Tag Archives: Ashburnham

Archibald Robert Hadden

Archibald Robert Hadden was born on the 22nd October 1889. He was the elder son of Reverend Robert Henry Hadden, who was the Vicar of St. Mark, North Audley Street, London, and Eva Prudence, second daughter of John Carbery Evans, of Hatley Park, Cambridgeshire. His father served as Chaplain in Ordinary to Queen Victoria and as Honorary Chaplain to Edward VII.

Archibald joined Ashburnham in September 1902, and was joined by his younger brother Eustace Walter Russell Hadden in 1903.

At school, he took part in the Cadet Corps, and was promoted to the rank of Corporal in 1906. He was also a singer. In June 1907, The Elizabethan records:

Many Ashburnhamites sang in the very successful School Concert last month: D. J. Jardine, J. C. M. Davidson, D. M. Low, C. C. Treatt, and A. R. Hadden were prominent basses, while D. S. Scott and R. W. Dodds shone as alto and soprano respectively.

He left the school in July 1907, and matriculated into Christ Church, Oxford later that year. In 1909, the year his father died, Archibald joined the army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles). By March 1911, he had risen to Lieutenant, and in September 1914, he was promoted again to Captain.

On the 6th of May 1915, Archibald married Evelyn Forster, the only daughter of Edwin Thomas Morse Tunnicliffe, MRCS, of North Finchley. Between August 1914 and January 1917, he served on the staff of the 3rd London Infantry Brigade under General Monck.

During this time, his brother Eustace died of appendicitis while serving in France on the 11th June 1916. Archibald and Evelyn’s son, Alan Edwin Robert Haddon (GG 1929-1933), was born on 29th August 1916. Archibald went out to the western front, in January 1917, where he joined his regiment. But on the on the 25th April 1918, he was killed in action at Hangard Wood.

Soldiers of the 9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) during a break in training at Hampstead Heath in December 1914 (Q 53457)
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Alexander Middleton Dobbie

Alexander Middleton Dobbie was born on the 22nd June 1898. His father, James Johnston Dobbie, was from Glasgow originally, and became Professor of Chemistry at Bangor University in 1884. He married Violet Chilton, who was from near Wrexham, and together they moved into Gwaen Deg, Bangor.

Alexander was one of 4 children. He had two elder sisters, Mary Wilkie and Violet Childon, and a younger brother James Childon.

The family moved away from Wales in 1903. First to Glasgow, when James became the Director of the Royal Scottish Museum. And then to London in 1911, where James was appointed Principal of the Government Laboratories in London.

Alexander arrived at Westminster in September 1912, and joined Ashburnham House. He was a keen sportsman: he represented his house in the 1915 at swimming in the relay team, and in the semi-finals of the Inter-House Tug of War on 5th April 1916, weighing in at 9st 12lbs. He earned his pink and whites in 1916 for Football, and became a house monitor in his final year.

After leaving the School in December 1916, he enlisted in the army. He joined 1/6th Battalion, the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 26th April 1917. He went out with them to the western front in August 1917.

He was wounded in action near Bethune on 11th April 1918, and died two days later at Pernes. There is a stained glass window in his memory in Fairlie Parish Church.

As for Alexander’s siblings: his sister Mary went away to India and got married there to a George Frederick Ferrier Shearwood. Violet married the chemist Norman Hawarth in 1922, who went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1937. James went on to become an observer at the Solar Observatory, Cambridge University.

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Arthur William Bowman

Arthur William Bowman was the only child of Reverend Arthur Gerald Bowman, and Edith (née Paget). According to the 1881 census, Reverend Bowman was Curate of St Margaret’s and Private Secretary to the Dean of Westminster. He lived at 19 Great College Street, with his wife and widowed mother-in-law, Francis Paget.

Arthur was born on Mayday 1887, and by 1891, Reverend Bowman had become the Vicar of St. Mark’s, Kensington.

Arthur originally attended Eton until 1900, but then arrived at Westminster in January 1901. He joined Ashburnham House and stayed until 1905, when he matriculated into New College, Oxford. The House Notes in The Elizabethan congratulate him on passing his “Smalls” – the first year exams – in 1905.

He married Elinor Marion Conybeare, daughter of Reverend Charles Conybeare. They had one daughter, Barbara Paget Bowman, born 3rd January 1912.

He joined the army in August 1914, and served on the western front as Corporal 23rd Battalion London Regiment. He was wounded in action in April 1918, and taken to Valenciennes as a prisoner of war. According to an Australian POW, who was also there that April, “the [medical] treatment we received here was very good. The German doctors and German nursing sisters were both skilled and attentive. The food too was good, as it was supplied in the main, by French civilians.”

Despite this, however, Arthur died there on the 12th April 1918.

His widow remarried in 1925, to Arthur’s cousin. Humphrey Ernest Bowman had also become a widower in 1923. Arthur’s daughter Barbara grew up to marry Wing Commander Douglas Sender on the 30th April 1932, and they had three children.

