Soldier Profiles

“The School will always keep their memory green.” Mr Arnison, Headmaster 1905-1933

 The Royal Grammar School has long recognised the sacrifice made by Old Boys and Masters of the school in a service carried out around the time of Remembrance Sunday. The memorials displayed in the Queen’s Hall commemorate the loss of some 41 Old Boys and Masters during the First World War and beyond.

In recognition of this sacrifice and in conjunction with the Year 9 History curriculum a project has been carried out by boys currently at the school to research into the lives of the men who once graced the corridors of RGS and then went on to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Some of the boys’ discoveries have been illuminating. Of the 41 boys who died between 1914 – 1918 over half have no known grave, with the memorials and cemeteries commemorating their loss scattered across the globe.

A map illustrating the geographical separation of these graves can be found at the link below and shows that the spread of countries include England, France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Gallipoli, Palestine, Iraq and India.

Find the grave locations of our World War 1 casualties    with this link to Google Maps

  • Avery Open or Close
    Surname AVERY
    First Names Frederick, John
    Rank Rifleman   S/13933
    Regiment Rifle Brigade   3rd Battalion
    Died 21 Mar 1918 
    Age 26
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Flanders
    Buried Cemetery, Aisne, France 
    Grave reference A.7
    RGS 1908 - 1911  


    What we know about him:


    He was twenty six years old, and a Rifleman in the Rifle Brigade   3rd Battalion, He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Avery, Beechgrove Farm, Bledlow Ridge, killed in action, 21st March 1918.

    He died on the first day of the 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle). Also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, this was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914. The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming human and material resources of the United States could be deployed. They also had the temporary advantage in numbers afforded by nearly 50 divisions freed by the Russian surrender.

    He was the 30th RGS casualty of the great war.

    Researched by Sharjeel Ahmad


  • Bliss Open or Close
    Surname BLISS
    First Names Arthur
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment ‘C’ Coy, 4th Bn, Royal Army Medical Corps and Leinster Regiment
    Died 9th Sept 1916
    Age 28
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed France & Flanders
    Buried Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
    Grave reference 4C
    RGS 1895-1902 Photo of Arthur Joseph Bliss

    What we know about him:

    He was twenty eight years old, and a temporary Second Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment during the First World War and then he was in The Royal Army Medical Corps.

    He was most likely to be killed in the Battle of Ginchy which was part of the first Battle of the Somme (1 July-18 November 1918).

    It was launched in advance of the main September offensive (battle of Flers-Courcelette), to push the British front line nearer to the main German defences, which ran to the north of the village.

    Researched by Oliver Knightley

  • Brooks Open or Close
    Surname BROOKS
    First Names Reginald St Georg
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment 97th Bde, Royal Field Artillery
    Died 26 September 1915
    Age 25
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos
    Grave reference VI.F.2
    RGS 1904-1905  

    What we know about him:
    There is not much information on Brooks and it is unknown why he is also the only WW1 casualty from the Royal Grammar School who doesn’t have a picture.

    Reginald Brooks was born on the 15 January 1890 and his parents were stockbrokers in Middlesex. His parents last known address was at St Swiths, Sidney Rd, Staines. The location of Brooks’ memorial is at The Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. It is believed that Brooks fought in The Battle of Loos as he is buried in Loos.

    He was at the school from 1904 to 1905, a boarder, and at the outbreak of war was in Rhodesia. In his last winter he was stationed in Wycombe with his Brigade.

    Researched by Hasan Arif 9S

  • Coles Open or Close
    Surname COLES
    First Names Herbert, W
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment ‘A’ Coy, 2nd Bn, Rifle Brigade
    Died 18th November 1917
    Age 19
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Tyne Cot Memorial. Zonnebeke, Belgium
    Grave reference Panel 145-7
    RGS 1909-1913 Picture of H. Coles

    What we know about him:
    Herbert Coles was nineteen years old, and a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade when he was killed in action. Son of Frank and Gertrude Edith Coles, H. Coles joined the Artists’ Rifles at the age of 18 and was drafted to a battalion of the Rifle Bridge only a few weeks after leaving the O.C.U. Little is known of his death although a potential story is shown in an extract from the Old Wycombiensian.

    A letter from the Colonel commanding his Battalion says that he must have been blown up by a shell on his way back to Company Headquarters to report the establishment in the line of his platoon, which had just taken over a sector. "Although your son," he writes to Mr. Coles, "had only been with us a short time; he had proved himself a very efficient officer, and was greatly respected by all his brother officers and men, and we were all very sorry to hear that he was missing.”

    Little is known of his school life. After leaving however in 1913, he was employed by the Great Western Railway Company before the war. His brother also fought in the war, and was with the Middlesex Regiment, fighting in India.

    Researched by Sam Kaner

  • Eccles, Henry Open or Close
    Surname ECCLES
    First Names Henry
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
    Died 28th Feb.1917
    Age 30
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed Greece
    Buried Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece
    Grave reference B.235
    RGS 1896-1900  

    What we know about him:
    Henry Eccles was the brother of Joseph Eccles, the 12th RGS boy to die during WW1.

    They were both killed in action serving with the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry although Henry received a commission and was killed in Salonika.

    His parents were William & Elizabeth Caroline Eccles. His father worked as a paper works manager at Glory Mills.

