Tag Archives: Cadet Corps

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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The Officer Training Corps

In 1914 Westminster School had what was known as an Officer Training Corps (‘Corps’ is pronounced ‘core’ as it originates from the French meaning body).

The Cadet Corps, as it was originally known, had begun in 1902, in the wake of the Second Boer War. Uniforms were acquired shortly afterwards and around 100 boys took part in regular drills. By April 1903 a company of pupils attended a camp in Amesbury, where they were shocked by the ‘very hard mattresses’ and blankets ‘not of the finest texture’. Manoeuvres later in the week were ‘enlivened by a snowstorm’ but on the whole the pupils enjoyed themselves. Over the following years the Corps became established as a routine part of school life. A similar process occurred in many other Public Schools at this time.

Parade in Vincent Square, 1913
Parade in Vincent Square, 1913
Two of the drums being used by the marching band remain in the school archive.

Lord Haldane, whilst Secretary of State for War, formalised these various Corps into Officers’ Training Corps (OTC). Haldane was particularly concerned with the performance of the British Armed Forces during the Boer Wars. By providing this early military training he hoped to increase the number and quality of young men joining the army as officers. The Corps had two divisions, a junior division for Public Schools such as Westminster and a senior division for Universities.

In the Summer of 1914 more Westminster pupils than ever attended the OTC camp at Mytchett, but it was cut short as the Army Cooks assigned were recalled. A pupil’s account in The Elizabethan remarked that ‘Camp is apt to be more pleasant when gloomy rumours, such a prevailed in Mytchett, are not rife’

When pupils returned to Westminster after the summer holiday, those not already in the OTC rushed to join. There were 109 new recruits at the beginning of the Play Term leaving fewer than 60 boys in the school who were not members of the corps.

In 1913 Homeboarder’s House won the inter-house drilling competition.
Back Row: Robertson, Gonne, Canning, Howe, Garvin, Fisher, Campion, Chidson
Middle Row: Aisnworth-Davis, Forbes, Aitken
Front Row: Brookman, Kitchen, Aitken
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