Tag Archives: WW1

In Memoriam: Gilbert Porteous

Photograph of Gilbert Porteous

Gilbert Porteous

Gilbert Porteous was killed in action in Palestine on 22nd November 2017, aged 23 years.

He was born at Glasgow in 1894 and attended Bootham School from 1908 to 1911.  Early on he had success in Fives, when he won the Double Handicap Competition.  When he left Bootham, the May 1911 edition of the school magazine “Bootham” included in the “Bene Decessit” section:

” G. PORTEOUS : Entered the school in September, 1908. He acted as secretary for the Junior Essay Society for some time, and made useful things in the workshop.”

In March 1916, “Bootham” reported that Gilbert had joined the Army, along with his brother John:

“Bootham School War Lists:

Under Military Discipline :—

Porteous, Gilbert, 9th Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders) .

Porteous, J. P., Second Lieut., 5th Scottish Rifles.”

In January 1917, Gilbert became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Scottish Rifles(Cameronians).

In June 1917, “Bootham” reported that:

 “SEC-LIEUT. G. PORTEOUS, Scottish Rifles, under orders for Egypt.

Then in December 1917, came the following:

“PORTEOUS.—In November, 1917, killed in action in Palestine, Gilbert Porteous (1908-11), of Lovedale, Newlands, Glasgow, aged 23 years.”

Second Lieutenant Gilbert Porteous is buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery.

 

In Memoriam: Arthur Reginald Deane

Photograph of Arthur Reginald Deane

Arthur Reginald Deane

Arthur Reginald Deane died on the 14th November, 1917 of wounds received in the War, aged 22 years.

He was born at Szcheun, China in 1895.  In 1905 he entered Saffron Walden School and then proceeded to Bootham School, having gained an entrance scholarship in 1910.  He was at Bootham from 1910 to 1912.

The school magazine, “Bootham” of November 1912 reported:

“A. R. DEANE leaves from the College Class, having passed Matriculation last January. He was two years at Bootham, during the whole of which time he played cricket and football for the 1st XI, being captain of the former for his last term. He won the Senior Cup at athletics this year, after a close fight. He represented the School against St. Peter’s at Fives. He was a reeve during his last year.”

The football captain wrote of him:

“DEANE, A. R.—Has faithfully served the school both as secretary, and as centre forward. He is a clever and a dashing player and shoots well.”

Photograph of Bootham School Football 1st XI, Spring 1912.

Bootham School Football 1st XI, Spring 1912

and a cricket captain:

“A. R. DEANE.—A close competitor for the O.S. bat, having scored well in many useful and attractive innings. An effective, though risky, on stroke off the leg stump is his favourite. Ought to make a good medium bowler; very successful once or twice. Neat and quick in the field and in return.”

Photograph of Bootham School Cricket 1st XI, 1912.

Cricket 1st XI 1912, Deane front row third from left

After Bootham, Arthur was pupil to H. F. Knight & Co., Chartered Accountants, living in Middlesex.  He became a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Sussex Regiment in October 1915.  In June 1917, “Bootham” reported:

“A. R. DEANE writes from the 2nd Riding Sussex in France to say that he must say nothing.”

Then in December 1917 issue of “Bootham” reported:

“DEANE.—On the 14th November, 1917, died of wounds, Arthur Reginald Deane (1910-12), of 36, Essex Road, Enfield Town, Middlesex, aged 22 years.”

In the following May, “Bootham” included the following “In Memoriam” piece:

“A. REGINALD DEANE was a boy of a shy and sensitive temperament, whom it was not easy to get to know, but with whom friendship was a great privilege.

Coming to Bootham at a fairly advanced age, and going straight into the Matric. class, he won his way to a leading position in the School by ability and industry, for he had few of those more striking qualities which readily command the homage of other boys.

He did not easily do himself justice, and needed two tries for Matric. But I always felt that he had plenty of mathematical ability, with a keen, clear mind. He made an excellent but unobtrusive Reeve, played for the football, fives and cricket teams (being Captain of the latter), and won the Athletics Championship. He was a keen sportsman at them all.

