Old Scholars Reunions

This weekend should have been the Old Scholars Reunion at Bootham School. It is with great sadness that the reunion has had to be cancelled again this spring, due to Covid-19.

There have been Old Scholars annual reunions for well over a century now.  The Old Scholars Association was formed in 1879 and the first gathering of members, at Whitsuntide, was held the following year. 

In the July 1942 issue of the school magazine, “Bootham”, Roger Clark wrote of his “Memories of Whit”:

“1889 was my first Whitsuntide as an Old Scholar—and, of course there is nothing afterwards quite to compare with the glamour of the first year or two of going back—while you are still something of a hero to the small boys who were at school with you—while the Masters who taught you (” The men who tanned the (metaphorical) hide of us “) are still there, still kindly interested to see how the seed they tried to plant and nourish is coming to fruition—while your own contemporaries—your closest friends—are still coming back and looking to renew the old affection.”

In the November 1912 issue of “Bootham”, Robert O. Mennell wrote in his “Report of the Old Scholars’ Gathering, 1912.”:

“Looking back, it was no mere sense of holiday glow that we brought away with us, but, as Edmund Gower truly said, ” a very deep impression of the genuine and inspiring nature of such an Old Scholars’ gathering.”

Three photographs of Whitsun gathering at Bootham School in 1912.
Whitsun gathering at Bootham, 1912

Even though meeting up was more difficult during wartime, some gatherings still took place. For example, in 1915, the usual reunion in York could not happen, but members of the Association met in London.

“Old York Scholars’ Association. Thirty-Seventh Annual Meeting, Held in the Castle Assembly Rooms, Richmond-on-Thames, Saturday, May 22nd, 1915. T. Edmund Harvey, M.P., presiding.

After the singing of Alma Mater T. Edmund Harvey, who had returned specially from France to preside at the meeting, said : 

 I think all of us feel, and we are glad to feel, that our annual gathering is something infinitely more than a social function; it is a time of inspiration and of fellowship, where friends meet together to help each other, to share in the sense of comradeship and of unity and to get inspiration from the ideals that have been lit for us in our youth in the two schools.” *

(*  two schools: Bootham School and The Mount)

The March 1917 issue of “Bootham” reports:

“In view of the increased difficulties of holding the annual Whitsuntide gathering it is proposed that the cricket match as arranged by W. B. Barber shall take place as usual, and Old Boys in the neighbourhood who can come shall be encouraged to spend Whit Monday in York. It is hoped that (subject to the agreement of the Mount Old Scholars’ Association) there may be a small reunion of Old Scholars in the neighbourhood of London, possibly ‘at Jordans, if available, on the afternoon of Saturday, May 26th (during Yearly Meeting), when a minimum of necessary business shall be transacted and a quiet afternoon spent together in the country.”

and the May 1918 issue:

“On Tuesday, January 22nd, at a joint meeting of the Committees of the O.Y.S.A. and Mount Old Scholars’ Association held at Bootham School careful thought was given to the holding of the Whitsuntide gathering this year. The difficulties are greater than before, and after long consideration it was agreed not to meet this time in York. W. B. Barber expects to bring his cricket team to Bootham as usual, and it was decided to arrange for a reunion at Jordans on the Saturday afternoon following Whitsuntide (May 25th) of those who live in the neighbourhood of London or are attending the Yearly Meeting. It is not likely that food can be provided. A joint meeting will be held in the afternoon, as last year, but in view of our being out of York, and only meeting in small numbers, we decided not to bring forward important matters of business involving the expenditure of large funds.”

There is a report of the 1918 York meeting in the July 1918 issue of “Bootham”:

“Old York Scholars’ Association. Whitsuntide, 1918: York.

Everything else may change, but we are still members of the same great company, and nothing helps us to realise this more than these few days spent in the old familiar surroundings with the friends and contemporaries of our schoolboy days.   …..   Addresses from the Presidents of both Associations and the singing of ” Alma Mater ” put us in mind once more of the meeting of the O.Y.S.A., at one time so prominent a feature of Whitsuntide, and now soon to be held so far away from York. Representatives from both Schools were selected to attend at Jordans,   ……   To leave Bootham again must have been a wrench to all of us, but the influence of Whitsuntide had not failed to do its work. As we returned to the many and varied duties which call us in these troubled times we did not go back empty. The thought of all that our School and our Association mean went with us, and the great hope that the day of our reunion must shortly come has been able more than anything else to strengthen and revive us.”

The same issue has a report of the meeting at Jordans:

“Old York Scholars’ Association. Whitsuntide, 1918: Jordans. Saturday, May 25th, 1918.

ONCE again our annual reunion has been held at the Old Jordans Hostel in company with the Mount Old Scholars’ Association.    …………   About a hundred and twenty had come down from London, a number large enough to fill the Jordans Meeting House.    ……    

T. Edmund Harvey, M.P., in opening the meeting, said :—

“It always seems to me when I come to our gathering at Whitsuntide that the Old York Scholars’ Meeting is one of the most beautiful of life’s wayside inns. Along the journey as we come year after year, we turn aside from the dust of the highway and leave the care and the worry of the journey behind us. We come for this season of refreshment to the familiar place. Although it is not the old loved centre that we have turned to to-day, we are still as Old York Scholars meeting together as an association in the same spiritual centre. The old memories are here. Many of the old friends are here. We are grateful for this happy moment.””

Photograph of Whitsun at Jordans, 1918.
Whitsun at Jordans, 1918

After the Great War, reunions at York resumed.  The July 1922 issue of “Bootham” has a report of that year’s reunion:

“Changes there have been, but obviously the School is thriving. Long may it flourish! And quite certainly, the spirit of O.S. is unchanged. We felt it most at School Reading on Sunday evening, when the Headmaster gave us a great message in his own inimitable way, and we joined lustily in the singing; but it could be felt all through. The same old programme was carried through with the joy and enthusiasm which have always marked our re-unions, We all were boys together ; we felt again our common membership of the great body which is Bootham.  ……..  

 our hearts are full of thanks to everyone who helped to mix that magnificent tonic—” Old Scholars’,” 1922.”


Photograph of four Old Scholars at the 1930 Whitsun reunion in York.
Four Old Scholars at the 1930 Whitsun reunion in York.

The Second World War caused further difficulties for holding reunions at York.  We read in the July 1942 issue of “Bootham”:

““Whitsuntide, 1942 The question of holding the Annual O.Y.S.A. gatherings had been carefully considered in view of the request of the Government that we should avoid travelling as far as possible, and the air raid on York, aggravating the problem of accommodation, confirmed our decision to cancel the meetings. It was with the greatest regret that we so decided, for it is no light matter to break the long continuity of these reunions. “

A small gathering of those local to York was held that year instead.

“We greatly missed the sight of the field full of visitors, but there was some consolation in the thought that had they come they would have had a colder, windier and wetter Whit-Monday than most of us could remember ! Appropriately at lunch-time the following telegram came from one large group of Old Scholars overseas :— ” Sing up Bootham, Swing it Mount ! Keep the thing in tune. These ‘ere camels got no umps, They’ll be with you soon.” “

In the July 1943 issue of “Bootham” we read the following:

“The School and former Whitsuntide gatherings were in the thoughts of many Old Boys, who sent kindest remembrances to everyone. J. G. Appleyard (1930-35), Major, writes: ” Whit-Sunday. My thoughts are very much with you in York this weekend, and I know that all other Old Scholars in North Africa will be thinking of the same things at this very special time in the School year. Needless to say, one feels very ‘ homesick’ for the old place and for the Whit, gatherings, though I suppose that this year, as last, you will be having a much quieter time than the normal Whit. “

The July 1945 issue of “Bootham” has the following:

“Although V-E Day had come and gone, it was inevitable that Whitsuntide, 1945, should be of the wartime variety. It may come as something of a shock to realise that only a dozen present scholars were at school when the last Old Scholars’ gathering was held in 1941, and on that occasion the usual programme was very much modified. One boy only remains in the school who was present at a pre-War Whit., and he is not likely to be still at school at Whitsuntide, 1946. A whole generation has passed through the school who know not the ways and traditions of Whitsuntide, but they will come back at the first opportunity, in ’47 and ’48, if not in ’46, and the break in the long series of gatherings will not be allowed to make any break in the fellowship of all Old Scholars, whatever their years.”

It is clear from the reports of past reunions that they have meant a lot to Old Scholars over the years.  Let us hope that it is not too much longer before Old Scholars can meet in person again at Bootham.  In the words of G. P. Hugo (Bootham 1918-21), Flight-Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force in 1944,

“I hope, indeed, that the majority of Old Scholars will be able to renew old friendships at a not too distant date.”

V.J. Day – 75th Anniversary

Victory over Japan Day, 15th August 1945, fell during the school summer holiday.  There was not much mention of the end of the War in the report of the school terms in the following edition of the school magazine, “Bootham” (January 1946).  However, there was a report of the Old Scholars’ Football match:

“The first peace-time game found a large crowd of Old Boys on the touch line, but, unfortunately, even their vociferous support failed to save their side from a crushing defeat.

