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 p.262 )


In Memoriam: Maurice Lea Cooper

Photograph of Maurice Lea Cooper in uniform
Maurice Lea Cooper

Maurice Lea Cooper, of Co. Dublin, was killed in action in Belgium on the 2nd October, 1918, aged 19 years.

He was born on 18th December 1898 and attended Bootham School from 1914 to 1916. 

In the school Christmas Show of 1914. Maurice won Workshop prizes for Trouser Press and Turning.

The December 1915 issue of the school magazine, “Bootham”, contains the Aquatics Report:

“The Bedroom Team-Race Trophy, presented by the Oxford Branch of the O.Y.S.A., was won by No. VI., who possessed three youthful but speedy performers in E. M. Baker, O. Massingham and M. L. Cooper, and bettered last year’s time by 3-5ths of a second.”

He was also third in the Senior 25 yards.

The same issue also contains the report of the Christmas Show 1915.

“The five trouser-presses are carefully made and finished, Pumphrey’s and Cooper’s being the best. On the whole we are glad to have fewer of these than last year.”

Bootham Magazine of October 1916 has his “Bene Decessit” entry:

” M. L. COOPER leaves from the Lower Senior, after a stay of two years. He played on the 2nd cricket eleven, and obtained his colours on the 2nd football eleven. He was an able tennis player, and took an interest in the Workshop and Library.”

Maurice joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1917. 

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

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.

Cooper, M. L., Sec. Lieut., R.F.C “

and in the same issue, “Across the Months”:

“MAURICE L. COOPER (1914-16) says he is just about due for leave, “which is very bon. “He is “close to where Ronald Altham and Peter Wilson hang out.” “Glad to say the war suits me admirably—nothing to do, and all day to do it in ! as the weather is ‘ dud stuff ‘ for flying. Would really have written before but the inertia natural to man prevented me! “”

“Bootham” of July 1918  reports in “Across the Months”:

“M. L. COOPER (1913-16). Congratulations. We understand that forty-two flying men have been decorated with the new Distinguished Flying Cross. The first Irishman in the number is Lieutenant M. L. Cooper, R.A.F., for “acts of gallantry when flying on active operations against the enemy. “The portrait is good in the Motor News, June 22nd.”

Then in “Bootham” December 1918 we see under “Deaths”:

“COOPER.—On 2nd October, 1918, killed in the air over Belgium, Maurice Lea Cooper, of Glenageary, near Dublin (1914-16), aged 20.”

“Bootham” of April 1919 has his, “In Memoriam”:

“MAURICE LEA COOPER (1914-16) came to Bootham in September, 1914, and stayed two years. He was not a boy of great intellectual ability, and left from the lower senior.
His leisure time was spent in the workshop in winter and in tennis and swimming in summer. At the one length he was only beaten by boys above the average of Bootham’s best. 
We shall always remember him for his engaging manners and affectionate good nature—an Irish generosity which was ready to give of its best without stint. To those who knew him the gallant story of his death on October 2nd, 1918, would cause admiration and perhaps a little envy, but no surprise. He had won captain’s rank and the Distinguished FIying Cross, and was enjoying a well-earned rest behind the lines, when news came that his squadron was hard pressed. He begged so earnestly to be sent back that his Major, knowing the value of such an example, could not refuse his request; and so, not only not grudging the first “mile,” but gladly going the “twain,” he met his death. As an epitaph suggesting at once his generous good nature and his healthy enjoyment of life, we may quote the words—scrawled with a burnt stick in July, 1914, across the cellar wall at Kendal, whence he proceeded to Bootham— 

” On the whole sorry to leave.” ”

Captain Maurice Lea Cooper is buried at Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Flanders.
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In Memoriam: Robert Ian Alexander Hickes

Photograph of Robert Ian Alexander Hickes in uniform.
Robert Ian Alexander Hickes

Robert Ian Alexander Hickes, of Market Weighton, was killed in action in France on 30th August, 1918, aged 19 years.

He was born on 12th January 1899 and attended Bootham School from 1914 to 1917. 

Ian joined Lower Senior class in the Spring of 1914.  He joined the Microscopy section of the school Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of  March 1915 reports that he won a prize for microscopy.  He had prepared a set of micro-preparations of crystals.  He also won a prize for his Natural History diary.

“Bootham” of December 1915 reports that:

“Matriculation results were announced late in the term; sixteen had passed, Braithwaite getting honours with distinctions in five subjects and Hickes honours with three distinctions.”





R. B. Braithwaite, e, em, c, I, f.

R. I. A. Hickes, em, me, c.

Distinctions : e = distinction in English, h in History, m in Mathematics, em in Elementary Mathematics, me in Mechanics, c in Chemistry, Theoretical and Practical, I in Latin, g in Greek, f in French.”


“It has been decided to continue the Ambulance Drill again this year, and with the experience of those who have already gained the certificate to command us we have quickly passed the more elementary stages, and hope to be working with a motor ambulance next term. One afternoon a week is devoted to it, and on the last Tuesday of November we were inspected by a sergeant of the St. John Ambulance Association, who expressed himself highly satisfied with the work that was done. Section eight, under the command of Hickes, was placed first with twenty-six out of thirty, but as the lowest was only twenty-two there was very little to choose between them.”

“Bootham” of March 1916, in the report of School Term Autumn 1915, gives an account of the Charades.