    Researched by Jordan Broatch

  • Eccles, J.B. Open or Close
    Surname ECCLES
    First Names Joseph Blackburn
    Rank Lance Corporal
    Regiment Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 1/1st Bucks Battalion
    Died 23 August 1916
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed France, Flanders
    Buried Thiepval Memorial
    Grave reference Pier & Face 10A & 10D
    RGS 1904-1908 Photo of J.B. Eccles

    What we know about him:

    JB Eccles was born on 08 Mar 1896 in Wooburn Green. He was then baptised at 02 Jun 1897 High Wycombe Wesleyan Church.

    Although we do not know his pre-war occupation, we know that Eccles was born to William & Elizabeth Caroline Eccles, who were paper works managers at Glory Mills. They lived in Wooburn Green.

    He is the brother of Henry Eccles, also killed in WW1, and they have a family headstone at High Wycombe Cemetery.

    Researched by Henry Wright 9CG

  • Evans Open or Close
    Surname EVANS
    First Names Edgar
    Rank Private 19773
    Regiment Coldstream Guards 1st Battalion
    Died 27th March 1918
    Age 19
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.
    Grave reference Bay 1
    RGS 1909-1913 Photo of Edgar Evans

    What we know about him:

    He was the son of James & Clara Evans (a chair maker) before the war he was an apprentice in a chair factory. He lived on Victoria St, High Wycombe.

    Edgar James Evans served with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. He was killed in the Battle of Rosières (a German offensive).

    He died on the 27th March during the 2nd day of the battle.

    Researched by Alastair Butler 9S

  • Fane Open or Close
    Surname FANE
    First Names Dennis
    Rank Private
    Regiment East Surrey East SurreyRegiment 7th Battalion
    Died 3rd May 1917
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed  
    Buried Arras Memorial
    Grave reference Bay 6
    RGS 1908 - 1911  

    What we know about him:

    Dennis Fane was born on the 15th August 1896 in High Wycombe. He was the son of Aubrey J & Alice Fane and the brother of Victor Fane.

    His Father was a postman, formerly chair maker and since 1901 they lived on 81 Desborough Road, High Wycombe.

    Before Dennis joined the army he was a cabinet maker.

    Researched by Oli Morris 9CG

  • Gardner, Basil Open or Close
    Surname GARDNER
    First Names Basil Ronald Leslie
    Rank Private
    Regiment Heavy Branch, D Bn Machine Gun Corps
    Died 11th April 1917
    Age 22
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Arras Mémorial, Pas de Calais, France
    Grave reference Bay 10
    RGS 1906-1912 Private Basil Gardner

    What we know about him:
    Private Basil Gardner was 22 and part of D Battalion in the Machine gun Corps fighting near the coast in France. He was enlisted in Coventry, Warwickshire and was born on the 14th May 1895. His father, George was a retired ironmonger and his mother, Caroline did not work. The family home was Thornton House in High Wycombe, where basil grew up and before being enlisted was where he was an apprentice at a local motor company.

    Private Gardner fought on the western front at the Battle of Arras in the Tank Corps and was reported missing in the first battle of Bullecourt. At this battle the Tank Corps deployed eleven Mark II tanks, and due to misleading reports about the extent of the gains made by the Australians the Germans found it very easy to counter attack. They used a tactic known as ‘Elastic defence’ making their counterattacks very effective. It was because of this that the Germans were able to secure two of the British tanks. Of these two tanks one of them contained Private Gardner; any exact details on how he died are still unknown. And as far as records go he was posted missing in action in Vol 4 of the Wycombiensian, however newer sources have confirmed that Private Basil Gardner lost his life and is now commemorated on the Arras memorial in France. Researched by Ross Wilson 9CG

  • Hill Open or Close
    Surname Hill
    First Names Henry, Hamp
    Rank Captain
    Regiment 11th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own)
    Died 8th March 1916
    Age 19
    Cause of Death Died of wounds
    Country where killed France
    Buried Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France
    Grave reference IX.C.1
    RGS 1906-1911  

    What we know about him:

    He was 19 when he died of wounds in France which he received after being shot in No-Man’s Land.

    He entered the RGS in November 1906, and left in September 1914, when he was commissioned straight into the 11th West Yorkshire Regiment.
    During his time at the RGS he captained the 1st XI team through the football seasons in 1912-13 and 1913-14, and was Sports Champion for two successive years, 1913-14. He was also high up in the “Fives” championship.

    His school record showed great promise, and he went onto gain an Intermediate Scholarship in 1912, and in the same year passed the Oxford Junior Locals with first class honors. He passed the Senior Examination in the next year and the London Matriculation in January, 1914. He was also looking for a University Scholarship in Mathematics at the outbreak of the war.

    Hill was in the Officer’s Training Corps from the start, was present at four Camps, and was a most energetic and capable Platoon Sergeant. In March, 1914, he passed the Examination for Certificate “A”, and was posted direct to his unit from the Corps in September. Promotion in the Service came very quickly for Hill, and by March, 1915, he was a Captain at the young age of 18.

    The Wycombiensian records that he returned while on leave to the school in February 1916 and gave a talk to the boys on his experiences in the trenches. He died of wounds just a month later.

    Researched by Ali Ibn-Munir 9S

  • Gates Open or Close
    Surname GATES
    First Names Douglas Leslie
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment Suffolk Regiment 1st Battalion
    Died 1st October 1915
    Age 23
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais
    Grave reference Panel 37 and 38
    RGS 1902-08 Douglas Leslie Gates

    What we know about him:

    Douglas Leslie Gates was born in Hornsey, Middlesex, on March 21st 1892 to Edward and Mary Gates, a peat merchant and a steamship agent. We must assume he was a boarder at RGS. Before the war he was a land agent. He lived on 32 Dukes Avenue, Muswell Hill, and London.

