Born in July 1888, Archibald was the youngest of a large family. Many of his older siblings, including his brothers Alexander Kenelm and William Hew, were also Old Westminsters. He joined Ashburnham House in 1901 and was a keen sportsman, as well as achieving good results in scientific subjects. After he left Westminster, he swiftly found employment with an insurance firm, working in both Edinburgh and Bombay (Mumbai), before moving to a London-based company in 1914.
Once war began he volunteered early, and saw service in Gallipoli in 1915, Egypt in 1916, and Palestine in 1917. He was sent to the Western Front in April 1918, and, despite having survived both the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and the Gallipoli Campaign, was killed in action only a few months later.
Son of Lord Rupert William Ernest Gascoyne-Cecil and Lady Florence Cecil, John Arthur Gascoyne-Cecil was one of three brothers who lost their lives during The Great War. Born in March 1893, he joined Westminster School in 1905 and was admitted to Ashburnham House. Here he remained until 1912, and the following year he joined the 4th Home Counties Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (R.F.A.). This volunteer unit was based in Kent and formed part of the Territorial Force. He saw active service on the Western Front in 1914 following the unit’s conversion into a Divisional Ammunition Column, and 1915 Gascoyne-Cecil was attached to a Regular Battery of the R.F.A. He became adjutant in October of that year.
However, he was keen to pursue frontline service and joined the Salonika Expeditionary Force in January 1916. The British Salonika Army was station in Salonika (modern Greece) to oppose Bulgarian advances. The following year Gascoyne-Cecil became Captain and then Brigade Major in 1918, whereupon he returned to the Western Front.
It was in this posting that he lost his life. By the end of the war the Gascoyne-Cecil family were deprived of not one but three sons, as his brothers Rupert Edward and Randle William had also lost their lives. In 1920, a stained glass window was gifted to St Ethelred’s Church by James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquis of Salisbury, commemorating the three brothers.
John Arthur Gascoyne-Cecil was awarded the military cross posthumously, and is buried in Ficheux, France.
James Benjamin Wallace Wolstenholme was born in 1895, the eldest son of James Wolstenholme and Mary Elizabeth Gossling. He joined Westminster School in 1908 and was admitted to Ashburnham House. By 1913 he had enlisted with the Artists’ Rifles, a volunteer regiment of the British Army Reserve. He remained part of the Territorial Force for several years, and in 1915 became Lieutenant Railway Transport Officer. In this role he worked as part of the Royal Engineers, the body responsible for the creation and maintenance of not only British railways, but transport networks across Europe and beyond.
In August 1917 Wolstenholme was transferred to the RFC (Royal Flying Corps). The RFC was a precursor to the Royal Air Force, and remained in place until 1918. Here Wolstenholme trained at the 47th Training Depot Station, based with the North Eastern Training Group in Doncaster. It was while training with the RFC that Wolstenholme was fatally wounded, and he passed away on the 20th August 1918.
Admitted to Westminster School in September 1910, John Brown Hugh Terres (frequently referred to as simply ‘Hugh Terres’) was a man of many talents. Born in 1896, he was the only son of American doctor John Brown Terres and Frenchwoman Corrinne Pascal. He joined Westminster School and was admitted to Ashburnham House, before studying at Christ Church, Oxford in 1915. During his time at Westminster, Terres took an active role in House competitions, including debating, water, and House tug of war. He was also an active member of the Westminster Officer Training Corps, where he learnt the skills that he would soon apply during active service.
During his years at Oxford Terres became a keen artist, and meticulous records of his work were compiled by friend and fellow student F.G. Roe. Although an American by birth, Terres utilised his dual heritage and enlisted in the French army in 1917, a full year before American citizens were required to serve. Working initially as an interpreter to the American Squadron before becoming a flying pilot in May the same year, Terres was attached to the English bombarding group, 214 Squadron. Fitted with Handley Page twin-engine bombers, the squadron was based in France and responsible for night raids on military targets in Belgium.
