Arthur Aglionby was admitted to Ashburnham House in 1899 and remained at Westminster School for many years, leaving in 1905. After leaving the school, he was a student at Oxford, where he pursued his undergraduate degree, completing his Bachelor of Arts in 1908. He worked briefly as an assistant master to preparatory schools in St. Andrews and Bournemouth, before moving to Trinity College School in Canada. Here he remained while studying for his postgraduate degree, which he completed in 1912.
He was called to join the Dorsetshire Regiment of the British military in 1912, and returned to England in 1914 in order to pursue this post actively. He was sent to the Western Front in 1916, and served with the 174th, 244th, and 219th Siege Battalions. While here he steadily climbed the ranks, becoming Captain in 1917 and Major in 1918. He died of wounds received in action in 1918, while he was fighting in France.
He was awarded the Military Cross posthumously in 1919. He is commemorated in the Elizabethan of December 1918, and has buried at St Michael & All Angels Church in Ainstable, Cumbria.
Gilbert Goodman was the only son of Alfred William Goodman and Penelope Mary, and was born on the 5th July 1895. He was admitted to Westminster in 1909 and joined Ashburnham House, where he remained until 1913. In 1913, he studied with London University, but swiftly enlisted in the Public School Battalion, before transferring to the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps in 1914. That same year he was made 2nd Lieutenant of the 10th Battalion of the Loyal North Lanes Regiment.
He was sent to the Western Front in 1916, but was mistaken for another officer of the same name and reported as deceased to the War Office in 1917. Despite this mishap, that same year he was wounded in battle and invalided home, proving to be very much alive. During his time in the UK, he joined the Air Force and by 1918 had been gazetted to a permanent lieutenancy in the army. Once he received his wings as a pilot he was sent to the Italian Front, and it is here that he tragically lost his life, killed fighting two Austrian crafts before the rest of the patrol could get to his assistance.
Kenneth Kemp was born in 1895, the only son of Old Westminster Reginald Kemp. He joined the school as early as possible and was admitted to Ashburnham House in 1909. Unfortunately, ill health, a problem that plagued much of his life, forced him to leave the school early, and he departed just one year later. Kemp nevertheless showed strong artistic talent and eventually studied with the Chelsea School of Art. In 1917, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of British Artists, and a number of his pictures were exhibited at the Royal Academy 1916-1918.
However, his ill health restricted his war service, and he was eventually diagnosed with scoliosis in 1917. As a consequence, he worked principally as an ambulance driver, assisting in France and Belgium. In this role, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre for consistent bravery and saving life under fire. He was gassed near Nieuport in April of that year, and later returned home with a Commission in the Royal Army Service Corps. On 7th October 1918 he was taken sick, and died from influenza just eleven days later.
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.