“We had expected much, and were not disappointed. The cast was not so large as on previous occasions, and therefore it was more select, all adapting themselves to their parts as though to the manner born. The scenes were taken from selected parts of “Our Mutual Friend,'”‘ and the intervals were enlivened by selections from Mrs. Sparkes and her trio of violinists. “Comparisons are odious,” says the old proverb, and in this case indeed almost impossible—all were so good; but Hickes, as the amorous though not very intellectual Sampson, we must confess surprised us, and we would like to congratulate him on the amusement which his part afforded.”

In 1916, Ian Hickes was curator of Microscopy at the school, and later a curator of Meteorology.

Moving on to October 1916, “Bootham” reports:

“University of London, First Examination for Medical Degrees.

R. V. Brown.

R. I. A. Hickes.”

Then in the June 1917 issue of “Bootham” we read:

“Football Notes, by the Captain.

HICKES, R. I. A.—A useful back who has got through a great deal of work. Always playing a strong game, he has usually been successful in breaking up the attack of his opponents. Good with his head.”

In “Bootham” of December 1917 we have the Report of Summer Term 1917.

“Mr. Arnold Rowntree very kindly gave away the prizes to those who were leaving. This was the first presentation under the new scheme by which all money won is accumulated and one prize bought at the end of the time at school. A certificate was given with each stating for what achievements it had been won. We were all glad to have Arnold Rowntree with us on this occasion and to feel from his words of appreciation his keen interest in all our doings. At the close we heard that the Commemoration Scholarship had been divided between R. I. A. Hickes and J. R. B. Moulsdale.”

“Examination Results.


Bootham School Commemoration Scholarship.

R. I. A. Hickes.

J. R. B. Moulsdale.

University of London: Intermediate Science Examination

R. I. A. Hickes, 3rd Class Honours in Chemistry.”

His Bene Decessit entry in this issue of “Bootham” reads as follows;

“R. I. A. HICKES played right-back for the 1st XI. and obtained the 1st Boys’ Colours. He was a keen meteorologist and also took a large amount of interest in the Lads’ Club in York and in the Bootham School Camp. Hickes passed matric. with honours two years ago. During his two years in the College he obtained his 1st M.B. and also passed Intermediate Science of London University with 3rd Class Honours in Chemistry. He was a reeve and shares the Commemoration Scholarship with Moulsdale.”

In “Across the Months” from this same issue we read:

“R. IAN A. HICKES (1914-17) is a Cadet in the R.F.C. Cadet Wing, *****. He joined up at *****, and had rather a thin time to begin with. “The training in this wing is a course of five weeks’ instruction in drill, machinegunnery, signalling, military law, map reading, etc. I was pleased to hear of so many medicals once more. It is a pity if such a privilege is not used to the fullest extent. I had hoped to come and see you at Old Scholars. Indeed, there was talk of a victual in Abbatt’s study, and Billy Barber wanted me to play, but no leave is given at this stage. “”

“Bootham” of  May 1918 contains the “O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists, including the following:

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army

Hickes, R. I. A., Sec. Lieut., R.F.C.”

“Bootham” of July 1918 has the Report of Old York Scholars’ Association. Whitsuntide meeting of 1918 at Jordans.

“ROGER DARBY, who has taken up the work of the Scholarship Fund, said that the report was quite satisfactory. The scholarship had been divided between Ian Hickes and John Moulsdale, but neither was yet able to use any of it because they were going into the Army.”

On 30th August 1918 Ian was the pilot of a bomber plane shot down over occupied France. He and his navigator both died and were buried in a small village cemetery there.

The December 1918 issue of “Bootham” reports, under “Deaths”:

“HICKES.—On 30th August, 1918, killed in the air over France, Robert Ian Alexander Hickes, of Market Weighton (1914-17), aged 19.”

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

“ROBERT IAN ALEXANDER HICKES (1914-17). Hickes will always be associated in my mind with his two predominant qualities—an infinite capacity for hard work, and a strongly developed sense of duty. Unlike us weaker mortals, he would never leave a chemical analysis unfinished nor a mathematical problem unsolved, and when at some hard piece of work he was quite unapproachable in every sense of the word; I have never seen anyone else so barricaded in by note- and text-books. His conscientiousness gave him an almost oppressive sense of responsibility and dignity during his year as a Reeve. It was largely his sense of duty that made him during this period throw himself so wholeheartedly into the Lads’ Club, and into encouraging younger members of the N.H. Club in botany and microscopy.

No mention of Hickes would be complete without reference to his histrionic talent. For two years the “charades” might be truthfully said to be Hickes. In 1915 his rendering of the speechless rustic a-courting in Our Mutual Friend was more widely imitated among the lesser fry than anything else in my experience; whilst his Sir Anthony Absolute of the following year, although a little heavy, was easily the chef d’oeuvre of the evening.

Hickes may be summed up as a clever Yorkshireman : his mentality was North Country, not quick, but very sound; and his soul was true Yorkshire. He well deserved the Commemoration Scholarship awarded him. R. B. B.”

Second Lieutenant Robert Ian Alexander Hickes is buried at Latour-en-Woevre Communal Cemetery, France.

In Memoriam: Oliver Bell

Photograph of Oliver Bell in uniform.
Oliver Bell

Oliver Bell, of Cheshire, was killed in action on 24th August, 1918, aged 20 years.

