Tag Archives: Rigaud’s

Horace Clare Waterfield

Horace Clare Waterfield was born on the 12th April 1876 at East Sheen, Surrey. He was the son of Sir Henry Waterfield, and his first wife, Katharine Jane, daughter of George Edward Wilmot Wood. Horace came from a staunch Westminster Family; both his father and his maternal grandfather had attended the school before him, as did several other relatives, including his elder brother Richard and his younger brother Frederick. Horace was admitted to the school in September 1889 and joined Rigaud’s.

After leaving the school in April 1894, he won the Brown Scholarship to the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester. He was awarded a Gold Medal in 1896, and started work as a land agent in England.

He married Margaret Elspeth on the 25th June 1906. Margaret was the daughter of Colonel Edward William Creswell, R.E. They had at least one daughter, Jean Katherine Mita Waterfield and one son Donald Waterfield.

The family emigrated to Nakusp, British Columbia in around 1912, and Horace managed an apple ranch.

He enlisted as Lieutenant with the British Columbia Regiment, Canadian Infantry in October 1916, and went out to the western front in May 1917. He was wounded in action on 26th April 1918, and died in Etaples on the 5th of May.

His daughter remained in Nakusp, and married a Christopher Spicer, who established Spicer’s Farm. Horace’s twin granddaughters now continue the farming tradition in Arrow Lakes Valley.

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George Hepburn

George followed his elder brother into Westminster School, joining Rigaud’s in 1903.  He left the school at the end of the Election term, 1905, but returned again for the Lent and Election terms in 1906.  He played football for his house and for the school and, according to an article in The Elizabethan, whilst ‘hardly an ideal back, played many good games’.

On leaving the school he joined the Technical College in South Kensington and took a BSc. He then won a nomination to the Royal Engineers at Chatham in 1909 and was appointed first at Rosyth for a year, before entereing the Indian Public Works Department as an assistant engineer in 1911. He returned to England in May 1916 and joined the army, taking a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in July 1916. He went out to the western front in February 1917, serving with the 98th Field Company and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in January 1918. He was killed by a shell along with several other officers as they sat at mess.

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Eric Alfred Whitehead

Eric was the younger son of Alfred North Whitehead, a mathematician, philosopher and Fellow of the Royal Society and his wife Evelyn. He joined Rigaud’s House in April, 1914 and left the school two years later in 1917. Whilst Whitehead had a place to study at Balliol College, Oxford, he joined the Royal Flying Corps in the autumn of 1917. He went out to the western front in February 1918 where he was killed in action whilst on flying patrol.

Before the war the philosopher Bertrand Russell had been a close friend to the Whitehead family. However, contrasting attitudes towards the war pulled the friendship apart. Russell, a pacifist, opposed the British government and defended the rights of conscientious objectors. His actions ultimately led to his being imprisoned for several months in 1918.  The Whitehead family felt that the war was necessary to secure peace in Europe and all of Alfred North Whitehead’s children served in the war effort.  Eric’s death was a great loss to the family.

Alfred North Whitehead published a book An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge in 1919, which he had been working on since before the war. He dedicated to his son with the following words:

‘Killed in action over the Foret de Gobain giving himself that the city of his vision may not perish. The music of his life was without discord, perfect in its beauty’

Alfred North Whitehead
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Alexander John Maxwell Gordon

Alexander Gordon joined Westminster in 1907 and boarded in Rigaud’s House.  We do not know much about his first few years at the school.  In 1912 he took part in his houses’ Tug of War Team, weighing in at 11st, by the following year’s match, he had gained 10lb.  He was also part of the Officer Training Corps, obtaining the rank of Lance-Corporal whilst at the school and performing well at shooting matches.

When Gordon left the school in July 1913 and took up a place at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  However, shortly after the outbreak of war, he joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, a natural choice given the rifle practice he had had at school.  He took a commission at a 2nd Lieutenant in November and was promoted through the ranks, becoming a Captain in November 1916.  He went out to the western front in September 1917 and was killed in action at Moeuvres in November as part of the capture of Bourlon Wood.

Gordon was buried in Hermies Hill British Cemetery in France.  His death is recorded on a family memorial in Highgate Cemetery.

British infantry, having moved up into captured German trenches at Havrincourt, just south of Moeuvres and Bourlon, on 20th November 1917.
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Franklyn Theodore Rowland Rowlands

Franklyn Rowlands born in Torrington Cottage in Porthcawl on the South Wales coast on the 25th September 1898. He was the only son of His Honour Judge Rowland Rowlands and Mary, daughter of Gwilym Thomas. Franklyn’s parents were predominantly based in London because of his father’s work.

However, Franklyn continued to live in Porthcawl with his Uncle Charles, who was a law student and domestic nurse – and a rugby player. Franklyn eventually joined his parents in St John’ s Wood, and was recorded as living there by the 1911 census. But he continued to return home to Wales during the school holidays, staying with either his Uncle Charles, or his Grandfather Moses.

Franklyn arrived up Rigaud’s in May 1913. He was a keen sportsman. He was captain of the 2nd XI, and he earned his pink and whites in June 1916. He was on the winning Swimming team in July 1916.

Upon Franklyn’s leaving the school, the Head of Rigaud’s noted in the house ledger (written in July 1916):

“The most apt remark I can say about him is that:-

When he was good, he was very very good

But when he was bad, he was         .

