Tag Archives: Homeboarders

James Wilkie Dunlop

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.

Patients receiving visitors at the Netley Hospital at Southampton, 1917. Copyright: ┬® IWM.
Patients receiving visitors at the Netley Hospital at Southampton, 1917. Copyright: ┬® IWM.
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James Montague Edward Shepherd

19170215_Shepherd,JMEJames Montague Edward Shepherd was born on the 2nd December 1895. He was the only son of Montague James Shepherd and Therese Louise, daughter of V. Cazabon, of Paddington.

He was admitted to the school in April 1910, and started off in Home Boarders, but switched to Grant’s at the beginning of Play 1911.

He elected to take the ‘Modern’ subjects instead of the ‘Classics’, and was an active participant in the Debating Society. In March 1914 he argued, alongside R. R. Turner, that “the man of science is of more use to the community than the man of letters” — a motion that was lost by 10 votes to 9.

He earned himself a Shooting Pink in 1912-13 and was made Captain of Shooting. In Election Term 1914, according to The Elizabethan, he “won the Brinton Medal with the fine score of 61; considering the wind, it was a praiseworthy performance”.

His behaviour at the school was not wholly positive, however, as the Grant’s House Ledger records in 1914:

“A distinctly unpleasant incident occurred at the end of this term, when Shepherd who had been ragged a good deal during the term, suddenly lost his temper and broke Hodgson’s jaw. As it was considered to have been done in a fit of blind rage and with no premeditated malice, no steps were taken and the matter was allowed to drop. Hodgson’s Jaw next term had completely recovered.”

Shepherd left the school in 1914 “desirous of entering the Royal Flying Corps”, and matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge. In January 1915, he enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 15th (Service) Battalion Rifle Brigade and went out with them to the western front the following September. He was promoted to Lieutenant in November 1915, and then to Captain a year later. He achieved his aim of joining the RAF as a Flight Commander R.A.F. on the 6th December 1916.

He was reported missing in action at Bixschoote, near Ypres, on 15th February 1917 at the age of 21. By July, he had been confirmed dead.

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William Penn-Gaskell

19161012_PennGaskell,WWilliam Penn Gaskell, belonged to a well-known Irish family, and in 1905, upon his father’s death, he inherited the Shanagarry estate, County Cork. He was a descendant of the famous Quaker, William Penn, who founded the state of Pennsylvania.

William came to the school from Rugby and was admitted in 1886 to Homeboarders’ House. He left the school in July 1889 and travelled to Chile. His maternal grandfather was from Peru so his interest in South America was not surprising. William lived in Iquique and Antofagasta, eventually becoming manager of a nitrate works in the town.

On the outbreak of war he made the decision to give up his job and return to England to serve in the Army. He was made a Captain in the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in February 1915 and proceeded to France in August 1916.

He was killed in the action at Flers on the Somme front. He went over the parapet to the attack in support of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who were held up for a time by intense machine-gun fire. Notseeing any Officers of the Scots Fusiliers, he decided to push on, and he rallied the line when he was shot in the arm. While his servant was dressing the wound, a shell burst near and both were instantly killed.

His Colonel wrote :-

‘I admired his pluck and energy very much indeed in setting to work at his age to fit himself for the Front, and I always considered him a magnificent example to all of us and a pattern of everything an Officer and a gentleman should be. His fine example and gallant death, while he rallied his men, made the greatest impression upon all his comrades. His influence on his men was most inspiring.’

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Horace Montague Gundry

19160926_Gundry,HMHorace Gundry was a member of Homeboarders house from September 1898 until July 1901. He played cricket for his house. Upon leaving the school he entered an architect’s office, but by 1908 he had decided to emigrate to Canada. During the early-twentieth century, emigration from Britain reached unprecedented levels, with approximately 3.15 million people leaving between 1903 and 1913. The most popular destination during these years was Canada, drawing almost half of Britain’s emigrants.

Early in 1915 Gundry enlisted as a Private in the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (British Columbia Regiment). The Regiment travelled first to England and then on to France on 10th Feburary 1915 becoming incorporated into the 1st Canadian Division. Gundry probably lost his life in the Battle of Thiepval, one of the Battles of the Somme. The 7th Battalion losses were estimated at 250 men after the first day of fighting, on which Gundry was killed in action.

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Edward Whinney

Edward Whinney was the sixth son of Frederick Whinney and Emma Morley. He was born in London on the 31st August 1870 and was admitted to the school as a Homeboarder in September 1884. During his time at the school, he was a keen cricketer. Even after he left, he continued to represent the school in the Old Westminsters XI.

After leaving school in July 1887, Edward and became a member of the London Stock Exchange. On the 7th October 1987, he married Maude Clementine Louise, who was the elder daughter of John Crow, of Hampstead.

He had already served in the army, and following the outbreak of war, he rejoined his old former regiment, becoming a Captain of the 2/7th Battalion (Territorial Force) Middlesex Regiment on the 23rd October 1914. He was promoted to Major just over a month later, and was transferred to the 12th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regtiment. He served with them at Gibraltar and in Egypt, before going out to the western front in June 1916.

He was killed in the action at Thiepval on the 26th Sept 1916, at the age of 46, leaving behind him his wife, three sons and a daughter.

19160923_Whinney,E
Maj. E. Whinney, during operations against the Senussi. ┬® IWM (Q 15706)
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Leon de Barr Kelsey

Leon de Barr Kelsey was the only son of Richard and Annie Kelsey, of South Kensington. He attended Homeboarders’ House from April 1898 until July 1901.

Leon was knocked out in the first round of the 300 yards race at the Athletic Sports Competition in 1900. However, he did make it into the Cricket 3rd XI, scoring 49 runs in one match.

