In Memoriam: Arnold Pumphrey

Photograph of Arnold Pumphrey

Arnold Pumphrey

Arnold Pumphrey was killed in action in Belgium on 21st September 1917, aged 26 years.

He was born at Sunderland  in 1891 and attended Bootham School from 1904 to 1908.

Arnold did very well in his studies at school and by the summer term of 1907 had passed the University of London School Leaving Examination, Matric. Standard, Second Division.  By the autumn term he was in the College Class (equivalent to 6th form) and had been made a Reeve (similar to Prefect).

He played football at school, first in the Second XI and later the First XI. The school magazine “Bootham” contains a football report for autumn term 1907 which tells us:

“of the boys, Pumphrey was the best half, and Green the best full back”.

 The June 1908 issue of “Bootham” has several mentions of Arnold, as he left Bootham School:

 “Arnold Pumphrey passed the Matric. last summer and joined the College Class in the autumn.  He was a good right half-back, and excelled in that position during the two terms that he played with the 1st XI.  He was a Reeve; he leaves to study French on the Continent.”

 “A large number of Senior Boys passed the University Extension Examination in Modern History :- Burford, Blomfield, ……., Pickard and Wilson, while Corder, H. L. Green, Holdsworth, and A. Pumphrey passed with distinction.”

 and in notes from the Football Captain:

 “PUMPHREY, A. – A strong tackler, and a reliable half-back, who has often put in sterling work against odds; defending well and passing well.  He seemed to plan his battle so that it was good to play in front of him.”

 Arnold’s hobbies also included riding, sailing and rowing.

The November 1913 issue of “Bootham” magazine tells us:

“ARNOLD PUMPHREY (1904-8) has passed the Solicitor’s Final Examination of the Law Society.”

 Arnold Pumphrey enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, in September 1914.   The March 1915 issue of “Bootham” has lists of those Old Scholars involved in the War.  In the list of those Under Military Discipline is:

“PUMPHREY, A., 5th City of London (London Rifle Brigade).”

 The March 1916 issue of “Bootham” has under Bootham School War Lists:

“Pumphrey, Arnold, Lieut., 20th Durham Light Infantry.”

 The October 1916 issue of “Bootham” reports that:

“CAPT. ARNOLD PUMPHREY has been slightly wounded in the July advance, and is able to return to his duties.”

 Then the June 1917 issue of “Bootham” tells us that:

 “CAPT. A. PUMPHREY mentioned in despatches, got the D.S.O. at the beginning of June.”

 But in December 1917, “Bootham” magazine tells us that Arnold was killed in action on the 21st September 1917, aged 26 years.

The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” includes a piece “In Memoriam” about him, as follows:

In Memoriam.  ARNOLD PUMPHREY.  A schoolfellow writes:

Arnold Pumphrey will be remembered by those who were of his year as an unusually clever boy, one of those who succeed without apparent effort, and after much less work than others undertake for a smaller result. That his career as a soldier should have been brilliant can have been no surprise to those who knew him.

When he became a Reeve in September, 1907, his cheerful presence added much to the liveliness of the studies. I remember his delight in rolling a five-shilling piece down the study corridor, a pastime much affected by the Olympians at that time. His nickname “Bunny” was a term of affection.

He was one of the four who enjoyed the fuller freedom afforded by visits thrice weekly to Leeds University to attend Economics lectures, and it was on these occasions that I learned to appreciate his cheerful and witty disposition.

Captain A. Pumphrey, D.S.O., enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade at the outbreak of war. He was in the second battle of Ypres, and in 1915 was gazetted to a commission as second lieutenant in the Durhams. He was promoted captain, went through the battle of the Somme, was mentioned in despatches, and later awarded the D.S.O., which was presented to him at Buckingham Palace by the King last June 30th.

P. C. “

 Captain Arnold Pumphrey D.S.O. is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres, Belgium.


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