Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Public Schools and the Great War


Moonraker
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm reading a book at the minute about William Shakespeares school King Edward VI in Warwickshire entitled 'The Boys of Shakespeare's School' it had 181 pupils serve in the First World War and they lost 31 old boys and 1 Master.

they won a VC, 11 MC, 4 DSO, 1 MM, 1 DCM, 1 DSM, 2 recieved the Croix de Guerre and were made Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting topic. Thanks, Mandy, for the scan.

Phil (PJA): You're right about the Guards' involvement on 15/9/1916 resulting in so many Old Etonian deaths. Taking a "long" 15th September (including the hours previous as they got into line etc; some hours on the 16th if the battalions had been involved on the 15th without respite; and including those subsequently dying of wounds), I have a list of 33 Old Etonian officers killed. 24 were in Guards' battalions and five in another elite regiment, the Rifle Brigade. One was in the RFC, 1 CO of the 21/KRRC, 1 Major in 6/Cameron Highlanders and 1 2/Lt in 6/Somerset LI (this last may not count in the end). The average age of the OEs was 27.5 (median age 25).

Some other schools' fatalities on that day: Winchester and Harrow 9; Marlborough 8; Wellington 7?; Charterhouse and City of London 6; Haileybury and Malvern 5; Blundell's, Tonbridge and Dulwich 4.

There were a lot of grammar school officers (and probably most whose school I don't know come into this category too), which reflects the type of battalion involved (a lot of London and Northern TFs, e.g.).

pmaasz: Augustus Dilberoglue's brother Richard (Old Etonian) was killed on 15 Sept 1916 with the Coldstream. The surviving brother, ex-Welsh Guards, committed suicide in 1952.

I'm still working through this, so I won't put my tables up yet (I intend to do so eventually).

Mike

Mike,

Presumably you've included Evelyn Southwell, 9/RB, KiA 15 Sep 1916.

Also an elite oarsman. OUBC 1907 & 1908. I'd be very surprised if he was not in the Eton 1st Boat. Andy :ph34r: can confirm.

See these topics:

Two Men - One Memorial

Lt EHL Southwell, 9th Rifle Brigade

75 Old Etonians fell in the Great War from the KRRC alone.

Cheers,

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mark

Yes, he's the Rifle Brigade fellow mentioned in my list.

There's a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford who has a particular interest in Southwell. I can look up his name for you if you're interested.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford who has a particular interest in Southwell. I can look up his name for you if you're interested.

Mike

Yes please Mike - Andy and I would be very interested in speaking with him. Southwell has a special place for both of us. You have mail.

Cheers,

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello - has anyone read the book yet? My copy arrived by snail mail today after a rather long wait. I would be interested to hear if anyone has reviewed the book. MG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Half way through when Fred's War Arrived.

No contest!

Back to TGWATPS this evening no doubt.

No grumbles, just a little earnest for my concentration span.

[its his age, dear!]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

I'm enjoying it so far but there are a few annoying little errors every so often.

Michelle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I happily provided information to the authors about my school but admit to feeling uneasy about the emphasis on establishing a 'league table' of who lost the most old boys which was stressed in some of the publicity material in advance of publication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Returning to the Eton College links to the Guards and 60th Rifles (i.e. the KRRC), I have just found this reference in the 4th edition of the KRRC Brief History:

An especially close liaison was established with Eton College by which a 60th officer alternated with a Guardsman as Adjutant of the Officer Training Corps.

Wallace, Lt.-Gen. Sir Christopher The King's Royal Rifle Corps ... the 60th Rifles - A Brief History 1755 to 1965 (2005, RGJ Museum Trust), p.236

No dates unfortunately, but I suspect this tradition goes back some time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much scouring of the Army Lists turns up Lt. John Seymour Mellor, KRRC, Adjutant (and temp. Capt) Eton College Contingent 02 Aug 1911.

Mellor was commissioned into the KRRC in 1902, so he was relatively experienced when he was appointed.

Mellor was preceded by Capt. R.C.A. McCalmont, Irish Guards, appointed 26 Oct 1909.

Unsurprisingly, there's no Adjutant listed for Eton College in the 1915 Hart's Annual Army List issued using data from Dec 1914.

Pre Haldane, Eton's cadets were the 2nd Bucks (Eton College) Volunteer Rifle Corps, affiliated to the OBLI. They were disbanded on 01 Nov 1908 and reconstitued as the Eton College Contingent, Junior Division, OTC.

Acting Adjutant in Dec 1908 was Capt. G.A.J. Soltau-Symons, Reserve of Officers, appointed 01 Sep 1900.

George Algernon James Soltau-Symons was a retired KRRC officer. He was commissioned on 19 Nov 1887 and retired with gratuity in 1901. On 01 Feb 1916, he was recalled and appointed commanding officer of 18/KRRC (Arts & Crafts). He took them out to France on 02 May that summer before being replaced in early August 1916.

It looks like Soltau-Symons was also an Old Etonian.

There's certainly an alternating pattern of Guards and 60th during this period certainly.

UPDATE 18 Dec 2013:

We've added a later picture of Brig. Mellor and his KRRC obituary in a later post in this thread

Like Soltau-Symons, Mellor was indeed at Eton ...

post-20192-0-37626400-1387369122_thumb.j

UPDATE 22 Dec 2013:

I have now managed to locate a picture of George Soltau-Symons as well together with his KRRC obituary ..

post-20192-0-73215100-1387677326_thumb.j

Due to space issues here, I've added the picture to the new post much further down the thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mellor in the Eton OTC picture of 1913, listed as Adjutant.