He attended Bootham School from 1913 to 1916.  He was a cricketer and a member of the school Natural History Society.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of  March 1914 contains The Eightieth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1914.

In the report of Christmas Show, Botany Section, we read:

“Bell, however, secured the second prize for the Floral Calendar.”

 and in the same issue, “Pets” report:

“During the summer lizards were kept (and subsequently lost) by Shaw, Bell, Strange and others. Many of them have since been discovered in various parts of the premises.”

 and in the same issue, “Prizes”, Oliver got a prize for Presses in the Workshop section.

In the following year, Oliver won prize for “Bedtable,Tray” in the Workshop section.

“Bootham” of  December 1915 contains cricket report:


June 9, v. ARCHBISHOP HOLGATE’S, Home. Lost, 60 and 54—54 and 66. Although we won on the first innings, our opponents just pulled off the game in the second innings. Bell took seven wickets for 21 runs.

June 16, v. BRIDLINGTON G.S., Away. Won, 186 for 9—46. The first victory of the season. Lean made 39, Hamilton 31, and Strange 20. Bell took five wickets for 24.”

In 1916, Oliver became a Librarian of the school Natural History Society.

“Bootham”, of October 1916, lists cricket Matches:

“ARCHBISHOP HOLGATE’S, June 7, Away. Won, 57—44. On a “mountainous” wicket the bowlers on both sides did well. Bell’s rapidly-scored 13 saved us from defeat. Bell took two wickets for 1 run”

In the Royal Life Saving Society Awards: July, 1916, Oliver achieved a Bronze Medallion.

The same issue of “Bootham contains Oliver’s “Bene Decessit” entry:

“O. BELL was best known in the realms of sport. He obtained his 1st eleven colours at cricket and his 2nd eleven colours at football. He was a fives player and an able tennis player. He was a librarian, and leaves from the Lower Senior.”

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

“OLIVER BELL (1913-16), Second Lieut., R.F.C., was recently at * * * * * training and met Geoffrey Newman and “Cuddy Scrim ” there. He hears fairly regularly from A. S. Hamilton.”

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

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.

Bell, O., Sec. Lieut., R.F.C.”

Then in “Bootham” December 1918, under “Deaths” we read:

“BELL.—On 24th August, 1918, killed in the air over France, Oliver Bell, of Disley, Cheshire (1913-16), aged 20.”

“Bootham of April 1919 has Oliver’s “In Memoriam” entry:

“OLIVER BELL (1913-16). It was with very deep regret that we heard of the death of Oliver Bell, killed whilst flying in France.

He will be remembered by his contemporaries as popular and easy-going, as a keen reader, and player of games.

On leaving Bootham he joined the Artists’ Rifles, but wishing to take a commission in the Air Force, he was transferred, in June, 1917, to the Flying School at Reading, and did his first flying at Bramham Moor. He went into an advanced training squadron at South Carlton, near Lincoln, where he had a small crash, through his engine failing when taking off. He then went to the School of Aerial Gunnery at Hythe, and on to the School of Aerial Navigation at Stonehenge. After a flight from there to Bristol, he and his pilot crashed from 200 feet, owing to engine trouble, the pilot being killed, but Bell escaping unhurt.

He joined the 99th Squadron (long distance bombing), and went to France at the end of April, 1918. The Independent Force was then being built up, and the work was arduous. On all their raids they were under fire from the “Archies” nearly all the way, and were constantly attacked by superior numbers of enemy scouts. Bell was a very good aerial shot, and he and his pilot more than held their own.

Bell came home for 14 days’ leave in July, and on his return to his squadron found his usual pilot (who had never been over the line without him) in hospital. He then flew with his Flight Commander, and they were killed together on August 24th, 1918. He is buried at Charmes, on the Moselle.

Bell was mentioned for distinguished services in General Trenchard’s dispatch on the work of the Independent Force* His Squadron Commander writes:

“I cannot tell you how I sympathise with you in your loss. Your son was a most excellent officer in every way, and very popular in the squadron. He had done some particularly good work over the lines, and always showed himself keen and energetic,” An old scholar who was with him during part of his training writes:

“I was terribly distressed when I heard about ‘ Sammy ‘ Bell, because I was with him at two training squadrons, and his characteristic ‘ don’t-care-a-damn’ spirit was just the stimulant that most of us required at that period. Although I was with him for only a short time, we had many a pleasant talk together, and I always came away greatly refreshed and with a light heart.”

Another wrote who had only known him for a short period, thus showing the sort of impression he made on those who met him. He had just received a photograph of Bell.

“I think it a good likeness of the lad—as good, in fact, as you will get in a photograph. The one thing that distinguished him from all others needed a painter, not a photographer; and the painter should have painted him as St. Michael, going forth to right the wrong. I always fancied him so—he had exactly that expression in his countenance and that light in his eyes; and I once said to somebody at the club table that if he got into enemy hands they couldn’t but treat fairly a lad with a face like his.” J. C. M.”

Second Lieutenant Oliver Bell is buried at Charmes Military Cemetery in France.


In Memoriam: Harwood Woodwark Barton

Photograph of Harwood Woodwark Barton in uniform
Harwood Woodwark Barton

Harwood Woodwark Barton, of Whitby was killed in a flying accident on 2nd July, 1918, aged 17 years.

