Hubert Pumphrey, of Bradford, was killed in action in Flanders on 26th April, 1918, aged 37 years.
Hubert was born in 1881 in Sunderland and attended Bootham School from 1895 to 1898. At school, Hubert was active in various societies. He was a member of the Discussion Society, and was involved in Senior Debate. He was in the Natural History Club, with interests including Archaeology and Drawing. In 1896 at the Annual Exhibition, Hubert won prizes in Stumping (from cast), Pastel work, Illuminations, and Photography. He took part in Athletics (Seniors Vault), and in Aquatics, and was a member of the 1st XI football team. After Bootham, Hubert studied at Durham College of Science.
In the February 1908 issue of “Bootham”, the school magazine, Hubert’s marriage is recorded:
“PUMPHREY—BIGLAND.—On the 11th December, 1907, at Cockermouth, Hubert Pumphrey (1895—8), of Sunderland, to Daisy Bigland, of Birkenhead.”
A year later (February 1909) “Bootham” records the birth of his daughter:
“PUMPHREY.—On the 4th December, 1908, at Bradford, Daisy, wife of Hubert Pumphrey (1895-8), a daughter, who was named Anstice Mary.”
Hubert is next mentioned in the March 1916 issue of “Bootham”:
“Bootham School War Lists,
Under Military Discipline :—
[Those whose rank is not stated may or may not be privates.]
The July 1916 issue of “Bootham”, in “Across the Months”, reports:
“HUBERT PUMPHREY is training at Berkhamsted. In spite of his years he finds he can stick as well as most although (this for the Censor) there is a tendency to go to sleep in lectures given in the evening after a long march and field exercises with pack and rifle.”
and then the October 1916 issue reports:
“H. PUMPHREY joined the **** * O.T.C. last February.”
The July 1918 issue of “Bootham” prints a list of those Old Scholars killed in the War. Hubert, and his brother Arnold” are both included. The “Deaths” section of the same issue has:
“PUMPHREY.—On the 26th April, 1918, killed in action in Flanders, Hubert Pumphrey, of Sunderland (1895-8), aged 37.”
Hubert’s “In Memoriam” piece in “Bootham” appeared in the December 1918 issue:
“HUBERT PUMPHREY (1895-98), 2nd Lieut. Cheshire Regt., was killed while leading his men at Kemmel Hill April 26th, 1918.
Hubert Pumphrey, son of T. E. Pumphrey, of Mayfield, Sunderland, came of an old Quaker family, one of his soldier ancestors having laid down his sword and embraced the Quaker faith in Cromwell’s time. Like his brothers—the late Capt. Arnold Pumphrey, D.S.O., Durham Light Infantry, and Lieut. (Acting- Captain) Stanley W. Pumphrey, M.C., R.F.A.—he was educated at Bootham, where he was a reeve and in the football XI. After further study at the Durham College of Science he was articled to W. P. Thompson, patent agent, in Liverpool, and eventually, after becoming a member of the C.P.A., was made a partner in the firm. He represented the firm in Bradford for some years, during which time he took an interest in and worked for the Guild of Help. In the early days of the war he was secretary for the Heaton Hall Home for Belgian Refugees, but he felt this work was not enough, and that he must do what he increasingly felt to be his duty—join the fighting forces. In December, 1915, he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., obtaining in November, 1916, a commission in the Cheshire Regiment. He went to France early in 1917, and was wounded near Ypres in July of that year, being sent home to hospital. In April, 1918, he rejoined his old battalion in France. Early in the dawn of April 26th (less than a fortnight after leaving England) he led his men in what was described as ” a very gallant counter-attack ” on Kemmel Hill, and while running ahead of them he was caught by machine gun fire and instantly killed.
He married in 1907 Daisy, daughter of the late Charles Bigland, of Birkenhead, who pre-deceased him, leaving one child, a daughter. H. K. P”
Second Lieutenant Hubert Pumphrey, of the 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres, Belgium.
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.”
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.
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:
“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.