Tag Archives: India

Frank Charlton Jonas

Frank Jonas was a Rigaudite, joining the house in 1895 and leaving in 1898. After leaving the school he travelled to Copenhagen to study brewing and went on to become a manager of a branch brewery of Messrs. Miskin and Co. in India. In 1908 he married Maria, the only daughter of John Fell Swallow, of Mosborough Hall, Derbyshire. On the outbreak of war, he returned to England and joined the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps. He took a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Cambridgshire Regiment in October 1914. He went out to the Western Front in November 1916.

A Death Plaque to Frank Charlton Jonas, sold at auction in 2014

In July 1917 Jonas was commanding C company, whose soldiers were drawn from the Cambridgeshire towns of Whittlesey and Wisbech. They were in the second line of the advance that day and pushed past St Julien occupying captured bunkers – Jonas was sent with two platoons to occupy the bunker known as Border House and hold at all costs. They killed or captured the defenders and held it against successive counter attacks until ordered to withdraw. The party that remained at the end of the day was led by a Lewis gunner by the name of Private Muffett who declined to withdraw until he received written orders because those were the only conditions Jonas said that the position should be relinquished. Muffett had held the position by replenishing the drums for his Lewis gun from the contents of a knocked out Tank.

During the offensive, heavy rains and shelling destroyed the drainage system in the Ypres Salient, creating a swamp-like terrain. This meant that over 125,000 casualties, including Captain Jonas, were never found.

Jonas has two memorials in Duxford, the village where he lived with his wife in the old rectory and where his parents, George and Jane Jonas, owned a farm. The Duxford village memorial Celtic cross was unveiled in 1920 and can be found on the village green. The names on this memorial are ordered by rank and as Captain Jonas was the highest-ranking casualty from the village, he is listed at the top. There is also a plaque within Duxford Church. He has also been commemorated in Ely Cathedral on one of 16 painted oak panels in the Chapel of St George.

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Harry George Rodney Bowes-Scott

Harry Bowes-Scott was the only son of Henry Bowes-Scott and Alice Henrietta Rodney. He was born in Chelsea on 15th May 1887 and admitted to Ashburnham in September 1901. After he left the school in Easter 1903 he went to Calcutta, where he worked as a civil engineer for the new partnership Gillanders, Arbuthnot & Co.

There was a fairly strong Old Westminster community in India in the early 20th Century. There were about 80 OWW known or believed to be in India, of whom at least three quarters were either military men or civil servants. There was one OW, Sir Francis Maclean, Chief Justice of Bengal, who hosted reunion dinners every few years. Harry attended several of these dinners and after one of these occasions in December 1912, he wrote a short note to The Elizabethan saying that “although the attendance was small the dinner went off successfully and the usual toasts were as enthusiastically drunk as ever”.

On the 7th August 1915, Harry joined the Indian Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve of Officers. After nearly two months, he was attached to the 29th Punjabis. By March 1916, he was in German East Africa (now Tanzania).

On the morning of the 21st March, some members of the South African Horse had braved the deep and fast-flowing river Pangani and seized Kahe Hill. The Germans attacked the hill heavily in retaliation. The 2nd East African Brigade, including the 29th Punjabis, attempted to cross the Soko-Nissai River with its strong current and crocodile-infested waters. But an error in intelligence meant that the commander, S.H. Sheppard, had not realised that that river formed the main German defensive position.

Under heavy machine gun fire, Sheppard sent two companies of the 29th Punjabis across the river. Lieutenant Harry George Rodney Bowes-Scott and nine other people were killed and a further sixty-six were wounded.


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Wyndham John Coventry


Wyndham was at the school for barely two years, joining Ashburnham House in April 1902 and leaving in July 1904 at the age of 17.

He represented Ashburnham in the Senior House Match against Grant’s in 1904. The match was not going well for Ashburnham, when: ‘About this time Aglionby unfortunately put his finger out and was compelled to leave the field. Coventry took his place behind the wickets, and the change was not forhe better.’ But he had more success when the game resumed on Friday: ‘Coventry, the only batsman to offer any resistance, was last out for a plucky 23, after batting nearly an hour and a half.’ Wyndham was rewarded with House Colours at the end of the Season.