The School fielded an exceptionally fine side, whose drive and combination were too much for a rather moderate opposition. Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable game, and the result would have been much worse if it had not been for some splendid work by Sandie Scott in goal.”

It was also reported that two Old Scholars had died on active service since V.E. Day (Norman Kendall Dixon and John Philip Ward), and Cedric Rowntree Robson, a prisoner of war, was missing, “from a Japanese transport ship, sunk between Thai and Japan”.

A General Meeting of the O.Y.S.A (The Old York Scholars’ Association) was held in the John Bright Library at Bootham School on, 27th October, 1945.

“In his opening remarks the Chairman explained that this was not, and could not be, a properly-constituted annual meeting of the O.Y.S.A. For that we should have to wait until next Whitsuntide. In the meantime, this meeting was very necessary, in order that due preparation might be made for what everyone hoped would be a record gathering, after the long gap of five years. …………..

The chief function of the magazine during the war was to give scattered Old Boys news of each other, and of the school. That the former had been done so well was due to Anthony Pim, who had been tireless in keeping in touch with Old Boys in every kind of wartime activity, and had made “Across the Months” the most valuable and interesting part of the magazine.

Before the meeting closed Arnold S. Rowntree expressed the warm sympathy felt by all present for those of our number still far from home in many parts of the world.”

In the April 1947 edition of “Bootham” magazine we read:

Members of the School Committee and the O.Y.S.A. Committee met at Bootham in October to consider a War Memorial. A wish to record the names of the 38 Old Boys who gave their lives on active service, as was done on a plaque in the John Bright Library after the 1914-18 war, quickly found agreement, and a committee to make the necessary arrangements was appointed. Some consideration was also given to a larger war memorial but it was felt that this needed more thought and discussion than were possible in a single committee meeting. ”

Discussion about the proposed memorial took place at the 69th Annual Meeting of the O.Y.S.A. held at Bootham School, York, on Saturday, 24th May, 1947. (Reported in “Bootham” magazine of November 1947).

“Regarding the new memorial, they all came to the conclusion that the right thing to do would be to have another plaque in the Library, and after much thought and care and discussion it had been felt that there should be a bronze plaque in that room with incised lettering bearing the names of the 38 old boys, including the Christian names by which they were known at school and other initials. …… For certain technical reasons it seemed best that the shape should be the other way round to the 1914-18 memorial, with the names probably in three columns instead of two. It was also felt that it should be a simpler plaque and not so decorated, and their desire was that the artist engaged should produce something more simple, but embodying the school coat of arms. The inscription should read : ” 1939-45—In memory of all old Bootham boys who have faithfully striven to follow the light, and especially in memory of those our fallen.” Then would follow the list of names, with the school motto at the end.”

The War Memorial Plaque was unveiled at the annual meeting of the O.Y.S.A in May 1948.  There is an account of the unveiling in the December 1948 edition of “Bootham” Magazine, as follows:

“Report of the Proceedings at the 70th Annual Meeting of the O.Y.S.A.
Held at Bootham School, York, on Saturday, 15th May, 1948

Before the normal proceedings of the annual meeting, Old Scholars, present scholars, masters and relatives, met in the John Bright Library for the unveiling of the War Memorial Plaque at the back of the room by Kathleen Gray in memory of Old Scholars who died on war service.

Roger Clark, retiring President of the Association, presided, and observed that when he agreed to perform this, his last duty as President of the Association, before handing over to his distinguished successor, he was led in thought to a similar occasion nearly 30 years ago when the earlier memorial tablet at the front of the room was set up. He was not present then, feeling that it would not be easy to attend the setting up of a war memorial in a room so closely associated with one who was throughout a long lifetime identified with peace.

He now realised, however, that the task was not so difficult, as none of them looked on this tablet as a war memorial. War was essentially hateful to us all, and it was also, they might be sure, to those whom they were thinking of to-night. They wanted no memorial, and nothing to glorify war, but they should look on it as a reminder in years to come of those 38 young Old Scholars who should have come back to “friendships renewed and memories refreshed.”

Roger Clark recalled the great words of Dryden and John Bright on the subject of war and death, grief and affection, and expressed the heartfelt sympathy of all with those to whom those who died were close and dear.

Kathleen Gray then unveiled the memorial tablet, which is designed as described in the report of last year’s annual meeting, and read the names of the 38 Old Scholars remembered in the inscription”

Memorial Plaque 1939-1945 in John Bright Library, Bootham School.
Memorial Plaque in John Bright Library, 1939-1945

V.E. Day – 75th Anniversary

On the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe, we look back in the Bootham Archives to see what was recorded about it.

The July 1945 issue of the school magazine, “Bootham”, contains a report of the school terms from January to June 1945.  There is just a brief mention of V.E. Day, as follows:

“What shall we say of V-E Day, but that we all enjoyed ourselves ? Some went camping ; some went home ; most went for cycle rides.”

The same issue contains an editorial which reflects on the war and the Old Scholars’ meetings at Whitsuntide, has a message for those still overseas, and remembers those who will not return.


“Although V-E Day had come and gone, it was inevitable that Whitsuntide, 1945, should be of the wartime variety. It may come as something of a shock to realise that only a dozen present scholars were at school when the last Old Scholars’ gathering was held in 1941, and on that occasion the usual programme was very much modified. One boy only remains in the school who was present at a pre-War Whit., and he is not likely to be still at school at Whitsuntide, 1946. A whole generation has passed through the school who know not the ways and traditions of Whitsuntide, but they will come back at the first opportunity, in ’47 and ’48, if not in ’46, and the break in the long series of gatherings will not be allowed to make any break in the fellowship of all Old Scholars, whatever their years.


These pages will be read by many who are still far from home, in Germany or Italy, in India or the Far East. We hope none of them will feel that plans for a grand reunion are premature. We know that many will have faint hopes of getting to York next Whit. We would assure them that they are not forgotten now, and will not be forgotten then. It is always a pleasure to hear from them and we hope that these pages may serve them as one link with home.

We have been very glad this term to welcome back some who have long been absent, and in particular those who have been prisoners of war. We rejoice to see them again and look forward to visits from many more. But there are those who will not return ; we remember them with pride and sorrow. Their names are recorded on the opposite page. The list is complete as far as our information goes ; if there are any omissions we are sorry and would like to be told. Up to now nothing has appeared in the pages of ‘Bootham’ about these comrades whom we have lost. In the next issue it is hoped to give some little account of each one of them. The help of our readers in doing this is earnestly sought. Some have already written of their friends who have gone. May others follow their example, and in so doing help their old school worthily to remember them.”

List of Bootham Old Scholars killed in the war from 1939 to 1945, published in July 1945 issue of "Bootham" magazine.
Bootham Old Scholars killed in the war, published in July 1945 issue of “Bootham”.

As we read above, there were still Old Scholars overseas after V.E. Day.  Unfortunately some of these, too, did not return.

In Memoriam: Gordon Allison

Gordon Allison  of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was in the King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles and was killed in action on 8th June 1919 in India (now Pakistan), aged 20 years.

He was born in 1898 and attended Bootham School from 1914 to 1916.

Gordon played a lot of cricket at Bootham.  The school magazine, “Bootham”, of December 1914 tells us that in the 1914 cricket season he played in the Second XI, and he was a bowler.  For example, on 11th July, against St. Thomas’, he took five wickets for 36 runs.


Bowlers.           Overs.   Maidens.       Runs.     Wickets.         Average.

Allison                12             2                       36             5                       7’20          “

Gordon also played football.  “Bootham” of March 1915 gives Football Results:


Nov. 4, v. EDWARD VII. SCHOOL, at Home. Won, 6—2.

“…during the second half our forwards had matters very much their own way, scoring several times. Radley was responsible for three of our goals, Allison, Hart and Wilson also scoring.” “

The next issue of “Bootham” , June 1915, contains Football Notes (By the Captain):

“ALLISON, G.—Is a very clever forward on a dry ground, dribbling well and passing effectively. On our ground, which is so often wet and heavy, he is too light. Even so he is rather too easily discouraged, and does not know how to “get in” properly.”

By 1915, Gordon had progressed to the cricket First XI.  For example, “Bootham” of December 1915 tells us:

“Cricket Season 1915


June 16, v. BRIDLINGTON G.S., Home. Won, 180—103.

Allison took four wickets for 6 runs.

July 13, v. ST. PETER’S, Away. Won, 167—68.

Allison made 55, skilfully hitting a lob bowler to leg.”

“Bootham” of March 1916 contains the football report of the season 1915-16 and has Notes on the Team by the Captain:

“ALLISON, G., has increased greatly in general effectiveness since last season. With added weight and determination he has been able to exercise his clever dribbling to good purpose. Nor does he forget to pass, but feeds his neighbours well. But he will be remembered for his heading, which he has developed into an art.”

Also in the issue, the Eighty-Second Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1916. in the Workshop Report we read:

“The show has this year exhibited a great deal of careful work by many competitors. …… The forge has also done well, two firescreens by J. L. Pumphrey and J. Hamilton being shown. A plant-stand by G. Allison and some lathe-tools were also made.”