He attended Bootham School from 1915 to 1916. Harwood played football for the school second XI. He was a member of the school Natural History Society, joining the Microscopy section.  The Eighty-Second Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1916, (reported in the school magazine, “Bootham”, of March 1916) tells us that:

“Barton shows 30 micro-slides accompanied by a diary.”

He received a school prize for microscopy.

In the Bedroom Athletics Trophy tournament 1916 at school, Harwood did well, being the highest scorer in the Junior (under 15) section.   Harwood nearly took the individual Athletics Junior Cup:

“The Junior Cup was won by Gillett ii, though the first places were equally shared by him with Nickalls and Barton.”

Harwood won the 880 Yards, and Hurdles, was second in High Jump and Gymnastics and third in 220 Yards.

In the summer of 1916, Harwood was playing cricket for the school.  The October 1916 edition of “Bootham” reports on one of the matches:

“THE F.A.U., June 6, Home. Won, 105—82. With the exception of Moulsdale the first wickets fell for disappointingly small scores, but. Massingham and Barton saved the side, making 20 and 32 respectively.”

The notes on the team by the Captain include:

“BARTON, H. W.—A useful and capable bat, with a good forward reach, some power of scoring, and alertness never to miss a run. An extremely promising wicket-keep.”

The same issue of “Bootham” report the results of the Aquatics tournament.  Harwood did well in this, coming second in many of the events (Open: 220 Yards, Plunge; Senior: 100 Yards, 25 Yards, and 25 Yards on Back).  Overall he took second place in the Championship, as was awarded the Clayton Bronze Medal.

Harwood left Bootham School in 1916.  He played cricket for the Old Scholars in the match against the school in May 1917.

The June 1917 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months” reports that:

“H. W. BARTON is hoping to join the R.F.C.”

However the July 1918 issue of “Bootham” reports, under “Deaths”:

“BARTON.—On the 2nd July, 1918, killed whilst flying in England, Harwood W. Barton (1915-16), aged 18.”

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

“HARWOOD WOODWARK BARTON (1915-16), Flight Cadet, R.A.F., was killed whilst flying on duty, July 2nd, 1918.

He came to Bootham after being five years at Ackworth, and early showed considerable independence of character, which seemed destined to make whatever career he embarked on a successful one ; and above all his personality was marked by a buoyancy of spirits and brightness of demeanour which won him friends on all sides.

Well might his CO. write: “His great characteristic of cheerfulness was a great asset in these days.”

Fired with ambition to take his part in the war, he entered the Flying Service very young. At school he had entered with zest into everything that took place, especially outdoor life, and when a cadet he was one of the prime movers in a large sports meeting, which, alas was fated to be held on the day when, with full military honours, his body was laid to rest at his home town.

It was not only on the playground that his interests were centred, for his keenness in learning every detail of his profession was noted, and at the aerodrome his instructors were agreed that he had in him the making of a first-class pilot.

Although devoid of fear, he did not take unnecessary risks, and it was all the more regrettable, therefore, that he should meet his death, soon after starting to fly alone, in one of those mishaps which are inseparably connected with an aviator’s career.  R. K. S”

Flight Cadet Harwood Woodwark Barton is buried in his family vault at Whitby Cemetery.

In Memoriam: Geoffrey Birdsall

Photograph of Geoffrey Birdsall
Geoffrey Birdsall

Geoffrey Birdsall, of Scarborough, was injured on 16th June 1918 during enemy artillery bombardment and died, in France, on the 17th June, 1918, aged 19 years.

He was born in 1899 and attended Bootham School from 1913 to 1917. He was a Reeve *.              (* equivalent of Prefect)

In his first term at Bootham, Geoffrey won prizes for his Archaeology Diary and a Workshop prize for Bookshelves.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of December 1915 reports external examination results.  Geoffrey achieved passes in Latin and Greek in the University of London, Senior School (Matriculation Standard) examinations.

In the Autumn term of 1915, Geoffrey was a member of the school Senior Reading  and Discussion Society.

The July 1916 issue of “Bootham “ reports on the school’s Bedroom Football Tournament.

“Birdsall played a fine plucky game in goal for XIII.”

The October 1916 issue of “Bootham” reports external examination results:

“Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board,

Higher Certificate Examination.

(Latin, Greek, Elementary Mathematics, and History.)

G. Birdsall.”

 “Bootham”, issue of March 1917, contains the Eighty-Third Annual Report of Bootham School, York Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1917. The report of the Senior Essay Society includes the following:

“During the Session 1915-16 the Committee awarded the first prize to G. Birdsall for a very clearly written essay entitled “The Fall of Jerusalem.””


“G. Birdsall’s essay on Modern Education was quite a feature of one meeting, and gave rise to considerable discussion.”

Phootograph of title page of Geoffrey Birdsall's essay on modern education in Bootham's "Observer" volume XXXII.
Title page of Geoffrey Birdsall’s essay on modern education in Bootham’s “Observer” volume XXXII.

The same issue contains a report on the Senior Reading and Discussion Society:

“A debate on the “House System” was held some time later, G. Birdsall moving the resolution that ” The House System as at present obtaining at Bootham School ought to be abolished. ” O. B. Lean moved an opposing motion. The resolution won by 18 votes to 9.”

“Bootham” of June 1917 tells us that Geoffrey came third in the 440 Yards race in the school Athletics Tournament.

