July 14th 1921

Yesterday saw the unveiling of Oxford’s War Memorial and its dedication by the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Burge, in remembrance of all the citizens of Oxford who gave their lives in the Great War.

It will be remembered that it was Dr Burge who performed the dedication of our own war memorial last year.

This new cross is situated at the north end of St Giles and very close to Balliol Hall (in the large building behind and to the right of the cross). It was here that the OPS, now Dragon School, started in two rooms with 14 boys under Mr AE Clarke in 1877.

Also yesterday, it is reported in ‘The Times’ that the Poet Laureate, Robert Bridges, was at Newbury Grammar School for the unveiling of their War Memorial.  His plea for the forgiveness of injustices should be noted. In his speech he said that there could not be proper peace and reconciliation in Europe until enemies expressed forgiveness.

April 14th 1921

The April 1921 edition of ‘The Draconian’, shortly to be published, will contain this article I have written so that our parents may know a little more about the organisation to which we are affiliated, and to inform the boys that their headmaster has sadly lost his battle to abolish the Common Entrance Examination to the Public Schools!

The Association of Preparatory Schools.

I have had the honour of being elected as Chairman of the Council of the Association of Preparatory Schools for 1921. The Association has increased very much in size and influence since it was first founded in 1893, when I was one of the original members and first editor of the ‘Preparatory Schools’ Review’…

‘We who have torches will hand them on to others’ (Plato)

It is also a privilege I greatly enjoy to be a member both of the Joint Committee of Public and Preparatory Schools and on the Board of Management of the Common Entrance Exam. With the latter institution I am not at all satisfied. Its influence on our Schools seems to me to be disastrous. The papers are stereotyped in form. Thousands of back copies are purchased and used as a standard and as a means of ‘cramming’ boys for the examination. Instead of a boy being judged by his real merit, character and attainments, he is judged by his mark-getting powers in a very specialised examination, and this seems to me to be destructive of anything like originality or individuality in teaching and training. I should greatly prefer for admittance to the Public Schools a series of well-chosen questions to be answered by the Preparatory Headmaster of the candidate, something like the paper questions put to the Headmaster of Naval Candidates*, but with rather a wider scope. This might be followed by one day’s literary examination, and then if there were any doubt about a boy’s fitness, an interview might be held…

I put these considerations to the Conference of Preparatory Schools in December, but alas! the vast majority of those present voted that the examination as at present conducted is altogether satisfactory!

* * * * * *

The history of this august organisation dates back to 1892, when fifty headmasters of Preparatory Schools first met to discuss that most important of concerns: the size and weight of the cricket ball to be used by their boys at their schools (!)

 

[* One such question posed is, ‘Does (the candidate) tend to lead other boys? If so, is his influence on them good?’ ]

April 7th 1921

With term ending after Easter this year, we are only now assembling material for this term’s edition of ‘The Draconian.’  Here is a flavour – starting with matters medical.

Two of the Public Schools closed early because of the ‘flu’ and at least one other has had a serious bout of it. Joc Lynam [Hum’s son] fell a victim early in the term and, after apparent recovery, suddenly developed pneumonia and pleurisy. He gave us rather an anxious time… He is now going satisfactorily and will, we hope, be back at Rugby for the greater part of next term.

We have had extraordinarily little illness for an Easter Term. A few cases of mild jaundice, but no epidemic of any sort. Nearly all the boarders were inoculated against influenza, which fact may have contributed to our clean bill of health.

* * * * * *

Mary Campbell, currently at the Oxford Girls’ High School (and as head girl presented a bouquet to the Queen earlier this term) has been elected to a Mathematical Exhibition at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Donald Innes has been appointed Professor of Geology at St Andrew’s University.

Sir William Max Muller CB MVO has been appointed Minister at Warsaw, capital of the newly constituted Polish Republic. He was one the very first 14 boys when the OPS opened in 1877 and has had a notable career as a diplomat. As our Consul-General in Budapest in 1914, he was in close contact with the Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, in the weeks leading up to the declaration of war.

Bernard Grindle (who joined the Civil Service in 1903) has had the Cross of Officer of the Legion of Honour conferred on him by the President of the French Republic for valuable services rendered during the war.

* * * * * *

We are grateful to those who kindly came to talk at our Sunday services this term:

Jan 23rd: Mr EC Carter of the American YMCA preached on the ‘Black and White Problem’ – ‘We are all one colour inside!’

Jan 30th: Rev ES Woods of Cambridge on ‘A Personal Knowledge of God’ – ‘Live by the standard of Christ.’