  • Gotch Open or Close
    Surname GOTCH
    First Names Geoffrey William
    Rank Lieutenant
    Regiment Royal Air Force
    Died 22nd October 1918
    Age 22
    Cause of Death Influenza (Spanish flu) while on leave
    Country where died England
    Buried High Wycombe Cemetery.
    Grave reference 291
    RGS 1907-1909  

    What we know about him:

    Born 18th November 1895 in Japan and went to English Mission School, Kobe, Japan. He then moved to England and went to Berkhamsted Collegiate School before going to RGS in 1907. His parents were Frederic Whitaker & Emily Harsant Gotch; they were tea merchants and lived in Bedford House, London Road, and High Wycombe.
    At RGS, he was awarded second XI colours and first XI colours for cricket, and he represented East in the House cricket matches. He also played football for the RGS ‘A’ team and played rugby.
    Gotch started in the Honourable Artillery Company in London, as second lieutenant, this is a territorial company so he was probably a banker. Early in 1914, with the 1st Battalion Infantry, he saw varied service with the battalion through that anxious winter. In the next year he was wounded and gassed.
    In 1916 he passed the test for the Indian Army, but as there was no opening for the Artillery in that service he was put in the Royal Garrison Artillery. In 1917, after six months with the R.G.A Gotch took to the air and qualified as an observer. He returned to England to qualify for his Pilot's "wings" when he caught Spanish Flu and died soon afterwards at home.

    The pandemic of 1918 caused three waves of disease. The second of these, between September and December 1918, resulting in the heaviest loss of life. It is thought that the virus may have played a role in ending the Great War as soldiers were too sick to fight, and by that stage more men on both sides died of flu than were killed by weapons. Although most people who were infected with the virus recovered within a week following bed rest, some died within 24 hours of infection.

    Researched by Sam Williams 9S

  • Gardner, JB Open or Close
    Surname GARDNER
    First Names Jack Copestake
    Rank Lance Corpral
    Regiment C Coy, 9th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment
    Died 14th February 1916
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Killed In Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Menin Road South Mil Cem, YpresRef
    Grave reference Plot I Row H grave 1
    RGS 1907 - 1909  

    His Parents, John Martin Gardner and Matilda Axten Gardner lived at 21, Roberts Rd., High Wycombe. Previous to World War One Gardner made a living as a furniture shop assistant. His parent’s occupations were a pawn broker and a jeweller’s manager. On the day of his death the Entente powers made a declaration guaranteeing to Belgium their eventual independence.

    J.C Gardner only attended RGSHW for two years but in that time he took part in many extra-curricular sports and clubs and represented the school many times. He played as centre-back for the school football team and also played cricket for the school. He lived in High Wycombe his whole life.

    Researched b y Joel Fryer 9CG

  • Hicks Open or Close
    Surname HICKS  
    First Names William Ewen
    Rank Private
    Regiment Rough Riders, City of London Yeomanry
    Died 22 August 1915
    Age 17
    Cause of Death Died of wounds
    Country where killed Gallipoli
    Buried Helles Memorial, Turkey
    Grave reference Panel 20
    RGS 1910-1912  

    What we know about him:
    He was seventeen years old, the youngest RGS boy to join the war. He was recruited by the “Rough Riders” Yeomanry Regiment. The unit had originally been formed in 1900 as the 20th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, and designated for service in the Second Boer War. The battalion's adopted nickname of the "Rough Riders" was taken from the US cavalry regiment that fought in the Spanish-American War.
    He was killed in action at Gallipoli in the Battle of Scimitar Hill. (August 22nd). He served in the O.T.C. from 1910 to 1912, and was serving in the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders) at the time of his death.Gallipoli was one of the Allies great disasters in World War One. Gallipoli was the plan thought up by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new front that the Central Powers would have to divert resources to deal with. Researched by Mehul Vij 9CG

  • Humphrey Open or Close
    Surname HUMPHREYS  
    First Names William
    Rank Private
    Regiment 4th Bn, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
    Died 20 February 1919
    Age 19
    Cause of Death Spanish Flu ?
    Country where killed England
    Buried Monks Risborough (St. Dunstan) Churchyard
    Grave reference D.205 eastern boundary
    RGS 1909-1913  

    What we know about him:

    William was born on 23rd February 1899 in Owlswick. William’s father was a farmer called George Humphreys. His mother was called Clara Louisa. He was nineteen years old, and a private in the 4th Battalion, The Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. William Humphreys actually died after the war, in England, most likely of Spanish Flu. A massive Pandemic during that time.

    The 1918 flu pandemic was a bird flu. It spread through the world killing between 50 million and 100 million people. The flu did not actually start in Spain. Spain was a neutral country in World War I so it did not need to censor its news. This meant that nearly all news reports of the disease came from Spain.

    Researched by Jethro Reeve 9CG

  • Keen Open or Close
    Surname KEEN  
    First Names Leonard, Gregory
    Rank Private 74069
    Regiment Devonshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
    Died 26th May 1918
    Age 18
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France
    Grave reference Soissons Memoria
    RGS 1910 - 1914 Leonard Keen

    Leonard's body was never found but he believed to have been killed in action surrounding the Bois de Buttes battle, in which the 2nd Devon’s fought to virtually the last man and held back a large German offensive long enough for reserves to be brought forward.

    Keen’s regiment was uniquely awarded the ‘Croix de Guerre’, the highest French award for bravery in battle, an example of which is still worn by The Rifles in memory of this regimental Battle Honour.

