Tag Archives: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Archibald Gordon

Archibald Gordon was the younger son of William Edward Gordon, a barrister and his wife Bertha.  He followed his brother into the school becoming a King’s Scholar in September 1911.

The Elizabethan noted that ‘although of small stature, he was a vigorous athlete, beginning as a cricketer but later going to Water.’ The topic of sport obviously interested him and he spoke at the Debating Society when the motion ‘That in the opinion of this House Athletics in time of peace are a good training for War’ was discussed in 1915.  He is recorded as having ‘made a bitter attack on professional footballers and their supporters, who flocked to see them play. He considered that professional football was not a game, but merely a financial concern which was now acting as a serious hindrance to recruiting.’

He left the school in April 1916 and after briefly working as an assistant master at Temple Grove School, Eastbourne he became a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.  He took on the role as Observer in the Royal Navy in March 1917.  In June, he left England to serve in the Naval Air Service and drowned in the Mediterranean while on active service patrol.

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Guy Proudfoot Cooke

Thought to be an image of Guy Proudfoot Cooke from a collection of photographs belonging to Thomas Otto Hartshorn, Able Bodied Seaman

Guy Proudfoot Cooke was at Westminster School for a relatively short period of time having joined Ashburnham House in 1909 from Uppingham School. His father was a solicitor and at the age of 16 he left the school to enter his father’s office. He was articled to him in March, 1913 and in the same month signed up as aRoyal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

On the outbreak of war he was called up and as a leading seaman took part in the operations at Antwerp in October, 1914. He was promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the Nelson Battalion that winter and in the following year went out as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to attack the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The forces landed on 25th April but struggled to get a hold on the peninsula. What happened next is recorded inThe Despatch of General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force:


‘On the night of May 2nd a bold effort was made to seize a commanding knoll [known as Baby 700] in front of the centre of the line. The enemy’s enfilading machine guns were too scientifically posted, and 800 men were lost without advantage beyond the infliction of a corresponding loss to the enemy.’

Guy Proudfoot wasreported missing the following morning but it seems clear that he was killed in action in this battle. His body was never recovered. His 1914 Star,a campaign medal for service in France or Belgium between 5 August and 22 November 1914, was issued to his father in June 1919.

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