In 1912 he was articled to a firm of chartered accountants, and there he displayed a cheerful industry and efficiency, gladly accepting- any task, however humdrum. His writing and neatness were admirable, and typical of the courtesy and thoughtfulness of his nature as well as of the gentlemanliness of his whole bearing. Though sensitive, he never showed resentment.

His experience in France had developed him remarkably —physically, mentally, and every way. Still entirely devoid of “side”, he was devoted to his duty, and most considerate of his men. He was in very deed an officer and gentleman.    F. H. K.”

In Memoriam: Eric Busvine Butler

Photograph of Eric Busvine Butler in uniform.

Eric Busvine Butler

Eric Busvine Butler was killed in action near Ypres on 30th September 1917, aged 20 years.

He was born at Birmingham on 10th July 1897 and attended Bootham School from 1912 to 1914.

Eric did well at school.  He won the Edgard Pickard Prizes for Instantaneous and Time Photography.  In 1913, he played the part of Demetrius in the school production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The December 1914 issue of the school magazine “Bootham” records:

“E. B. BUTLER leaves from the Upper Senior after a stay of two years at Bootham. He came here from Sidcot, and, like most old Sidcot scholars, he was an excellent photographer. His hobby was ornithology, and with the help of his camera he was able to show up a very creditable diary. He was a keen footballer, and was awarded his first Boys’ colours as outside left; at cricket, too, his steady batting secured him a permanent place  On the 2nd eleven. He was a steady longdistance swimmer, but owing to a visit to the Continent he was unable to stay for the Aquatics, and so lost his chance for the Cup. He leaves after passing Matric with honours.”

The same issue reports:

“ERIC BUSVINE BUTLER (1912-14) has passed the Senior School Examination (Matriculation), Distinction in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Mechanics (Honours), University of London.”

In September, 1915, Eric and another Bootham Old Scholar, John Lancelot Gibson (1910-13), obtained their commissions in the same Howitzer Brigade. The March 1916 edition of “Bootham” reports, under War Lists:

“Butler, E. B., Sub-Lieut., 4th Northumbrian Brigade, Howitzer R.F.A., Winchester. “

The December 1917 issue of “Bootham” reports::

“BUTLER.—On the 30th September, 1917, killed in action, Eric Busvine Butler (1912-14), of 57, Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, aged 20 years.”

In the following May, “Bootham” magazine printed the following “In Memoriam” piece:

“E. B. BUTLER (1912-14) may possibly be remembered by one or two still at school, amongst other things as a sportsman and one of considerable athletic ability. It was in the then new Swimming Bath that he especially distinguished himself.

At the declaration of war he was with his family in Switzerland, whence it seemed at first that the chances of return were small. Some nine months later, however, he was able to come home, and on reaching the age of eighteen at once joined the O.T.C. at Cambridge. After a month of training he obtained a Commission in the Northumbrian Brigade of Howitzer Field Artillery and went through a further course in England and at camp in Ireland. In March, 1917, he went out to France and was killed near Ypres on September 30th.

His father tells us that his letters home were always cheery, but that it was noticeable in him—as, indeed, it must be in many another who has come to live upon “hand-shake” terms with death that he felt himself to have come into close touch with the realities of life.

The extract which we append from his Battery Officer’s letter, explaining the circumstances of his death, shows his complete carelessness of danger, his thought for others, and his thoughtlessness for self. After a  very hot time” for three days in the most advanced gun position a shell dropped amongst the men of his battery, killing three and wounding seven.

“Butler,” the officer writes, “was in a dugout with me, and, although things were very bad at the time, he immediately went across to the men, and by his manner and example stopped all panic, and started binding up our wounded—the wounds were awful. He then arranged for the ambulance to come up, and helped to evacuate the wounded. He was simply splendid.

“We decided to send the men back then, as it was useless keeping them there any longer, but I wished to stay for a time, and Butler remained with me.