Feb 6th: Maurice Jacks OD on ‘Citizenship’ – i.e. ‘Peace Patriotism’; ‘The Kingdom of God is the kingdom of men who serve one another.’

Feb 13th: Mr Vassall on ‘Oxford House.

Feb 20th: Alexander Paterson MC of the Oxford & Bermondsey Clubs.

Feb 27th: Rev Harold Gibson MC on ‘The Christian gentleman must be an honest working man’; ‘Our Father’s business, i.e. the making of this world into the perfect, bright and happy place that He intended it to be.’

Mar 13th: Rev DB Kittermaster of Harrow on ‘To love and to help one another.’

Mar 20th: Jack Gamlen on ‘Talents.’

Mar 27th: This Easter Sunday service was held, by kind permission of he President and Fellows, in Magdalen College Chapel. A large number of parents and friends were present, and a bright and happy service was conducted by Rev. Harold Gibson, who also gave an address.

* * * * * *

Lastly, as ever, the Editor of ‘The Draconian‘ has received a number of letters, including this one from Jack Gamlen:

Dear Editor,

There are now so many ODs in the world that the innovation of an OD tie is, I think, both desirable and necessary. The suggestion is not original, and I am not the most proper person to renew it, but I think that it should be put to ODs before the world is any older. There is time for two or three designs to be prepared before the next OD dinner, when they could be exhibited and voted on. Will you see what can be done?

Yours sincerely,

JCB Gamlen

Mr Vassall invites Old Dragons to submit their opinions and designs.

April 2nd 1921

Battle of Megiddo, 19-25 September 1918

This is an account of the Battle of Megiddo, which led to the taking of Damascus, heralding the armistice in Palestine on October 31st 1918. It is written by Major John Hutchison DSO, only recently returned from active service, and will be included in the forthcoming edition of ‘The Draconian’.

“It was my good fortune to be in temporary command of my regiment, the (King George’s Own) Central India Horse when it passed though Lejun (Megiddo of the Bible) and entered the historic plain of Esdraelon at dawn on September 20th 1918… when my thoughts were diverted by the sight of some fifty dead and dying Turks through which we rode.

Our advanced guard, consisting of the 2nd Lancers (Indian Army) had charged a Turkish regiment hurrying up to block the Musmur Pass at Lejun, and this was the result, in addition to some hundreds of prisoners. I had never before seen a man killed by a lance and it was a sickening sight – for most of the Turks had been terror-struck by the yelling horsemen and the flashing lance points before they were ‘done in,’ and showed it on their faces…

4th Cavalry Division advance: El Lajjun (Lejun) to Beisan

During the afternoon of the 20th September we reached Beisan (Bethshan of the Bible), thus completing roughly eighty miles in something over thirty hours. Beisan is in the Jordan Valley and to get there we rode through the valley of Jezreel…

During 21st and 22nd September thousands of Turks, driven along by our infantry and planes, fell into our hands. Some made desperate attempts to cross the Jordan, but the bridgeheads were held by cavalry. Mostly they surrendered quietly when they found they had no chance of re-forming to face their pursuers…

A Turkish officer of the 1st Turkish Cavalry actually brought three Turkish ladies (the wives of officers) with the regiment. They were mounted on ponies (astride) and wore high-heeled shoes and silk stockings – their faces were veiled and one of them had her child of four or so perched in front of her. The poor creatures had been bundled on to the ponies at Nablus and had ridden till they were exhausted, rather than be left behind among the hostile Arabs, who were beginning to hang on to the retreating Turks like vultures…

Our next move was to the railway bridge over the Jordan at Jisr Mejamieh, seven miles south of the Lake of Galilee…

The 10th Cavalry Brigade, of which we were part, then crossed over to the east bank in order to pursue the 4th Turkish Army, which having been on the east side of the Jordan was saved from the disaster which overtook the Turkish armies on the West Bank and was still a fighting force. We bumped into their rearguard, 5000 strong, which stood to fight at Irbid – we had marched  thirty-six miles and had only an hour of daylight left.

One squadron of 2nd Lancers got a severe mauling, some twenty men killed; and the squadron commander stopped about six machine-gun bullets… This affair was undecided when darkness intervened.

The following day we caught a weak Turkish rearguard, and the Central India Horse charged with the lance, capturing the Turkish position between Er Remte and Deraa, and the Dorset Yeomanry took Er Remte village and about sixteen machine-guns.

At Deraa we joined hands with the Hedjaz Army, or Shereefians as they are called… commanded by the Emir Feisal, who had Colonel Lawrence and several British officers with him. One of these British officers was pursued and threatened by one of our Sikh sowars, who seeing a white man in Arab head-dress jumped to the conclusion that he was a German masquerading as an Arab and took a deal of persuading to the contrary.

