October 14th 1921

35 years ago today the founding headmaster Arthur Edward Clarke succumbed to pneumonia, aged only 33. Much has happened in the years since then, but the school owes a lot to the work he did in the first ten years of its life. Today is a good moment to share this appreciation of his life, which was published in the Oxford Magazine on October 20th, 1886.

The Rev. Arthur Clarke

“Resident Oxford has seldom been so sadly shocked as it was on Friday [15th] to hear of the sudden and untimely death of the Rev. AE Clarke, Headmaster of the well-known school in the Crick Road. It is not at all too much to say that his death is a public loss to Oxford, and even to the educational world, to which his school was beginning to be a real model and example.

Mr Clarke was one of the innumerable pupils of Mr Walker, at Manchester Grammar School, who obtained open scholarships. He won a Demyship at Magdalen, and came up to Oxford in 1872. He took a Second Class in Classical Moderations in 1873, and a Second Class in Literae Humaniores in 1876.

As an Undergraduate he was fairly well known, and liked and esteemed by all who knew him; Mr Walker in particular, his Headmaster, had always a particularly high opinion of him; and when the Oxford parents, headed by the Dean of Christ Church, were anxious to find some one to conduct a school for their sons, strongly recommended Mr Clarke as the very man for the task.

That recommendation has now been more than justified in the record of what has been popularly known as the ‘Dragons’ School. Mr Clarke’s tact, judgement, and, above all, untiring diligence and modest quiet devotion to his work, began almost from the first to bear fruit in the success of his pupils, and still more in the tone and character he impressed on them.

The outward success of this school culminated this summer when five of his boys were elected at once upon the Foundation Roll of Winchester College. But Mr Clarke, though he could thus beat the crammers, if indeed that name ought to be used at all, on their own ground,  was certainly no mere crammer, but a man of wide sympathy and high principle, who endeavoured to make his school good first, and successful afterwards. And so it was the fact that there was, when he died the other day, probably no better preparatory school in Oxford.

In 1883 Mr Clarke became ordained, and to the day of his death added to his school duties the work of a curate at St. Peter’s-in-the-East, and he had recently, we believe, assisted in the mission held there.

‘Il n’y a pas d’homme nécessaire’, says the cynical French proverb. Mr Clarke, so modest, so unassuming was he, would have been the very last to think he could be the man to belie this maxim. Yet so it is, and the highest tribute to his work is the fact that seldom has there been such a sense of practical personal loss in Oxford, and that in ever so many homes his boys are lamenting,  with a true grief, the loss of a real and loved friend, while their parents ask with a further-sighted anxiety and despair, whether any one can be found to do such justice to their children, to make so much of the all-important years of their early life.”

1881. The Headmaster, Mr AE Clarke, and the boys of the OPS

In this, the earliest surviving school photograph, are three boys who have appeared on these pages in recent times:

Arthur Percival –   an early casualty of The Great War in November 1914.

Reginald Tyrwhitt – who is now Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt KCB DSO and famously took the surrender of the German submarine fleet at the end of the War.

Edmund Deane – who came over with the Canadian Army only to be killed on the Western Front in June 1916.

September 27th 1921

The ‘Quest’ leaving Plymouth Sound

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s latest expedition to Antarctica on the ‘Quest’ has received much publicity, including an article in ‘The Times’ yesterday. When the ‘Quest’ finally left Plymouth on Saturday 24th September, it was a Dragon family who were amongst the last to see Sir Ernest as he departed our shores.

Commander GH Freyberg – whose accounts of the Battle of Jutland and the surrender of the German High Seas fleet in 1918 so enriched the pages of ‘The Draconian’ – is now the King’s Harbour Master at Plymouth and we are grateful to Geoffrey for this account of the arrival of ‘Quest’ at the harbour on Friday and subsequent events.

“Shortly after Captain Worsley had berthed his ship, Sir Ernest Shackleton came aboard, having made the journey from London by train the same morning.

Stores, sledges, instruments and fresh provisions were brought aboard until the tiny upper deck was stocked with packing cases containing anything from vegetable marrows and Scotch whiskey to cedar-built sleighs and theodolites.”

The following morning the wharf was crowded with spectators, newspaper reporters and photographers, ready to give Sir Ernest a good send-off on his expedition. Once all visitors had left the boat, the KHM’s steamboat (with Geoffrey aboard) and a motor launch towed the ‘Quest’ off the wharf.