He was a weak character, with a good heart. He meant well, but had strange fits of temper & coarseness. On the whole he was a great asset to the House in games & will be a sad loss now he has gone.”

He went on to RMC Sandhurst, and became 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, South Wales Borderers on the 1st of May 1917. He was attached to the 2nd Battalion and went out to the western front in October 1917. Only the following month, he was reported missing in action near Rumilly, Cambrai, France on the 21st November 1917.

The following notes were appended to the Head of Rigaud’s comments in the House Ledger:

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Edmund Davison

Edmund Davison’s first years at the school were spent in the shadow of his elder brother, Ralph, who was two years above him in Rigaud’s.  Once his brother had left, Edmund came into his own.  He excelled at sport, playing for the House team, initially described as a ‘useful and speedy half though not a polished player’.  He rose to the 2nd XI and finally appeared in the 1st XI in his final year at the school, receiving full pinks.  He won the 300 yard race at Athletic Sports, with a time of 36 2/5 seconds, leading most of the way and winning ‘fairly easily in average time’.

Edmund was particularly valued in the house as a recruiting sergeant for the Officer Training Corps, getting 14 boys to join in his first term alone.  He rose through the ranks here and ended his school career as the head of the school’s force, the Company Sergeant Major.  He was also appointed a monitor, Head of House and elected Head Town Boy.  His last at school was tinged with sadness though, as his elder brother was killed in action on 9th May 1915.

Edmund joined the army immediately upon leaving the school and took a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He was sent to the front with the 12th Battalion in June 1916 and invalided home wounded in October 1916.  Upon his recovery, he returned to the front in July 1917.  His death was reported in The Elizabethan:

Mr. DAVISON, the youngest son of Mrs. Davison, of Gordon Square, was at the School from April 1910 to Christmas 1915. His loss is much regretted by the present generation, who remember his zeal and efficiency as an Officer of the Corps. He was wounded soon after going to the Front, but recovered and returned. We have before had to record the death of his elder brother, and we feel deeply for his widowed mother in her heavy loss.

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Eric James Walrond Hughes

Sadly, we know very little about the life of Eric James Walrond Hughes.  He was born on 25th Februrary, 1892, the only son of the Rev. James Hughes, LL.D., Vicar of St. John with St. Paul, Battersea and Ethelhina Walrond, daughter of Francis Walrond Middleton Abadam, of Middleton Hall, co. Carmarthen.  He joined Riguad’s House in January 1903 and left the school in July 1907.  He then became a clerk in the office of the Asiatic Petroleum Company and was sent to Hankow (now romanised as Hankou), China in 1912.

He returned home in 1915 to enlist and initially served as a Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, going out to the Western Front in February 1916.  He was made an acting Captain in July 1917 and commanded the 154th Machine Gun Company.  He was killed in action at Poelcapelle, Flanders on 20th September.  He died unmarried.

The ruins of Poelcapelle (Poelkapelle) main road into Poelcapelle from Langemarck (Langemark-Poelkapelle), 13th September 1917. Photograph taken under close German observation. Copyright: © IWM.

 

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Thomas George May

May joined Homeboarders’ in May 1906 but migrated up Rigaud’s during his time at the school. He was athletic and was awarded pinks in his final year at the school, following a football match against Winchester. We know he weighted 11st 3lb at that time was he also took part in the final of the Inter-House Tug of War, losing to his former house. He left school in July 1909.

He started his career as a tea and rubber planter in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and on the outbreak of war enlisted with the Ceylon contingent. He served in Egypt and Gallipoli and went to France in 1916. He returned to England that year and was appointed a temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the newly created Machine Gun Corps.

The experience of fighting in the early clashes and in the First Battle of Ypres had proved that the machine guns required special tactics and organisation. The Machine Gun Corps was formally established in October 1915.

In February 1917 May went out again to France. He was killed in action near Ypres, Flanders during the Battle of Passchendaele.

Two machine gunners of the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps siting a barrage position with a prismatic compass and a range finder, Battle of Passchendaele, 1917. (IWM)
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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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Norman Victor Lewis

Norman Victor Lewis was born on the 12th March 1895. His father, Victor Erskine Lewis, was well known in the theatrical world. His mother, Edith, was of Scottish descent; her father came from Linlithgow. Norman was their only son and they sent him to Westminster in 1909.

He was in Rigaud’s house until 1912, when he left the school for Johannesburg to work as a clerk in the Standard Bank of South Africa. On the 11th March 1915 — at the age of 20 — Norman joined the 12th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant. The following May, he was transferred to the 15th Service Battalion, and then sent to France.

Norman was killed in action at Beaumont Hamel, in the attack near Serre, on 13th November 1916. An eye-witness who survived that battle — Private A. F. MacPherson — wrote in his diary of the early morning attack: “we woke before the time and waited for the bombardment. It came all of a sudden like the long roll of drums, the individual sound of the explosions being merged in one long continuous rumble; appalling to hear. One moment all had been quiet – the next everything was dominated by the crashing rumble of the guns. It was hard to believe that human beings could live through such a whirlwind of fire.”

19161113_Lewis,NV

Norman is commemorated on his parents’ grave at Kensal Green Cemetery, in the London Borough of Brent, with words from the hymn Lead, Kindly Light.

And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

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