Gordon won a Workshop prize for Bent Ironwork.

 “Bootham” of July 1916 contains the report of the school  Athletics competition.  Gordon did well in his races and the report tells us that “Smith also ran well, and Allison’s Quarter and Half were excellent performances.”  The results include:


440 Yards:           1. G. Allison        58 2/5 sec

880 Yards:           1. G. Allison        2 min. 15 4/5 sec”

This issue also contains the report of the Football Bedroom competition. Gordon played for Bedroom XI:

“No. XI. showed themselves easily masters of VI. and won with plenty to spare. Graham worked hard, but could not kick far enough to keep out his assailants. Hamilton scored twice, but his play was too clumsy, whilst Allison’s skilled footwork made him the best man on the field.

The Final, between XI. and XII., took place in an abundance of mud, but it was a delightfully clean game nevertheless, and as keen as mustard. Though some of those on the winning side were thoroughly clumsy, there was nothing approaching a foul. Allison’s judgment was excellent and his footwork extremely clever, whilst Hamilton took all the advantage of his opportunities, and has never done better. ….. It was a splendid game and a richly deserved victory.

Bedroom XI won the match and Gordon Allison (Capt.) scored 3 goals. “

We see in the October 1916 issue of “Bootham” that Gordon was still playing cricket:

“ST. PETER’S, May 27, Away. Won, 234 for 9 (declared)—50. Rarely have we batted to such advantage. ……. Smith got four for 25 and Allison five for 18.”

“Notes on The Team, By the Captain.

ALLISON, G.—Has come on well in bowling in course of season, and batting improved too; more sting in his bowling, and more straightness and power in his strokes, but still inclined to slice, and to draw away, and swipe wildly at leg stump balls. A good field in the slips.”

This issue also contains Gordon’s “Bene Decessit” entry:

“G. ALLISON was a clever and tricky athlete. At football he obtained his 1st Masters’ colours, and his wonderful headwork may be classed as an art. At cricket he was a clever bowler and steady batsman, winning his 1st Masters’ colours two seasons ago. He served on both Games Committees, played an excellent game of fives, and was a supple gymnast. In athletics he did some brilliant times at the quarter and half mile races. In academic work he passed the London Matriculation with Honours. Allison leaves from the Upper Senior.”


“Examination Results. Midsummer, 1916.

Senior School Examination. Matriculation Standard. Honours.

Allison, a., e., g

(a= Distinction in English, b in Mathematics, c in Chemistry, e in French, g in History.)”

After Bootham, Gordon went on to Armstrong College, Newcastle upon Tyne.  He returned to school in 1917 to play cricket for the Old Boys against the school team.

In “Bootham” of December 1917, we read, in the “Across the Months” section:

“GORDON ALLISON (1914-16) is at the Cadet College, Madras.”

The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” lists Gordon under “Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.”:

“Allison, G., Cadet College, Madras.”

In the July 1918 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months”, we read:

“GORDON ALLISON (1914-16) writes from India acknowledging the 1917 card. As assistant adjutant he trains recruits and plays soccer with Gurkhas, who show keenness and lack of funk, especially when tackling big officers.”

We next hear of Gordon in “Bootham” of December 1918:

“GORDON ALLISON (1914-16) is at present at Fort Sandeman, Baluchistan, training Gurhka regiments. They have had ” flu ” badly, 600 out of the battalion down with it.”

Then in “Bootham” August 1919, under “Deaths” we read:

“ALLISON.—On the 8th June, 1919, killed in action in India, Gordon Allison (1914-16), of Newcastle-on-Tyne, aged 20 years.”

Lieutenant Gordon Allison of the st King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles is buried at the Political Agent’s Garden, Fort Sandeman, Baluchistan in modern-day Pakistan.

His name is engraved on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) in New Delhi.

In Memoriam: Ralph Vipont Brown

Photograph of Ralph Vipont Brown
Ralph Vipont Brown

Ralph Vipont Brown of Manchester was with the Friends War Victims Relief Committee and died of pneumonia following influenza on the 1st March 1919 in Calais, aged 20 years.

Ralph was born in Manchester in 1898 and attended Bootham School from 1912 to 1916.

He joined Bootham in the Autumn term 1912.  In the Christmas Show of 1912, Ralph won a Workshop prize for Bed Table.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of March 1914 contains the report of The Eightieth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society.  In it we read, under Gardens:

“Considerable interest has been taken in the gardens during the year, and they have flourished accordingly. Several new arbours have been made, that of C. R. and R. V. Brown deserving special mention.”

and under Photography:

“LANTERN SLIDES.—The best lantern slides were those entered by R. V. Brown, who shows a uniformly good series.”

He won a Workshop prize for his Book Trough.

The March 1915 issue of Bootham tells us that in the School Photography competition:

“Several interesting enlargements were sent in, of which much the best is Ellis’s view of the Swimming Bath. R. V. Brown’s picture of a Hay-wain is placed second. It would be improved by the removal of some of the foreground.”


“Only two sets of lantern slides were sent in, of which O. B. Ellis’s take the first place and R. V. Brown’s second. The chief criticism the judges have to make in this section is that slides should be spotted so as to show the way in which they are to go into the lantern.”

Ralph played football at school.  The June 1915 issue of “Bootham” tells us, in “Football Notes (By the Captain)”:

“BROWN, R.V.—Is a dogged half or full-back, who dashes in with vigour, and always does his best.”

The December 1915 issue of “Bootham” reports that Ralph passed the University Of London, Senior School : Matriculation Standard Examination, with a distinction in French.  He also took the Silver Medallion (Award of Merit) of the Royal Life Saving Society Awards.

The March 1916 issue of “Bootham” has a report on the Football season 1915-16, with Notes on the Team (By the Captain):

“BROWN, R. V., is a stalwart defender of the second line, who comes dashing in with weight and power, causing any tricky dribbler to look lively. In grim determination he makes up anything he lacks in skill.”

Ralph left Bootham in summer 1916.  His Bene Decessit entry in “Bootham” of October 1916 is as follows:

“R. V. BROWN leaves from the College Class. Last year he matriculated, and this year obtained his first M.B.—the first from Bootham. He was an exceedingly hard worker, and ploughed along through thick and thin. At football he obtained his 1st eleven colours, and took an interest in tennis, on which committee he served. He was a member of the Photographic and Gardens Committees, and of the Fire Brigade. He was a reeve.” *

*A reeve is equivalent to a prefect, at Bootham School.

The same issue has Examination Results for Midsummer 1916:

“University of London, First Examination for Medical Degrees.

R. V. Brown.

R. I. A. Hickes.”

The same issue also contains the following, in “Bootham Oversea”:

“The work of the same committee in France, Holland, and Corsica progresses satisfactorily, and in all sections O.Y.S. are at work, the two most recent O.Y.S. to join the work in France being STANLEY W. DAVIES (1908-1912) and RALPH VIPONT BROWN (1912-1916).”

while “Across the Months” in the same issue tells us:

“R. V. BROWN and J. CUTHBERTSON are in training at Jordans for F.A.U. and F.W.V.R. work.”

 The March 1917 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months” tells us that:

“R. V. BROWN is doing War Victims’ Relief Work near Sermaize.”


“EARLY in February we were glad to welcome some Old Boys from the Glenart Castle. The boat was in dock, so they were able to tell us about work in the Near East and in the Channel. V. W. ALEXANDER was accompanied by A. L. WILSON , R. BROWN, and E. RANSOME. They showed a fine set of slides representing F.A.U. work to the School and to the orderlies.”

“Bootham” of June 1917 contains the Report of Old York Scholars’ Association Whitsuntide Meeting, 1917:

“Messages were then read from Old Bootham Boys serving abroad, and cordial greetings from the Association were returned to these:

” To Bootham School, York, Angleterre.

” Meilleurs salutations de deux war victims and deux F.A.U., se trouvant dans la meme ville.





In the December 1917 issue of “Bootham” we read in “Bootham Oversea”:

“R. VIPONT BROWN (1912-16), speaking of the “War Victims” (of which he is one), says : ” . . . As I expect you know, we are all divided up into different departments— Building, Construction, Transport, Medical, Relief, and Agricultural Sections. When I came out here last January I was in the Medical Section a t **** * Hospital. Please do not picture to yourself a large establishment fitted with electric light and hot water. No ; we have no Haxby Road accommodation at * * * * * ” Obedient to the call of duty elsewhere, the writer continues : “Here I spent most of my time carrying armfuls of babies from the ward to the garden and back again. I also did … a good deal of motor driving. Of the two—i.e., cars and babies—I think I infinitely prefer looking after cars. The relief work has changed considerably of late from the distribution of necessities to the promotion of co-operative industry in the form of ‘Broderie.’ Building has, like the former relief work, practically ceased, and has removed to other districts.