“The shelling had practically stopped, and as I came out of the dugout I noticed a fire in some old ammunition boxes. I remarked to Butler, ‘I hope that fire does not get into our dump.’

“I had hardly said the words when he ran straight over to the fire, jumped down into the gun-pit, and began throwing the burning boxes out. Two Australians came along shortly with buckets of water and managed to put it out. Butler was still in the gun-pit making sure that everything was all right, when I heard him shout, ‘ Look out! This ammunition is on fire,’ and almost instantly it went up.

“We shall miss him dreadfully, and my personal loss is great. He was most popular both with officers and men, and I hear the latter speak of him as ‘the bravest fellow they have ever seen.’

“At the time of the explosion I was blown 30 yards away, and have hardly any recollection of what took place afterwards; I can only say, your boy died the death’ of a very gallant man.”

C. E. H ., B. P .”

Second Lieutenant Eric Busvine Butler is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres in Belgium.

 

In March 2016, a group of Bootham School History students visited the Tyne Cot Memorial.  Here they are pointing out E. B. Butler’s name on the Memorial:

Bootham students point out E. B. Butler's name on the Tyne Cot Memorial in 2016.

Bootham students point out E. B. Butler on Tyne Cot Memorial, 2016.

A photograph of E. B. Butler hangs in the History Department at Bootham School.  In 2014, the school’s Director of Music, Paul Feehan, was inspired to write a Requiem Mass, “Deeds of Angels”, in memory of him and others like him.” He said:

Photograph of Paul Feehan, Director of Music at Bootham School, with framed photograph of E. B. Butler.

Paul Feehan, Director of Music at Bootham School, with photograph of   E. B. Butler.

“Just recently we came upon a portrait of Eric Busvine Butler, one of our old scholars who was killed at the battle of Ypres. He was just 20 years old when he died – his young face looking out from this formal military portrait makes a deeply moving image. The requiem is for him and others like him, but it also remembers those who chose another path, that of conscientious objector.”

“Deeds of Angels” was premiered at a public performance on 14th September2014 at Bootham School.

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.

 

In Memoriam: Graham Leckie

Graham Leckie was born in Dumbarton in 1889 and attended Bootham School from 1902-5.  He won the entrance exhibition award.  He was good at drawing (especially boats) and in the workshop (making model yachts). The report of the school Christmas Exhibition, 1904, in the school magazine “Bootham” of 1905 shows:

“WORKSHOP. Two playboxes have been made by A. J. Sims and G. B. Haughton, also model yachts by A. A. Pollard, G. Leckie and K. Priestman.

ART. F. L. Thompson has good designs in black and white, and Leckie some excellent pen and ink drawings.”

He had success in school aquatics competitions, both swimming and diving, breaking the four-length record. For instance, the September 1904 issue of “Bootham” magazine reports:

“AQUATICS. THESE events came off during July, as usual. The bedroom competition was won by number 13, with an average of 10.5 points ; this victory was mainly due to the excellent swimming of G. Leckie, who although still a Junior, is one of the best swimmers in the School, and obtained 19 points. “

By March 1916, Graham had joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, 22nd New Heavy Battalion.

In July 1917 he was serving with the Royal Flying Corps and on the 7th July he was killed while flying near Ypres.

Graham is remembered in the May 1918 issue of Bootham:

“GRAHAM LECKIE was at Bootham from 1902 to 1905, when he matriculated. His tastes turned towards boats, which he drew and made, and swimming , in which he broke the four-lengths record. He had also good and sound abilities in School work, and showed himself a cheerful, friendly, open and vigorous member of society, remembered with pleasure by all who had to do with him.”

Lieutenant Graham Leckie is buried at the Perth Cemetery (China Wall) at Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium.

In Memoriam: Douglas James Small

Douglas James Small joined Bootham School in early 1905.  At school, he had success in school swimming and athletics competitions.

“Bootham” magazine of September 1906 records:

“D. J. SMALL came in January, 1905, and leaves from the Middle Schoolroom, No. 44 on the list. He intends to be a stockbroker in Glasgow.”