The report on the school Summer Term of 1917, in “Bootham” issue of December 1917, contains the following:

“Some weeks later the Society met at the Master’s table for breakfast, this taking the place of the strawberry tea in the garden in days of peace, though the strawberries themselves were as good as ever. Mr. Rowntree announced that G. Birdsall’s Essay, entitled ” More Wailing, ” had taken first prize for the year.”

This issue also includes external examination results for midsummer 1917:

“North Riding County Council Major Scholarship.

(£6o a year for three years.)

G. Birdsall (Classics).”

and his “Bene Decessit” entry:

“G. BIRDSALL was a prominent member of the committees of the Senior Essay and Debating Societies. He was a keen debater and brilliant essayist. He obtained the Senior School Certificate two years ago and the Oxford and Cambridge Higher Certificate the following year. During his last year he was a reeve and won a Major Scholarship of the North Riding County Council in Classics. He leaves us to join the Artists’ Rifles O.T.C.”

Photograph of Bootham School Reeves, 1917, including G. Birdsall
Bootham School Reeves 1917, G. Birdsall seated, second from right.

His scholarship was celebrated in school by a half-holiday in the Autumn term.

The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” contains Old York Scholars War-time Service Lists. Under  “Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army” we see:

“Birdsall, G., London Regt.”

Then in the July 1918 issue we read, under “Deaths”:

“BIRDSALL.—On the 17th June, 1918, killed in action in France, Geoffrey Birdsall (1913-17), aged 19.”

and his “In Memoriam” entry:

“GEOFFREY BIRDSALL (1913-17) fell on June 17th. ” His loss is felt as a heavy blow in the School; he is the second Old Boy to fall within a year of leaving School. Two letters lie before me; one looking forward to Whitsuntide, the other written after he had received the postcard. He writes in customary vein. He has no news to give, he sits in a shallow chalk depression, he writes in the front line with nothing between himself and Fritz. He would give anything to be with us on Whit-Monday: ‘ anyhow, I shall be thinking of the old School.’ The postmark of the second letter is June 13th; he speaks of heartfelt pleasure and gratitude on receiving the postcard with its load of well-known signatures. ‘ The only thing that could ever assure me that I really used to wander in the Academic groves of the Senior Essay Society is the characteristically bold, large signature of R. B. Braithwaite, though I am quite sure that I should no longer be able to engage in debate with a member of the Leighton Park Staff. I should very much like personally to thank everyone who signed my postcard, but I am afraid that it is impossible. I hope that we shall soon have the war well over, and that better times are in store for us.’ So this fine-natured boy departed, leaving us the memory of his strong soul, his intellectual force, his loyal spirit.””

Private Geoffrey Birdsall is buried in Pernois British Cemetery, Somme, France. The inscription reads: “OF SCARBORO’ AGED 19 MEMBRA SUMUS CORPORIS MAGNI”.

In Memoriam: Norman Edward Gripper

Photograph of Norman Edward Gripper in uniform.
Norman Edward Gripper

Norman Edward Gripper, of Blackburn, was killed in France on the 27th May, 1918, aged 21 years.

He was born in Plymouth in 1896 and attended Bootham School from 1912 to 1913. He collected butterflies and months at school.

The Seventy-ninth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1913, tells us in the Entomology report that:

“N. E. Gripper has the next largest collection. He has only collected for two terms, and has got together a very well set collection, of which, perhaps, the best are Erebia aethiops and Colias edusa.”


“Speaking of this subject, the judges report as follows: “Five collections of butterflies are sent in for competition. Of these N. Gripper’s calls for special commendation on account of the particularly neat setting.”

The school magazine, “Bootham” of November 1913 contains Norman’s “Bene Decessit”:

“N. E. GRIPPER, after four terms at Bootham, leaves from the Upper Schoolroom. He was a keen and successful entomologist.”

After school, Norman became an electrical engineer.

Norman joined the Friends Ambulance Unit and went to France in 1915.   The March 1916 issue of “Bootham” of March 1916 contains a section “Bootham School War Lists.”

“The following are, or have been, working with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit :—

Gripper, N. E., Chauffeur.”

The December 1917 issue of “Bootham”, in the “Bootham Oversea” sections has a mention of Norman:

“”R. S. CARR (1909-15), with the “Section Sanitaire ” in France, sends names of O.S. on his convoy: ” R. M. BARROW, O.C., H. LIDBETTER, R. L. SPENCE, N. E. GRIPPER, R. W. SCRIMGEOUR, H. G. CLARK, A. S. HAMILTON, E. O. RANSOME, O. B. LEAN.