“.. . The Agricultural Section, which, in my opinion, forms a very important part indeed of the work of reconstruction . . . consists chiefly of the provision, repair, and staffing of agricultural machinery, and requires a considerable degree of tact in dealing with the farming population in the villages in which we work. “”


“A. H. PUMPHREV (1905-10) sends names of O.Y.S. serving with him under the “War Victims’ Committee” : N. E. BROOKS, S. W. DAVIES, W. SHEWELL, E. G. WEST , R. V. BROWN. He says : ” We have been helping the civil authorities in a large town right up near the lines, first of all by evacuating the civil hospital. .. . It seems such a privilege to be able to do something to help those fine people who have been through such a trying three years. The work has its thrills. . . . The night before I came away we had two shells on the building over our heads while we were sleeping in the cellar! “”

“Bootham” of May 1918 contains O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists.

“Old York Scholars serving with the Friends’ War Victims Relief Committee.

Brown, R. Vipont, France.”

The July 1918 issue of “Bootham” contains the report of the Old York Scholars’ Association Whitsuntide Meeting, 1918: Jordans. Saturday, May 25th, 1918.

“Messages received by letter and telegram from Old Boys abroad were then read:—

” Boot Ham (sic) School, York, Angl.

” Meilleurs salutations a York School de War Victims dans Marne et Meuse. “




In “Bootham” of December 1918, in “Across the Months” we read:

“RALPH VIPONT BROWN (1912-16) is said to be “wielding an immense camion, dashing along these eternal roads at the feverish rate of 12 m.p.h. His load may consist of anything from potatoes to mattresses, with one or two unfortunate équipe housekeepers packed inside, after a day’s shopping in the metropolis. All F.W.V.R. men in his section are busy preparing schemes for reconstruction in the new Verdun area allotted them.”

Then in “Bootham” of August 1919, under “Deaths” we have:

“BROWN.—On the 1st March, 1919, while serving with the F.W.V.R. in France, Ralph Vipont Brown (1912-16), of Manchester, aged 21 years.”

In the same issue is his “In Memoriam” piece:

“RALPH VIPONT BROWN (1912-16). Ralph Vipont Brown came to Bootham in the autumn of 1912, when he was nearly 14 years of age, and was a scholar there for four years. After leaving York he went for a few months to work in the F.W.V.R. warehouse in London, and at the beginning of 1917 left for work in France. From that date until his death, he was working for the “Mission,” spending himself as we who loved him knew how he would, in the service of others. At first he was occupied with orderly work at Chalons, but later at Sermaize, where the work was either stores or garage or driving—mostly motor work. He had been home on leave for Christmas of last year, and in the joy of the family reunion they had talked over the future, and Ralph had spoken with bright hopes of his medical studies after leaving the F.W.V.R. But the latter was ever uppermost in his mind, and he did not know how he would tear himself away from it. Early in the year he returned to France, and at the end of February was at Calais awaiting the arrival of some motor lorries from England. While there, however, he fell ill of influenza which speedily developed into pneumonia, and in less than a week he passed away. The end came on Saturday, March 1st.

I feel that anything I can say of his life will be altogether inadequate. Those of us who knew him at school soon learnt to love the open-hearted loving personality, ever ready for fun, yet with a deep current of seriousness flowing beneath the surface, and with such a broad and comprehensive outlook on life. I never once remember hearing him grumble or speak disparagingly of another. Patient and hard-working, both in and out of school, his radiant personality predominated over everything, and his bright face and cheery laugh were loved by all who knew him. He could enter into the trouble of others ; I remember now the cloud that came over him when the old man, Keir Hardie, died. It was the people and those who strove for them whom Ralph loved.

And so we are not surprised as we read the testimony of those who worked with him in France. The same loving, helpful disposition, transforming “daily monotonous tasks into a great work for Peace, and the brotherhood of humanity.” “Life with him was always different from when he was not there.” ” He had too, a wonderful power of getting to know the French people and fully entering into their joys and sorrows.” One feels that such a life as his is the only way of reaching down to the hearts of men, of laying the foundations of that city of God, where all men shall be as brothers.

One who knew and loved him wrote of his work in France :

“I can truly testify that he gave his all in that spirit for which we all so long. Rather than grieve at his loss may we rejoice in that we knew him and saw in him a reflection of the Great Spirit, which will help us, too, to live and serve as we should.”

Our hearts go out in deepest sympathy to his loved ones; but with them we can rejoice, knowing assuredly that to such as Ralph there is no death, but a passing into fuller service beyond :

Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,

Of somewhat pure and holy bending o’er him,

And of a voice like that of her who bore him,

Tender and most compassionate : ” Never fear !

For heaven is love, as God Himself is love,

Thy work below shall be thy work above.”


Ralph Vipont Brown is buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

In Memoriam: Arnold Simkin Jennings

Arnold Simkin Jennings

Arnold Simkin Jennings of Bulmer, North Yorkshire, was with the Royal Army Medical Corps and died of pneumonia on the 21st December 1918, in Salonika, aged 25 years.

Arnold was born in Jarrow-on-Tyne in 1893 and attended Bootham School from 1907 to 19011.

At school, Arnold was interested in Botany. The February 1909 issue of the school magazine, “Bootham” contains the Seventy-fifth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1909.  The section on Botany tells us:

“A. S. Jennings has got about 150 species. He has also done good work, and has found Astragalus danicus and Geranium phoeum.”

He won a prizes for Botany and Natural History Diaries in the Christmas Show, 1908.

In 1909 he became a Curator of Botany in the school Natural History Club.

“Bootham” of March 1910, in the report of the Natural History Club contains the following:

“At the beginning of the Autumn Term an Exhibition of Holiday Work was held in the Art Room. The Plants of A. W . Graveson, A. S. Jennings, J. M. Goodbody and E. A. Seale, ……… all deserve special mention.”

and in the Botany section:

“A. S. Jennings has doubled his collection, and has about 300 species. He has found Villarsia nymphceoides and Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna).”

“…..the very neat and painstaking work of Jennings is very praiseworthy.”

In the report on Natural History Diaries we read:

“Besides the volumes of competitors for the Old Scholars’ Exhibition, no fewer than 15 boys have sent in diaries this year, making the task of the judge by no means an easy one.

Taking both the quality and quantity of the work accomplished into consideration, there is no doubt that the three best books are by Jennings, A. A. Smee and Woods.

Jennings has produced two very readable volumes on plants, with interesting remarks on most of the species found by him during the year. His study of individual plants in the spring, and his comparative studies of pollen under the microscope, should be followed up next year, when his collection should occupy less of his time.”

The season 1909-10, Arnold was playing Second Boys XI Football.

“Bootham” of October 1910 has the report of the Summer Term:

“Another characteristic of the term has been the uniform excellence of the Plant Stand, on which we heartily congratulate Graveson and Jennings.”

In 1910, Arnold was a Registrar of the school Natural History Club.

“Bootham” of March 1911 tells us:

“At the beginning of the Autumn Term an exhibition of Holiday Work was held in the Art Room. The Plants of A. W. Graveson, A. S. Jennings, and J. M. Goodbody…….all deserve special mention”

In the Botany section of the Natural History Report in the same issue we read:

“The “Floral Calendar” competitions in the Spring and Summer Terms stimulated the study of botany considerably; the three chief enthusiasts were A. S. Jennings, J. B. Hume and E. F. Payne. In the spring term A. S. Jennings was successful, whilst in the summer term E. F. Payne came first after a very keen struggle. A.S. Jennings has increased his neat collection to about 370 species, and has found Linum perenne and several other rarities.

Three enthusiastic botanists, A. W. Graveson, J. B. Hume and A. S. Jennings paid a flying visit to Rievaulx during the Summer Term, and found many rare plants, including Actcea spicatai Primula farinosa, and Ophrys muscifera.”

In the Autumn term of 1910, Arnold was made a Reeve (similar to Prefect). He also joined the committee of the school Football club.  He was still playing Second XI boys football. In the Football captain’s notes on the team, in “Bootham” of May 1911, we read:

“JENNINGS, A. S.—Playing a fairly good game without undue bustle. He will cause the opposing forwards considerable inconvenience in a good-natured sort of way.”

In the same issue:

“SENIOR ESSAY SOCIETY. This term has been as prosperous for the Essay Society as was the Autumn one, although fewer meetings have been held. The outstanding essays were written by Mr. Alexander, A. S. Jennings, J. B. Hume, B. A. Townson, and G. S. 320 BOOT HAM. Gregory.”

By the 1910-11 Football season, Arnold was playing First XI Football and in 1911 he was President of the school Natural History Club.

“Bootham” of November 1911 has Arnold’s “Bene Decessit” entry:

“A. S. JENNINGS has been a reeve since last September. He played for the ist boys’ XI. at football, and as a botanist was second only to Graveson. He was a good speaker and essayist. He leaves from the College Class, intending to enter the Civil Service.”

The Seventy-eighth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1912 notes that:

“We have further to regret the loss of A. S. Jennings, E. F. Payne, and J. B. Hume, all of whom showed themselves enthusiastic and successful flower hunters.”