The October 1916 edition of “Bootham” lists Douglas as living in Pollockshields, Glasgow.

By the December 1917 issue of “Bootham”, Douglas had moved to Canada and had joined the Army, in the Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment).   In the list of Deaths in that issue we read:

“SMALL.—In July, 1917, killed in action, Douglas James Small (1905-6), of Milverton, P.O., Ontario, Canada, aged 28 years.”

The death notice in “Bootham” may be incorrect as other sources [i] show his date of death as 30th August 1917, aged 25 years.

Private Douglas James Small is buried in Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France.

In Memoriam: Adolph Broadfield Cohen

Photograph of Adolph Broadfield Cohen

Adolph Broadfield Cohen

Adolph Broadfield Cohen died on 22nd July 1917, aged 24 years, of wounds received in the Great War.

He was born in Leeds in 1893 and attended Bootham School from 1906-11.  His hobbies at school included archaeology and drama.  He was a prominent member of many school societies and was on the committee of several, including the school Natural History Club.

The school magazine, “Bootham”, in November 1911 reported that:

“A. B. COHEN passed Matric. in 1910, and leaves from the College Class. He was a reeve and a member of the 1st boys’ cricket XI. A good fives player, he has more than once represented the school against St. Peter’s, and won the Fives Championship. He was also a prominent member of all the school societies, and distinguished himself in the last “charades.””

 After Bootham School, Adolph went on to Leeds University, graduating in 1914.  A month after war broke out he joined the University Officers’ Training Corp and became a Lieutenant in the Prince of Wales’ Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) in December 1914.

“Bootham” magazine of March 1915, under Bootham School War Lists, shows:

“ Under Military Discipline:—

COHEN, A., 17th Bn. West Yorks Regiment. 2nd Lieutenant.”

 The March 1916 issue reported that Lieut. Cohen was with the British Expeditionary Force in France.

Then in December 1917 “Bootham” reported:

“COHEN.—In July, 1917, died of wounds, Adolph Broadfield Cohen (1906-11), of 1, North Grange Mount, Headingley, Leeds, aged 24 years.”

This was followed in May 1918 by :

“In Memoriam

ADOLPH B. COHEN. Loyal and public-spirited while he was at School, A. B. Cohen had a great influence over his contemporaries during College life, and was an active worker throughout his University career in many departments outside the purely academic sphere. He was a very successful editor of the University magazine (the Gryphon); a keen member of the Social Study Society, which largely owed its origin to him; active in helping and taking part in the amateur theatricals and concerts, which were so prominent a part of the social life at the University; quite a good gamesman, fives, perhaps, as at School, being his strong point; and deeply interested in the work of the University Lads’ Club. To me the memory of A. B. C. which returns most frequently is as a lover of the open air. He never seemed happier than when at his beloved Coniston, tramping the fells, fishing the streams, or sailing his favourite boat, the Pip, on the waters of the lake; and he loved to share these pleasures with his friends. On all sides his influence was strong for comradeship and fellowship, and the memory of his friendship is treasured by all who knew him, and alike to them and to casual acquaintances will be a lasting inspiration. J. S. L”

The notice of his death in the Gryphon may be read online at http://digital.library.leeds.ac.uk/5305/1/LUA-PUB-002-GRY-121_000.pdf , page 11.

Lieut. Adolph Broadfield Cohen is buried in St Sever Cemetary, Rouen, France.

In Memoriam: Harold Edward Jackson

Photograph of Harold Edward Jackson

Harold Edward Jackson

Harold Edward Jackson was reported missing, later presumed killed, in France on 12th June 1917, aged 20.

He was born in York in 1896 and attended Bootham School from 1913 to 1915.  At school, he was interested in archaeology, entomology and photography and played pianoforte.  He was a curator of entomology. When he left school, “Bootham” magazine said:

“H. E. JACKSON has spent eleven terms at Bootham, and leaves from the Upper Senior. He occasionally played for the 2nd XI.  at both football and cricket. He also did much admirable work as entomologist and photographer.”