I was appalled at the brutal way in which the Shereefians treated their Turkish prisoners – who were mostly stripped half naked and were kept without water and food. I was told that this was done because the retreating Turks had wiped out a village near Deraa, men, women and children. Altogether I was not impressed by our Hedjaz allies…

We continued our march from Deraa to Damascus and ultimately struck the Serb El Haj or pilgrims’ route from Mecca to Damascus…

The 4th Cavalry Division halted two miles to the south of Damascus to allow Fiesal with his troops and Arab riff-raff to enter the city first. One would have imagined by the sound of the firing that a general massacre was proceeding after their entry – but it was merely the frolicsome habit of every Arab armed with a rifle to do rapid fire every ten minutes or so to show how pleased he was…

After Damascus the Spanish ‘flu played havoc with the Division, which had been severely strained by being kept in the Jordan Valley during the summer – one of our officers died of it, and about thirty men…

The ten Indian cavalry regiments all hoped to go to India after the Armistice, since they had been in France since 1914 till the beginning of 1918 – but they were not destined to leave Palestine till 1921…”

Of the 600 men of the Central India Horse who had departed India on November 10th 1914, only 150 boarded the ship at Suez when they left for home on February 2nd 1921.

March 31st 1921

We are delighted to have heard from Major John Hutchison (38th Central India Horse, Indian Army) whose troops were sent to France in 1914 and have remained on active service until 2nd February this year, when they were finally able to return to their homes.

The Turks having signed an armistice on 31st October 1918, they are no longer the enemy. However, throughout the spring of 1920 Arab tribesmen from Syria were making raids into Palestine and the Central India Horse, based at Semakh, took the brunt of this, resisting many fierce attacks by large numbers of them.

John was involved in one such action on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in which his excellent handling of the troops has resulted in him being awarded the D.S.O., the recently published citation reading:

The Distinguished Service Order

“On the 24thApril 1920, when Semakh was heavily attacked by Arab tribesman and Bedouins, Major Hutchison displayed great ability in the organisation of the few troops at his disposal for the defence of an extended area.

The situation was for some time critical, and the small garrison in danger of being overcome. It was due to this officer’s able handling of the situation that the attack was definitely repulsed before reinforcements could reach him.”

John has also furnished us with a long article describing the final defeat of the Turkish armies in Palestine in September 1918. He took part in the Battle of Megiddo which was a significant victory for General Allenby, leading to the capture of Damascus.

This article will follow shortly.

There has been continuing conflict in Palestine, the British having promised in 1916 to support Arab independence if they rose in revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Tensions in the area were increased by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, by which we also agreed to support the idea of a Jewish state being established.

 

 

 

 

March 12th 1921

Yesterday was a day for all women to celebrate when the Queen, accompanied by the Princess Mary, visited Oxford to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. What made this occasion so special was the fact that it was the very first time Oxford has conferred an honorary degree on a woman.

At the ceremony in the Sheldonian, the Chancellor of the University addressed the Queen, mentioning previous visits by former Queens – Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Catherine of Aragon, Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza, of whom he quipped “came here three times with her volatile husband (Charles II) who on each occasion was presented with a Bible, whose lessons he seemed to have insufficiently absorbed.” 

After receiving award, the Queen asked the Chancellor speak on her behalf and express how pleased she was to be able “to testify in a public way her interest in the cause of education of women.”

Having lunched in Balliol College, the royal party visited Lady Margaret Hall, where they met representatives of the five women’s societies (LMH, Somerville, St Hugh’s, St Hilda’s and the Oxford Home Students) before then visiting Somerville College.

Queen Mary and Princess Mary at the Girls’ High School (21 Banbury Rd)

On the way to Lady Margaret Hall, the Queen stopped at the Girls’ High School, as pictured above, to receive a bouquet from the Head of School, Mary Campbell, who was at the OPS (1911-14) and is a sister of Old Dragons Percy (one of our first war casualties), Maurice and Pat.

The Queen’s visit to Lady Margaret Hall also enabled all our boys to see Her Majesty and Princess Mary. As they drove up past the blue line of Dragons, the Princess said, “Oh! look at all those little boys! Who are they?” They answered with a characteristic Dragon cheer.

It was only last October that a University statute allowed women to be admitted, yet alone graduate at Oxford. Whilst they had been permitted to attend lectures and take the examinations since the 1870s, they were not allowed degrees. However, forty such ladies were finally able to graduate at a ceremony also held in October.

