Tag Archives: Ashburnham

DÔÇÖArcy Algernon Cuthbert Dillon OÔÇÖFlynn

D’Arcy O’Flynn was born on the 12th November 1885 to John James Dillon O’Flynn, of Kensington, and Elizabeth Louisa, the eldest daughter of George William Lowe, of Southampton, Hampshire. Unfortunately, when D’Arcy was 9 years old, his family was caught up in scandal.

His parents had married in Madras in 1876 and were living in Houlgate, Dulwich. However, John had been systematically swindling two women — Emma Eliza Bevan and Hetty Michell — out of hundreds of pounds, by claiming to be investing their money in white lead and iron ore companies. Posing as a single man, he had made advances on both women, and even went so as to promise marriage to Miss Michell. Hetty Michell called the wedding off upon discovering the existence of John’s wife and family, but John told her that “the woman you are pleased to call Mrs. O’Flynn is not my wife, and has nothing to do with me”. John O’Flynn was found guilty of fraud and was sentenced to five years’ penal servitude on the 23rd July 1894.

The devastating impact of this scandal upon D’Arcy and his sister and three brothers — not to mention their mother — is uncertain. However, five years later, D’Arcy and one of his brothers, Albert, found themselves at Westminster School. D’Arcy joined Ashburnham in 1899, and left in July 1902.

In December 1906, D’Arcy emigrated to Canada, where he became a farmer. He enlisted in the 47th Battalion Canadian Infantry in May 1915 and was promoted to Sergeant that December. He went out to the western front July 1916 and was at the Canadians’ first major battle of the war at Courcellette, Somme. On the 10th November, D’Arcy was wounded in action and he died the following day — the day before his 31st birthday.

Medical orderlies tending to the wounded in a trench during the Battle of Courcelette
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John Oswald Heath

John Oswald Heath was the only son of John Edgar Heath, of Lee, Kent, and his wife Nora Mary, daughter of Oswald Lofthouse, of Warrington, Lancashire. He was born on 24th May 1895.

He was admitted to Westminster at the end of September 1910, and joined Ashburnham house. Since he had arrived at the school at the slightly older age of 15, he joined the Transitus — a transitional year for pupils who were new to the school. After leaving the school in July 1912, he entered the pottery and glass manufacturing business for a short 19161007_Heath,JOtime before joining the Honourable Artillery Company in 1913.

In September 1914, the HAC moved from Finsbury, London to Belhus Park, Essex, and on the 18th of that month John Heath went out with them to the western front. They landed two days later at Saint-Nazaire and were placed onto lines of communication. He served with them for nine months, which meant that he would have been involved in the First Battle of Ypres.

After those first nine months, he returned to Britain to take a commission as 2nd Lieutenant with the 11th (Service) Battalion, the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment on 28th June 1915. He was promoted to Lieutenant the following February and returned to the western front as the Battalion Bombing Officer on May Day 1916.

He was killed in action, at the age of 21, during the attempt to capture Le Sars during the Battle of Le Transloy on the 7th Oct. 1916. He is commemorated at Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 11 C).

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James Leslie Buckman

Jack Buckman was the only son of James and Mary Jane Buckman, of East Dulwich, Surrey. He was born on 11th November 1892, and was sent to Fairfield Preparatory School in Southwark. His paternal grandfather had been a farm labourer, and his maternal grandfather was a rate collector. His father had worked hard to obtain a position as Borough Treasurer of Bermondsey; Jack’s parents’ decision to send him to Westminster was testimony to their ambitions for their son.

By the time he arrived up Ashburnham in 1907, Jack was suffering from a health condition that prevented him from participating in athletics and other activities, including the OTC. However, upon leaving the school in 1910, secured a place to read Law at Wadham College, Oxford.

He passed his prelims in February 1911, and graduated in June 1914. He was admitted to Middle Temple but, on the outbreak of war, decided to join the Army. He was placed on a waiting list following an unconvincing medical examination, but was soon posted as 2nd Lieutenant with the 8th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, which was training near Salisbury Plain. He was awarded a first class certificate in musketry, and his leadership potential was judged to be such that he was sent on a special staff course at Camberley.

He was transferred to the 12th Bermondsey Battalion, East Surrey Regiment in 1915 as a temporary Lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain in October 1915. He was given responsibility for 200 men. He went out went out to the western front on 1st May 1916, and on the 3rd of May, the editor of the Elizabethan received the following message:


Jack Buckman was killed in action at Flers, France, on 15th September 1916. His parents published a memorial in the London Times every year on his birthday, and on the anniversary of his death.

