John Daniel Gifford was the third son of Robert and Annie Gifford. His father was from Colonia, Uruguay, and his mother was the daughter of Reverend Evan Eugene Hughes, Rector of Llanddeiniolen, Wales. John was born on 10th March 1872 and arrived at Westminster in April 1884. He joined Ashburnham House, and was a keen sportsman. He represented the school in both football and cricket.
After leaving the school in July 1890, John moved to Argentina for fourteen years, where he played cricket for South Argentina. His team beat North Argentina at the Buenos Aires Cricket Club Ground in December 1894.
John returned home and in July 1915, enlisted in the 25th (Service) Battalion the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). He was on active service at Retford, Nottinghamshire, when he died on 8th July 1917.
James Wilkie Dunlop was a member of Homeboarders house from 1903-1906. We do not know any details about his time at the school, but six years after leaving, when he was twenty-two, he went out to Argentina. He worked in the service of the Buenos Ayres Western Railway until the outbreak of war in 1914. James then returned home and enlisted in the London Scottish, which then formed the 14th (Co. of London) Battalion of the London Regiment.
He went out to the Western Front in September 1914 and was wounded at Messines on 31st October before being invalided home. He rejoined the army in 1915 and was attached to 5th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) of the Royal Irish Regiment in October. James then travelled out to Salonika in November, but once more was invalided home in December 1916. In January he was forced to resign his commission on account of his health.
James had been wounded badly in the arm at the Battle of Messines, and although he was later sent out to Salonika and eventually died of a cancer of the spine, he was always said to have died of wounds, since he never really recovered from this injury and its complications. When he returned to England he was cared for in Netley Hospital was a large military facility near Southampton. However, his family managed to bring him home as he reached the end of his life.
William Vernon Rayner was in Homeboarders house from 1894 until 1898. Rayner played cricket for the school, although it is difficult to see why he was included on the team as he was not a good fielder and the most runs he is recorded as scoring is 4! He played for the school against Charterhouse and Eton, as well as in a special match against a team made up of members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In football, he played as a forward for Homeboarders. He scored their only goal in a 4-1 loss against Rigaud’s in the house football final in 1897. He performed even better in goal and in a match against the Old Carthusians in 1898 played ‘splendidly, saving shot after shot in fine style’ ensuring his team won 6-0.
After leaving school he became a solicitor and practiced in Smith Square. In the 1911 census he is noted as boarding at No. 10 Vincent Square. He then moved to Buenos Aires where he worked for the British Consulate. On the declaration of war, he returned to England and enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers. He served as a Lance-Corporal in France but was sent home wounded in March 1916. He returned to the front in late June 1916, and reported ‘missing’ three weeks later, when the advance was made near Bethune; presumed killed in action July 23, 1916.