Terres was transferred to the Italian front on 10th August 1918, following a call to partake in a secretive special mission. It was at this post that he tragically lost his life, dying in action just seven days later.
Eric William Scarlett Faulkner was born in London in 1898. In the 1901 census his father’s occupation was recorded as a ‘bespoke bootmaker’ and the family lived on Molton Street, near Bond Street. Ten years later the family had managed to move out of London into a house in Surrey. Eric then joined Westminster School in Ashburnham House in 1912, and became a non-resident King’s Scholar the following year. At school he attended the debating society, commenting on the motion ‘That this House deplores that Commissions in the British Army should only be granted after service in the ranks, or after a course at Woolwich or Sandhurst’ – querying whether ‘obedience was more fully learnt at school or in the ranks.’ Eric must have been very gifted academically, as he was joint Mure Scholar and elected head to Christ Church, Oxford in 1916.
Eric did not take up his place at Oxford and instead joined the army, not as an officer, but as a private in the London Rifle Brigade. The Elizabethan notes that ‘this was his own choice, dictated by the feeling that in his case this would be the best way to learn the work. It was characteristic of his fortitude and common sense.’ Eric was later posted to the Artists Rifles as a rifelman and was sent to France on 8th November 1917. He was wounded in action at Aveluy Wood and died two days later at the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital at Dovelleris of his injuries. He was 19 years old.
Rathbone was a well-liked pupil whilst at the school. He joined Ashburnham House in May 1911 and stayed at the school until the age of 17, leaving at Easter 1915. The Elizabethan records that ‘he showed great energy and in his regiment he was a very effective and particularly popular officer. At School he was a football Pink and Company Sergeant Major in the Corps.’ He was also active within his house, serving as a monitor in his final year. His Head of House recorded in the Ashburnham ledgers that it was ‘…clear that Rathbone was a really good chap and I liked him immensely. He was senior NCO in the corps his last term and he did a great deal for the House in this line. He was immensely keen on all games. He was rather wild in his nature… he was however, I believe a true sportsman out and out.’
On leaving school Rathbone joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. He received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Dorset Regiment in June 1915. He was severely wounded at the Somme in July 1916 but quickly returned to the front. He was killed in action near Arras in 1918.
Rathbone was the younger brother of (Philip St John) Basil Rathbone, who survived the war and found fame as an actor, perhaps best known for playing Sherlock Holmes. When asked about his brother’s death in later life, Basil stated that he had instinctively felt his brother’s death at the moment that he was killed. He wrote the following passage in a letter to his family on 26th July 1918 following John’s death:
‘You ask how I have been since we heard, well, if I am honest with you, and I may as well be, I have been seething. I was so certain it would be me first of either of us. I’m even sure it was supposed to be me and he somehow contrived in his wretched Johnny-fashion to get in my way just as he always would when he was small. I want to tell him to mind his place. I think of his ridiculous belief that everything would always be well, his ever-hopeful smile, and I want to cuff him for a little fool. He had no business to let it happen and it maddens me that I shall never be able to tell him so, or change it or bring him back. I can’t think of him without being consumed with anger at him for being dead and beyond anything I can do to him.’
Leslie was the son of J.V.N. Plumptre and Mary Ling. He was adopted by Henry Heigham and adopted his surname in addition to that of his father. He joined the school aged just nine years old from Shrewsbury House Preparatory School. He started initially as a day boy in Ashburnham in 1907 and then became a boarder in Grant’s. Leslie left in Easter 1913, then aged fifteen, and joined HMS Worcester. The ship was the home of the Thames Nautical Training College and cadets received training with a view to becoming seamen in the navy.
Leslie’s career took him in a different direction and he joined the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1917 before taking a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment in September 1917. In December he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, and he went out to the Western Front in March 1918. Eleven days after arriving, he was wounded and invalided home, but he returned to the front on 19th May. Once again, less than a fortnight after arriving he was injured in a bombing raid. He died from his wounds on 4th June 1918.
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.
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.
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.