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Eustace Walter Russell Hadden

Eustace Walter Russell was the younger son of the Rev. Robert Henry Hadden, Vicar and his wife, Eva Prudence. The family home was at Hazel Hatch in Addlestone, Surrey.

Eustace was educated at Westminster School, joining Ashburnham House in 1903 and went up to Christ Church in 1908, the year after his brother.

Whilst still an undergraduate at Oxford, he joined the 4th Battalion, Territorial Force in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and was gazetted Second Lieutenant on 29th November 1908. In 1910 he was attached to the 52nd Light Infantry at Shornecliffe and in September 1911 he was promoted to Lieutenant.

In 1912, although still in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Eustace was called to the bar of the Inner Temple and became a Barrister. In 1913 he went to Siam (now Thailand) where he worked in a legal position for the Siamese Government. He returned to England the following year, and was promoted to Captain, on Tuesday 1st September 1914.

In 1915 he was sent to France with the 4th Battalion. Shortly afterwards he was wounded in the face. It was feared that he would lose his eyesight, however, he was treated in France and returned to his regiment. He was promoted to Temporary Major, now becoming the most Senior Officer in his Battalion.


On 7 June 1916 he was admitted to hospital in Abbeville suffering with appendicitis. Although he was operated on that day he could not be saved and died four days later in 2 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne. His death was announced in The Times on Wednesday 14 June.

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Gerald John Mortimer Moxon

Gerald Moxon was born on 22nd November 1893, the only son of J. P. Moxon and joined the school in 1908 up Ashburnham. He opted to study “the modern tongues and sciences”, joining the school-wide rivalry between the Moderns and the Classics which, by 1908, had taken a poetic turn:

“Classics indeed can strut righte well
And talke and boast in their conceit;
But ne’ertheless in things that count
They’ll finde the Modernes hard to beat.”

by C.M. Goodall (AHH 1906-09)

Gerald played in the winning Ashburnham Junior House Football team in 1909. The Ashburnham House ledger records that he played outside right, but that he “also played back instead of last. He is a dashing player, very fast, and goes straight for the man (and usually gets him too!). He is a much better outside right than back.”


A celebratory Supper was held in honour of the victory on Tuesday 21st December. A song specially composed for the occasion was performed, the chorus went —

“Oh don’t let me play ‘gainst Ashburnham
For never that game I’ll forget
I was charged and knocked over the touch-line
While the rest put the ball in the net.”

(sung to the tune of The Tarpaulin Jacket)

On 1st of October 1913, Gerald joined the 7th Batt. Royal Fusiliers and was attached to the 4th Battalion in September the following year. He went out to the western front, but received a wound to the head on 20th October 1914 and was invalided home. He was promoted to temporary Lieutenant in February 1915 and returned to the front in March. By July, Gerald had achieved the rank of temporary Captain. He was killed in action at St. Eloi at the age of 22 on 27th March 1916. He was the 3rd member of the winning Ashburnham Junior Football teamto lose his life in the war — after R. Chalmers and J.W.H. McCulloch — and he was not the last…

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Alfred Tomlin East

Alfred Tomlin East was the only son of the late Sir Alfred East, R.A., President of the Royal Society of British Artists. One of his father’s paintings is owned by the school and hangs in Weston’s.

East was in Ashburnham House from September 1891 to April 1895. He became an engineer and worked as a special assistant during the construction of the Bombay Municipality Waterworks. He enlisted in the Indian Marines at Bombay at the outbreak war and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Indian Army in 1915; in July he was attached 17th Company 3rd Sappers and Miners and left Bombay with the Expeditionary Force to Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in the following month.


The role of British and Indian troops in Mesopotamia was originally envisaged in limited terms — securing the oil pipeline at Abadan. The success the forces met with in late 1914 and early 1915 led the Viceroy and Indian government at Simla to reconsider and they decided to order further advances with a view to securing the Shatt al Hai, a canal connecting the Tigris and Euphrates river and potentially capturing Baghdad. The British government disagreed and wished to conserve forces for the Western front. The Viceroy was given permission to act as it wished, but told in no uncertain terms that no reinforcements should be expected.

The initial success experienced by the British and Indian forces quickly disintegrated in the face of Ottoman opposition. The Siege of Kut Al Amara began on 7th December with the besieging of an 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. Alfred Tomlin East died on Christmas Day, 1915 of wounds he received in action during the siege a week earlier.