The next we hear of Arnold is in the March 1916 issue of “Bootham”, under Bootham School War Lists,

“Under Military Discipline :— [Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

Jennings, A. S., R.A.M.C.”

In May 1916, Arnold wrote to Old York Scholars’ Association Whitsuntide Meeting:

“A letter from Arnold S. Jennings, dated Salonika, May 23rd, 1916, covering subscriptions to BOOTHAM and the O.Y.S.A., had contained the following: “I hope this will reach you in time for Whitsuntide. I am sure all Old Scholars will be thinking of the old school and its associations at this time, and I hope that those who are lucky enough to be at the Gathering this year will have a happy time, though it is sad to know that some Old Scholars will never again be present. . . .

“I have heard from Hamish Davidson two or three times. He appears to be getting on well.

“By the way, what a happy hunting-ground this would be for the Natural History Society; flowers in profusion which would gladden Graveson’s heart and make Adair jump for joy. Snakes, lizards, tortoises, huge dragon-flies, large beetles, ants of all kinds, some glorious butterflies, and a wonderful variety of shells (not the projectile). Birds are numerous, including storks, eagles, vultures, hawks, and others I do not know. Why not let the annual excursions come out here?

“Oh! to be in Good Old York,

Now that Whitsun’s here.

“Greetings and sincerest wishes for a happy and successful Whitsuntide to all Old Scholars. “”

The October 1916 issue of “Bootham”, in “Bootham Oversea” records:

“ARNOLD S. JENNINGS (1907-1911), R.A.M.C., writes from * * * * * : ” I was awfully pleased to get the post card with numerous old scholars’ good wishes and signatures, and the picture of the dear old science school—and should like to thank each one for his message : it was most kind, and I appreciated being remembered out here more than I can say. Am glad to know O. S. had a good time, and perhaps next year, if this miserable war is over, I shall put in an appearance. . . . I’ve not come across any O. S. out here—most seem to be either in France or Egypt; anyhow, they’re lucky in not having struck this awful hole. There is nothing doing. . . . It’s frantically hot and you stream in perspiration even when you’re doing nothing, which is not often. We’re very busy in hospital. . . . I’ve unearthed P. N. Whitley (pacifist son of the Deputy-Speaker, who is doing Y.M.C.A. work there— R.K.C.) and we had quite a nice chat together. . . . He is an optimist and expects us all to eat our Christmas dinner in Blighty—good luck to him! … . Now I’ve just got two parcels from home and I’m itching to see what’s what and wonder if they’ve put some decent tobacco in. “”

“Bootham” of June 1917 contains a note from Archibald Carmichael (Bootham 1906-8) which contains the following:

“A few days ago I had a note from A. S. Jennings; he is in General Hospital at Salonika.”

In “Bootham Oversea” in “Bootham” of May 1918, we read the following:

“ARNOLD S. JENNINGS (1907-11) writes most interestingly from Salonika, where he has at last been run to earth after many and devious postal pursuits. He refers to this epistolary game of Hare and Hounds as follows: ” The idea of invoking the aid of ‘ The Hielan Laddie ‘ [the ‘ H. L.’ is ARCHIE CARMICHAEL (1906-9)] was fine, and you see it has proved successful. He visited me some months ago and I had a very pleasant hour with him. But from the time I saw him clamber upon a W.D. motor lorry and begin his bumpy journey to town I have neither seen nor heard of him. Wher e has he vanished to? I rather think he must be in England. “This surmise is correct. A. CARMICHAEL is at present training for a Commission in the R.F.A., near Exeter. “I have always thought,” continues A. S. J., “that the O.Y.S.A. was a fine thing, but having been abroad for two years I have appreciated it more and more. Many an O.S. must have been thankful for the comradeship extended to him through the O.S. . . . I know I can manage a useful grin when ‘ BOOTHAM ‘ comes, and am happy for days after, reading of old faces and old places, and going over in my mind old times and incidents. You ask me what I look like now. Well, that’s rather a startler; I’m afraid I haven’t had much time for a close personal study of my appearance other than when I shave in the morning, but I have often been hailed with remarks upon my looks—and ancestry—by various folk, chiefly Sergeant-Majors, since joining the Army. .. . If you can imagine me slightly thinner, slightly taller, a little more tanned, and a few years older, then you have me! “Going on to speak of his experiences, he says: “We have had a terribly hot summer—much worse than last year-—and in consequence have been pretty busy in hospital. Large numbers of sick have been through our hands, mostly suffering from malaria and dysentry, enteric, and various other fevers. It’s an awful place for Englishmen, especially when conditions or living are not of the best, and I do not recommend it to you for your holidays! Besides, as you may have read, more than half the town has been burnt out, and whereas it never did look a particularly inviting place, it now looks the very picture of dreariness and desolation. However, the fire may turn out to be a saving grace, for there is an excellent chance now to rebuild the place upon more modern lines: the one blessing is that numerous insanitary and ramshackle buildings have been properly fumigated; they are no more, and the air does smell sweeter! . . . The only excitement we get is in the way of air raids, and these have been few and far between lately, though earlier in the year they were daily occurrences. You knew you’d have bacon for breakfast and an aerial display afterwards, and the taubes came as regularly as the man for the rent. “In conclusion, JENNINGS speaks of some oldtime castles in the air. “Folk can say as much as they like about the glamour of the East, “he says, “they can write reams about the beauties of the Orient, but from my experience of this portion of the globe give me England, and the grey North of England, too ! There is no finer country the world over. I remember I used to have deep yearnings for travel. I was keen on taking up sailoring, etc., but years have added wisdom, and I want nothing more than a peaceful habitation in the old country, with a congenial task and books and friends about me. When we’ve had sugar in our tea, or in some other way have eaten more than is usual, I dream of such future times, and I imagine I must look the picture of content in those dreams. Ah, me, what a life! “”

The same issue contains the O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists.

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army

Jennings, A. S., R.A.M.C.”

In “Bootham” of July 1918, Arnold writes from Salonika:

“JENNINGS, having “just turfed your letter of last September out of my kit,” proceeds to philosophise interestingly of things in general and of himself in particular. He seems mightily contented, the only fly whose presence in the ointment he is willing to admit being “that 5.30 is a beastly time to rise every morning. “”

In the December 1918 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months”, we read:

“ARNOLD S. JENNINGS (1907-11) was the happiest man in Macedonia the day that BOOTHAM arrived. Every page of it made glorious reading for him. ” On the rare occasions when I take a walk I invariably bless the old N.H. Club, for to those who have had no such training a promenade out here is bereft of a good deal of its entertainment, while I can find pleasure in every step.””

However, “Bootham” of August 1919, includes the Headmaster, Arthur Rowntree’s address to the Old York Scholars’ Association. Whit Monday Meeting , June 9th, 1919, which includes:

“I want for a moment or two to refer to one boy, Jennings, who before he came to the school had no connection at all with Bootham, and his family had no connection with it. His friend wrote from Salonica to the parents to tell them that their son had died from pneumonia, and spoke with great affection of him. “His sleeping place is on a cliff above the sea, beautifully kept, where he will lie, lulled to sleep by the music of the sea which he loved.”

The same issue of “Bootham” contains his “In Memoriam” entry as follows:

“ARNOLD SIMKIN JENNINGS (1907-11). He finished his school career with a reeveship for a year. He was a member of the football team, a steady halfback; he was known as a good speaker and essayist and a great botanist, “second only to Graveson” we said when he left us. During the war he spent more than three years with the R.A.M.C. in Salonika: it has been my privilege to hear from him from time to time. Here are some sentences from his letter dated July 15th, 1918:

“I was delighted some few days ago to receive the card of greetings from the O.Y.S.A., and felt I must respond to its invitation and report myself to you.

“I should like to thank each one for his (and her) kind thought: such messages from the Old School are so welcome; coming as a breath of good fresh air. They build up anew one’s flagging spirits, brighten the future and make one ready and eager to carry on.

“My lucky star was still in the ascendant three or four days later when BOOTHAM arrived, and I was the happiest lad in Macedonia that day. This number of BOOTHAM is great. The news of O.S., though sad in the case of many, is especially interesting; the details of the N.H. Club’s work, the general news of the School and everything from cover to cover make glorious reading. Of the many excellent photographs, I think my vote goes to ‘ the men who tanned the hide of us,’ my only regret in connection with it being that I am not back for some more tanning by the same men.

“On the rare occasions when I take a walk, I invariably bless the old N.H. Club, for to those who have not had such training, a promenade out here is bereft of a good deal of its entertainment, while I can find pleasure at every step. A little while ago an enterprising person here conceived the idea of obtaining a collection of the flora of this country by offering prizes for collections made by soldiers, the whole ‘ issue ‘ finally being sent to the British Museum. I began such a collection but I found myself unable to continue through lack of time and opportunity, both to get the specimens and to prepare them. I was sorry to have to give it up. I am enclosing a rather ancient copy of the Balkan News—the standard journal of Macedon— which may be of interest.