After leaving the school Leon embarked on a career as an architect, studying for six more years before entering his father’s business as a bootmaker. Leon’s father died in 1911, aged only 54, and it must have been Leon’s responsibility to support his widowed mother and younger sister.

In April 1915 Leon entered the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps. He took a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 23rd Battalion of the London Regiment. He went out to the western front on 24th September 1915.

He left all his money and belongings to his younger sister Lilian, who was not yet 30. Unusually, his body was brought back to England and he is buried in Highgate Cemetery, directly behind Karl Marx.

Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
Troops from the London Regiment at the Somme, 6th September 1916
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Stephen Arthur Herbert Codd

19160909_Codd,SAHStephen Codd was the only son of Arthur and Florence Codd of West Hampstead. He was born on the 24th October 1891, and was admitted to Homeboarders House as a non-resident King’s Scholar in 1905.

He was a keen public speaker, regularly participating in the Debating Society. On 17 February 1910, Stephen argued in favour of Vivisection: he “fluently demonstrated what benefits had been conferred upon mankind by vivisection, and indulged in some rather gruesome detail.”

In his final year at school, he won first place in the Orations — a public speaking competition — and was commended for his “sweeter voice” and was “word perfect” in the final performance of a passage from Isaiah predicting the fall of Babylon.

Stephen left the school in July 1910, and entered the office of the High Commissioner for South Africa, Herbert, 1st Viscount Gladstone. However, after three years, Stephen decided to take holy orders, and went to King’s College London, where he gained the Wordsworth Latin Prize in the Intermediate B.D. Exam, in 1914.

In September 1914, he enlisted in the Universities and Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, and was made 2nd Lieutenant, 11th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regt in the December of that year. He was attached to the 7th Battalion and went out to Gallipoli on 24th September 1915. That November, Gallipoli was hit by a great blizzard; Stephen suffered from frostbite and was invalided home.

After his convalescence, he went out to the western front on 24th August 1916, where he took part in the attack at High Wood. The plan was to use tanks later on in the month, and Stephen’s regiment was preparing the way by attempting to penetrate into the German trenches. Stephen was the only officer of his battalion to succeed in doing so, but he was never seen again.

In June 1917, the King’s College Review quoted a letter that Stephen’s Colonel wrote: “The regiment attacked on the 9th and your son gallantly led his men into the enemy’s lines but were driven out by superior numbers. Your son was last seen at the head of his men… he was a brave splendid officer and at once made himself popular with his brother officers and men.”

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Laurence Grant Robertson

Laurence Grant Robertson was born in London on 5th May 1877 to William and Mary Robertson. He had two elder brothers — William Alexander and Norman Cairns — who both attended Westminster school before him.

When Laurence arrived at the school in May 1891 he, like his brothers, was assigned to Homeboarders, the house for non-boarding pupils.

After leaving the school in April 1895, Laurence trained as a chartered accountant and worked for the Local Government Board as a member of the District Audit Staff.

In February 1915, he obtained a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Ordinance Department, which had responsibility for equipment, ammunition and clothing. However, the Elizabethan notes that “he did not consider that he was doing sufficiently active work” and so requested to be transferred to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in July 1915. He landed with them at Boulogne-sur-Mer in July 1915 and fought at the Battle of Loos the following September.

He was killed in action at Delville Wood in the Battle of the Somme, France, on 30th July 1916 at the age of 36.

This chalk drawing by William Roberts shows British infantry men armed with rifles attacking the remains of Delville Wood. It was commissioned in 1918 by the Ministry of Information.

19160730_Robertson,LG
┬® IWM (Art.IWM ART 1887)
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William Vernon Rayner

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.

19160723_Rayner,WV

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Roland Gerard Garvin

The only child of James Louis Garvin, editor of The Observer, Garvin attended Homeboarder’s House from 1908-1914. At school he was a talented fencer, winning the Public Schools Foils Championship at Aldershot in 1913. He was an active member of the debating society, speaking for the motion ‘this House deplores the modern tendency to vegetarianism’ and against a motion welcoming ‘the building of a Channel Tunnel’ according to The Elizabethan ‘pacing to and fro in oratorical frenzy, [Garvin] spoke grimly of financial loss, and said the expense would be unjustifiable’. He took part in play readings, although it was noted that when he recited an extract of Henry VIII he was ‘too low in pitch and too melancholy’.

He was going up to Christ Church with a History Scholarship when the War broke out, and he joined the South Lancashire Regiment. The Elizabethan records that

‘He was killed in the Battle of the Somme on the night of July 22 during an intense bombardment, in which he gave a noble example of courage, resourcefulness, and coolness, and even after he was hit his one message was ‘ to carry on with the Company.’ Although somewhat reserved, his personality made an unusual impression on those with whom he came in contact. By his death a life of literary promise is cut short.’

The British Library holds a diary which Garvin kept whilst at the front. As a Captain, Garving was in charge of D Company of the 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment. On 20 July he recorded the company as having a fighting strength of three officers, six sergeants and 109 men in other ranks. The company was stationed near Bazentin-le-Petit in preparation for the attack on High Woods, which formed part of the Somme Offensive.

The British Library note that:

‘The diary extract shows the monotonous nature of life in the trenches. Captain Garvin records the detail for Friday 21 July starting at 4am with stand to and the cleaning and inspection of rifles. The soldiers spent the rest of the morning cleaning and improving their trenches with a break at 8am for breakfast and lunch at 12.30pm. In the afternoons they were allowed to rest. On the following day Captain Garvin noted down the formation and objectives of the company’s assault against the enemies’ forces. This was his last diary entry as Captain Garvin was killed by machine gun fire during the attack at 11.30pm that night.’

┬® From the Garvin archive, British Library, Add MS 88882/9/58
┬® From the Garvin archive, British Library, Add MS 88882/9/58
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