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George Benjamin Johnstone Stoddart

George Benjamin Johnstone was a pupil in Ashburnham House between September 1911 and July 1914. His father had died when he was very young and his mother, Rosa, went to work at the Bethlem Royal Hospital Lunatic Asylum. There she met and then married a psychiatrist, William Henry Butter Stoddart and George took his stepfather’s surname, in addition to his own once he had left the school.

We have fairly limited information about George’s time at Westminster. We know from the house ledger that he was beaten regularly, once at the Housemaster, John Sargeant’s request, as he had been annoying another master, Mr Westlake. On several occasions he was beaten for ‘ragging’ (fighting) during the Play Term, 1913 and Lent Term, 1914 and he was also punished for visiting one of the other houses, Homeboarders’, which was strictly forbidden.

He appears to have left the school in order to join the war, enlisting as a trooper in the 2nd Dragoon Guards (The Queen’s Bays) on 1st September 1914, despite being only 15 at the time. He served in France as a cavalry machine gunner from May 1915 until January 1916. At this point he was recommended for a commission, and the army discovered that he was underage and returned him to England. He started to learn farming, but joined up again once he was of the correct age. He became a 2nd Lieutenant in the R.A.F. in October 1917 and then a Flying Officer in January 1918. He went out to the western front on 6th April 1918 and was killed accidentally whilst flying near Picquigny.

Troopers in The Queen’s Bays, shortly before they went to France in 1914. Stoddart could easily be one of the individuals in this photograph. The picture was taken by Christina Broom the famous female press photographer of the period.
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Ronald John McIver Wilson-Theobald

Ronald was born on the 20th September 1898. He was the only child of William and Rosie Wilson-Theobald. His father was a barrister-at-law in Kensington, and his mother was the daughter of Isaac Lotinga, of Sunderland, Co. Durham. He joined Ashburnham in September 1912.

In 1914, Ronald came second in the Under 16s 100 Yards race. He left the school at Easter of the same year, and in 1916, he started at RMC Sandhurst.

He was attached to the 5th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant, in September 1917, and he went out with them to the western front in November.

He was stationed near St. Quentin, France, when the major German offensive – known as Operation Michael – was launched in the early hours of the 21st of March 1918. His battalion was defending the Somme, where they faced trench mortars, mustard gas, chlorine gas, tear gas, smoke canisters, and heavy artillery bombardment. Ronald was killed in action on that first day of the three-day long Battle of St Quentin.

The following account of that morning is by Winston Churchill, who was there carrying out an inspection as Minister of Munitions:

“And then, exactly as a pianist runs his hands across the keyboard from treble to bass, there rose in less than one minute the most tremendous cannonade I shall ever hear…It swept round us in a wide curve of red leaping flame stretching to the north far along the front of the Third Army, as well as of the Fifth Army on the south, and quite unending in either direction…the enormous explosions of the shells upon our trenches seemed almost to touch each other, with hardly an interval in space or time…The weight and intensity of the bombardment surpassed anything which anyone had ever known before.”

THE GERMAN SPRING OFFENSIVE, MARCH-JULY 1918 (IWM Q 8618)
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Eric James Tyson

Eric James Tyson was born in Balham on the 17th of March 1892. He was the only son of Joseph and Annie Tyson. Joseph Tyson was a Classics teacher at the school between 1885 and 1929, and worked as Bursar to the school. Annie was the daughter of John Branson, of Rockingham, Northamptonshire.

He was admitted to the school in May 1904, and joined Ashburnham. During his time at Westminster, he represented Ashburnham in Fives and Cricket as shown in the 1908 July edition of The Elizabethan where he was in a cricket match against Rigaud’s and in the House Notes section was stated that he ‘did well’. He was also mentioned in the 1909 October edition for competing in house Fives. He was forced to take a break from Football because he was suffering from “water on the knee”.

When he left the school in July 1910, he went on to be a motor engineer. This stood him in good stead because, in August 1914, he enlisted in the Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport). After a year, he became 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Coprs. He was gazetted in January 1916 for gallantry on photographic reconnaissance and artillery duties, and was promoted to Flight Commander and Captain by 23rd June 1916.

He was awarded the Military Cross on the 20th October 1916. In November 1916, he rose to the rank of Major, and was put in command of No. 5 Squadron in France. In September the following year, he decorated further with a Distinguished Service Order (pictured).

He was out on an artillery observation mission near Arras, France, when he encountered nine German aircraft. Eric was fatally wounded in the confrontation, with the victory attributed to Sielemann of Jagdstaffel 57.

Tyson died of his wounds the next day, on the 11th March 1918, leaving behind his wife Cora Florence Gladys (née Davies), daughter of Philip C. Davies, of Trinity Road, Ealham. He is buried in the Maroeuil British Cemetery in France.

 Compiled with the assistance of a pupil in the Vth Form.

 

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Leslie Sidney Last

Leslie Sidney Last was the youngest son of Arthur William Last and Elizabethan Anne Balaam and was born in Sutton. He was a pupil in Ashburnham House from April 1909 until December 1911.  He was athletic and played in his house’s winning Junior Football Team in 1909.  The house ledger recorded that:

“(right back) is a very plucky and sturdy little player; he is a good kick with either foot and tackles admirably.”