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James Pitcairn Blane


James Pitcairn Blane was in Ashburnham House from May 1895 until July 1901. He was a keen cricketer and played in the school’s XI with the highest batting average in the team of 24.0. When he left the school he became a mining engineer, spending four years in Western Australia and travelling to West Africa on several occasions. On the outbreak of war he was the manager of a mine in Cornwall. He joined inthe8th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in October 1914 and went out tothe western front in May 1915.

Blane was seriously wounded at 5pm on 19th November whilst to the left of the B16 trench to the north-east of Ypres. He was hit by a ‘whizzbang’ the nick name given to German field artillery shells. The name derived from the fact that the shells fired from German 77mm field guns travelled faster that the speed of sound and therefore soldiers heard the ‘whizz’ of the shell travelling through the air towards them before the ‘bang’ issued by the gun itself upon firing. The result of this high velocity was that defending soldiers had very little notice of the incoming shell. Blane was taken to the nearby military hospital in Poperinghe but died in the early hours of the morning of 23rd November.

His younger brother, Hugh, also died in active service in 1914 and his father was killed in action at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Blane had played cricket for MCC and is also commemorated on the club’s roll of honour.


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John Wyndham Hamilton McCulloch


John was the only son of John Exley McCulloch of Paddington. He was born in December 1894,and arrived up Ashburnham in 1909.

He took part in the debating society. A report in The Elizabethan, notes that “On Thursday, October 19, the House met to discuss the following motion, ‘That in the opinion of this House the advantages of a boarding school are exaggerated.’ÔǪ The Seconder (Mr J.W. McCulloch), dwelt upon the splendid discipline of home life; in a moment of confidence, he gave the Society a glimpse of himself seated over his books in a lonely attic, from which the ‘injusta noverca’ forbade him to stir”.

However, his primary interest at school was sports and his contemporaries said he was a “useful” player. He earned a pink in both Cricket and Football and, in 1913, he played cricket for Middlesex.

On the 4th November 1914, he enlisted as 2nd Lieutenant for the 8th (Service) Battalion Border Regiment, and became Lieutenant the following February. He was serving as a temporary Captain when he was wounded in Flanders on the 20th October 1915.

He died of his injuries at Bailleul the following day.

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George Constantine Paul

19151017_Paul,GC_2 George Paul was born in Belgium. His father, Paul Paul (1865-1937) was an eminent landscape and portrait painter who also painted under the name Politachi. His mother, Marion, died in 1909 when George was just 13 years old. He started at Westminster the following year in Ashburnham House and remained at the school until July 1914.

George Paul played an active part in House life. He was tanned [beaten] by a monitor, McCulloch for ‘coming into upper [the senior boys study] when not properly dressed’. He made up for his misdemeanours by his sporting ability and was awarded house colours and later full pinks. In 1913, thanks to Paul’s help, Ashburnham House managed to win both the inter-house Football and Cricket competitions.

Paul played football for the school, although it was wryly noted in The Elizabethan that he and a contemporary Veitch would never be ‘of much value till they realise that feeding their forwards well is nearly as valuable as robbing their opponents of the ball’. He can’t have been that bad a player as he made it on to the 1st XI during his last year at school, although the report for the season state that ‘he must learn to keep his eye on the ball when he tackles instead of making rather a blind dash for it.’

That summer, following the outbreak of war with Germany, he joined the army. He served in The King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium when he was just 19 years old.

(c) Bushey Museum and Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
One of George Paul’s father’s paintings now held by the Bushey Museum and Art Gallery.
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Leslie Cozens

19151014_Cozens,LeslieLeslie Cozens, known as “Tim” to his friends, was in Ashburnham House from 1908-1911. He was also educated at Malvern and Cherbourg. On leaving school he was employed at his father’s leather works at Hatherton Street in Walsall, and played cricket and golf. He was commissioned into the 5th South Staffords in 1912, eventually being promoted to the rank of Captain in the field in May 1915, taking over command of “A” Company.

Lieutenant-Colonel Raymer wrote to his father on receiving news of his death:

“On the afternoon of the 13th the battalion attacked the German trenches. Your son was in command of “A” Company, and was lying on the ground with his company, just at my side, when he was hit ÔǪ I ask you to accept from myself and all his surviving comrades our deepest sympathy with you in your sad loss. He was a keen and fearless officer, and we are very sad at parting with him.”

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