“Yesterday was a great day here—the French fête day. Salonika was very gay and festive: Alexander of Greece was in the town and Frenchmen and Greeks alike were in a state of intense happiness and, incidentally, of equally intense intoxication. As is usual on such occasions, there was a fire in the town: Salonika would not enjoy itself without some such spectacle, and, of course, there were a few arguments which were settled in the usual manner—the most alert and decisive gesticulating contestant losing his temper and his pocket-knife (an implement of useful length, strength and ‘ edge ‘), the former flying to the winds of Heaven, the latter to his opponent’s throat. The slowest Greek always’ gets it in the neck ‘ on these occasions, and the 28th General Hospital always gets the Greek! When Greek meets Greek on a fête day in Salonika, no one should miss the sport: it’s better than bull-baiting in Spain or broncho-busting in Yankee-land. The preliminaries are exciting, interesting and funny, while the climax is deliriously fatal.

“But I must not try your patience further.””

In the same issue, under “Deaths”:

“JENNINGS.—On the 21st December, 1918, of pneumonia, at Salonika, Arnold Simkin Jennings (1907-11), of Malton, aged 26 years.”

Corporal Arnold Simkin Jennings is buried at Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria.

In Memoriam: Joseph Herbert Garbutt

Photograph of Joseph Herbert Garbutt in uniform.
Joseph Herbert Garbutt

Joseph Herbert Garbutt, of York, was killed in action in France on 10th November 1918, aged 22 years.

He was born in York in 1896 and attended Bootham School from 1909 to 1912 as a day boy.  

Jospeh’s hobby whilst at school was the Workshop. The school magazine, “Bootham” of March 1911 contains the report of the school Christmas Exhibition of 1910. This shows that in the Worskshop section, book-shelves class:

“Garbutt’s double book-stand in oak came, however, a good second.”

“Bootham” of May 1911 reports on the Fives Class Tournament:

“FIVES REPORT—1910-1911.

The Class Championship tournament was played as usual -during the Autumn Term, resulting in the following medal winners :—

Middle Schoolroom : J. H. Garbutt.”

In Athletics that summer, Joseph was third in the Junior Cup High Jump.

In the Christmas Exhibition of 1911, Joseph won first prize for his book-shelves.

The March 1913 issue of “Bootham” contains his “Bene Decessit” entry, as follows:

“J. H. GARBUTT was a member of the Upper Schoolroom when he left. During his eleven terms at School he did a good deal of work in the Workshop, and was President of the Junior Essay Society for some time. He played football for the 2nd XI.”

The next we hear of Joseph is in the March 1917 issue of “Bootham”, in the “Across the Months” section:

”J. H. GARBUTT wrote from an Essex camp in December. He is with the **** * Rifles.”

The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” contains Old York Scholars War-time Service Lists:

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army

Garbutt, J. H., London Regt.”

However the August 1919 issue of “Bootham” reports, under “Deaths”:

“ GARBUTT.—On the 10th November, 1918, killed in action, Joseph Herbert Garbutt (1909-12), of York, aged 23 years.”

and the same issue has Joseph’s “In Memoriam” entry as follows:

“JOSEPH HERBERT GARBUTT (1908-12). Garbutt tried to enlist several times but was rejected as medically unfit, and so joined the St. John Ambulance Association as a motor-driver. He gave practically the whole of his time to this work, and his services both on the road and in the garage were much appreciated by the York branch of the S.J.A.A.

In November, 1916, he was passed fit for General Service and joined the Artists Rifles, proceeding to France in September, 1917. He was wounded in the heavy fighting at Passchendaele in October, and rejoined his unit after several weeks in hospital.

He was killed by shell-fire on November 10th, 1918 (the day before the signing of the Armistice), near Haveng, a few miles south of Mons, during the rapid advance which was taking place at that time. He was buried, with full military honours, at Haveng on November 11th , 1918.

At the time of his death he held the rank of sergeant and was very highly spoken of by his officers, who more than once asked him to take a commission.

He showed the true spirit of fellowship inculcated by Bootham, and by many acts of kindness and sympathy endeared himself to his brother N.C.O.’s and the men under him.                   W. E. W.”

Sergeant Joseph Herbert Garbutt is buried Harveng Churchyard, Hainaut, Belgium.

In Memoriam: Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey

Photograph of Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey in uniform.
Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey

Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey, of Stockton-on-Tees, died of pneumonia following influenza in Paris on the 23rd October, 1918, aged 26 years.

He was born in 1892 and attended Bootham School from 1905 to 1910. He was keen on Natural History at school.

The School magazine, “Bootham”, of February 1907, in the report of The Seventy-third Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society, January, 1907 tells us that in the Christmas Exhibition, in Entomology:

“A. H. Pumphrey has made a few microscopic preparations of various parts of insects.”


“A. H. Pumphrey shows 9 microscopic slides very neatly prepared, but rather disconnected in idea.”

Aubyn won the prize for Microscopy. He also won the Workshop prize for Book Shelves.

In 1907 he became an assistant Secretary for the school Natural History Club, and also a curator of Zoology.

“Bootham” of February 1908 has The Seventy-fourth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural Hlstory, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1908.  It contains, in the section on Natural History Diaries:

“A. H. Pumphrey has not written so much, but he has some successful photos, of nests and young birds. Both he and Levin would do better to spend more time on preparing photographic illustrations, which are more valuable than copies of bird pictures, or even of stuffed birds.”

The Workshop report in this issue contains the following:

“The year 1907 has not shown such a large output of work as sometimes : the quality, however, has been good, and things were busier in the Summer term than usual. ……… Some improvement has been shown in wood-turning. There has been less boxmaking and a greater variety in the way of picture frames, serviette rings, tool handles and candlesticks. Holmes and A. H. Pumphrey are the two best in this line.”

Aubyn won prizes for Natural History Diaries and Workshop Turning. In 1908 he additionally became a curator of Microscopy for the Natural History Society.

The February 1909 issue of “Bootham” contains The Seventy-fifth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1909. It shows that Aubyn had by now joined the committee of the Society and was a Registrar. The report tells us:

“During the Spring Term six meetings were held : all full of interest, and showing evidence of good work. On one occasion A. H. Pumphrey gave a very good account of the birds which he had seen at Bamborough during the Christmas holidays. The value of the paper was considerably increased by a number of excellent blackboard diagrams.”


“At the beginning of the Autumn Term an Exhibition of Holiday Work was held in the Art Room. ……. the Diaries of H . G. Burford, R. B. Graham, D. Eliott, A. B. Cohen, D. Gray and A. H. Pumphrey showed what good use had been made of spare moments during the vacation.”


“Many excellent reports dealing with the holiday activities already referred to were read at the various meetings held throughout the Term. In addition to these, several members contributed papers giving the results of their observations in the neighbourhood of York. …… Special reference ought to be made to A. H. Pumphrey’s lantern slides of “Bird Life” at Skipwith and other places. Those of the gull’s nests are worthy of Mr. Lazenby.”

and in the report of the Christmas Exhibition of 1908:

“The other feature of the Show is A. H. Pumphrey’s set of lantern slides of Natural History subjects, which, in the judges opinion, is one of the best pieces of work ever exhibited.“

They awarded the 1st Prize to Aubyn, three of whose slides—the view of the Minster and the two views of birds’ nests with eggs—were especially commended.”

Aubyn also won Workshop prizes for Tables, and Turning.

Aubyn joined the committee of the Photographic Club at school and the football committee for 3rd and 4th teams.

In December 1908, Aubyn passed the Cambridge Extension Lectures exam.

In the Autumn of 1909, Aubyn was the President of the school Natural History Society. “Bootham” of March 1910 tells us, in The Seventy-sixth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1910, that:

“During the Spring Term four meetings were held, all full of interest, and showing evidence of good work. On one occasion A. H. Pumphrey gave a very good account of the birds which he had seen at Bamborough during the Christmas holidays.”


“the Diaries of A. H. Pumphrey, A. B. Cohen, R. Darby and C. Holden showed what good use had been made of spare moments during the vacation.”

In the report of the Photographic Club in this same issue, we read:

“The exhibits, as a whole, were good, and consisted of lantern slides, prints and enlargements. Of the lantern slides those of A. H. Pumphrey were undoubtedly the best” and “In some of the exhibits—especially those of A. H. Pumphrey— careful choice of subject is combined with a neatness of printing and mounting, which the judges warmly commended.”

Aubyn received further praise for his photographic entries in the Christmas Show 1909:

“In the Pickard Instantaneous Competition the judges at last found a photograph undeniably instantaneous—the photograph by A. H. Pumphrey of the Delagrange aeroplane in full flight at Doncaster.”


“The photographs entered for the Pickard Time Exposure Prize received special commendation from the judges, A. H. Pumphrey’s picture of crocuses, “Signs of Coming Spring,” being described as one of the best photographs ever entered by a member of the School.”