He was the 5th member of that team to die in the war – following contemporaries R. Chalmers and J.W.H. McCulloch and G.J.M. Moxon and E.C. Graham.

On leaving the school he became a driver for the Honourable Artillery Company. He later served in Egypt during the war until 1916 when he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.  From there he went to Salonika before later becoming attached to the Royal Flying Corps in October 1917. Pilots were much in demand at this stage in the war and during 1917 experienced pilots were redeployed from the Sinai and Palestine Campaign to set up a new flying school and train pilots in Egypt. Last ‘obtained his wings’ – his license to fly in December 1917 and was then appointed as an instructor. He was killed accidentally while instructing a pupil near Cairo a less than two months later.

Aircraft crash at the Royal Flying Corps Training School at Aboukir, Egypt
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John Sheridan Gregory

1914 Star © IWM 30007059

John Sheridan Gregory was born on the 15th of September 1889. He was the younger son of Lieutenant-Colonel Gregory Marcar Gregory, of West Kensington, and Edith Laura, the second daughter of John Sheridan, of Earl’s Court.

Before arriving up Ashburnham in 1902, John was educated under Mr George Egerton, Somerset Street.

While he was at the school, he represented his house at Football as a half-back. The Elizabethan notes that he “played very well” in the 1907 House Cup match in which his team won 6-0 against Rigaud’s, and was “on the top of his form” against the Homeboarders.

After he left the school in July 1907, he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge in Michaelmas 1908. He graduated with a BA and LLB in 1911, and was admitted to the Middle Temple in November 1913.

Particularly keen to become proficient in riding and driving, John enlisted in the Officer Training Corps (Army Service Branch). By August 1914, he had qualified for Certificate A, a proficiency award for basic training, and had passed all but his final examination for the Bar.

As soon as he had qualified, he went out to France as 2nd Lieutenant, Army Service Corps (Special Reserve). Then, between April 1915 and August 1917, he served as Supply Officer to the 9th Cavalry Brigade. He rose through the ranks, becoming a temporary Lieutenant in August 1915, a full Lieutenant in February 1916, and a temporary Captain in June 1916.

In August 1917, he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, and returned to England to qualify as an Observer.

An observer operating an aerial camera in WW1

He returned to France in October 1917, and joined No. 16 Squadron R.F.C. before being transferred to No. 35 Squadron in November. He was promoted to Captain on the 29th November 1917, and was preparing to go through the training of a pilot.

He received the 1914 Star for his past services in France. But just a fortnight later, on 19th February 1918, his plane was shot down in an encounter with a German machine between Lempire and Épehy. He died aged 28, and is buried near Peronne.

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John Ince Liberty

John Ince Liberty was born on 26th January 1888. His parents were John Barnes Liberty, an Old Westminster and wine merchant, and Elizabeth Ann (née Ince). He was the only son, but he had two sisters, Gwendolen and Dorothy.

He arrived at the school in September 1901. He started out in Ashburnham, but moved to Grant’s House in 1903. He opted to study the “Moderns”, joined in with the Literary Society readings, and in 1904, was a finalist in the Football Yard Ties.

He left the school in July 1905 “to the sincere regret of all” and went to become a cattle farmer in Argentina.

While at home on holiday, he enlisted with the Honourable Artillery Company on the 8th of August 1914. He served in Egypt with B Battery, but was invalided home.

On the 22nd October 1915, John became 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery, and went out with them to the western front in April 1916. By July 1917, he had been promoted to Lieutenant.

He was killed in action near Ypres, Flanders, on the 28th November 1917.

Gunners of the Royal Field Artillery. Ypres, 27 August 1917. IWM (Q 5945)
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Kenneth Rae Morrison

Kenneth was born on 16th December 1896. He was the son of William Rae Morrison, who worked for the Stock Exchange, and Lily Dawtry, originally from Petworth, Sussex. He joined Ashburnham in January 1912, but only stayed until the end of the calendar year.

Kenneth studied on the Modern Side, which meant that he chose to study modern languages and sciences instead of the Classics. There was a longstanding rivalry at Westminster between those who opted to study the Classics and those on the Modern Side. In 1912, the Debating Society met to discuss the “somewhat hackneyed” motion “That in the opinion of this House, classical education is better than modern”. In this iteration of the debate, the main argument given in favour of the Modern side was that “science men … were more generally useful in life, and quicker-witted.” Unsurprisingly, this argument failed to sway the audience, and “the motion was carried by acclamation.”

Two years after he had left the school, in August 1914, Kenneth enlisted with the Honourable Artillery Company. By December he had become a 2nd Lieutenant with the Middlesex Regiment, and went out with them to the western front in 1916. In April 1917, he transferred to the 5th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Kenneth was at Tower Hamlets, near Ypres, during the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. He was killed on the 21st September 1917 by a German who had previously surrendered. He was 20 when he died, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

German prisoners being marched through Cathedral Square, Ypres on 20th September 1917. © IWM (Q 2863)
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