Of yesterday’s events ‘The Times’ correspondent noted in today’s edition, “Both the women students and the women of Oxford generally appreciated the honour done to their sex, and they preponderated in all the demonstrations of loyalty that took place during the day. The visit, therefore, became something like an official celebration of the grant by the University of rights and privilege to women students equal to those of men.”

Unfortunately, this does not help one worthy Old Dragon: Naomi Mitchison (then Haldane), who qualified for the University in 1914, having taken the Oxford higher local examination. She became a member of the Society of Oxford Home Students and was able to take a degree course in science. The outbreak of war in 1914 prevented her from completing the course, however, when she went off to train to become a nurse.

Hopefully Cambridge will follow Oxford’s lead and allow another of our Old Dragons, Norah Jolliffe, to get her just rewards. On leaving Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Norah entered Girton College to study Classics, finishing her Tripos with first-class honours in both parts in 1918.

 

 

 

 

March 2nd 1921

Lieutenant Francis Studdy RN

It is with sadness that we have to report an eighth death since the war ended of an Old Dragon combatant.

Francis spent the final year of the war in Mesopotamia, some of it on a river gunboat and made some  interesting journeys to Ctesiphon and Bagdad. Having been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, he returned home on leave in early 1919 and was present at the surrender of the German U-boats to Admiral Tyrwhitt at Harwich on November 20th 1918, about which he sent us a most interesting account .

In June 1919 he went out to China with HMS Columbo until it returned to re-commission at the end of the year. In January 1920, when he should have gone out again to the China Station, Francis was in hospital with malaria, so the ship went without him.

For the greater part of 1920 he remained in hospital, said to be still suffering from malaria, and it was not until he was at home on sick leave in January this year, that it was discovered he was suffering from rapid consumption. On February 24th he passed away and on the 28th was laid to rest beside his mother in the churchyard of Stoke Gabriel in Devon. As his ill health stems from his time on active service, he is recorded as having a war grave by the Imperial War Graves Commission.

Francis was one of those boys who determined on a career in the navy at an early age. He left the OPS in 1910, aged 13, to join HMS Conway as a naval cadet before moving on to Dartmouth College two years later.

He was in the middle of his first cruise on HMS Cumberland when war broke out in 1914. He was subsequently appointed a midshipman on HMS Juno, which ship was occupied in patrol duties in the Atlantic.

Francis spent the best part of 1915-16 on the North Sea with the second battle squadron. He was on HMS Temeraire at the Battle of Jutland, engaging with the German light cruiser Wiesbaden and the battlecruiser Derfflinger (which had helped sink HMS Invincible, with Old Dragon Charles Fisher on board).

 

 

February 25th 1921

Charles Lynam

It is with great sadness that I must record the death of my father, Charles Lynam FRIBA FSA JP and former Mayor of Stoke (1903-4), who died at ‘Cliff Bank’ in Stoke-on-Trent on February 21st, aged 92. Together with my mother Lucy (née Garner), who predeceased him in 1906, he brought up our large family of 14 children, ten of whom survive.

He was born in 1829 at Colwich, in Staffordshire and lived in the reigns of five English monarchs. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital (then in central London) and made his first journeys to school in the old stage coaches.

After an apprenticeship he joined his father, who was borough surveyor of Stoke, and on his father’s death he started for himself as architect and surveyor and continued in active work until the outbreak of war in 1914.

It would be out of place here to enumerate the many important buildings which he designed in Staffordshire, the North Stafford Infirmary, many churches, schools, private houses and public buildings. He designed the present Dragon School in 1895 and its extension with the present School House in 1910. In his 91st year he made the design for our War Memorial Cross, which was erected and dedicated on November 8th, 1920. It was his and our great regret that he was unable to be present, and that he has never actually seen it. For the last months of his life he had a large photograph of it always at hand, and very often spoke of it.

My father’s practical creed may be summed up in the word, work. When he took a short holiday he would be found sketching or studying the beauty of nature or art from earliest dawn till outdoor work was no longer possible. Extremes of cold or heat or rain never stopped him; indeed, he found something to admire and enjoy in every phase of weather or scene, however unpleasant it might seem to other people.

On the Bench in his latter years he was known as most kind and tender-hearted towards those in trouble and was a terror to wilful evil-doers. It may be noted that he became a total abstainer early in life as an example to others, but that he never dictated to others what course they should pursue. Every man should follow his own conscience was his creed. He never smoked, he never read a work of fiction, he had no liking for poetry or the stage, but grand prose such as he found in the Bible and Ruskin he loved. His architectural drawings and paintings were of the highest order, and he greatly admired the Pre-Raphaelite school of painting. He was one of the great Victorians.