They seem to have been “roughing it” in the winter. ” Many a time the bread and bully beef became blocks of ice. . . . We have worked on six different parts of the line, so we have seen quite a lot of France. “He says they are all looking’ forward to the time when they can attend the O.S. Gathering at the “best School of all.” “

The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” again mentions Norman.  The section “Old York Scholars serving with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit” lists him as “Gripper, N. E., Con. 14. “

The next we hear of Norman in “Bootham” is in the July 1918 issue, which records his death. He was killed by a German shell whilst driving an ambulance in Picardy.  The “In Memoriam” section includes:

“NORMAN EDWARD GRIPPER (1912-13). We have heard with sorrow of the loss of Gripper, killed by a shell on the morning of May 27th whilst working on his convoy, F.A.U. An Old Bootham Boy writes:—” Grips and I had become very close pals since we came out together …. He did not suffer any pain fortunately, being- killed outright … . He and Hugo Jackson were buried the same day, the service being conducted by a Scotch Chaplain. He was in a convoy of seven cars at the time, I was leading and he was about fifth, his brother driving in front of him. We were on the way to get casualties, and had to pass through a town that was being heavily shelled. Naturally we did not move through slowly, but apparently not quickly enough, and his car was the only one hit, and they were the only men hit. The four cars in front of him knew nothing of it until we pulled up at our destination, and we experienced a heavy shock on hearing the news. ”  ”

and under “Deaths”:

“GRIPPER.—On the 27th May, 1918, killed in France while with the F.A.U., Norman Edward Gripper, of Blackburn (1912- 13), in his 22nd year.”

The “In Memoriam” section of the December 1918 issue of “Bootham” has a letter from a number of Bootham boys about Norman:


S.S. Anglaise 14,

Convois Autos,

par B.C.M.,


June 28th, 1918.

Dear V. W.,—We , the old Bootham boys on S.S.A. 14, felt we would like to write to BOOTHAM to let others know how Norman E. Gripper met his death. BOOTHAM has just reached the convoy, and we all congratulate you on yet another good number.

Yours sincerely,






p.p. ROGER S. CARR (in hospital).

R. W. S.

Norman E. Gripper came out to France with the F.A.U. on January 1st, 1916, and after working- in the Poperinghe district for some months he joined the Ambulance Convoy S.S.A. 14.

Before getting his own car in November he was working as mechanic and extra driver. It was while he was in the workshop that many of us realised his great skill and enthusiasm for all things mechanical. When he got his own ‘bus it almost became a part of himself; it was always in the most perfect condition, and, like him, ready at all times for whatever occurred.

The convoy had just made a fairly long move to a little village some 20 kilometres behind the lines, and was expecting a few days’ rest, when the German offensive of May 27th took us entirely by surprise. Almost immediately calls for ambulances came pouring in from the neighbouring villages, and N. E. Gripper was the last of a small convoy of six to go through B—• , which was being heavily shelled. The shell which killed him and fatally wounded Hugo H. Jackson (master at Sidcot, 1913-14) must have burst immediately in front of his car, and death was instantaneous. H. H. Jackson lived to reach the CCS. at M.N.D., in the cemetery of which both were buried that afternoon; four hours later the hospital fell into the hands of the enemy. Both have been posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Gripper will always be remembered by those who knew him as an enthusiast in flying and the Air Service, but at the same time he was perfectly sure of the value and necessity of the Red Cross work he was doing. Retiring and unobstrusive though he was, we now realise how heavy is our loss.“

Norman Edward Gripper is buried in Vailly British Cemetery, Aisne, France.

In Memoriam: John Lancelot Gibson

Photograph of John Lancelot Gibson in uniform
John Lancelot Gibson

John Lancelot Gibson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was killed in action in France on the 27th May, 1918, aged 22 years.

Lance was born in 1896 and attended Bootham School from 1910 to 1913. He was a good cricketer and enjoyed Entomology at school.  The school magazine, “Bootham”, contains details of his collecting.

The March 1911 issue of “Bootham” contains The Seventy-seventh Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society, January, 1911:


“Of the diaries by younger boys that by Fisher is undoubtedly the best. He gives a good account of the type of animal which lives in the shells he collects. Others deserving of encouragement are A. S. Hamilton, Wilson, Lambert, Smithson, Benson, Gibson, Carr and Schad.



Natural History Diaries                   J. L. Gibson,


Vivaria, &c.                                       J. L. Gibson”


“Bootham” of May 1911 contains the school Athletics Report:


100 Yards                                            2 J L Gibson.

220 Yards                                            2 J. L. Gibson

120 Yards Handicap (Junior)            2 J. L. Gibson”

The March 1912 issue of “Bootham” contains The Seventy-eighth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1912:


At the beginning of the Autumn Term a small exhibition of Holiday Work was held in the Art Room. The Plants of J. M. Goodbody and G. S. Adair, together with the Beetles of J. L. Gibson, deserve special mention,….


Gibson and Benson both made excellent collections of beetles. Gibson, who has only collected a year shows very careful work, but better arrangement of his localities would be desirable.

(Report of Christmas Show says that “The two beetle collections are good ones. Taking into account the year’s work, J. L. Gibson’s is considered rather better than R. H. Benson’s.” )


So far as the Show Exhibits are concerned, most of the work sent in was ornithological. Two good diaries on pets were, however, sent in, the one which gained first prize being a record of some mice kept by T. H. O’Brien and V. L. Benson in a cage in one of the arbours, while J. L. Gibson and H. Sampson exhibited some guinea pigs, kept in an ingenious cage in the Boys’ Gardens.

(Report of Christmas Show says ” Mice and guinea pigs with diaries represent the pet work. It is not so good as that shown last year. We hope that T. H. O’Brien and V. L. Benson will continue their very interesting observations on mice and H. Sampson and J. L. Gibson on their guinea-pigs.”)


J. L. Gibson’s table took third place, it did not show as much work and skill as the others but still did him credit. Gibson managed successfully to evade the ” No’ wet paint or varnish ” law and to bother the judges by oiling his table.

