Alfred William Johnson, of Victoria, B. C.,Canada, died of gas poisoning in France on 17th April, 1918, aged 44 years.
Alfred was born in Madagascar in 1874 and attended Bootham School from 1889 to 1890.
The February 1908 issue of “Bootham”, the school magazine, reports on the annual football match between the school and the Old Scholars. Alfred was a member of the Old Scholars Team, which the report tells us was very strong. (The score was 19-1!)
The same issue of “Bootham” included, in the “Marriages” section:
“JOHNSON—MACKENZIE.—On the 28th December, 1907, at Inverness, Scotland, Alfred William Johnson (1889—90), of Canada, to Mary Lillian Kyttie Mackenzie, of Inverness.”
The October 1909 issue of “Bootham” contained the following Birth announcement:
“JOHNSON.—On the 31st August, 1909, at Balquhidder, Kamloops, British Columbia, Mary Lilian Kythe, wife of Alfred William Johnson (1889-90), a son.”
His son was named Harry William Mackenzie. The March 1912 issue announces another birth:
“JOHNSON.—On the 28th December, 1911, at Balquhiddar, Kamloops, B.C., Mary Kythi, wife of Alfred William Johnson (1889-90), a daughter, who was named Kythi Lucy.”
By 1916, Alfred has joined the War. “Bootham” reports under “War Lists”:
“Under Military Discipline :— Johnson, A. W., Second Lieut., Seaforth Highlanders.”
The “Across the Months” section of “Bootham”, June 1917 includes the following:
“LIEUT. A. M. JOHNSON, R.E., Forest Group, rose from Private in the Infantry by way of the Pioneers (Seaforth), into the R.E., and is now in charge of a group in the First Field Survey Company. He took to golf before the war, and says that it has beaten football and cricket to a “frazzle edge,” in fact to a “Fare ye well,” as the Yankees say.”
Then in 1918, the May edition of “Bootham” reports:
JOHNSON.—On the 17th April, 1918, of wounds received on the 9th, Alfred William Johnson (1889-90), of Victoria, British Columbia, aged 44 years.”
The July 1918 edition of “Bootham” includes the following “In Memoriam” piece:
“ALFRED WILLIAM JOHNSON (1889-90). We heard with deep regret of his death. One of his best friends sent these words: “One of the noblest souls I ever knew. Such devotion to duty! Three years as a Trooper in Strathcona’s in Africa and now the supreme offering for us made in France. “He was Captain in the Royal Engineers, Field Survey Department, and died from gas poisoning on April 17th.”
And then in the December 1918 issue of “Bootham”:
ALFRED WILLIAM JOHNSON (1889-90) was born 1874. His parents were Wm. and Lucy Johnson, missionaries to Madagascar, who in 1895 were murdered in a riot there. He was at Ackworth, and afterwards at Bootham. In 1890 he went into business at Sheffield, but his disposition was quite unsuited to such a life, and in two years’ time he went out to Canada. He had a rough and varied experience there, sometimes prosperous, sometimes “down on his luck” for several years. At length he qualified as a surveyor and obtained a Government appointment on the N.W. survey. In 1899 he volunteered for service with Strathcona’s Horse and fought right through the South African War. In 1908 he married Mary L. K. Mackenzie, of Inverness, whom he had met in Canada. He settled in Kamloops, B.C., where he built a delightful home. Two children were born. In 1915 he came to England and, although over military age, persuaded the authorities to give him a commission in the Seaforth Highlanders. He was later transferred to the Pioneers and given a captaincy. He did very efficient work in range-finding and in mapping positions of enemy guns. He was killed by gas in the great German attack in April. After his death he was awarded the Military Cross.
He was as tough as whipcord. He never had a doctor. His character was just like his physique. He always knew his opinion and never minded stating it. He read widely, was a wonderfully graphic and humorous letter writer, never failed to make himself welcome in jovial company. On the deeper things of life he was very reserved, but he had a very real vein of poetry, which he sometimes failed to conceal. He was intensely British. Above all else he was loyal to old friends and associations. His home life was about as perfect as can be. J. H. D.”
Captain Alfred William Johnson is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Donald Gordon Clark of Aberdeenshire died of wounds received in France on 13th April 1918, aged 25 years.
Donald was born at Echt, Aberdeenshire in 1892 and attended Bootham School from 1905 to 1908. He played in 2nd XI Football and Cricket teams, was school Librarian, and a member of the committee of the school Debating Society among others. He enjoyed carpentry and in the school Christmas Exhibition of 1907 he won the Workshop prize for his Garden Seat. He also won prizes in school tournaments for Aquatics, Fives and Athletics.