    Researched by Nigel Koleth 9S

  • Leys Open or Close
    Surname LEYS  
    First Names Colin, McLaren
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
    Died 15th Sep 1916
    Age 22
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
    Grave reference Pier & Face 2C
    RGS 1905-1911  

    What we know about him:

    Enlisted August 1914 and was Gazetted May 1915. Formerly of the London Regiment (Queens Westminster Rifles) before his commission. His previous job before the war was as a clerk at the Royal Mail steam packet Co. Colin McLaren Leys was part of the Bedfordshire Regiment that eventually took Thiepval. Unfortunately he died on the day the offensive gained some of its most important ground. This was also during the battle that tanks and aeroplanes were used in conjunction for the first time.

    Colin sent a letter home which was put in to the Wycombiensian. He wrote about the Christmas truce in 1914:

    “…after a bit we came to a group of men talking together, and found they were composed of previous deadly enemies! We shook hands and exchanged cigarettes.”

    Leys gave money to the school to help build the Fives Courts and also to help level out and labour the grounds. He was also a part of the football team and played as a striker.

    Researched by Sahir Qureshi 9CG

  • Morgan Open or Close
    Surname MORGAN  
    First Names Idris Aneurin
    Rank Captain
    Regiment South Wales Borderers 11th Battalion
    Died 17 Apr 1918
    Age 28
    Cause of Death Killed In Action (shell fragment)
    Country where killed France
    Buried Meteren Military Cemetery
    Grave reference II.N.343
    RGS 1912-1914  

    What we know about him: He was in the 11th Batallion, South Wales Borderers where he was a Captain. At his time at the RGS he was part of the staff from when he started in 1912 to when he enlisted in the army in 1914 at the start of the war. At the RGS he was very popular and was very athletic, he was an invaluable asset because he represented Wales in international hockey matches.

    Hockey wasn’t his only talent. There is an account in the old wycombiensian which tells us of how he got a “valuable” 45 runs which helped RGS win at cricket. He was born in Llanganten, Brecon, Wales and he was the son of two retired farmers Alfred Phillips & Alma Morgan. He was to be married to Miss Gladys Crampton after the war.
    Captain Morgan died during the 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle), he is buried at Meteren which is a village 17.5 kilometres south-west of Ieper (Belgium) and 3 kilometres west of Bailleul on the main road to Cassel.

    Researched by Hasnan Nawaz

  • Myrton Open or Close
    Surname MYRTON  
    First Names Stanley Bryan
    Rank Private G/87818
    Regiment Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) 11th Battalion
    Died 30th August 1918
    Age 34
    Cause of Death Killed In Action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Vis-en-Artois Mémorial, Pas de Calais
    Grave reference Panel 3
    RGS 1895-96  

    What we know about him:
    He was 34 years old and was killed in the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael).

    Stanley was born in St Peters, Leicester. He was born in 1884, and was married to Margaret Myrton, who later moved to Highfield after his death.

    He was the only son of Alfred and Mary Myrton.

    Researched by Pravesh Patel 9S

  • Neale Open or Close
    Surname Neale  
    First Names Roy Gordon
    Rank Able Seamen J/6046
    Regiment Royal Navy HMS Cressy
    Died 22nd September 1914
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed At Sea
    Buried Chatham Naval memorial, Kent
    Grave reference Kent 2
    RGS 1908-1909  

    R.G.K Neale was lost when his ship, the Cruiser HMS Cressy, was sunk by German submarine U-9. As a result of this incident in which HMS Cressy’s two sister ships were also sunk by the same submarine, Royal Navy capital ships were withdrawn from patrol duties and anti-submarine tactics were introduced.

    Roy was born on the 26th of January 1894 in Deptford, London. He was the son of George King Neale and Helen Neale who both lived in High Wycombe. His father was a marine engine fitter.

    Researched by Salman Chatta 9CG

  • Priest Open or Close
    Surname Priest  
    First Names George Alfred
    Rank Private #4795
    Regiment 3rd Bn. (Inf), Honourable Artillery Company
    Died 19th December 1915
    Age 27
    Cause of Death Died during training
    Country where killed England
    Buried High Wycombe Cemetery
    Grave reference 32
    RGS 1904-07 George Alfred Priest

    George Priest was born on October 12th 1888, in High Wycombe Hospital to John and Harriet Priest, and was baptised in High Wycombe on March 31st 1897.

    He was injured in training on December 19th 1915 and was quickly taken to Richmond Hospital, where he died the same day, at the age of 27. He lived in 32 Totteridge Lane. Before the war he was a butcher, following in his father’s footsteps. He had one brother, Harold Leslie Priest.

  • Rance Open or Close
    Surname RANCE  
    First Names Stanley
    Rank Private
    Regiment 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
    Died 23rd July 1917
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Menin Gate, Ref Panel 11
    Grave reference Panel 11
    RGS 1909-1910  

    He was born in 1897 in Chalfont St Giles. Before the war, he was an apprentice to his parents who were grocers and lived in Denham.

    At the time he was killed the Third Battle of Ypres was at its height. Many soldiers killed in the fighting simply disappeared into the muddy shell holes littering the battlefield of Passchendaele.

    He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium.