This same issue of “Bootham” contains the Report of Committee For Awarding the Old Scholars’ Natural History Exhibition:

“For this year’s Exhibition there is only one competitor, Aubyn H. Pumphrey. He has sent in a diary of observations of birds, illustrated with many excellent photographs of nests. From most of these he has made lantern slides. His work is patient and painstaking, and neatly set out; he has made some study of flight, and the construction of feathers, and also of protective colouring. He has done good work in the Natural History Club, and some of his blackboard drawings illustrative of his lectures are reproduced on a well-known postcard. The judges were very much pleased with his use of the loose leaf system for his diary, a method which has also to some extent been adopted by Graveson. This system needs to be used with discretion, but for some purposes it is an invaluable way of arranging records of observations. We award Aubyn H. Pumphrey the sum of five pounds.”

In the Autumn Term 1909, Aubyn was playing in the 2nd XI Football team:

“Nov. 20, v. ACKWORTH. Won, 7—1. Won in spite of the absence of three prominent forwards. A. H. Pumphrey (3) was the principal scorer”

In the Spring Term, 1910, Aubyn became a Reeve at school. (A Reeve is similar to a prefect.)

The October 1910 issue of “Bootham” contains Aubyn’s “Bene Deccessit” entry:

“A. H. PUMPHREY has been in the School for five years, and was made a reeve last January. He has been a prominent member of the Natural History Club, and gained the Old Scholars’ award last year for his ornithology and photographs of birds. He played for the second football XI last season.”

The Natural History report for the year after Aubyn left Bootham notes his absence:

“A. H. Pumphrey and R. B. Graham, our two most accomplished ornithologists, both left us last summer, and we badly miss Pumphrey’s diary in the Show this year.”

After he left school he was an Apprentice Sugar Miller.

At the Thirty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Old York Scholars’ Association, Whit-Monday, June 1st, 1914, Aubyn was elected to serve three years on the O.Y.S.A. Committee.

It is reported in the March 1915 issue of “Bootham” that Aubyn H Pumphrey was working under the Friends War Victims’ Relief Committee. He had volunteered in 1914 for their work in France. He undertook engineering work, and helped evacuate invalids and refugees.

The next we hear of Aubyn is in the June 1917 issue of “Bootham”, which contains the report of the Old York Scholars’ Association Meeting. Whitsuntide, 1917. It contains a letter as follows:

“ Chalons sur Marne, ” 28th May, 1917.

 To Bootham School, York, Angleterre.

Meilleurs salutations de deux war victims and deux F.A.U., se trouvant dans la meme ville.


At the Meeting it was proposed and accepted that Aubyn H. Pumphrey be reappointed to remain on the committee “for the period of the war.”.

In “Bootham” of July 1918 we read:

“AUBYN H. PUMPHREY (1905-I0), FRANCIS GlBBINS (1903-7), and LONGSTRETH THOMPSON (1904-6) send news of their work in the F.W.V.R. ” I am now at N , ” writes A. H. P., ” running- a small saw-mill belonging to the American Red Cross. .. . I am the only F.W.V.R. here, but I am fortunate in having a nice little room a t the A.R.C. depot. ” He meets a number of interesting people, mainly Americans, but finds it somewhat lonely being’ separated from the rest of the F.W.V.R. men.”


“ALEXANDER S. HAMILTON (1910-15) is with a convoy, F.A.U., and has had a very hot time during the recent retreat. One dark evening he was driving downhill into a town that was being bombed. A car came alongside with Aubyn Pumphrey on board. They had just time to hail one another—ships that pass in the night.”

Then “Bootham” of December 1918 reports, in “Bootham Oversea”:

“Once again we have to close this article upon a note not unmixed with sadness. Most readers will have heard by this time of the death from pneumonia of AUBYN PUMPHREY (1905-10). His four years’ work in France with the F.W.V.R.C. has been of a most devoted character, and when he fell ill his “leave” had voluntarily been long delayed. T. EDMUND HARVEY speaks of PUMPHREY’S chivalry,” and those of us who knew him well recognise how apt is the term. We shall cherish the memory of his unselfish work for humanity. “

And in “Deaths”:

“PUMPHREY.—On 23rd October, 1918, at Paris, of pneumonia, while serving with the F.W.V.R., Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey, of Stockton-on-Tees (1905-10), aged 26.”

His “In Memoriam” is in the April 1919 issue of “Bootham”, as follows:

“AUBYN HARRISSON PUMPHREY (1905-10) volunteered in 1914 for the work of the Friends’ War Victims’ Relief Committee in France, working at hut building in Sermaize, then in the agricultural and in the motor departments, being one of those who helped amid the gas shells in evacuating invalids and refugees from Rheims. In 1917 the Mission undertook reconstruction work in the Somme area, and he was asked to take charge of a saw mill near Noyon, which was to prepare timber for the adjoining department of the Oise; this he set up himself, and ran with the help of a scratch team of French workmen, sometimes snatching a few hours at week-ends to join on his motor cycle the neighbouring Mission Equipe at Ham, though often he stayed to repair machinery which was at work all the week. When the German advance came, in March, 1918, he was busy day and night helping the civilians to evacuate, falling back with the American Red Cross to Compile, and working without rest, having to drive his car for days together in a gas mask. He was later asked to take charge of the motors of a mobile hospital near the front, looking forward to return when the pressure was less to the purely civilian work of the F. W. V. R. C. as soon as he was needed there. More than once he was urged to take his overdue leave, but he steadily refused; he could not go, he said, while the need was so great. Worn out thus, he came up to Paris in October with the influenza fever upon him; he had not strength to resist the pneumonia that developed, and passed away in the British hospital on October 23rd, 1918. Keen on his work and the ideals beyond it, unsparing of himself, and withal so chivalrous, courteous and modest, his memory shines bright in the hearts of his friends.      T. E. H.”

Another tribute to Aubyn is given in the diary 1917-19 of William Bell, a fellow worker in the F. W. V. R. C., and entitled “A Scavenger in France”, as follows:

“23 OCTOBER. Aubyn Pumphrey passed away to-day, as a result of pneumonia following upon an attack of “Spanish Influenza,” according to the doctor who attended him. Pumphrey was one of the group who worked at Ham all last winter; and was in charge of a saw-mill at Noyon most of the time his engineering knowledge being thus made use of. He was a tireless worker; anxious at all times to give of his best; and one of the most lovable of men. I feel that he has died at his post through sticking to it too long when he was very ill. But, like all true soldiers who fall on the field of battle, he did his duty to the very last and “How can man die better?”

Aubyn Harrisson Pumphrey is buried in the cemetery of St. Cloud, near Paris.

In Memoriam: Jacob Johnson Henderson

Photograph of Jacob Johnson Henderson
Jacob Johnson Henderson

Jacob Johnson Henderson, of Alston, Cumberland, died of wounds received in France on 17th October, 1918, aged 23 years.

He was born on 12th January 1895 and attended Bootham School from 1910 to 1912.  He played 1st XI cricket and football at school.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of March 1911 contains the report of the Old Scholars’ Natural History Exhibition, Christmas, 1910.  It shows that Jacob won a prize in the Workshop section for his Coal box.  The Football report in this issue shows that Jacob was playing in the 1st XI. “Henderson played well in his place, but lacks weight.”

The May 1911 issue of Bootham contains notes by the Football captain:

“HENDERSON, J. J.—Is too light, and lacks just that dash which would make him really useful, for he can play good football when he isn’t nervous and hustled.”

“Bootham” of March 1912 shows that Jacob was still playing 1st XI football.  In a match against Hymer’s College: “Henderson scored two goals.”  The Football notes by the Captain for this season included:

“HENDERSON, J. J.— Has improved during the season, and done quite well at times. He will never “move mountains” however. His dribbling and passing and shooting are all good when he is at his best.”

The November 1912 issue of “Bootham” shows that Jacob was playing 1st XI Cricket.  In Notes on the Team by the Captain:

“HENDERSON, J.—Going in early, has contributed some very useful defensive innings, playing straight and watching carefully. Occasional change bowler. Fair in the field, but slow in the return.”

The same issue has his “Bene Decessit” entry:

“J. J. HENDERSON leaves from the Lower Senior after two years here. He played football and cricket for the Ist XI and twice helped his bedroom to win the football tournaments.”

We don’t hear of Jacob again until the March 1916 issue of “Bootham”, where, under “Bootham School War Lists”, we read:

“Under Military Discipline :—

[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]

Henderson, J. J., Inns of Court O.T.C., Squadron.”

Jacob had joined up in September 1915 and was in the Suffolk Yeomanry during the war.

In December 1917, “Bootham” tells us, in “Across the Months”:

“JACOB J. HENDERSON (1910-12) may be in Gaza, Beersheba, or any other Old Testament town by now. He met Douglas Allen in Alexandria.”

He served in Palestine. In May 1918 he was transferred to France. The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” tells us:

“J. BARRINGTON GOODBODY (1900-5) writes from France a much travelled Captain. M. Haughton, who won the M.C. at Beersheba, and J. J. Henderson are with him.”

Jacob died of wounds received in action in France. The December 1918 issue of “Bootham” records his death:

“HENDERSON.—On 17th October, 1918, of wounds received in action in France, Jacob Johnson Henderson, of Alston (1910-12), aged 23.”

