Fleming was born in 1908.)

In Oxfordshire, Valentine joined the local yeomanry regiment, the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, and the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire hunts. According to Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett, life at Braziers Park was idyllic for Fleming and his siblings. So perhaps, at the age of 1 Valentine and Eve brought Ian and his older brother to the fete.

There is a further more indirect link as well. Emma Hutt who was at the school in the early 1980s wrote to say that her grandmother, Joyce Emerson, used to work with Fleming on the Sunday Times as a journalist. He gave her a first edition of Moonraker with a cryptic message in it thanking her for ghost writing – perhaps she was the real author! She certainly wrote a number of articles in the ST for him to help him out when he was distracted by “other activities”.

More details can be found at Ian Fleming and Thame:

John Quartly

Sad news, passed on by Nadine Redman, his sister: John Quartly, 91, died recently. He was at LWGS in the 1940s, and had been living in Colchester for some years. He had been ill for quite a time but many years was a staunch supporter of the OTA.

Alfred William John Folley

Alfred was born on 20thJuly 1893 and baptised on 10thSeptember, son of Elizabeth and Albert, a farmer. The family lived in the spacious Manor Farm at Emmington near Thame that had 11 rooms, one of two farms in the parish. Kelly’s Directory for 1901 states the population numbered 44 n that year and that the village children attended Sydenham Elementary School nearby, where Alfred no doubt experienced his early education before he attended LWGS between 1908 and 1910. After leaving school he became an apprentice engineer, living at home in 1911. No surprise therefore that when he joined up in 1914 he served as a Private in the Army Service Corps Motor Transport, later renamed the Royal Army Service Corps. He served in France from 24thMay 1915.  

In the spring of 1924 he married Violet Linders.  In 1939 he and Violet were living at Tetsworth. He was working as a garage proprietor and listed in Kelly’s Trade Directory of the same year as a Carrier.

He died at Shotover Old People’s Home on 21stApril 1984, aged 100, leaving £5605, most probably the longest living OT who served in the Great War.

Christie West Fletcher (boarder)

Christie was the seventh of nine children of Charles and Lucy Fletcher. He was born in Kew, London, on 12thDecember 1874 and baptised on 9thMarch 1876. His father was a member of the London Stock Exchange.  He entered LWGS in September 1891 as a sixth former and would have stayed two years at the most. Afterwards travelled to India where he became an indigo planter for the Dholi Concern, living at Mozufferpore, Tirhoot. Whilst therehe enlisted with the Bihar Light Horse, a volunteer cavalry regiment, based in northern India.

In the autumn of 1899, the regiment volunteered half a squadron, numbering 54 officers and men, to join Lumsdens Horse the name given to the India Mounted Infantry Corps. Christie was part of the squadron in A Company No 2 Section. They left Calcutta in February 1900 to take part in the Second Boer War, and took part in several actions against the Boers. The B.L.H. contingent, forming part of A Company, lost several men in an action at Karee Siding in Orange Free State at the end of April. On returning to India in January 1901, Trooper Fletcher received a commission with the Army Service Corps.

His record with the A.S.C. is unknown, but by 1908, Christie had returned to England where he married Louise Eveline Conway in Wandsworth in the summer of 1908. They went on to have a daughter, Lucy, born in January 1909. Later that year, Christie, by now an electrical engineer, left England on the SS Virginian for Canada, arriving in Quebec on the 24th September, intending for onward travel to Whonnock, British Columbia. His wife and daughter joined him in 1911, and they settled in Vancouver, B.C.

At the age of 40 he volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 4th December 1914. His medical records describe him as 5ft 6ins tall weighing 142 lbs. He served as a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Mounted Rifles. The battalion embarked for Great Britain on the 12th June 1915. After a few months training at Shorncliffe in Kent, they disembarked in France on the 22nd September 1915 as part of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Brigade. The battalion converted to infantry in January 1916, joining the 8th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division, and fought in Belgium and France. Christie was killed on 30th September 1916, the day before the battalion was due to attack the Ancre Heights on the Somme, a battle in which the division would sustain almost 3,000 casualties. His grave is at Vimy in France.

Francis Willoughby Fielding

Francis was born in Towersey, Bucks on the 8thOctober 1892 to parents Harry and Letitia Elizabeth Fielding (née Goodwin). Harry was an auctioneer and in 1911 the family were living at Essex House, Chinnor Road, Thame. They later moved to Stoneleigh in King’s Road, Thame. 

Francis attended LWGS from 1902 to July 1906 and, by 1911, he had moved to Coventry and begun work in the fledgling motor industry as a draughtsman. He had volunteered for the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars (formerly the Oxfordshire Yeomanry) during 1909/1910 (Service number 1522), and after mobilisation at the outbreak of WW1, he would have travelled to France with the regiment in September 1914, the first Territorial Unit so to do. The Regiment saw action in the doomed attempts to save Dunkirk and Antwerp from the German advance, and then fell into the routine of trench warfare, holding the line at Messines. At some time during this early stage of the war, and by now a corporal, he was wounded by an exploding shell when carrying despatches and was invalided back to the UK. Gazetted with the rank of 2ndLieutenant in April 1915, he returned to the Western Front with the 9thBattalion (Queen Victoria Rifles) of the London Regiment.  On 1stJuly 1916 the battalion was one of the lead units in the attack at Gommecourt, a diversionary attack as part of the main Somme offensive. Unfortunately, the Germans had too much warning and the battalion suffered heavy losses, including the death of Francis aged 23. His grave is at the Gommecourt, British Cemetery No 2, Hebuterne, Pas de Calais, France.