Mike, certainly would like a chat with the guy from Magdalen College regarding Evelyn, as Mark says someone close to both of us.

Andy

post-1871-0-81249600-1385076899_thumb.jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks interesting, may have get a copy.

Although It's unfortunate the article has made that usual blunder when it comes to naming Napiers regiment, the Argyll and "Southern" Highlanders....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They were usually referred to as the 'Agile and Suffering' Highlanders, when I was in the TA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

I was reading said book in bed last night and my reading was punctuated by the occasional outburst of

"That is boll*cks"

The silly mistakes continue ire Billy Nevill spelt as Neville and it seems to be that they have an agenda to prove that Wellington is the best public school.

Michelle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was reading said book in bed last night and my reading was punctuated by the occasional outburst of

"That is boll*cks"

The silly mistakes continue ire Billy Nevill spelt as Neville and it seems to be that they have an agenda to prove that Wellington is the best public school.

Michelle

Fie, for shame ............. boll*cks is a plural noun [except in Hitler's case] so one should say: " those are boll*cks", surely?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wellington was I believe founded for the orphaned children of fallen officers.

I came across another interesting snippet while doing some digging on the OTC and CCF - the Army is the biggest single employer of Old Etonians.

That statement dates back about 10-15 years, so don't know if that's still true. Fascinating nonetheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Fie, for shame ............. boll*cks is a plural noun [except in Hitler's case] so one should say: " those are boll*cks", surely?[/quote

It was late and I was tired hence my grammatical errors

Michelle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The silly mistakes continue ire Billy Nevill spelt as Neville and it seems to be that they have an agenda to prove that Wellington is the best public school.

I am completely biased because I went there, but Wellington was, and still is I believe, a remarkable public school, not least because of the large number of free places (of which I had one). I wrote about in a previous thread here (in posts 2 and 8).

After some heavy hints, I am hoping that my brother and his wife will be giving this book to me for Christmas, so I look forward to joining in the debate on this thread properly.

William

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Just linked to this thread have been working on statistics for Public School casualties for couple of years in my spare time with the hope of producing a paper (PhD) Have read some of your posts with interest. Can any one help me out I think Mike (Perth Digger) may be on similar track to me. Willing to accept any knowledge and wisdom on subject.

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fear the book will never be read completely .................. I do not usually give up, but ten better things always spring to mind, like watching paint dry, for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just linked to this thread have been working on statistics for Public School casualties for couple of years in my spare time with the hope of producing a paper (PhD) Have read some of your posts with interest. Can any one help me out I think Mike (Perth Digger) may be on similar track to me. Willing to accept any knowledge and wisdom on subject.

Mark

How exactly are you defining "Public Schools"?

If using membership of the HMC in (say) Sep 1914, then you might exclude many fee-paying private schools, which the proverbial man on the Clapham Omnibus would probably regard as "Public Schools".

Using just the original seven schools covered by the 1868 Public Schools Act means you exclude the likes of St Paul's, Uppingham, Fettes and Wellington.

If using a broader definition of schools with some sort of "public school" ethos, whatever that might be, then you might be including fee-paying private schools whose members and alumni would be horrified to find a researcher regarding their cherished alma mater as a "public school".

Even plumping for the narrower HMC definition gives difficulties because the HMC was a "broad church" of differing schools and different socio-economic intakes. Manchester Grammar School, for example, is a very different beast from Eton College.

Definition is fraught with difficulty. Lancaster Royal Grammar School for example, has many of the "indicators" of a "public school" - single sex, boarding, cadets, Oxbridge success, rowing, strong Old Boys network etc. - but is not in the HMC (I don't know if they were in 1900-1914). If you exclude the fallen pupils from there, then that makes a mockery of including the fallen pupils from, say, Worcester Royal Grammar School, which is similar in many ways but which is in the HMC (again I don't know if they were in 1900-1914)!

How would you handle a Great War casualty who briefly attended a an HMC public school, but completed his education at some other category of school?

What about a school that left the HMC during a pupil's time at the school?

How about when a school joined the HMC in, say, 1910? Would you exclude fallen pupils who left before 1910, but include those who left after the school joined the HMC?

What about a man who might have been educated overseas, but would have been likely by family and class circumstance to have attended a public school, had he been resident in the UK?

I fear the difficulties of a cast iron definition, a consistent methodology for classifying casualties and a clear way forward on handling the anomalous pupils, make any statistics gathered rather unreliable.

What exactly is the thesis about "public school" casualties that you are trying to investigate?

I've had similar discussions with Mike about his research on socio-economic backgrounds of Army officers. I'm very happy to help on either, as such work mines an interesting and rich seam, but I have yet to get my head around the methodology! Defining that would be key to any collaboration, else the data from the different researchers may not be consistent once it is all merged together.

I think it's a case of gathering the data very carefully and only then seeing what trends and conclusions can be safely teased out of them. I think that's where Mike is too ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The army had a list of acceptable schools regarding commissioning I believe, surely that would be the best option.

If it's good enough for the army it should be good enough for us?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect the Army's list is related to whether the school has a cadet corps or not.

I doubt if every "public school" had a cadet corps? St. Paul's for example??

[EDIT: St Paul's did have a cadet corps at this time - see Dick's correction below]

Edited by MBrockway
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...