In 1908, his “Bene Decessit” entry in the school magazine, “Bootham”, read:
“DONALD G. CLARK leaves from the Upper Schoolroom to enter his father’s bank.”
He was a member of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
Donald joined the Army soon after the outbreak of War. “Bootham” of March 1915 reports:
“Bootham School War Lists.
(1) Under Military Discipline:—
CLARK, D. G., 6th Bn. Gordon Highlanders. Lieutenant. Wounded.”
A year later, “Bootham” of March 1916 reports:
“Bootham School War Lists.
Under Military Discipline :—
Clark, D. G., Capt., 6th Bn. Gordon Highlanders.”
and in “Across the Months”:
“D. G. CLARK, Gordon Highlanders, went to France in November, 1914. He was wounded at Neuve Chapelle (March 13th, 1915) on the head and thigh, and was in a London hospital for about a month. He was promoted Captain in September, 1915, and rejoined his regiment in France in October. Writing February 26th, he says he is in a ” soft pinch. ” “
“Bootham” of May 1918 reported that Donald was still with the Army:
“O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists.
Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.
Clark D. G., Capt., Gordon Highlanders.”
However, this was followed in July 1918 issue of “Bootham” with the following:
“Bootham July 1918
CLARK.—On the 13th April, 1918, killed in action in France, Donald Gordon Clark (1905-8), aged 26.”
Donald Gordon Clark was awarded the D.S.O. and the Military Cross and Bar.
His entry in “Bootham” of April 1919 reads as follows:
DONALD GORDON CLARK (1905-8),Capt. 6thBatt. the Gordon Highlanders (M.C. and Bar; D.S.O.), died of wounds received in action, April 13th, 1918.
Donald Clark’s contemporaries at Bootham have all heard with deep regret of his death, and looking back upon school days they will preserve a memory of him as a good comrade, manly, cheerful, loyal.
After leaving school he had settled down to prepare for his life’s calling, occupying leisure time with work in the Territorials, but in the fateful August of 1914 he put aside the prospects of a quiet life and entered the Army. Through his application and merit he was quickly promoted. Some of us who met him at Bootham two years ago are not likely to forget his quiet way as he told us of experiences and escapes.
Here are words of his commanding officers and of others associated with him in the last days: ” His fine leadership and disregard of danger ” . . . ” his men would go anywhere with him.”
” His absolute fearlessness, wonderful endurance and devotion to duty were beyond any words of praise of mine.” And this, too, from another officer: ” He understood the wants of his men, and attended to them before he minded his own. Many a time he has cheered on some lad with his mouth organ or a good story.”
To read of these lives and of their passing is to invest with fuller meaning the motto of our School, and to enrich the inheritance which is ours to hand on. “
Captain Donald Gordon Clark is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Edgar Hubert Maleham of Sheffield was killed in action in France on March 23rd 1918, aged 33.
He was born in Sheffield in 1885 and attended Bootham School from 1899-1901. After school he became an accountant.
The July 1916 issue of the school magazine “Bootham” reports that:
“E. H. MALEHAM is with the Artists’ Rifles at Romford. He has met J. H. Gray and D. W. Rowntree and has lately discovered that “the man in the next bed but one to me had been at Bootham.—G. L. Newman.” ”
The July 1918 issue of “Bootham” reported that Edgar had been killed in action in France.
This was followed in the December 1918 issue of “Bootham” by his “In Memoriam”:
“EDGAR HUBERT MALEHAM (1899-1901) was the son of George Edgar and Edith (Yeomans) Maleham. He was born at Sheffield in 1885 and educated at Bootham. On leaving Bootham he was articled to Mr. J. W. Best, chartered accountant, Sheffield. He passed his Final Examination in 1907, and was admitted an Associate in Practice on May 1st in that year. Later he was taken into partnership by Mr. Best.
During 1915 he felt strongly that it was his duty to take part in the defence of his country, and when his term of partnership ended he enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles as a private in January, 1916. When he gained his commission he was drafted into the 3rd York and Lanes at Sunderland, and was soon sent out to the front to join the 2nd Line Regt. 2nd York and Lancs. Within a short period he was placed in charge of a brigade pioneer company with the rank of captain, and was ultimately attached to the London Field Company of the Royal Engineers.
In the autumn of 1917 he was in Marcoing when the Germans nearly surrounded it, but was instrumental in getting his men away with few casualties under cover of darkness.