(Report of Christmas Show says “Carr’s chess table is also excellent and beautifully finished, it is much superior to Gibson’s, which was very greasy from linseed oil and smaller, though it too stands well.”)



Pets                                       J. L. Gibson

Coleoptera                            J. L. Gibson

Natural History Diaries       J. L. Gibson

Tables                                   J. L. Gibson “

“Bootham” of November 1912, lists J L Gibson in 2nd X1 Cricket team.

The March 1913 issue of “Bootham” contains The Seventy-ninth Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. January, 1913:


Of the Coleopterists, J. L. Gibson has by far the largest collection, which he has doubled this year. He has succeeded in hatching out several larvae collected at Rannoch. His best specimens are Cetonia floricola, Creophilus masalossus, and Hister cadaverinus.

Four collections of beetles are sent up. Of these J. L. Gibson’s takes the first place, followed by C. V. Brown, R. H. Benson and C. Wigham. It may be noted that Cetonia floricola from Rannoch is probably an introduced specimen. Many attempts have been made to introduce this handsome beetle in various stations north of its usual limit, but as a rule without success.




Coleoptera                         J. L. Gibson


Garden Seats                    J. L. Gibson “

The March 1914 issue of “Bootham” contains The Eightieth Annual Report OF Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society January, 1914:



COLEOPTERA.— J. L. Gibson is now the only member left in this branch of the Club. He has a collection numbering about one hundred and eighty specimens, and has added about thirty to his collection this year, among which are Histerida; quadrimaculatus, Carabus violaceus, Silpha atrata and Attelabus curculionoides. It is to be hoped that new members will join this branch of natural history after the show. It is a pity that opportunities should be missed in such a splendid district as York.


Judge’s report:

“With the kind help of an expert I am able to judge that the three mechanical drawings sent in are very good.  Lamb’s drilling machine and Gibson’s petrol motor are of about equal excellence, and Spence’s row-boat motor is only one mark behind them.”



Entomology                        J. L. Gibson


Mechanical Drawings     J. L. Gibson”

Lance left Bootham School in 1913.  The March 1914 issue of “Bootham” magazine included the following:

“Bene Decessit

J. L. GIBSON came to Bootham in September, 1910, and was successively in all classes up to the Upper Senior. He was a good entomologist, and amassed a considerable collection of coleoptera. His height giving him an advantage in cricket, he made a successful fast bowler: and was moreover a useful batsman. Some very good photographs in the Christmas shows for two or three years back have been by Gibson. He is going to take up farming.”

The London Gazette tells us that:

“John Lancelot Gibson to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 18th August, 1915.”

In March 1916, “Bootham” magazine reports, under “Bootham School War Lists”:

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

Gibson, J. L., Lieut., Howitzer Brigade, R.F.A.”

“Bootham” magazine of October 1916 has news of Lance:

“Bootham Oversea

“THANK you very much for the kindly message you sent me from the Whitsuntide gathering. How I wish I could have been with you all at that time. Looking back on the good old days, I seem to have wandered far from the doctrine which was taught at Bootham, but by joining in this gigantic struggle I believe I am doing something towards bringing about a peace that will be a lasting peace. At the same time I admire those who have held back because it is contrary to what they think is right. ” ……………………..

LIEUT. J. LANCE GIBSON (1910-1913), ***** Brigade, from whose letter of June 30th I have quoted the opening extract, continues :

“We out here are looking forward to what the Germans termed ‘Der Tag, ‘ and I believe the end is at last in sight. I have been out here since the beginning of February We were out on rest during May and I was very fortunate in being billeted in the same village as the F.A.U., where I spent a number of evenings with Cedric Brown, Arnold Worsdell, Sam Lithgow, and others.” “

And in the same issue:

“Across the Months

J. L. GIBSON, B.E.F. , has received the Whitsuntide card. Whilst out “on rest” during May he spent nearly every evening with the F.A.U. He saw “VIPONT, who has now gone down to the base. It was pleasant to see old friends again in the forms of W. S. WIGHAM, GRIPPER, and WORSDELL, and we celebrated our meeting by a good dinner and a sing-song. Have you any idea what unit RATTRAY belongs to? ” “

“Bootham” magazine of May 1918 includes a list of Old York Scholars in War-time Service:

“Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.

Gibson, J. L., Capt., R.F.A.”

and in the same issue we hear news of him:

“Across the Months

J. LANCE GIBSON (1910-13) has already spent two years out at the war, having a pretty hot time, and can now hardly imagine life without it. He welcomes school news as a refreshing change after the usual topics, “war and meat queues.” “

Then in December 1918, “Bootham” magazine reports:


GIBSON.—On 27th May, 1918, killed in action in France, John Lancelot Gibson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne (1910-13), aged 22.”

 The April 1919 issue of “Bootham” includes the following:

“In Memoriam

JOHN LANCELOT GIBSON (1910-13) came to Bootham in September, 1910. He was always active in more than one branch of out-of-school work, including ornithology and the metal workshop. He played in the 2nd XI. football and 1st XI. cricket during 1912 and 1913. Leaving at the end of the Christmas term, 1913, Gibson went to serve his apprenticeship at a farm in Northumberland.

In September, 1915, he and Eric B. Butler obtained their commissions in the same Howitzer Brigade. Gibson went out to Flanders in the following March, and for some time was near Ypres.

He was in the Somme offensive, 1916, and the advance to Passchendaele during the late summer and autumn of 1917. It was during this advance that Butler was killed at the end of September.