The March 1916 issue of “Bootham” magazine, under “Bootham School War Lists” shows, under “Under Military Discipline”:

“Jackson, H. E., Leeds University O.T.C.”

In 1917, Harold was serving at the Front.  He was able to attend the Whitsuntide meeting of the Old York Scholars’ Association in York, having “just arrived from the trenches”.

The December 1917 issue of “Bootham” Magazine reported the following:

“HAROLD E, JACKSON (1909-12), Second Lieut., W. Yorks, has been missing since June, when it was reported that the success of a movement was mainly due to his splendid example and leadership. Any further news of him would be most thankfully received.”

By the following year it was clear that Harold had been lost.  “Bootham” reported in the May 1918 issue:

“HAROLD E. JACKSON. ” British Official.—Last night, in the —— Sector, our troops carried out a successful raid. “

It was on such a raid as this that Harold Jackson took part in June last year. At the time of this raid I was on trench duty in another part of the battalion front. Shortly after the raiders had left our lines I was walking along the grids to the point of exit when I heard a man coming running towards me. Hurriedly he told me that the raiders had encountered heavy opposition, and that stretcher-bearers were urgently needed.

It was not until morning that I heard that Jackson had never returned, and that he was last seen chasing several Germans back towards their support line. One of his officers wrote :

The success of the operation was due to a great extent to the splendid example and leadership of Jackson. I could always rely on him carrying out thoroughly everything he had to do.”

Harold Edward Jackson is remembered on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

 

In Memoriam: John Stephen White

John Stephen White was born at West Hartlepool in 1899 and attended Bootham School from 1913 to 1915.  He died on 12th June 1917, aged 18 years.

When he left Bootham, the school magazine of June 1915 said:

“J. S. WHITE, who leaves from the Upper Schoolroom, was a member of the committee for that class. On the 3rd football eleven he was a promising forward, and took great interest in tennis and fives. His hobby was carpentry, at which he did much creditable work.”

He joined the Friends Ambulance Unit on 26th September 1916. In October of that year the Home Service Section of the F.A.U. posted him to Haxby Road Hospital in York, which had opened in 1915.

“Bootham” magazine of June 1917 reported:

“We were glad to renew friendship with J. S. White last October when he joined the Haxby Road Hospital (F.A.U.). In February he became too ill to continue the work, in which he had proved himself keen and capable. It was with deep regret that we heard of his death at Gateshead on June 8th.”

John Stephen White’s F.A.U service record, including a photograph, may be viewed online at http://fau.quaker.org.uk/search-view?forename=john&surname=white&=Search .  (viewed 6th July 2017.)

In Memoriam: Oliver Bernard Ellis

Photograph of Oliver Bernard Ellis in uniform.

Oliver Bernard Ellis

Oliver Bernard Ellis was killed in active service over the German lines near Arleux on 19th May 1917, aged 18 years.

He was from Leicester and attended Bootham School from 1912 to 1916.  He was a keen sportsman at school, and also very interested in natural history and photography.

The March 1915 issue of Bootham Magazine tells us:

REPORT OF THE OLD SCHOLARS’ ASSOCIATION NATURAL HISTORY EXHIBITION COMMITTEE, 1914.

“After the absence of competitors last year we are pleased to welcome the work of three ornithologists. O. B. Ellis, of Leicester, shows an extensive series of observations, illustrated by photographs and lantern slides. These include an excellent series, starting with the cuckoo’s egg in the hedgesparrow’s nest, and showing the development of the cuckoo and the fate of the young hedge-sparrow. The black-headed gulls and other water-fowl at Skipwith have been studied and illustrated by a further series of creditable photographs. There were extensive fatalities among young gulls, but some suspicion cast upon owls seems to have been dispelled by careful examination of their pellets. A long essay on ‘ How Birds Protect their Eggs ‘ shows that O. B. Ellis has tried to arrange his observations and make them of value. We award him an exhibition of £7.”