At the time of the great Cambrai attack he was very severely wounded by machine-gun fire while rallying his men close to the enemy on March 22nd. Five of his men refused to leave him, .and carried him to the rear. He was conveyed to Doullens, which he reached on the 23rd, but was dead when admitted into the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital. He lies in the cemetery of Doullens. Over the archway is an inscription in French: “All who rest here have given their lives for their country.”
A private writes :— ” It was with much regret that all the boys of the Pioneers heard of the death of Captain Maleham, for none of us could speak too highly of him, his great consideration being for the comfort of us all before himself. His encouragement and leadership on March 22nd, the date he was badly wounded by machine-gun bullets, will never be forgotten by us who were with him, and had he lived I am sure he would have been recommended. When badly wounded and the Germans advancing he begged us to leave him rather than we be taken prisoners, but he was a man who made one feel that we could not do enough for him, and with the aid of a comrade we were able to carry him alternately on our backs until we were able to procure a stretcher, and after the doctor had seen him we placed him in one of our Red Cross cars which was picking up wounded on the roadside. ” “
Captain Edgar Hubert Maleham is buried at Doullens Cemetery, Somme, France.
Charles Norton Levin, (also known as Carl) of Gosforth, Northumberland, was killed in action in France on March 21st 1918, aged 27 years.
He was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1891 and attended Bootham School from 1904 to 1908. At school he was in 1st XI cricket team and was interested in Natural History, in particular shells. Charles joined the school’s Natural History, Literary and Polytechnic Society early in his time at Bootham and in the report of the Society’s Christmas Exhibition of 1905, printed in the school magazine, “Bootham” in February 1906, we read:
“The Exhibition of Natural History work is on the whole better than last year, and we may feel satisfied that the slight revival noticeable then has continued during the past 12 months. ……In Conchology there are four small collections by C. N. Levin, D. Eliott, Pumphrey, and Ashby, all of whom have kept note books, and should do well next year.”
Charles became Curator of Conchology in the Natural History Society in 1906 and kept this role right through to 1908.
“Bootham” magazine of June 1906 reports on activities during the previous school term:
On the first Saturday of the term a small party visited Askham Bog, only to find the ponds much flooded and covered with half an inch of ice, so that only a few common shells could be obtained. Two visits towards the end of March were much more successful, though the ponds were still flooded; a number of shells, water-beetles and other aquatic creatures were obtained and have added much to the interest of the aquarium in the Natural History Room kept by C. N. Levin. The development of some frog-spawn found at Kirkham Abbey has been watched from day to day.”
As Curator, Charles contributed the report on Conchology to the Seventy-third Report of the school Natural Hiistory, Literary and Polytechnic Society, January 1907.
Much more work has been done this year than in 1905. Three fair sized collections have been made. C. L. Ashby shows a good collection of land and freshwater shells, consisting of fortythree species. A similar collection of forty-one species has been made by B. Pickard. C. N. Levin has added thirty-four species to his previous collection of freshwater and sea shells. The Ouse and Askham Bog have been the most productive fishing grounds for freshwater specimens; while the majority of the land shells were found at Castle Howard, which is also a very good hunting ground. C.N.L.”
“Bootham” of February 1908 includes The Seventy-fourth Annual Report of Bootham School (York) Natural Hlstory, Literary and Polytechnic Society, January 1908 :
“The Ornithological reports of E. B. Marriage, C. N. Levin, K. H. Brooks, B. Pickard, and R. B. Graham deserve mention They were the result of keen observation and much industry.”
“C. N. Levin and R. B. Graham both contributed valuable papers dealing with the Ornithology of the Lake District”
“C. N. Levin, who has now taken up land as well as sea and freshwater shells, has obtained twenty-two new species, while B. Pickard has added to his collection twenty new species and twenty-one new varieties. The study of varieties seems to be quite new to Bootham collectors, and it is hoped that it will be continued. Great enthusiasm has been shown by collectors, and collecting tools, although cumbersome, have been carried round with great diligence. The chief hunting grounds in the neighbourhood of York have been Askham Bog, the Foss, Castle Howard, and Coxwold.”
Natural History Diaries:
“The number of diaries on Natural History subjects in the Show this year is greater than in any year since 1899. Of these 17, no fewer than 12 deal almost entirely with Ornithology, and all but one are illustrated. Apart from H. L. Green’s, which ranks first, and is mentioned in the Report for the O.Y.S.A. Exhibition, four of these stand out considerably ahead of the rest, namely those by Marriage, Levin, Pickard, and Graham. After careful consideration, C. N. Levin and R. B. Graham are bracketed first, for whilst Graham’s book is more readable, Levin has several original illustrations, including two photos, of nests and a useful summary.”