    Researched by Angus Barnes 9CG

  • Read Open or Close
    Surname READ  
    First Names Arthur John Stratfold
    Rank Lance Corporal 205204
    Regiment Machine Gun Corps 101st (Bucks & Berks) Bn
    Died 15th Nov 1917
    Age 23
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Palestine
    Buried Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel
    Grave reference Y.64
    RGS 1904-1909  

    Brother of William Stratfold Read.
    His Regiment was formed in Palestine in June 1917 under Lieutenant General Philip Chetwode.
    Following the British failure in the Second Battle of Gaza, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force underwent a major rearrangement with the appointment of General Edmund Allenby as the new Commander-in-Chief. The infantry component of the force was divided into two corps; XX Corps and XXI Corps.

    The series of battles, to capture Jerusalem, was successfully fought by the British Empire's XX Corps, XXI Corps Read’s Corps and the Desert Mounted Corps against stiff opposition from the Ottoman Seventh Army in the Judean Hills and the Eighth Army north of Jaffa on the Mediterranean coast. It was presumably in the course of these actions that he was killed. The loss of Jaffa and Jerusalem, together with the loss of 50 miles (80 km) of territory during the Egyptian Expeditionary Force's advance from Gaza, constituted a grave setback for the Ottoman Army and the Ottoman Empire.
    As a result of these victories, British Empire forces captured Jerusalem and established a new strategically strong fortified line.
    Researched by Harry Smith 9S

  • Read, William Open or Close
    Surname Read  
    First Names William Stratfold
    Rank Private
    Regiment Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars
    Died 21st August 1915
    Age 26
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed Turkey
    Buried Green Hill Cemetery
    Grave reference III.B.14
    RGS 1906-1911 William Stratfold Read

    Read was number 1012 in the war and was the brother of A.J.S. Read. He eventually died in Gallipoli. This was a plan thought up by Sir Winston Churchill in which he wanted to split the Ottoman Empire in two by securing Istanbul. By doing that, the British could attack Germany from behind. However this plan failed badly and many were killed. This led to the resignation of Churchill.

    His residence at death was in Saunderton, which is in fact where he was born and baptised. Read used to be a land agent before the war while his father, Stratfold (married to Sarah Louisa Read) was a farmer. The last known address of his parents was in 1901: Church Farm, Saunderton.

    Researched by Adam Dad 9S

  • Richardson Open or Close
    Surname RICHARDSON  
    First Names Nicholas Canning
    Rank Rifleman 23433
    Regiment New Zealand Rifle Brigade 2nd Battalion
    Died 09 Aug 1917
    Age 37
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Prowse point military Cemetery
    Grave reference Plot 3 Row B Grave 22
    RGS 1890-1897 Nicholas Canning RICHARDSON

    What we know about him:
    Nicholas C. Richardson was born in 1880 to parents George Canning & Emily Richardson. His pre war occupation was a farmer and he lived with his wife Margaret Joyce Richardson. Even though his wife’s address is recorded as Cherry Farm, Stone, and Ashford, Kent it is believed that he may well have enlisted in New Zealand whilst farming out there.

    History related to his death:
    Nicholas Canning Richardson was killed in action, aged 37, on the 9th August 1917. His brigade was part of the Battle for Messines Ridge. This offensive was to try and capture the Belgian village Mesen. This was highly successful and over a month later NC.Richardson was killed in action, the cause unknown however it was believed it was related to holding the Ridge. His death was one of 24,000 killed in the operation to take and hold the ridge.

    Researched by Oliver Morris 9CG

  • Robertson Open or Close
    Surname ROBERTSON  
    First Names Donald Lennox
    Rank Rifleman
    Regiment 8th bn rifle brigade
    Died 2nd December 1917
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Killed in Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke
    Grave reference Panel 145-147
    RGS 1906-1911  

    What we know about him:
    Mr Donald Lennox Robertson was a boy at the R.G.S between1908-13. Before the war he was a mechanical engineer. His battalion was heavily involved in the battle of Passchendaele (the 3rd battle of Ypres.) He was killed In action and his body was never found.

    Researched by Josh Bonner 9CG

  • Sears Open or Close
    Surname SEARS  
    First Names Edwin
    Rank Rifleman
    Regiment 5th Bn, London Regiment
    Died 14th October 1918
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Died of wounds
    Country where killed France
    Buried Lievin Communal Cemetery Extension,
    Grave reference Plot II Row A Grave 4
    RGS 1906-1911 Edwin Sears

    What we know about him:
    We know that he was in the 2nd 11 rugby team and was only at RGS for 4 years. He was a solicitors Clerk and his parents worked as chair makers, a common job in High Wycombe. He lived at 12 Kitcheners Road. He was an excellent pupil, who was also a Prefect.

    He was a rifleman and was very young when he joined. His battalion was called to take part in the great advance, which ended in victory for the allies. In Courriers, in France, his company went over the top. He was killed in action at the age of 20 on October 14th 1918 advancing into Belgium

    Researched by Cameron Cole 9CG

  • Spriggs Open or Close
    Surname Spriggs  
    First Names Stewart Arthur
    Rank Private 96216
    Regiment Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) 17th Squadron
    Died 27th November 1917
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed Palestine
    Buried Jerusalem Memorial, Israel
    Grave reference Panel 56
    RGS 1910-1912  

    What we know about him:

    Stewart Spriggs is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial standing in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, 4.5 kilometres north of the walled city and is situated on the neck of land at the north end of the Mount of Olives, to the west of Mount Scopus. In this cemetery there are approximately 3229 soldiers buried and commemorated.

    On the day Stewart Spriggs died there was a meeting of Russian and German delegates behind German lines to arrange for armistice on the Eastern Front.

