Tag Archives: Homeboarders

Vivian Ernest John Bristowe

Vivian Bristowe was one of ten children – five boys and five girls. They lived at 11 Old Burlington Street, with their father, John Syer Bristow, and mother, Miriam Isabella Bristowe (née Stearns). All five of the boys were sent to Westminster, and their father, a physician specialising in the nervous system, was also physician to the school.

Vivian was the youngest son. He was born on the 12th of June 1874, and arrived as a Homeboarder in September 1885. He represented his house in the football, and The Elizabethan includes the following account of a game that Homeboarders won 9-1: “The ground was very heavy and slippery after the recent thaw, and towards the end of the game the players were covered with mud” Saturday March 12th 1892.

There is not a lot of information about Vivian or his time at the school, but we do know how much he weighed!

After leaving the school in July 1892, he became a stock jobber – a market maker on the London Stock Exchange, and continued playing football on the OWW team. He went out to South Africa shortly before World War I, where he worked as secretary to his eldest brother, Leonard Syer Bristowe – by then Hon. Mr Justice Bristow – in Pretoria.

He enlisted in the South African Medical Corps in November 1915, and joined the East African Expeditionary Force in January 1916. While on active service at Rug, Rufigi River, East Africa, he contracted dysentery and died on the 14th of April 1917.

His Colonel wrote of him: “he did excellent work, and never fell out in the most arduous treks imaginable… His pals miss him, and I miss a steady and trustworthy man, who was never known to shirk his duty.”

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Nevil Ford Furze

Nevil Furze was born on 30th April 1897. He was the youngest son of Herbert Furze, of South Kensington, and Mary Ford, daughter of Edward Tidswell, of Chigwell, Essex. He was admitted to the school in April 1912, where he joined Homeboarders’ house.

During his time at the school, Furze threw himself into the Football and Cricket scene, earning House Colours in both sports. The Elizabethan contains some congratulatory comments about some of his performances:

“The start of the second half was sensational; the Visitors pressed; Carless cleared and sent out to Furze, who ran through the whole defence and scored with a beauty (2-1).” (1st November 1914 against Old Wykehamists).

He left the school in July 1914 and, in September, enlisted in the 18th (Service) Battalion (1st Public Schools) the Royal Fusiliers. He became a 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion (Reserve) The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in June 12, 1915, and went out to the western front attached to the 2nd Battalion in September 1915.

Furze was involved in the operations at Bucquoy in March 1917. He was killed while leading a night attack there on 14 March 1917. Following the unsuccessful British attacks, the Germans retired from Bucquoy.

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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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