In 1908, Charles was also Curator of Microscopy. He won prize for Microscopy in the school Christmas Show of 1907.
By spring 1908, Charles was in the school second XI football. The term’s football report states “Levin has been the best back”.
The June 1908 issue of “Bootham” reports that Charles was among a large number of Senior boys who passed the University Extension Examination in Modern History. His last school cricket report stated:
“C. N. LEVIN.—Much to be commended for careful practice and consequent good progress as a steady batsman. Fair left-hand bowler.”
Charles went on to study Law and was a member of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Incorporated Law Society.
“Bootham” of June 1915, “Across the Months” suggests that Charles Levin was serving in the War in some capacity.
“ONLY a few additions have been made to the list of those serving their country in His Majesty’s Forces. . ………; C. N. Levin is somewhere in something”
By the March 1916 edition of “Bootham”, Charles Levin’s situation was confirmed.
“Bootham School War Lists.
Under Military Discipline :—
Levin, C. N., Second Lieut., 21st Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish), France.”
“Bootham” of June 1917 reports, in “Across the Months”:
“C. LEVIN writes from France, where he has been for 17 months Light Trench Mortar Batt. Sec-Lieut, with acting rank of Captain.”
It was reported in the London Gazette of 1st January 1918 that Charles Levin had been awarded the Military Cross.
“Bootham” of May 1918 reports Charles as still with Light Trench Mortar Battery:
“O.Y.S. War-time Service Lists
Old York Scholars serving in the Navy and Army.
Levin, C. N., Capt., Light Trench Mortar Battery.”
And in same issue “Across the Months”:
“CARL N. LEVIN (1904-8) was slightly wounded. He calls it a tiny scratch ‘ ‘ that would not even have got me off Meeting.’ ‘ He is close to ” Bootham Trench. “”
However, the July 1918 issue of “Bootham” magazine reports:
LEVIN.—On the 21st March, 1918, killed in action in France, Carl Norton Levin (1904-8), aged 27.”
and the same issue has:
CARL NORTON LEVIN (1904-8). His father received the Whitsuntide card and wrote that Carl was reported missing March 21st. “It is to be feared that he was killed in action on that date.” His conduct was gallant and able, and the affairs of his Battery were left by him in excellent order. He was clearly looked up to by the officers and men of the Battery with very great regard.”
Captain Levin of the Northumberland Fusiliers is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.
“LEVIN, Capt. Charles Norton, MC, 21st (Tyneside Scottish) Batallion, Northumbrian Fusiliers, attached to 102nd Light Trench Mortar Battery. Died 21st March 1918, Somme, Western Front, aged 27.”
Eric Herbert Bigland died near Ypres on 5th January, 1918, of wounds received in action, aged 24 years.
He was born at Middlesbrough in 1893 and joined Bootham School in the Summer Term of 1908. He left Bootham in 1910.
At Bootham he was in the 2nd XI Cricket and 2nd XI Football. He also played Fives and won the “Middle Schoolroom” class tournament in Autumn 1909. He won the mile race in Athletics in 1910, with a time of just over 5 mins 16 secs.
The school magazine, “Bootham”, of March 1910 tells us:
“E. H. Bigland has used the forge in making a useful garden seat like those made for the field a year ago.”
Eric won a Workshop prize for this seat in the school annual Christmas Exhibition.
When he left school, “Bootham” of May 1910 reported in the Bene Decessit section:
“E. H. BIGLAND has been a member of the School for two years. He played for the 2nd XI. at football and cricket, being a good goalkeeper. He won the mile race in the Sports this year.”
Eric enlisted in the Army. The March 1916 issue of “Bootham” published War Lists of those Old Scholars serving in various capacities and for those “Under Military Discipline” it shows:
“Bigland, E. H., Corporal, B Co., 7th Bn. Yorkshire Regt., British Expeditionary Force, France.”
Then in “Bootham” of June 1917, in “Across the Months”:
“E. BIGLAND. Wounded, July 1st, 1916, at Fricourt. Wounded at Beaumont Hamel, January 12th, 1917, left arm smashed, wounded in both legs. He writes from hospital at Bexhill, “I am going on fine.” “
However, “Bootham” May 1918 reports under “Deaths”:
“BIGLAND.—On the 5th January, 1918, of wounds in action, Eric Herbert Bigland (1908-10), of Middlesbrough, aged 24 years.”
Private Eric Herbert Bigland is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen,Belgium.
Christopher James Alexander of Croydon, Surrey, died in Flanders on 5th October 1917, aged 30 years.