He came from a military family. His maternal grandfather, John Joseph Grinlinton had served in the Crimean campaign and was knighted in 1894. Therefore it is not surprising that Wyndham joined the army after leaving school. After passing out from Sandhurst in 1907 he joined the Indian Army. Here he excelled in horse riding and held the unique distinction of having won both Indian Cavalry Steeplechases (for horses and ponies) on the same day in 1914.

On the outbreak of war he left India with drafts for the Western front and worked as an observer in the Royal Flying Corps until June 1915. He was then recalled to his regiment in India and joined the expeditionary force to Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in July 1915. He took part in the battles of Kut and Ctesiphon and was mentioned in despatches by General Townshend for gallant and distinguished service in the field. He died on 1st January 1916 from wounds received in action at Ali Gharbi the previous day. His colonel wrote: ‘He is indeed a great loss to the regiment, and the Indian officers and men feel it as much as we do; we shall miss him very much’.

A memorial to Wyndham in Hampshire
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Arthur Guy Worthington

19150722_Worthington,AGDuring his time at the school, Worthington was a member of the Scientific Society and shortly before he left the school in December 1914, he read a paper to the society on ‘Insects and Disease’, which he “illustrated with a series of personal drawings”.

He was also in the Officer Training Corps and, in the February after leaving school, he sat the Sandhurst Examination. He took a high place on the lists and was sent to Northern India in April 1915 to the newly re-opened Cadet College in Quetta. Worthington was one of the first batch of 100 cadets to undertake a six month course to train to be a British Officer in the Indian Army.

The cadets’ working day was between 6am and 11pm, and included an intensive introduction to infantry and cavalry tactics, field engineering, map reading, musketry, sanitation and language instruction in Hindustani, along with drill and physical training.

Worthington was taking part in a routine Bathing Parade in a lake near Quetta on the 22nd of July, when he was accidentally drowned. The Commandant of the College wrote: “your son showed every prospect of becoming a good and useful officer. He was a most popular lad, and we are all most deeply grieved at the loss of a most promising young life on the threshold of its career.”

On the British Path├® website you can view footage of a First World War British Army Bathing Parade:http://www.britishpathe.com/video/bathing-parade

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John McAdam Craig

According to The Record of Old Westminsters John McAdam Craig was in Rigaud’s between 27th September 1900 and July 1905. However, following his death an Old Westminster wrote the following letter to The Elizabethan:

Passing through Dean’s Yard the other day, I noticed the Roll of Honour contained the name Lieut. J. M. Craig—followed by his regiment, and then-Rigaud’s. No mention whatever of his being a K.S. Surely the entry in the last column should be K.S. (Rigaud’s). I would not even allow Rigaud’s (K.S.). Any honour there may be in belonging to any particular house, or, indeed, in being an O.W. at all, is nothing compared with that of being a King’s Scholar. I only hope that the mistake was an oversight, but, remembering how the non-resident K. SS. were treated in my day, my hope is not very great. Mr. Craig was elected Q.S. at the last Challenge in Queen Victoria’s reign, and it is as a member of that same election that I make this appeal on his behalf. I am, Sir, Yours faithfully,


Our records show that Craig was indeed elected a Queen’s Scholar in 1900, but as he opted for a non-residential scholarship he was allocated to Rigaud’s House. Fewer and fewer pupils wished to board in College at this stage in the school’s history and although 40 boys sat The Challenge that year only 12 were prepared to become full Scholars.

As well as being a scholar, Craig was a talented sportsman. An early review of his footballing abilities in The Elizabethan noted that ‘though still very light, [he] playedin excellent style, and ought with care todevelop into a first-class centre half. This clearly was the case as Craig continued to playfootball for the school, earning full pinks and leading the Rigaud’s team to victory in the Inter-House competition two years running. He also played an active role in the Officer Training Corps and joined Sandhurst immediately after leaving the school.

Craig served in India before the war, arriving in Marseilles on 12th October 1914 with the 58th Rifles in the Indian division of the Expeditionary Force. Craig was in France for less than a month when he died from wounds received on 31st October at Bethune.

Craig is seated in the centre of the front row, holding on to the trophy.
Craig is seated in the centre of the front row, holding on to the trophy.
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