Tag Archives: Debating Society

Paul Wrey Gardiner

IWM (HU 122588)

Paul Wrey Gardiner was born on the 13th April 1989. His parents were George and Beatrice Gardiner, of Maida Hill. He came from a staunch Westminster family. Both his elder brother, Geoffrey, and his younger brother, Kendrick, also attended the school, as did his maternal uncle, William Awdry Peck.

Paul arrived as a King’s Scholar in September 1911. While he was here, he joined in the Debating Society. When the society debated the motion that money was the root of all evil:

Mr. P. W. GARDINER wanted to know what school offences were due to money. He then made the astounding statement that money was in no way responsible for the war. He eulogised millionaires, saying that they were a public benefit.

He represented the school on the 2nd XI Football team, along with his brother Geoffrey, and earned his Pink and Whites in 1915.

After leaving the school in July 1915, he enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 4th Battalion (Extra Reserve), The Manchester Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of July 1917. He went out to the western front on the 11th April 1918, and was attached to the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment.

He was killed in action at Roney, Champagne, on the 27th May 1918.

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Arthur Charles Lionel Abrahams

Arthur Charles Lionel Abrahams was the only son of Sir Lionel Abrahams, K.C.B. and his wife Lucy. He was admitted to the school as a non-resident King’s Scholar in 1911 and was based in Grant’s House. Arthur was Jewish, and his faith may have led him to become an honorary scholar, rather than residing in College.

He excelled at the school and took an active role in the Debating Society. In 1915 he seconded the motion ‘That in the opinion of this House the present situation renders Conscription imperative’ and the school’s magazine, The Elizabethan records that:

‘with the help of a great many statistics, informed the House that there were at least one and a half million men who were able to join the Forces. Conscription, he considered, would be fairer and more economical all round. As to the ‘volunteer worth three conscripts’ fallacy, Napoleon practically conquered the world with a conscript army. He said that the Opposer’s views were those of a sentimentalist, and, after informing the House that he knew twenty-seven slackers, sat down.’

Arthur was also heavily involved in the Officer Training Corps, where he made a ‘very efficient sergeant’.  On leaving school in July 1916 he was elected to Christ Church, Oxford. However, he chose to join the war and took a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cold Stream Guards later that summer. He went out to the western front in February 1917 and joined the 3rd Battalion of his regiment there. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in December and was killed in action the following year on 13th April 1918.

An excerpt from his obituary in the Jewish Chronicle, published in June 1918 read as follows:

‘The Commanding Officer with whom he served during the greater part of his service abroad has written to Sir Lionel Abrahams, “I knew your boy well and was commanding the battalion when he joined. He was most popular with all ranks, and he was particularly fearless……….Arthur was a Coldstream Guarder through and through. He fought like one and he died like one.” The colonel commanding the Guards wrote: “The regiment can ill afford to lose men like him”, and from the ranks there has reached his family the equally prized message: “The boys would follow him wherever he wanted them to.”

After he had been reported missing his parents learned that he fell on April 13th, when England lost a gallant son, Anglo-Jewry one of the most promising of its youngest generation, and his immediate family the joy of their hearts.’

You can read more about Arthur here:


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Basil Murray Hallward

Basil Murray Hallward was the only son of William Lambard Hallward, of Kensington, and Hannah Grace, daughter of William Murray, of Dereham, Norfolk. He was born on 17th November 1891, and probably had two sisters: Jola and Clara.

He arrived at Westminster as a Homeboarder in September 1906. He took part in Football, earning his Pink after the Winchester match in April 1911.

At the Debating Society, he seconded the motion ‘that this House has lost all confidence in the present Government’. According to the rather blunt account in The Elizabethan, he gave “some rather rambling remarks” and “showed the same incapacity to keep off details and to generalise, as the previous two speakers”.

More positively, his performance of Glorious Devon by Sir Edward German at the Glee Society concert was well received.

He left the school at Easter in 1911, to pursue acting, and was studying music at the outbreak of war. He left the stage to join the Army, enlisting as a 2nd Lieutenant, 10th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the 14th September 1914.

He became Lieutenant in the February of the following year, and went out to the western front with the Royal Field Artillery in December 1915. He was with the four-gun (later increasing to six-gun) B Battery, 79th Brigade, RFA.

He was killed in action near Arras on the 10th of April 1918, and is buried at Senlis-le-Sec, Picardie.

Royal Field Artillery troops visiting French gunners at their bivouac, near Boues, 5th April 1918. (IWM Q 10871)



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Francis William Hubback

19170212_Hubback,FW_bFrancis William Hubback was admitted to the school as a Queen’s Scholar in 1897 and remained until he obtained the Triplett scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1903.

He was involved in all aspects of school life. He played cricket and football, took part in gymnastics competitions and represented the school at boxing at the Public Schools’ Competition at Aldershot. Hubback was an enthusiastic member of the Literary Society, who gathered to read plays aloud, making an excellent Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He must have had the makings of a talented actor, but his only stage performance at the school was in the Latin Play, Phormio, performed in his final year:


Mr. Hubback as Geta was extremely good, though one might hint that a gentleman of Geta’s lively disposition would scarcely have lived continually, as Mr. Hubback’s attitude seemed to suggest, at an angle of forty-five degrees. His opening scene was especially animated throughout, and made the story perfectly clear. Mr. Hubback has a great sense of humour and fully entered into the spirit of the part; his little asides, such as Iratus est! and others, were capital, as was also his by-play, too often wanting at Westminster, and he never seemed at a loss to know what to do with his hands. Finally, the well-known passage where he describes his eaves-dropping lost none of its old savour in Mr. Hubback’s hands. We can only regret that this will be the first and last time we shall have the pleasure of seeing him act at Westminster.

He also took part in the Debating Society, and his left-wing sympathies often shone through in the motions he defended. In a debate on the topic of chivalry he spoke about relations between the sexes:

[Hubback] went on to give a definition of courtesy, which he said was the treatment of one

another with mutual consideration of feelings. It would be hard, living as we did at such a rate, to

observe’ the same manners as formerly. Also as regards the treatment of women by men—the Status of women had changed—they now claimed more independence and had to face more hardships and difficulties than formerly. The more like men women became, the more natural and seemly was familiarity between the sexes.

It would be interesting to know what his future wife, Eva Marian Spielman, a feminist involved in the women’s suffrage movement, would have thought about his schoolboy opinions. Hubback clearly remained true to his support for broadening access to education, and following a successful Cambridge career lectured at Cardiff and Liverpool Universities and the Workers’ Educational Association at Manchester University. In 1912 he became a civil servant, working for the Board of Education.

He joined the 6th City of London Battalion the London Regiment on 7th July 1915 as a 2nd Lieutenant. His regiment served on the Western Front and he was died of wounds received in action on 4th February 1917 near the Butte de Warlencourt on the Somme.


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