Extract from Thame Gazette

It is with much regret that we have to record the death of Second Lieutenant Francis Willoughby Fielding, which occurred in action on Saturday July 1st.  Lieut Fielding was the younger son of Mrs Harry Fielding and the late Mr Harry Fielding (who as for many years connected with the firm of Messrs Bond and Burrows , auctioneers of Thame).  Mrs Fielding received news of her son’s death by telegram on Thursday, and later received a confirmatory letter from Major Connolly of the Territorial Force Record Office, London.  Lieut Fielding, on the outbreak of hostilities joined the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, with which regiment he went to France, from whence he was invalided home and on recovering he obtained a commission in the 9th London Regiment. The deceased officer was only 23 years of age, and was very popular with his fellow officers and men, and his death is greatly regretted by them all. The sympathies of our readers will be with Mrs Fielding in her great loss.

Two brothers

OTs who served in the 1st World War

Francis Alexander Fayers

Born on 13 January 1899 in Oxford, the younger brother of William. In the 1911 Census he is recorded as a boarder at the school, and according to the school records he served in the RASC. The military record at the National Archives records a Francis Alexander Fayers  as serving ultimately in the London Regiment, 10th (County of London) Battalion (Hackney)

In 1924 he married Belinda Webb in Abingdon but they divorced, and in 1931 he married again to Gladys Murray in Oxford. (Belinda never remarried and died in 1943 aged 43 but interestingly she described herself as widowed in the 1939 Census, as divorce still carried much stigma then.)

In 1939, Fayers is recorded as a transport driver and living with Gladys in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

He died in 1955 in Wellinborough. 

William Selby Fayers

William’s life is shadowy despite the fact that there is a wealth of evidence but it poses more questions than it answers. Why apparently did William move around so much and seemingly live for a long period away from his wife?  The story of his early years is clear enough. William was born on 24thJuly 1892, son of Annie Alice and William Emanuel, an outfitter, and they lived at 12 Queen Street Oxford.  He was baptised as Willie Emanuel on 4thSeptember at St Mark and St John Cowley. He came to LWGS in 1901. On leaving school he became a clothier and in 1911 was one of many apprentice drapers living in lodgings in 1-4 New Bond Street and 2 Northgate Street Bath.  

He enlisted in 1914 and served in the 10thSignal Company of the Royal Engineers as a Sapper. Here the mysteries begin.  No other military records survive and there’s no evidence that he ever served overseas. He married to Annie Laurie Dyer in London in 1915 and a daughter Mary Beryle was born on 3rdMarch 1919 in Solihull. 

In the autumn of 1920 they may have been living in Southwood, Woodbridge Hill, Guildford. For certain, in 1930 their address was the basement of No. 86, Queen’s Gate Kensington.  

Nine years later they had moved to 81b Erpingham Road, near Putney Bridge and their daughter, aged 20, was living with them. By then William had left the clothing trade and had become a printer representative though both Annie and Mary were saleswomen in a drapery. But was he actually there? Most unusually there are two separate listings for William in the 1939 Register. In the first version he is listed as living with Annie and Mary but his name is crossed out and ‘see page 14’ is twice written in red.  On page 14, however, the next page, there is no reference to him.  As one would expect, the houses and the inhabitants of Erpingham Road are listed sequentially. In what appears to be a second enumeration register, perhaps compiled by a different and wayward enumerator, this is not the case. Though nearly all the names and other details are redacted as ‘officially closed’, which normally indicates that they are still living, those few addresses not redacted include Landford Road which adjoins Erpingham Road but also Lower Richmond Road which is about a mile away. William’s details, including his address, appear again,  exactly the same but in this version of the register his family is not shown.  His near neighbour at No 72 was similarly treated so the mystery is not so much about William as to what the register enumerator, or enumerators, were up to.

However, there is a further Fayers mystery concerning his daughter Mary. There are three alterations to her surname: In addition to Fayers they were ‘Harries’ (in blue ink), then Fayers again and finally, in green ink accompanied by some obscure abbreviations and the date 29.9.62, ‘Favret’.  In fact she married Oscar Favret in 1966 under her birth surname. Whether she had married a Harries, and then separated and retook her family name we do not know.

There were more mysteries to come: in 1945 William was living, along with three others with different surnames, in BMA House Tavistock Square. This had been the headquarters of the British Medical Association since 1925 (and in an earlier existence the home of Charles Dickens), and not the kind of place where anyone other perhaps than a caretaker or doctors might be living. How William came to be living there is a mystery as is the absence of Annie. By 1950 he was again one of four seemingly unrelated people living at 27 Stafford Terrace, Kensington. Five years later he had moved once more to 21 St John’s Avenue, Putney and was now back with Annie, and also Mary, still with her Fayers surname. 

He died in London in 1961. And his wife Annie died a year later in 1962, also in London. We have found no record of Mary’s death but it would appear that her husband Oscar remarried in the 1976, and so it is reasonable to assume she died before that date.