Tag Archives: Queen’s Scholar

George Hall Stack

George Stack was the son of Richard Stack, an Irish physician. He was born in 1879 and joined Westminster School in 1893. He was admitted as a Queen’s Scholar and remained with the school for a year, before leaving in April 1894. Little is known of his time at the school, and it is not until he joined the military in 1898 do firm records of his life begin.

He enrolled in the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and remained there for three years, finishing his military training and leaving in 1901. Stack became Lieutenant in 1901, and served in South Africa for two years. He was then involved in fighting during the Great War, having gained the rank of Captain in June 1907.

Throughout his time on the front he continued to climb the ranks for the British Forces, becoming Major in 1915 and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in 1917. This final rank was awarded to him only partially, the word ‘Brevet’ signalling that he had earned the rank through gallantry and bravery in the field, but did not have the authority of a Lieutenant-Colonel.

Stack is mentioned several times in despatches, primarily during 1916 and 1917. In 1917 he was wounded, yet no records indicate whether he was invalided home or rested at a military field hospital.

Once more there is a gap in the records, and tragically we hear no more of George Stack until 1919. It was this year that he passed away, losing his life in Gaza in September 1919. How he came to be there, and what his role was in this capacity is unknown, as is the manner in which he died.

‘’Ruins of Gaza’ painted in 1919 by Sydney W. Carline.
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Archibald Henry Hogarth

Archibald Hogarth was born in June 1877, and had a medical career spanning many decades, both as part of the British military and as a civilian. He attended Westminster School 1891-1896, and although he began his school life as a Town Boy in Ashburnham, Hogarth became a Queen’s Scholar just one year after joining Westminster. He was a keen footballer, and took an active role in the Football Eleven. He attended Christ Church after leaving Westminster, studying psychology.

From here he undertook a Doctor of Medicine and completed his studies in 1908. He worked extensively in the public field, working for Lancashire County Council in the Education Department, the Port of London Sanitary Authority and Buckinghamshire Council, where he was Medical Officer of Health.

While an undergraduate he served with the Oxfordshire Yeomanry during the South African War, during which he earned a D.C.M (Distinguished Conduct Medal). At the outbreak of World War 1 he became a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and went to Flanders September of the that same year. He took part in the Battle of Ypres, and remained in the trenches until invalided in 1915.

After a further period of service in France, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Director Medical Services in England, and was swiftly promoted to the rank of Major. He returned to active duty and worked with prisoners of war in Switzerland during 1917, before joining the Royal Air Force in 1918. As part of the Royal Air Force medical team he was sent across the globe, working in the Mediterranean, Egypt, Salonica, and Palestine. At Lemnos he fought for a time almost singlehanded against a devastating outbreak of influenza, and was awarded a Military O.B.E for his work.

He returned to Buckinghamshire in April 1919, but fell ill shortly afterwards. After a lengthy battle with illness, attributed to both fatigue and constant exposure to disease during World War 1, he died on 5th September, 1919.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal, earned by Hogarth in 1919.
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Manley Frederic Ashwin

Manley Frederic Ashwin, taken from his years as a vicar.

Manley Frederic Ashwin was born on 2nd July 1887 and was the son of a vicar. He attended Dulwich School prior to studying at Westminster, and successfully undertook the Challenge. He was admitted as a Queen’s Scholar in 1901. He left the school three years later, joining Pembroke College Cambridge and remaining there until 1909. In 1910, he followed in his father’s footsteps and was ordained, becoming Curate to the Pembroke College Mission in Surrey. In 1913, he married Marjorie Edith Morgan, who remained with him throughout his life.

He completed his Master’s Degree the following year, although from the start of the war there are limited documents pertaining to his role in military service.  Records indicate he was a member of the Artists Rifles, like many Old Westminsters before him. As a member of the Artists Rifles he was a private, but beyond this it is difficult to trace the details of his role in service. He died of influenza on 19th December 1918, and is buried at Highgate Cemetery in London.

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Francis Ingleby Harrison

Francis Ingleby Harrison was born in Underwood House, Hornsey Lane, Islington on 27th April 1883. He was the son of Reverend John James Harrison, R.N., of Highgate, and Louisa Edith, daughter of the Rev. Frederick William Darwall, Vicar of Sholden, Kent. His father was a Chaplain and Naval Instructor.

Francis was admitted to the school as a Queen’s Scholar in September 1897. He was an keen sportsman, and earning Pinks in Football and Cricket. Of his performance at Football, The Elizabethan notes:

He was elected to an exhibition at Christ Church, Oxford in 1902, but he left the University in 1904 to read for the Civil Service. He travelled to Ceylon, where he worked as a tea planter for a time. Then he went to manage a rubber property in Malaya.

He returned to England in 1915 to join the O.T.C. and enlisted as 2nd Lieutenant 3rd Battalion (Reserve) the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment in November. He went out to the western front in August 1916. In 1917, he was promoted to Lieutenant, and then was transferred to Italy in December. He returned to France in April 1918 and was Acting Captain, when he took gunshot wounds to the right thigh and foot, left arm and right foot. He was rushed to the 39th Stationary Hospital, but died there on 8th May 1918.

The 39th Stationary Hospital, Ascq, September 1919 (Art.IWM ART 3746)
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John Herbert Williams

John Herbert Williams was in his late 50s when the First World War broke out.  He had a well-established career as a Barrister and Judge, he was appointed a reporter on the staff of the Law Reports in 1911, and was one of the editors of ‘Smith’s Leading Cases,’ brought out several editions of ‘Goodeve’s Personal Property’ and collaborated in a book on ‘The Law of Ejectment.’