    Reasearched by Haseeb Hussain 9S

  • Thompson Open or Close
    Surname THOMPSON  
    First Names Eric
    Rank Private
    Regiment 2nd/4th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry
    Died 31st July 1918
    Age 19
    Cause of Death Died of wounds
    Country where killed France
    Buried Senlis French National Cemetory
    Grave reference C 59
    RGS 1912-1914  

    What we know about him:

    He was born on 28th May 1899 in Hull, Yorks. His parents were called William and Bertha Thompson. William worked as a railway station master. He joined RGS in 1912 at the age of 13 and left in 1914 at the age of 15. Whilst he was at RGS he was part of the 3rd team football team in 1913. His best subject at school was maths.

    On 31st July 1918 he died of his wounds received on 26th July whilst fighting in the front line trenches in Flanders in France..

    Researched by Nick Clarke 9S

  • Turner, B Open or Close
    Surname TURNER  
    First Names Bernard
    Rank Private
    Regiment 1st Bn Coldstream Guards
    Died 27th September 1915
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais
    Grave reference Panel 7 & 8
    RGS 1905-1908  

    What we know about him:

    Born at Bledlow Ridge and the son of John and William Turner. Bernard Turner was one of many soldiers who died in Flanders Field on the 27th September 1915. He was killed in the Battle of Loos.

    Turner fought for the 1st battalion of the ‘Lilywhites’ or the Coldstream Guards in the war and the Coldstreams were among the first to enter Germany after Britain declared war on Germany.

    The Battle of Loos in which Private Turner was killed represented the first time the British used poison gas in warfare. The during the battle the were over 50,000 casualties and 25,000 deaths.

    Researched by Joe Mannion 9CG

  • Turner, F Open or Close
    Surname TURNER  
    First Names Frederick Harry
    Rank Lieutenant
    Regiment 10th Battalion, Gloucester Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps
    Died 10 Jan 1917
    Age 20
    Cause of Death Died in aeroplane accident
    Country where killed England
    Buried High Wycombe Cemetery
    Grave reference 56
    RGS 1904-1910 Picture of F. H Turner

    What we know about him:

    He was born on 8th August 1896 in High Wycombe. On 10th January 1917 in England F.H Turner was flying a plane. He was killed when his plane was damaged and crashed to the ground. His parents were Fredrick and Rosa Emily Turner. His parents were rate collectors.

    At RGS he was in the First X1 Football Team and was a defender. He lived on Priory Road in High Wycombe.

    Researched by Husoon Rafiq-Khatana 9CG

  • Walker Open or Close
    Surname WALKER  
    First Names William Frederick
    Rank Lance Corporal
    Regiment 1/4th Bn Ox & Bucks Light Infant
    Died 15th June 1918
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed Italy
    Buried Boscon British Cemetery
    Grave reference Plot 3 Row B Grave 13
    RGS 1910-1915  

    What we know about him:
    William was affectionately known as ‘Johnnie’ whilst he was at RGS. At school he was a prefect and member of the OTC right up until he left school in 1915. He was heavily involved in the debating society, in 1913 putting forward the motion against ‘the Cinema as an institution calculated to injure the nation, morally and physically’. The motion was lost by 14 votes. He played in the 2nd XI and represented House in the house matches. It is clear that he was an able scholar, often appearing in the Wycombiensian for 2nd Division awards in various subjects including History and Geography.

    He started his training on enlistment with the 3rd Battalion, Ox & Bucks and was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal. Transferred to the 1/4th Ox & Bucks once his training was complete, he found himself in Italy in 1918 when the Austro-Hungarians launched an offensive on the Asiago Plateau on the 15th June. He must have been killed during the open day of this battle, as was Lt Edward Brittain MC, the brother of Vera Brittain the author of ‘Testament of Youth’.

  • Wood Open or Close
    Surname WOOD  
    First Names Brian Robert Philip
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment 7th Battalion, London Regiment
    Died 2nd July 1915
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Died in a training accident
    Country where killed France
    Buried Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery,
    Grave reference  
    RGS 1903-1909  

    Brian Robert Philip Wood was a valiant member of his company known for bravery out in battle, who unfortunately his life was cut short after an accident in live grenade training.

    According to the Wycombensian: “Brian Wood, 7th City of London Regiment, was killed in France on July 2nd, under circumstances- which were particularly tragic; not in the heat of action, where he had often displayed courage and endurance of the highest order, but in the exercise of a dangerous duty as an instructing grenadier officer. He possessed just those qualities of high souled courage and devotion which have ever marked the British officer. Calm in the face of danger, winning alike the admiration of his superior officers, and the absolute devotion of his men, he was indeed a, very gallant gentleman.” He was truly a hero to his men.

    Researched by Alex Hays 9CG

  • Deane Open or Close
    Surname DEANE MC  
    First Names William
    Rank Lieutenant
    Regiment Royal Air Force
    Died 20th March 1920
    Age 25
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed India, Northwest Frontier
    Buried Delhi Memorial (India Gate)
    Grave reference  
    RGS 1907-1914  

    What we know about him:
    Deane was at RGS at the same time and in the same year group as Henry Hamp HILL. He was a prefect, served in the OTC and was awarded a free scholarship to Imperial College of Science after having come 2nd in the County in the Major Scholarship Examinations. Once at Imperial he impressed his old masters and received a mention due to him obtaining a 1st Class in Chemistry in his Part I exams, coming fifth out of ninety students.

    He soon joined up and was commissioned as a Second Lieutentant into the 9th Battalion, Ox & Bucks LI before being attached to the 2/4th Norfolks. He soon volunteered for the expanding Royal Flying Corps becoming a pilot and serving on the Western front where he was wounded flying on the 23rd March 1918. During this action he was awarded the Military Cross.