Christopher was born in 1887 and attended Bootham School from 1900 to 1904. He took a keen interest in many aspects of Natural History while at school, was very observant of wildlife, and this interest lasted throughout his life. As well as studying birds and plants, in 1902 the school magazine “Bootham” reported that he had won the school natural history prize winner for lepidoptera. The Natural History Society report for Autumn 1902 as reported in “Bootham” tells us:
“Entomology Report, Lepidoptera:
“C. J. Alexander, the most prominent worker in this subject, spent a great deal of time last term over watching and drawing his insects during their development, and their changes from one stage to another. This term, he has spent a couple of hours every Saturday afternoon in weighing his crysalids and plotting a curve, showing their rate of decrease. He has also added largely to his collection, having reared an Alder Kitten from a caterpillar found just before it turned. He has taken Lesser Lutestrings at sugar and a Buff Arches as it was fluttering round an arc-lamp. These three were all obtained in Kent.”
Art section report:
“C. J. Alexander’s ” Moths,” coloured to perfection,” “
He won the Natural history prize for entomology.
In 1903 Christopher was curator of entomology, microscopy and zoology in the Natural History Society.
“Bootham” of May 1903 reports that at a meeting of the Natural History Society on February 18th::
“C. J. Alexander followed with a very clear discourse on Fertilization of Orchids, illustrated by diagrams on the black board.”
“The last meeting of term was occupied by a debate. The motion, “That the collection of eggs involves no real cruelty,” was put before the meeting, in a joint paper, by Horan and C. Milner. C. J. Alexander followed with a good paper in opposition. “Do the birds have emotional and mental feelings and sufferings?”—in some cases probably; why not use Photography and careful observation, to obtain the same end as collecting? The motion was lost by 16 to 5.”
And then the October 1903 issue of “Bootham” tells us, in the Natural History report:
“At a later meeting C. J. Alexander had a good comparison of last year’s flowers with this. On the whole, flowers were earlier this year than last, a mid-April frost giving two distinct sets of flowers. C. J. A dealt in the same way with migrants, which were early this time, though they may not have been so much noticed owing to the cold stopping their singing.”
Moving on to the March 1904 issue of “Bootham”, we are told in the Natural History report:
“A new feature of our Meetings in the Autumn Term was a series of “10 minutes” talks on the various branches by the curators, arranged with the idea of increasing the general knowledge of the Club, whose members are perhaps rather too much inclined to exclusive study of one subject. The first of these short talks was given by C. J. Alexander, on Botany, an able lecture, with the usual fine blackboard drawings added thereto. A photograph of the same gentleman’s illustrations to an Ornithological “10 minutes” is reproduced in this number.
By this time, Christopher had joined the committee of the Natural History Society.
In the Inter-Schools Diaries Competition of 1903, Christopher won first prize in the Natural History Section with his diary of Botany and Entomology. In the school Christmas Exhibition some of the diaries were commended, especially those of the brothers C. J. and H. G. Alexander in Natural History.
Also in “Bootham” of March 1904, the Ornithological section reports:
“C. J. Alexander has been making careful notes on the times birds sing. He has discovered that the Hedge Sparrow and Wren sing from October to mid November, and that the Thrush and Missel Thrush start about when they end, while the Robin sings all the time.”
The Art section reports:
“There has been more originality in the drawings this year than last. C. J. Alexander, G. Leckie and A. Hamilton being the chief. The best exhibit of original paintings was C. J. Alexander’s caterpillars, chrysalids and moths, which were coloured to perfection.”
and goes on to say:
“Quite the most beautiful coloured drawings were those of moths, butterflies, and chrysalids, and a spray of Blackberry, by C. J. Alexander. Very minute and exquisite in painting, they also showed accurate observation of form, and deserved careful mounting and naming.”
The report of the Old Scholars Natural History Exhibition tells us:
“The one competitor is C. J. Alexander, of Tunbridge Wells. He presents a voluminous and very careful diary illustrated with unusual ability and extending over three years; with great variety of observation, especially in the fields of Entomology, Ornithology, and Botany. …………..They have decided to award to C. J. Alexander an exhibition of £5, and to remind him that according to the rules they will be glad to give consideration to his future work at the end of July.”
In 1904 Christopher was curator of botany, entomology, microscopy and zoology in the Natural History Society.
The Autumn Term report for the school tells us:
“The end of Term brought the customary “charades.” The turn this time was for “Vice Versa,” short, but immense fun throughout. The difficult parts of “Paul ” and “Dick Bultitude” were well sustained by C. J . and V. W. Alexander”
Christopher was doing well at school and the School Term report tells us:
“The Term closed with the reading out of places, showing C. J. Alexander to be top of the School.”