The words of St. Paul fitly sum up my father’s long, strenuous and most useful life:

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’

Stoke Borough Cemetery – twin chapels designed by Charles Lynam

January 28th 1921

THE OPENING OF THE WORLD SERVICE EXHIBITION

JANUARY 26th 1921

A schoolboy, whose name was not divulged, speaking the inaugural lines at the opening of the World Service Exhibition at the Town Hall, Oxford. This youth was intended to represent anonymously the spirit of youth as the Unknown Warrior represented the spirit of sacrifice in the War.

The photograph and caption above are from yesterday’s edition of the ‘Daily Mirror’ and is of great interest to us all here.

Just why a schoolboy came to open this prestigious event and how he was chosen was reported in another local newspaper (the ‘Nottingham Evening Post’) a few days ago:

“The schoolboy’s rank or wealth will not be considered. His only qualification will be a voice that can be heard throughout the town hall. The decision to select the anonymous schoolboy followed the inability of the Prince of Wales, owing to the pressure of his engagements, to open the exhibition, which aims at improving conditions of life throughout the world. A prominent exhibitor will be the International Labour Office, whose ideal and function is the methodical improvement of world labour conditions.”

We are quietly very proud of our own young Per Mallalieu (aged 12) who is the ‘anonymous schoolboy’ in question.

The inaugural lines he recited in opening the event (which runs until February 6th) were those of  ‘The Trust’ by Dr Cyril Alington:

They trusted God. Unslumbering and unsleeping
He sees and sorrows for a world at war,
His ancient covenant secretly keeping;
And these had seen His promise from afar,
That through the pain, the sorrow, and the sinning,
That righteous Judge the issue should decide,
Who ruled over all from the beginning - 
And in that faith they died.

They trusted England - Scarce the prayer was spoken
Ere they beheld what they had hungered for -
A mighty country with its ranks unbroken,
A city built in unity once more;
Freedom's best champion, girt for yet another
And mightier enterprise for Right defied,
A land whose children live to serve their Mother - 
And in that faith they died.

And us thy trusted: we the task inherit,
The unfinished task for which their lives were spent;
But leaving us a portion of their spirit
They gave their witness and they died content.
Full well they knew they could not build without us
That better country, giant and far descried,
God's own true England: but they did not doubt us - 
And in that faith they died.

Per has had plenty of practice recently, having just played the role of Macbeth in our annual Shakespeare production, alongside Esmé Vernon as his Lady.

Esmé Vernon and Per Mallalieu

The ‘Oxford Chronicle’ reported that “Esmé played the part of Lady Macbeth with great and feeling power, whilst Percival Mallalieu as Macbeth did splendidly. He knew his long part perfectly, and acted and spoke with intelligence and effect. His appearance was perhaps too youthful and amiable, and indeed he obeyed his fierce Lady in looking ‘like the innocent flower,’ but at the same time there was a good deal of ‘the serpent under it.’”

January 14th 1921

S K I – I N G    I N    S W I T Z E R L A N D 

The British Championship

The first ever British Ski Championship was held at Wengen in Switzerland on January 6th and 7th, and yesterday’s edition of ‘The Times’ reveals that it was won by an Old Dragon!

The correspondent writes:

“The championship was awarded on the combined marking of a race and a style competition. It is notorious that races are often won by inferior ski-runners who run straight, risking falls and using their stick for changes of direction and control of speed. It would be a pity if the British Champion was a stick-rider, however plucky, who has not mastered the graceful and effortless Norwegian style, and it was to insure against any such depressing result that the committee decided to mark the race and the style competition equally.

Mr Leonard Dobbs, a young Cambridge undergraduate, won both parts of the championship. He scored 82% on style against Mr RB McConnell’s 80, and was 67 seconds faster than McConnell in the race. His victory was popular, for he is a sporting runner who does not shirk steep slopes, and he is the son of another fine ski-runner, Mr GC Dobbs, so well known to Wengen and Villars visitors. Mr Patrick Dobbs was second in the race and fourth in the Championship, so the family have every reason to remember with pride the first British Championship.”

Leonard’s father, Mr George Dobbs, was a director of the tourist agency belonging to Sir Henry Lunn and as a result the family spent a lot of time in Switzerland before the war, where they learnt to ski.

Whilst Patrick displayed great academic ability whilst at the OPS – indeed he won a scholarship to Winchester College – Leonard was less so. On the advice of a friend of the family he was sent to Bedales School. He is currently up at St John’s College Cambridge studying mathematics and science.

The Draconian of his time records one less than successful moment in his career with us, regarding his performance in a poetry recital in December 1913:

“Of 35 boys, half got practically full marks, and there was only one failure, L. Dobbs.”