The April 1919 issue of “Bootham” has his “In Memoriam” entry:

“JACOB JOHNSON HENDERSON (1910-12), Lieut., Suffolk Yeomanry, younger son of Robert and Isabella Henderson, Lovelady Shield, Alston, was born in 1895, and educated at the Friends’ Schools, Wigton, Ackworth, and Bootham. On leaving school he went into Lloyds Bank at Bellingham, and when war broke out he was in the Head Office in London.

In September, 1913, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., and on finishing his training, left for Egypt in October, 1916. He took part in the Palestine campaign, and was at Gaza and Jerusalem. He was accidentally wounded in April, 1918. In May he was transferred to France, and in September obtained leave, when he spent a very happy time at home. He was wounded in action in France on October i6th, 1918, and died the following day at the 51st Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried by the Chaplain (W. A. Rundell) at Estaires.

He was of a very happy, affectionate disposition, and endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact, the large number of letters received by his family testifying to his popularity both in civil life and in the Army. His bank managers have written of his capability and promise; and in the words of his Lieut.-Col., “He was a most efficient and promising officer, and had led his company in the absence of the Company Commander most gallantly for some time past.””

Quotations from Letters received:

Bank Manager— “This terrible war has deprived a mother of a much-loved son, the country of a gallant soldier, and the Bank a promising member of its staff.”

Lieut.-Colonel— “I wish to sympathise with you on behalf of myself and the whole regiment in the great loss you have sustained through the death of your son. We shall all miss him terribly. He was a most efficient and promising officer, and had led his company in the absence of the Company Commander most gallantly for some time past.”

Adjutant— “He was certainly one of our most popular officers.” , “He was esteemed by all who knew him for his capability and promise.”

One of his men— “He was one of the best fellows we had, and everyone was very sorry to hear the news.”                            S. W.”

Lieutenant Jacob J. Henderson is buried at Estaires Communal Cemetery, in northern France.

In Memoriam: Philip John Meyer

Photograph of Philip John Meyer
Philip John Meyer

Philip John Meyer, of York, died of pneumonia while serving in Paris on 16th October, 1918, aged 31 years.

He was born at Bramley near Leeds in 1887 and attended Bootham School from 1902 to 1906.  He did well at school.  He was a Reeve and was an asset to the school Band.

Philip was active in the Natural History Club at school, and in the school Christmas Exhibition of 1903 he won prizes, along with his brother Sebastian Burtt, for Entomology and Coleoptera.  The Natural History Report for that year includes the following (from the school magazine “Bootham” of March 1904):

“ENTOMOLOGY . Perhaps the chief work in this branch has been done by the brothers Meyer, who show upwards of 80 specimens of Lepidoptera collected during the year, including Large Tortoiseshells from the New Forest, and a number of butterflies from Normandy ; they also show a few Coleoptera, including a Longicorn Beetle from the New Forest.”

The May 1904 issue of “Bootham” tells us, in the Athletics Report, that Philip won the Gym event.

The Natural History Club Report of 1904, printed in “Bootham” of February 1905, shows that in the Christmas Exhibition, Philip won second prize for his Natural History Diary.  The Entomology Report tells us:

“P. J. and S. B. Meyer secured amongst other butterflies and moths, White Admiral, Female Silver Washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Painted Lady, Drinker and Hummingbird Hawk, in the New Forest.  They also found Eyed Hawk, Goat, and Vapourer Moth caterpillars in Hampshire.”


“P. J. and S. B. Meyer had considerably improved their collection of butterflies and moths, and took second prize; and their collection of beetles also received a prize.”

“Bootham” of  February 1906 includes the Natural History Report for 1905.  The Entomology Report contains the following:

“P. J. and S. B. Meyer have added some twenty-two new species to their butterflies, most of which were collected in Southern France and the Balearic Isles. The most noteworthy finds are four specimens of Papilio machaon, two of Vanessa c-album, Colias edusa and Saturnia pavonia.   Their collection of beetles has also been increased by about twenty new species, of which may be mentioned Osmoderma emerita, Sisyphus schaefferi and Ocypus cyaneus.”


“The brothers P . J. and S. B. Meyer have considerably improved on last year’s entomology, and they now possess a valuable collection—neatly and carefully arranged.”

The report of the Christmas Show for 1905 includes the following:

“Three collections of crystals are on view. R. K. Wilson, who shows 22 species in various stages of their growth and also a notebook, is well ahead of W. A. Wilson with 19 species, and A. A. Pollard with 2, though the last has some beautiful specimens. On the same lines are a collection of compounds of lead, and two excellent notebooks, by P. J. Meyer.”

In 1905, Philip was a curator of Meteorology in the Natural History Club.

The report of the Autumn Term 1905 includes the following:

“On the 8th and 9th morning school was partially given up in order that Mr. Theodore Nield might talk to us about “The Effect of Alcohol on the Brain”; notes were taken, and essays afterwards sent in for a prize, which was won by P . J. Meyer.”

On the last night of Autumn term 1905, a grand concert took place at school, which was organised by Philip.  There were solos on piano, violin and singing by members of staff at school, “whilst instrumental music in duets, quartettes, a septette, and in full orchestra was rendered by various members of the band.”

Philip was a member of the Football Second XI in 1905.  He was also a member of the Senior Essay Club, and in the Spring term of 1906, “It was also felt to be an excellent precedent, when P. J. Meyer gave us a short lecturette, with lantern slides, on the Mediterranean.”

The September 1906 issue of “Bootham”, in the report of the School Summer Term tells us:

“Towards the end of the month, P. J. Meyer tried for a scholarship at Dalton Hall, but as he only decided to enter four days beforehand, he did not expect to be successful.”

Philip left school in 1906, and the September 1906 issue of “Bootham” contains his “Bene Decessit” entry:

“P. J. MEYER came to School in September, 1902, and when already in the Upper Senior a slight breakdown in 1905 caused his removal for two terms. Since his return he has done well, especially at mathematics, but indecision spoilt his chances of passing his exams. Undecided still as to his future, he is at present going to Dalton Hall to study science. He has interested himself in the Natural History club, making a good collection of butterflies (in the holidays), and recording the weather; he has done his duty as a Reeve; and been good in goal at times. But his services have been really great to the School band.”

The February 1907 issue on “Bootham” tells us:

“PHILIP J. MEYER (1902—6), has passed the Matriculation Examination Victoria Universities Joint Board.”

And then in the October 1908 issue we are told that Philip passed the Chemistry Examination for his Bachelor Degree from Manchester University.

We don’t hear of Philip for some years, and them in the July 1918 issue of “Bootham” we read, in “Across the Months”:

“PHILIP J. MEYER (1902-6) has for some time been Financial Secretary to the F.W.V.R. Committee in Paris. Lately he has been supervising the settling, in Southern France, of refugees from the newly-invaded areas.”

And then in the December 1918 issue, under “Deaths”:

“MEYER.—On 16th October, 1918, at Paris, of pneumonia, while serving with the F.W.V.R., Philip John Meyer, of York (1902-5), aged 31.”

Philip was with the Friends’ War Victims’ Relief Committee during the war. He died of pneumonia following influenza while working with them in Paris.

The April 1919 issue of “Bootham” has an “In Memoriam” piece for him, written by his brother:

“”PHILIP JOHN MEYER (1902-6) was born at Bramley, near Leeds, in 1887, and was at Bootham from 1902 to 1906.

Leaving school as a Reeve, with a musical and gymnastic record, he studied at Manchester University, during part of which time he was in residence at Dalton Hall. Both at school and college his health frequently interfered with his work, but he entered business in Leeds with the indomitable energy which to the last concealed his limitation of strength. His knowledge of French and German stood him in good stead in his commercial relations with foreign firms, and he was an extensive traveller, visiting at various times most of the countries in Europe. At home he was well known in the philaletic world.

In 1917 he became attached to the London office of the War Victims’ Relief Committee, and worked there for three months, after which he proceeded to Paris as Accountant to the Mission. His duties in France took him to many of the field “équipes,” where, as everywhere, his skill as a pianist was in great request. As acting Treasurer to the Mission he remained in Paris during the greater part of 1918, succumbing to pneumonia following influenza in October of that year. His grave lies in the little cemetery of St. Cloud, only a few feet from those of his cousin, Sadie Henwood, and of his school-fellow, Aubyn Pumphrey.                   S. B. M”

There is also mention of Philip in the publication “A Scavenger in France, Being Extracts from the Diary of an Architect, 1917-19”, by William Bell *, as follows:


15 OCTOBER. The first member of the Unit to fall a victim to La Grippe passed away to-night in the person of our worthy accountant on the Paris staff, Philip Meyer. He was the gentlest of souls, a thorough master of his work, and a musician to the finger-tips; and his cheerful presence will form a sad blank in the lives of those of us who were privileged to call him our friend. “

Philip John Meyer is buried in the cemetery of St. Cloud, near Paris.

(* See http://www.public-library.uk/dailyebook/A%20scavenger%20in%20France%20-%20being%20extracts%20from%20the%20diary%20of%20an%20architect%201917-19.pdf p.262 )