In “Bootham” of May 1904, we learn that in the Natural History Society:
“C. J. Alexander held the office of President for the Term”
And the Natural History Society report:
“During the holding of the Quarterly Meeting in York in January, a very interesting meeting of the Natural History Society took place……… Another most interesting feature of the meeting was the imitation of the songs of birds by C. J. Alexander, the winner of the Old Scholars’ Natural History Exhibition. The songs of several of our common wild birds were so faithfully reproduced that a thrush actually began to answer him from the playground.”
Christopher left Bootham School in July 1904 and his “Bene Decessit” entry reads:
“C. J. ALEXANDER, of Tunbridge Wells, entered the School in September, 1900, and is now top of the School and a Reeve. In December, 1903, he was awarded the Old Scholars’ Natural History Exhibition. In June, 1904, he obtained the London University School-Leaving Certificate with distinction in French. In July, 1904, he was placed first in the Upper Senior by the Examiners of the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds, and was awarded the Bootham Leaving Scholarship of £50. He goes to study Agriculture at Wye College, near Tunbridge Wells.”
In “Bootham” of February 1905, in the Annual Report of the Bootham School Natural History, Literary and Polytechnic Society, we read that:
“We are glad to learn that C. J. Alexander, last year’s winner, took and passed both the new Zoology Paper at the London Matriculation and also the Natural History Papers in the Victoria University Preliminary Examination, both examinations requiring, in addition to book work, a practical knowledge of field work.”
In this issue we also learn that:
“CHRISTOPHER J. ALEXANDER (1900—4) has been awarded a 1st class Entrance Scholarship in the South Eastern Agricultural College, Wye.”
“Bootham” of February 1909 reports:
“CHRISTOPHER J. ALEXANDER (1900-4) has passed the B.Sc. Examination, Faculty of Science (Agriculture), South-Eastern Agricultural College.”
Christopher J. Alexander became County Instructor for Insect and Fungoid Diseases under Berkshire Education Committee in 1910. In 1911, he moved to Rome to be Rédacteur at the International Institute of Agriculture.
The March 1913 issue of “Bootham” contains the following:
“NORMAN D. RAE, Neuchatel (1907-1910) ……… was at home for Christmas, as was also C. J. ALEXANDER (1900-1904), who was reminded by the last BOOTHAM to send thanks for our “card from O.S., which, of course, I was delighted to get; it came several days later than I had expected, and I had a horrid fear that I had been forgotten. ” He also endorses Frith’s views given in the last number, and concludes with the suggestion that any O.Y.S. visiting Rome can find him at the International Institute of Agriculture, Villa Umberto I., any day between 8.30—3.00. [Does he finish work at 3.00? If so, we are envious.—Ed.”
The March 1914 issue of Bootham, in the Bootham Oversea section reports:
“C. J. ALEXANDER (1900-1904) now treats “Rome as if it were London and lives out at Albano; it necessitates leaving at 6.56 a.m., but I find I easily get used to that (we believe we are right in giving his hours at the Institute as 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) . I amuse myself in the train on the way down (Albano standing at 1,250 feet) by holding a thermometer out of the window. A short distance from Albano the line tunnels through to the inside of the crater, about half way up the slope above the lake, and keeps round inside (with one station) for some way; then out through another tunnel to Marino. Along the lake the temperature is markedly higher, no doubt owing to the lake water, which I think hardly goes below 50 deg. F. in winter; on the north slope at Marino it is much cooler again, but still a good deal higher than down on the more or less level Campagna. In the late autumn I several times got a difference of 14 deg. F. between the part above the lake and the minimum on the Campagna. “”
By the December 917 issue of “Bootham” magazine, C. J. Alexander was serving in the War. He had returned to England in 1916 to join the Army. The “Across the Months” section reports:
“THE attention of Old Scholars is drawn to these two of our Dumber whose relatives are very anxious about them: CHRISTOPHER J. ALEXANDER (1900-04) was “pretty badly hit” —face, stomach, hand, and knee—in the Passchendaele fighting on October 4th. He was still conscious when put into an ambulance car, after which there is no trace of him. His name and number are Pte. C. J. Alexander, 24732, (Queen’s) Royal West Surreys. If any Old Scholar could give any further news of him it would be most thankfully received.”
