Tag Archives: OTC

John Collinson Hobson

John Collinson Hobson was born on 27th August 1893. His parents were Thomas Frederick Hobson, a barrister, of Kensington, and Mary Innes, the daughter of John Borthwick Greig, of Hampstead, who was Writer to the Signet.

John’s elder brother, Frederick Greig Hobson, was up Grant’s between 1905 and 1910. John joined him at the school in September 1907, where he took part in the shooting, boxing, OTC, football and cricket teams.

At the meeting of the Debating Society on Friday 15th December 1912, John proposed the motion ‘that this House deplores the existence of a privileged social class’: “Mr. J. C. Hobson in a few faltering and somewhat incoherent periods pointed to the extremes of wealth and poverty. In every civilised country the wealthy classes were not only idle and luxurious but effete and barriers to all progress. He concluded a sentimental speech by a fervent appeal to the members of the Society ‘to slay the drones of the community, to push the demon of Wealth over the precipice back to the infernal abode from whence it came.’” The motion was lost by 7 votes to 13.

He was head of Grant’s over the uneventful year of 1911-12. In the house ledger, he summed up his first term as follows: “nothing of importance occurred this term. There does not seem to be much talent either for work or games in the house. But many of the younger people are promising. At least it appears there will be no big rows this year.” And his second term “was distinguished by the absence of influenza or any similar epidemic” and by the fact that “there were no rows of any quality”.

He was elected to Christ Church, Oxford in July 1912, and he matriculated in Michaelmas to study History.

He enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 12th (Service) Battalion, the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) on the 12th September 1914. After having been promoted to Lieutenant in February 1915, he went out to the western front in April 1915. He was attached to Machine Gun Corps, 116th Company in July 1916.

John was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres, on 31st July 1917, near St. Julien. His commanding officer later explained that John had been “selecting a position for his guns – deep in the German lines – when he was killed instantaneously by a German shell”.

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Harold Embleton Macfarlane

Harold Macfarlane was the elder son of Harold and Elizabeth Macfarlane. He was born in Harrow on 11th September 1898 and spent his early years at Mr Douglas Gould’s Preparatory School, The Briary, Westgate-on-Sea.

Both his father and his mother’s brother had been educated at Westminster, and Harold arrived at the school in September 1911. Like his father, the young Harold was a Home Boarder.

Whilst at the school, Harold represented his house at Cricket, Football, Fives and the OTC. Upon leaving the school in July 1916, he joined the army. He received his commission as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps on 27th February 1917. He was given his “wings” in May, and went out to the front in June.

Harold was only 18 when he was killed in France while testing a new machine on 14th July 1917.

His father, who died two years later, donated a photograph of Harold to the Imperial War Museum. He also gave them a hand-written biography, in which he describes:

“An all-round sportsman possessing a cheerful and optimistic disposition, he was beloved by all with whom he came in contact. His eighteen years of life were redolent with happy memories.”

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OTC

Field operations were arranged with Cranleigh on Thursday, March 9, but had to be postponed, owing to the area being under water, till Tuesday, April 4, when we may hope for better luck.

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Westminster in War Time

THE presence of some great military camp,with all its bustle and activity, may serve as aperpetual reminder to our contemporaries in thecountry or sleepy Cathedral towns of the crisisthrough which England is passing. In manycases matches are arranged between the campand the School, and the camp supplies the morehopeful side of this war ; the darker side is oftenrepresented by wounded and convalescentsoldiers in the sanatorium, who, however, arethemselves as a rule the least depressed ordiscouraging. There is, of course, everywhereto be noticed the extreme activity of the O.T.C.,but beyond the points we have mentioned thereis little in the country to make one realise thenearness and the greatness of the present war.

And are we more forcibly reminded ourselves? True, we have no great camp close by,no wounded in our Sanatoria, and the O.T.C.here can indulge in no frequent field-days. Butthere are other signs here in London which makeus proud to belong to the greatest of all cities ;we live well within range of the War Office, andthe Victoria Tower stands like a sentinel overthe Abbey and her children. Victoria Streetis ever on the alert with khakied forms of allranks, from the Tommy to the high Staff Officer.From Green thoughout the morning, and oftenthe afternoon too, proceed sounds denoting theinculcation of elementary drill into willingrecruits by patient sergeants of the LondonScottish, Queen’s Westminsters, and other(County of London) Battalions, The LondonRegiment (we cannot get out of the habit ofstrict Army List titles !).

Fields, too, bear ample witness of hard wearby Yeomanry and others, and are constantlypassing on that hard wear to the footballenthusiast, who cheerfully puts up with aground full of treacherous footholes of mud andnerve-racking patches where bricks seem tohave taken the place of soil. The hurried anteprandialvisit to the posters seems more thanever essential to liven up some noted pessimistwith a reported German disaster. And if BigBen, the School clock-tower, seem a trifle gloomyin his silence, yet good comes out of evil, andthe erratic Abbey clock affords an excellentexcuse for the late arrival in form. Even thesombre cloisters have their awakenings ; therewas a time when the giants of old would dovaliant battle in the milling green, but morefearsome than that is the sight of some graveprebend in the uniform of Chaplain to the Forces.

And the darker side of the war for us issupplied by the daily arrivals at the Westminster
Hospital, over which there flutters now, as overSt. Thomas’s across the water, the flag of theGeneva Cross. The darker side in a lightersense, as an Irishman might put it, is also forcedupon us nightly by the darkened streets, alongwhich, mirabile dictu, the traffic seems to fly atunslackened pace. The pitchy black is relievedin the early evening by the searchlights onVauxhall Bridge and elsewhere, reminding usthat if the much-talked-of Zeppelins do reachLondon, we within the Abbey precincts shall be
among the first to suffer.

And finally, if we cannot make a field-daya weekly fixture, the Westminster ContingentO.T.C., as is natural, no doubt, as is right, isworking at the highest pressure to fit for activeservice all whose time is coming to serve theirKing.

Taken from the Editorial to The Elizabethan, February 1915

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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,

QUEEN’S SCHOLAR.

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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