    After WWI, Deane gained a permanent commission as a Captain in the new RAF. He was sent out to India to fight in the Third Afghan War on the Indian Northwest frontier. During a bombing raid his plane suddenly spun into the ground, killing him and his observer, a man named Gordon. It was reported he was under heavy small arms fire at the time from Afghani tribesmen so it is likely he was hit in the head and killed instantly.

  • Watkins Open or Close
    Surname Watkins  
    First Names Charles Rober
    Rank Private
    Regiment London Light Infantry 5th Bn
    Died 3rd Feb 1915
    Age 23
    Cause of Death Killed In Action
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried London Rifle BrigadeCemetery, Comines Warneton
    Grave reference Ref III B5
    RGS 1903 - 1909 Picture of CR Watkins

    What we know about him:
    He joined in 1903, and left in 1909 passing both the Oxford junior and Senior examinations as well as the London Matriculation, and even a Bucks County Council Scholarship!

    He was a Skilled cricketer, in The Second XI And played in the House Tournament. At RGS He was well known for art, going on to working as Draughtsman in W.H.Smith & Son.

    He was the 2nd Old Boy killed in the War, dying very early on in 1915 in Belgium, going over with the frontal force of British troops. He was deployed in November 1914, and in a fortnight was on the frontline fighting. Sadly, his journey ended there, shot in the head by a Sniper whilst warming his hands by a charcoal fire. He joined the day after the War began, on August 5th.

    Researched by Will Roberts 9CG

  • Long Open or Close
    Surname LONG  
    First Names Cyril Edwin
    Rank Captain
    Regiment 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
    Died 27th March 1918
    Age 23
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery
    Grave reference Plot IV Row F Grave 12
    RGS 1907-1910  

    What we know about him:
    The Wycombiensian from December 1918 records the confirmation of Cyril’s death:
    “The hopes we held on news of C. E. A. Long's appearance amongst the prisoners of war have now unhappily been destroyed by the War Office report to his people of his death in action on March 27th. We knew him as a man of high character and chivalrous bearing, and the tributes to his nobleness from his commanding officer and from a brother officer bear out our testimony.

    His C.O. writes: "Your son did magnificently as always he did and was a brave, fearless leader. The Battalion has earned immortal glory as by itself (with no assistance) for two days it staved off the attacks of vast masses of the enemy and inflicted enormous losses on the Germans. I had a deep affection for your son. He was always a good, conscientious worker, and had the confidence and respect of his men. I feel the loss of so good a comrade most deeply. May God give you comfort in your trial is my earnest prayer."

    A brother officer writes: "He was a dear friend of mine, and I am daily waiting and longing for news of him. He was one of the noblest characters and one of the best examples of Godly living."
    Cyril was last seen alive, but wounded when his battalion was forced to retreat in the face of the overwhelming German offensive of March 1918.

  • Southcott Open or Close
    Surname Southcott  
    First Names Harry Williams
    Rank Private 203525
    Regiment Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
    Died 3rd June 1917
    Age 21
    Cause of Death Killed in action
    Country where killed France
    Buried Arras mémorial, pas de Calais
    Grave reference Bay 6 & 7
    RGS 1909-1912  

    What we know about him:

    Harry Southcott originally enlisted in the Royal Bucks Hussars, a Yeomanry unit after leaving his profession as engineers apprentice.

    He was killed during what became known as the Third Battle of Arras. He has no-known grave which means that his body was either never found or was unindentifiable.

  • Youens VC Open or Close
    Surname YOUENS VC  
    First Names Frederick
    Rank Second Lieutenant
    Regiment ‘C’ Coy, 13th Bn, Durham Light Infantry
    Died 7th July 1917
    Age 24
    Cause of Death Died of wounds
    Country where killed Belgium
    Buried Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Ypres
    Grave reference Plot I Row O Grave 3
    RGS 1906-1911  

    What we know about him:
    He was twenty four years old, and a temporary Second Lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour in the British Army.

    On 7 July 1917 near Hill 60, Belgium, it was reported that the enemy were preparing to raid the British trenches and Second Lieutenant Youens, who had already been wounded, immediately set out to rally a Lewis gun team which had become disorganised. While doing this an enemy bomb fell on the Lewis gun position without exploding. The Second Lieutenant picked it up and hurled it over the parapet, but soon after another bomb fell near the same place and again he picked it up, but it exploded in his hand, severely wounding him and some of his men. The officer later succumbed to his wounds.

    At RGS he was a prefect and a member of the OTC. He was well known for his involvement in the debating society and his abilities as an actor in school plays. Youens had been training to become a teacher before the outbreak of WWI and had been granted a scholarship to Oxford University.

  • Norton-Fagge Open or Close
    Surname NORTON-FAGGE
    First Names Frederick, Walter
    Rank Lieutenant
    Regiment 21st Punjabis, Indian Army Reserve Officers
    Died 18th November 1916
    Age 36
    Cause of Death Died of Disease
    Country where killed Iraq
    Buried Basra War Cemetery, Basra
    Grave reference III.O.15
    RGS 1909-1912 Picture of F.W.L Norton-Fagge

    What we know about him:
    He was a teacher pre-war and taught at the RGS for a short period before moving to India to teach. He set up the OTC at RGS in 1909, (Officer Training Corps) now the CCF. Once war broke out he joined up in India with the 21st Punjabi Light Horse and got stationed in Basra, Iraq. He was often mentioned in the Wycombiensian, in one edition he had written a letter to the magazine about a battle he had recently fought in. He went into deep detail of the events of the battle which was contested between British and Ottoman soldiers. When he died he got a special mention in the school magazine.