It wasn’t to be good news. The May 1918 issue of “Bootham” lists under “Deaths”:
“ALEXANDER.—On the 4th October (or soon after), of wounds, in Flanders, Christopher James Alexander, B.Sc. (1900-4), of the International Agricultural Institute, Rome, aged 30 years.”
This issue also contains an entry for Christopher in the “In Memoriam” section as follows:
“CHRISTOPHER J. ALEXANDER first came to Bootham at the time of the Scarborough exile, after the fire, and he left in 1904, having- won the N.H. Exhibition and the Leaving Scholarship. He played his part in all that was best in the life of the School, especially in the N.H. Club. He joined in the great exploration of “heaven” by No. 8 Bedroom, and was a perfect Mr. Bultitude in ‘ ‘ Vice Versa.” But perhaps his character was best revealed in a simple act of courage, freely criticised at the time. One of our American gym. Masters —kindest-hearted of men—had spent a year with us, and none of us treated him very well; Christopher, in making a presentation to him when he left, frankly confessed our fault. All through his life, shy and modest as he was, when the occasion came, both in speech and action he showed the same outspoken integrity.
At Wye Agricultural College, and for five years at the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome, he devoted himself to many kinds of scientific work, and especially found increasing delight, even to the last week of his life in Flanders, in observing birds. During his eighteen months in the Army he was able to give his best, that had before been hidden from most, to all the other men. They have written with real affection and concern since he was hit, on October 4th, but all they could tell us has only led us to the surmise, now at last confirmed by the War Office, that he must have been killed after he was put in the ambulance.
The only “Old Scholars” he ever got to was in 1914. When by good fortune he got back to his old company in France last September, after having been in England with a broken leg, he wrote that it seemed quite like getting to York at Whitsuntide. Like many more, he will not again be with us in the flesh, but we know that his spirit will be among us when we meet.”
The Bootham School Register records that Christopher was killed by a shell whilst being conveyed in an ambulance after being wounded.
Lawrence Edmund Rowntree of Scalby, Scarborough, was killed in action in Flanders on 25th November 1917, aged 22 years.
He was born at York in 1895 and was a grandson of Joseph Rowntree, the Quaker chocolate manufacturer and social reformer of York. He attended Bootham School from 1907 to 1912.
Lawrence took part in many activities whilst at Bootham. He was a member of the Junior Essay Society and gained mentions in Aquatics reports. In the Conchology report of the Natural History Society report (“Bootham” magazine, February 1909):
“This subject has attracted no fewer than ten collectors during the year, and several of them have made really good collections. ………L. E. Rowntree’s collection contains 14 new species. Collectors have been very energetic over their work, diligently carrying shell-scoops on all excursions. Many places have been visited, amongst others Askham Bog, Castle Howard and the Foss.”
In the Archaeological Diaries report of the Natural History Society report (“Bootham”, March 1910):
“With two exceptions, there are no original photographs, and in most cases we should have liked to see more illustration, either in pen and ink sketches, or pencil drawings.
L. E. Rowntree’s mouldings are very effective. We think that all who take up archaeology ought to make a particular study of this branch of the subject, for mouldings are to a right understanding of the different periods what factors are to algebra—often the shortest and best clue to a difficult problem.We should like to encourage more of this in the diaries for another reason. Many of us are not artistic, and cannot “make a picture,” but we can copy a moulding fairly accurately, and can draw a section of a pillar or string course, so as to make a valuable addition to our diary.”
In 1911, Lawrence was a curator of Astronomy and a librarian for the school Natural History Society.
By The 1910-11 season, Lawrence was playing football in the school second XI and had joined the committee of the Senior Essay Society.
“Bootham” of November 1911 reported that Lawrence, amongst others from Bootham, had gained the bronze life saving medal at an examination at the St George’s Baths.
By 1912, Lawrence had become a Reeve at Bootham, equivalent to a prefect.
Lawrence joined the school fire brigade. “Bootham” magazine of November 1912 reported that in the school term of summer 1912:
“A fine display was given by the School Fire Brigade under the captaincy of L. E. Rowntree.”
Lawrence Rowntree left Bootham School in July 1912. “Bootham” magazine tells us:
“L. E. ROWNTREE leaves from the Upper Senior after passing the Cambridge Previous Examination. He was at Bootham five years and a reeve during his last year. He played for the ist Boys’ XL at football and was on the Tennis Committee. He was an efficient secretary to the Senior Essay Society and a member of the Natural History Club Committee. In aquatics he was prominent and won the Silver Medal of the Royal Life Saving Society. For his last term he was an able and energetic captain of the Fire Brigade.”