 Gibson’s last leave was in March a year ago, and in May his brigade moved south towards Rheims. After the German advance there at the end of that month he was reported “missing.” In August his parents received news from the War Office that he had been killed in action on the morning of May 27th, 1918. He was 22 years of age.”

Lieutenant John Lancelot Gibson is commemorated at the Soissons Memorial, France.


In Memoriam: Nevill Hampton Wallis

Photograph of Nevill Hampton Wallis in uniform
Nevill Hampton Wallis

Nevill Hampton Wallis died of wounds received in action in France on 25th May 1918, aged 26 years.

Nevill attended Bootham from 1905 to 1909.  His hobbies at school included music and archaeology, and he was a member of the school Natural History Society.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, of Febraury 1906 contains a report of the Christmas Exhibition, Natural History of 1905. It shows that Nevill won a prize for Entomology.

“ENTOMOLOGY. It is pleasing to note that several boys have taken up this deserving branch since last show. Thus we find several collections in progress, most of which are as yet small. …….Wallis and Burford each have made a good beginning……… ..”

Nevill continued collecting and in the following Christmas Exhibition he won another prize for Entomology:

“ENTOMOLOGY. …….  N. H. Wallis also has a small collection of butterflies and a few moths.”

In early 1907, Nevill became a curator of Entomology in the school Natural History Society. In the Autumn term of 1907, he joined the committee of the school Junior Essay Society.

The report of the Autumn School Term in “Bootham” of February 1908 tells us:

“Often on Wednesday evenings you can hear loud applause from the Lower Schoolroom, where the Junior Essay Society holds its conclaves. The meetings are characterised by a deal of good, sensible work, papers and discussion, some diverting nonsense, and the able management of the Committee, Todd, Brockbank, Pearman, Wallis and Milner.”

 “Bootham” of June 1908 has the report of the Spring Term.

“The concerts this Term were of unusual interest, and were especially welcome, as our athletic events had suffered so from rain.

Of no less interest was the Upper Schoolroom concert, about ten days later. A quartette, consisting of Wallis, Watson, Pearman and Brockbank, first sang, Barringer played a piano solo, Clothier recited ” Ben and the Butter,” Wallis played on the ‘cello, then came a scene from Alice in Wonderland, in which Gibbons, Brockbank, Gray and Lister took the parts. Last of all was a chorus by the class.”

 In 1909, Nevill became a curator of Drawing at school, and also of Meteorology. He took readings of the Sun Recorder.

In the Autumn Term of 1908, Nevill passed the Cambridge Extension Examination.

“The Cambridge Extension Lectures were given this term by J. B. Stoughton-Holborn, M.A., on Gothic Architecture. Most of the Lower Senior and a few of the Upper Senior took the course, and the examination in December resulted in the following eleven boys passing out of the fifteen who entered :— L. H. Gilbert (with distinction), C. L. Ashby, R. E. Barringer, F . A. Brockbank, N. M. Brown, W. E. J. Clothier, A. C. Dent, A. S. Jennings, A. H. Pumphrey, N. H. Wallis and A. B. Webster. A larger number might have done likewise but for the rule debarring boys younger than 15 from taking the examination.”

The report of the Autumn School Term also includes the following:

“The Charades, based on the “The Rivals,” were given at the Retreat, on Wednesday night, and in the John Bright Library on the last night. …….. Wallis and Milner contributed some very good scenery.”

 Nevill’s entry in “Bene Decessit” in the October 1909 issue of “Bootham” reads:

“NEVILL H. WALLI S leaves from the Lower Senior. A good musician and archaeologist.”

 The next we hear of Nevill is in the July 1918 Issue of “Bootham”, which reports Nevill’s death:

“WALLIS.—On the 25th May, 1918, of wounds received in action in France, Nevill Hampton Wallis, of Brighton (1905-9), in his 26th year.”


“In Memoriam

NEVILL HAMPTON WALLIS (1905-9) died of wounds at Wimereux Hospital the Saturday we were meeting at Jordans. He was wounded on April 30th by a shell bursting about two feet from him and blowing him into the air; in hospital his left leg was amputated above the knee; his left arm had been badly shattered. His parents were with him for a fortnight and he passed peacefully away on the 25th. The funeral took place next day at Boulogne Cemetery. He was in the R.F.A., and had been continuously with his Battery in the 9th Division (so much praised by Sir Douglas Haig) since April, 1917. He was a Second Lieutenant, and had served nine months in 1916 with the Artists’ Rifles.”

The December 1918 issue of “Bootham” contains a letter from Nevill’s father:

“In Memoriam

NEVILL HAMPTON WALLIS (1905-09). See last number of BOOTHAM.

His father writes :—

“It has been a great consolation to know how he was really loved by his men. Three have called on us—two on leave and one wounded, in hospital. They all say his men were his first care. He started a canteen for them, which was most successful, and provided them with many comforts. One told us that if there was a dangerous job to be done he would always go himself instead of sending a man, and, as he put it, ‘ Mr. Wallis could always get what he wanted done without giving an order.’ ”

N. H. Wallis, previous to the war had a position on the staff of Messrs. R. Fry and Co., the Brighton firm of mineral water manufacturers, of which his father is the managing director. “

Second Lieutenant Nevill Hampton Wallis is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.