    The First World War was not the first time Mr. Norton-Fagge saw combat; he also served in the Boer war in South Africa in which he received the Queens Medal. He was struck down with small pox while working in Persia, modern day Iran, from where he was moved to Basra, but nothing could be done to save him. So on the 18th of November he finally succumbed to his small pox and passed away. He was a heroic man who was mentioned twice in dispatches for his heroics in the field of battle and it was great shame for him to have died not from enemy action but bacteria.

    Overall Mr. Norton-Fagge led an interesting life and unlike most of the dead of the First World War lived to see his 30th birthday. It was a great shame for him not to of earned a medal in the First World War but I am sure the he served his King and Country well.
    Researched by Tom Woodall 9CG

  • Letters from the Front Open or Close

    Extracted from 1915 editions of the Wycombiensian

    We have received many letters from O.B.s at the Front. Space does not permit us to include them all,
    but we print the following extracts as likely to be of particular interest.


    Corporal Jack Birch, Motor Cyclist Section, R.E.,
    " On my first dispatch I had to pass through Ypres. It was practically deserted. Whole streets of houses had been blown to pieces. The Cloth Hall was one gigantic heap of ruins and burning. It is sights like this that make one think that the Germans must not win under any circumstances. When going towards the firing line, we generally get shell fire the whole way. I can say for myself I have not got used to it. The greatest difficulty we get is riding at night near the firing line. Of course, we cannot, show a light, and the roads are crowded. The Germans make a point of shelling the roads behind the firing. line at night, so you can imagine the chaos when a shell happens to hit the road!"


    Pte. Eric Thurlow, of the Queen's Westminsters, writes: " When you are being shelled, a feeling of utter helplessness oppresses you, and you can only lie still and hope they won't burst near you. We are right in the -thick of it."


    Lieut. Douglas Fleck, 7th Essex Regiment, formerly in the 5th London Rifle Brigade, with Pte. C. R. Watkins, writes:- " The last visit I made to the trenches was in the most awful weather. It was pouring with rain and beastly cold, and the trenches were already a foot deep in water in some parts, and everything one touched was covered with wet mud. The dug-outs were fairly dry for a few hours, but, alas, not for long. The rain it ceased not, the dug-outs filled with water, and eventually fell in, at times burying the men and all their kit. The water gradually rose above our knees, although we baled continually However, we were cheery through it all, and we had a slight warm occasionally when cooking our breakfast over a charcoal fire. Once when coming out of a trench, I was walkingover a plank under which there was water five or six feet deep, when suddenly a flare went up, and we, with all our kit and rifles, fell headlong into it. When I arrived home, I had my first night in bed since the war started.  It seemed so strange to have one's clothes off, and, above all, to feel clean. The only ill effects that I suffered were frost-bitten feet, which, needless to say, were very painful."


    In a letter home, C. M. Leys, Queen's Westminsters; gives a very interesting account of the cessation of h08-tilities on Christmas Day:- " The fun started about 6 o'clock on Christmas Eve. Our chaps sang a carol, which was immediately answered by cheering from the German lines. Then they sang.something to the accompanying shouts of our men. After that there were individual conversations. A German would shout" Merry Christmas," and we would reply, " Same to you.". After that, several of our chaps climbed on to the parapet and lit matches simultaneously, . there seemed to be a mutual agreement not to fire . When daylight came we saw several people on both sides walking about in full view of each other, and so climbed out ourselves and looked round. At any ordinary time this would be madness and an invitation for a perfect hail of shots from snipers. But that mornIng all was quiet, so we fetched wood and water, which, as a rule, must be done under cover of darkness. After a bit we came to a group of men talking together, and found they were composed of previous deadly enemies!  Weshook hands and exchanged cigarettes, Some of them  asked if we had a football, and were very keen on getting up a game. However, that came to nothing, and we gradually dispersed. Not a shot was fired for over 24 hours."

    In another letter he writes:
    "Yesterday I had the first warm bath since leavingEngland.
    You can guess what a boon it was. It meant a walk of 14 miles, but it was worth it three'times over! On my way back, I suddenly heard my name called, and found myself face to face with D. J.
    Watson, of the old R.G.S."


    D. L. Gates, Artists' Rifles, writes :
    "Of course, you know Watson is out here in ' A' Co. I have also- seen Desmond Griffin (Northumberland Yeomanry), who came across Jack Appleton, a Corporal in  the R.F.A., so we are having a reunion of Old Boys out here ; in fact, it is quite the fashionable place.  I have also met Wilfrid Butler in the H.A.C." 

    We have received letters from V. G. W. Rogers, in hospital at Torquay, with frost-bite, from F. Youens, R.A.M.e., on the eve of his departure, and from  Mr. Griffin, whose son Desmond, mentioned above, went Through the .desperatefighting in the 7th Division in the retreat from Antwerp.  T. R. Yeoman, 8th D.L.I., wrote on Jan. 24th to say he was going abroad, and E. Munday, 3rd Batt. Rifle Brigade, in hospital with frost-bite, has written, saying how glad he was to have had three years' training in the: O. T.C. We have heard also from D. J. Watson, C. H. Thomas, G. W. Gotch, H. D. Griffin, A. W. Thomas (Rhode.sia), D. G. Leys, G. A. Sanders, J. E. Howard, and F. fl. Barfield.

“The School will always keep their memory green.” Mr Arnison, Headmaster 1905-1933
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