After studying at Haverford Quaker College, Pennsylvania, near where father was buried, Lawrence became a medical student at King’s College, Cambridge in October 1913 but left in 1914 at the outbreak of the war to join the Friends Ambulance Unit. He trained at Jordans, the Quaker Centre in Buckinghamshire, and on 31 October set off for France led by Philip Noel Baker (another Bootham Old Scholar). Lawrence took his grandfather’s Daimler abroad with him, to his grandmother’s disapproval. The December 1914 edition of “Bootham” has a report on the Anglo-Belgian Ambulance Unit and Lawrence is listed under a section entitled “Dressers, Orderlies, Ambulance Drivers, Stretcherbearers, etc.” While in France and Belgium he wrote a diary, entitled ‘A Nightmare’. The original is in the library at Friends’ House in London, and a copy in the Borthwick Institute, York University.
The December 1914 edition of “Bootham” also reported that:
“LAWRENCE EDMUND ROWNTREE (1907-12) has passed the First M.B. Examination, University of Cambridge.”
In March 1916, “Bootham” reported that:
“The following are, or have been, working with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit :— Rowntree, L. E., Clerical Staff, York.”
During 1916, Lawrence left the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and enlisted in the Army in the Motor Machine Gun Corps, “C” Company of the newly-formed Heavy Section, later known as the Tank Corps. He was posted to the Somme in France. All the tanks in the British Army were at Ancre in the first ever tank battle. Lawrence was injured and while home recuperating decided to apply for a commission. He was accepted and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the 26th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. It was at the Battle of Passchendaele, the 3rd Battle of Ypres, that he was killed in action, on 25th November 1917.
“Bootham” of December 1917 reported:
ROWNTREE.—On 25th November, 1917, killed in action in Flanders, Lawrence Edmund Rowntree (1907-12), of Low Hall, Scalby, Yorks, aged 22 years.”
“Bootham” of May 1918 published an “In Memoriam” piece for Lawrence as follows:
“L. E. ROWNTREE. His friends will perhaps remember Lawrence Rowntree best when he was at home. No form of outdoor life came amiss, and he entered with equal zest into any of the many recreations he liked. Motor-cycling was one of his great hobbies, but whatever the accident or however untoward the incident he always kept on smiling. Indeed, it was his unfailing cheerfulness, a fund of good stories, and his constant thought for others that made him such an excellent companion. -He was a Reeve during his last year at school, and, besides winning a much-contested place on the 1st Football XI., he took a prominent post in the Essay, Debating, and N.H. Societies. Many will remember the time and care he lavished on a hydroplane which he built in the workshop, but which, alas!, would not float.
Some will know John Drinkwater’s lines in “The God of Quiet ” : ” And the hate Of blood for blood, and bone for bone, can find No habitation in the quiet mind. . . . ” Probably all Old Boys have this quiet mind. Lawrence Rowntree certainly had it in a large degree, and as his friends are realising how much a part of their lives he was they are also realising how irreparable is their loss.
Died 25th November 1917. Fell in action in Flanders.”
Second Lieutenant Lawrence Edmund Rowntree is buried in the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, near Ypres. His headstone bears the inscription, Only son of JW Rowntree, Scalby. “I believe in the life everlasting.”
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:
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.”
His “In Memoriam” entry in “Bootham” reads as follows:
“GILBERT PORTEUS (1908-11), Lieutenant in the – Bn. Cameronians, was killed in action at Metzpah, Palestine, on November 22nd, 1917, in his twenty-fourth year.
After leaving school he entered into business with his father, but after a short time had to take a more responsible position in the business owing to his father’s death.
In 1915 he answered the call of his country and joined the Glasgow Highlanders. Later he received a Commission in the Cameronians, and in August, 1917, proceeded in charge of a draft of men to Palestine.
All his letters to his family were of the most cheery nature, and talked of “Après la guerre.” Some extracts from his letters give a vivid description of life in Palestine:
“In the Field, August 22nd, 1917.
It is very amusing really the way all the chaps here enquire from anyone arriving from home when is the war going to finish, looking, of course, for somebody else to do the washing-up.
In the Field, September 2nd, 1917.
As this quarter is covered with “dud” Turkey shells the souvenir hunters could have a rare “beano” – there are not many of this breed in the S.R.“
An extract from his Chaplain’s letter regarding the attack in which he was killed says:
“But, alas! we had to pay a heavy price, and among the gallant lads we lost was your son. He fell to a sniper’s bullet as he was leading his men at the top of the ridge.””
Second Lieutenant Gilbert Porteous is buried at the Jerusalem War Cemetery.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.—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:
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:
“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.