Photograph of hedgesparrow, by O B Ellis

Hedgesparrow, photo by O B Ellis

Oliver had found the newly-hatched cuckoo fledgling in a nest on Strensall Common.  He made a unique photographic record if its growth by cycling to Strensall every other day.  To maintain the sequence, Oliver had on several occasions to break out of School before dawn, take the photographs when there was enough light, and then get back in time for “Silence”.

When he left, the school magazine, Bootham, wrote of him:

“O. B. ELLIS excelled in all forms of athletics. He was a brilliant and daring gymnast, weathering all hurts. He was an able goal-keeper, where he obtained his 1st Masters’ colours, and, later, played at outside right. At cricket he obtained his 1st eleven colours. Last year he obtained the Silver Medal of the Life-Saving Society and served on the Athletics and Football Committees. Last year he tied for the Senior Athletics Cup, and helped to command the Fire Brigade. He was a wonderful practical photographer, and was very patient over his ornithological excursions with the camera. He was a curator of ornithology and the N.H. [Natural History] rooms, and two years ago obtained the Old Scholars’ Prize. He leaves from the Upper Senior, and was a reeve [prefect].”

Oliver had a place at St John’s College, Cambridge and had hoped to take up his residence there in the autumn of 1916.  However, he joined that Royal Naval Air Service in June 1916.

He was trained at Redcar R.N.A.S. Station for three months.  In November he was transferred to Cranwell where he quickly qualified for his first class pilot’s certificate.  In March 1917 he was confirmed in the rank of Flight Sub-Lt.   He left England for Dunkirk, and shortly afterwards to the front in Flanders, and then to Squadron No 1 R.N.A.S., near Arras.  On May 20th he was notified as “missing” and enquiries found that he had gone down on May 19th in an engagement with a superior force over the German lines, “east of Arleux”.

In a letter received from Squadron Commander R. S. Dallas, R. N.:

“……I am afraid I was not actually leading the patrol you mention on the 19th May.  I was leading one patrol and was joined by another in which your son was.  We became engaged in a bit of a fight, and your son gave a very fine account of himself indeed.  He has already shot down one of his opponents when I say him attacked by another.  Your son was very tenacious and fought it out, and went down out of control through the clouds……. “

Squadron Commander Haskins writes:

“…. Although your son was not with more than a few weeks, I had formed a high opinion of him as an officer and a fighting pilot.  A cheery messmate, always trading for any work or play, he is a great loss to us ………. Your son has helped us to maintain our present superiority over theGerman air service, which is essential to winning this war, and that is a valuable service to our country…..”

The Headmaster wrote in “The Friend”:

“Oliver Ellis came to Bootham from Sidcot with a reputation for genial friendship and for holding the junior sports championship two years in succession.  He proved himself a fearless football player, a brilliant and daring gymnast.  He took a good position in class, and did excellently in his pilot’s examination a few months ago.  He was a keen ornithologist and a forceful reeve – full of the spirit of adventure when he left school less than a year ago.  His loss will be felt in a large circle of friends, for his has left behind him that worthier thing than tears, the love of friends without a single foe.”

The news of his death made a deep impression on the school.  One of his school-fellows says:

“We could scarcely believe that one who possessed his gifts had been taken so soon.  His energy and spirit, combined with remarkable thoroughness, made his a leader in every undertaking; and his open honesty made him the true friend of all who knew him.”

In a letter home, dated May 3rd 1917, Oliver had written  “….. thank God that I’ve got the safest job in this war. Don’t worry about me, I’m having the time of my life and am enjoying myself hugely, and the war can’t last for ever.”

Oliver Bernard Ellis is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Oliver was the subject of a series of articles for Explore Your Archives week in 2014. More may be read about him here:

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 1 (Athletics) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=329

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 2 (Natural History) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=335

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 3 (Railway Buildings) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=344

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 4 (“A letter from Alexandria”) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=348

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 5 (R.N.A.S.) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=355