Williams had been successful at school, joining Grant’s in 1869 and passing the Challenge in 1872.  He remained a Queen’s Scholar at the school until 1876, when he was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge with the prestigious Triplett Scholarship.  He was athletic at the school and rowed in the 1st VIII and played for the football 1st XI

Anxious to take a share in war service, he applied for and received a commission and went to France to take up the appointment.  He was then 60 years of age.  Soon after arriving in France he was taken ill and invalided home.  He died in the war hospital at Reading.

Williams is almost certainly in this photograph of the Westminster VIII of 1876. Unfortunately, the caption and photograph has been damaged so we are unable to tell which he is.
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Frank Street

19160707_Street,FFrank Street attended Westminster School as a Queen’s Scholar from 1884-1889. Street was a talented sportsman at school and beyond. He played Association Football for Oxford, captaining the team in 1893. He also played cricket for Essex in 1897 and 1898. On leaving university he decided to be a teacher, working at Bury St. Edmunds School, Forest School and finally settling at Uppingham from 1900.

On 22nd April 1911 he married, at the age of 40, Marian Greenhill. On the outbreak of war he was faced with a difficult decision. Should he remain as a teacher and stay at Uppingham with his wife, or join up? In spite of being four years over the enlistment age, he decided it was his duty to go to war. He joined the 18th (Service) Battallion Royal Fusiliers in September 1914.

He had risen to the rank of Lieutenant when he led the men of the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers over the top at Mash Valley near Ovillers on the Somme on 7th July 1916. They captured two German lines but as Street was clearing woodland and trenches between them, he was shot by a sniper.

The Uppingham School magazine included a moving epitaph:

The loss of Frank Street is one that cannot be repaired. Street was the best type of man we cannot afford to lose — the unselfish Englishman.

So fine an athlete might have been allowed some conscious pride in his prowess; but love of skill, keenness for a side, were the only instincts that inspired Street. In school…boys learnt to know and admire the same examples.

Never morose, never touchy, his humour ever ready, typical English, free from ‘swank’ of any kind. These were the reasons why he was so universally popular”

He achieved excellence from a high sense of duty; and the claims of his duty he had recognised long before the outbreak of war made them dawn upon the minds of present day patriots. His failings, if such they can be called, were modesty and the lack of personal ambition…[but] for him we feel no regrets; his life was fine, and his death a brave Englishman’s.

…Before the advance, he kept his men in hand under a heavy shell fire. We know the sort of encouragement he would have given, and almost seem to hear the words…

…Never a braver soldier fell, never was mourned a dearer friend…at the school from which he flew to arms his noble name will never die.

Street’s body was never found. His name is on memorials at Thiepval, Westminster School and St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Uppingham.

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Percival Ernest Knapp

Percival Ernest Knapp attended Westminster school for over four years. He was admitted as a Queen’s Scholar and, whilst academically very able, came from a military family as was destined for a career in the army. During his time at school he was a keen debater and The Elizabethan records him speaking ‘in a very concise form’ against a motion to uphold the powers of the House of Lords. He also excelled at football as he was ‘very fast’ and ‘had a wonderful knack of getting round the backs’.

He left school in December 1892 and entered military training at Sandhurst. He served the army in India, seeing action in the Tirah campaign in 1897-8 and at the Battle of Peking in 1900 which followed the Boxer rebellion. He received medals from both conflicts. By 1912 he had been promoted to the rank of Major.

On the outbreak of war, Knapp served in Egypt but moved to fight in the Mesopotamia campaign in November 1915. He was killed in action at the Battle of Sheikh Sa’ad in an attack on the Ottoman Army.

19160107_Knapp,PE
Indian soldiers at the Battle of Sheikh Sa’ad
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Winfield Joyce Bonser

Winfield Bonser was born in Singapore and was admitted to as a Queen’s Scholar in January 1900. In his second term, he competed as a member of the College tug-of-war team, weighing 10st 3lb. He also took part in Cricket and Football, and was a member of the Debating Society.

As a Scholar, Bonser was amongst the Westminster pupils invited to the Coronation of King Edward VII on 9th August 1902, where he would have joined in the tradition of shouting “Vivat Rex!” The Coronation Song Book for the service describes how “these vociferous exclamations have been incorporatedÔǪ in a somewhat novel manner, as the Westminster boys, stationed aloft, sing their enthusiastic manifestations of loyalty”. The Captain of the King’s Scholars at the time, G.T. Boag, was unimpressed with such novelty, reporting in The Captain’s Book that “the acclamations for some unearthly reason were set to music and stuck into the midst of an anthem.”

After leaving the School, Bonser was admitted as a pensioner to Christ’s College Cambridge in October 1904, and became a scholar in November 1906. He achieved a 1st Class in the Classical Tripos, and went on to train as a barrister. He was called to the bar at Inner Temple on 28th June 1911. On the outbreak of war, he joined the Inns of Court OTC, and received a commission in the Rifle Brigade in September 1914.

Over the course of the next six months, Bonser rose through the ranks, becoming a Captain the following March. In July 1915, he went out to the western front, landing in Boulogne.

The day before Bonser died, the battalion moved out of their billets in Laventie. He was killed in action at Fauquissart, near Estaires, on the first day of the Battle of Loos.

19150926_Bonser

 

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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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