Hugh Channer (1915)

“Most of the officers of the Royal Marine Barracks at Stonehouse, headed by the Colonel-Commandant, Lieut.-Col HW Channer RMLI, were gathered on Longroom hill, together with their wives, to give the little ‘Quest’ a parting cheer. Colonel Channer, who is an Old Dragon, served with distinction at Gallipoli, where he lost his left leg when charging the Turkish trenches. This gallant officer, now a well-known figure in Plymouth, had previously served for ten years with the Egyptian Army, and he holds many Egyptian decorations besides the French Croix de Guerre.”

There followed a period of time when the ‘Quest’ was moored at a buoy whilst adjustments to the compasses on board were made.

“Whilst this business was in progress a small boy, a future Dragon, was observed to clamber quickly over the ‘Quest’s’ nettings in search of his father from the KHM’s steamboat alongside. Sir Ernest spotted him and said to him, ‘I knew you were the son of a sailor by the way you came over the side. Well, you will have to lunch aboard with me now.’ But Master Richard Freyberg had other views on the subject (he is only eight) and could not be persuaded to go below, having visions of being transported to the land of the polite penguin while the meal was in progress! So Mr Douglas, the geologist of the expedition, dived below and shortly reappeared with a plateful of tinned peaches, which Richard required but little pressing to demolish!”

During this interlude, Sir Ernest had invited Geoffrey and his wife aboard to inspect his ship.

“Our party was shown everything from the cook’s galley and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s cabin to the Sperry Gyro compass and the baby Avro aeroplane… It is hoped to accomplish much useful surveying from the air. A major in the RAF is with the expedition, besides which Shackleton himself is an expert pilot of the air.

Shackleton’s cabin is a small hutch, about 6 feet square, on the port side of the deck house forward of the bridge. There is just enough room for a bunk, a folding washstand, a tiny writing table and a solitary chair. The silk Union Jack presented by HM Queen Mary was spread out on the bunk for our inspection.”

Whilst this was going on, some 200 gallons of lubricating oil were loaded and the ‘Quest’ was finally ready for departure.

“By 5 pm. the last of the oil drums was on board and stowed below. The ship’s bell rang to clear the visitors into the numerous boats alongside and we bade farewell to our kind host… We climbed over the ‘Quest’s’ nettings for the last time, taking with us Mr J Rowett the financier, and several of his friends.

The last we saw of Shackleton was when, just as the ‘Quest’ and our steamboat parted company, the explorer himself, leaning over the side of the bridge, called, cap in hand, for ‘three cheers for the British Navy.'”

Capt. Worsley – Cdr Traill Smith – Geoffrey Freyberg – Sir Ernest Shackleton – Lieut. Wild, with Richard Freyberg

Not many people get the opportunity to meet and spend some time with someone of the stature of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who made a great impression on Geoffrey:

“That Shackleton is a great leader there is no shadow of doubt. Or else why did men like Wild and Worsley leave their farms in Africa or their homes in New Zealand, at a moment’s notice, at the call of this man?

Shackleton’s personality is, I should say, as magnetic as that of Captain Scott or the great David Beatty. His deep commanding voice, with just the suspicion of an American accent, and his deliberate manner of speaking, compel the attention of those who listen. Nature, so sparing of her gifts, has endowed this man with all the attributes of leadership. A superb physique, a pair of deep thoughtful eyes, with a most determined mouth and chin complete this picture of the greatest of living explorers – ‘The Boss’ as he is known on board to ‘The Boys.'”

We will follow the progress of Sir Ernest’s expedition over the coming months with great interest.

September 3rd 1921

Charles Pittar

In yesterday’s edition of ‘The Oxford Times’, it was reported that the inquest into the death of Charles Pittar (on the night of August 28th) has taken place at the family home on Banbury Road where he died, under the jurisdiction of the University coroner, Dr WT Brooks.

It was noted that at Eton Charles had proved himself to be not only an able academic (winning a Classical Scholarship to Queen’s College Oxford), but also a distinguished athlete.

Indeed we know this to be the case, as in his last summer at Eton in 1916 he was ‘Victor Ludorum,’ winning the Eton Mile Road Race and Quarter-Mile, 100 yards, Putting the Weight, as well as being second in the Half-Mile and Throwing the Hammer.

Charles Pittar winning the Eton Mile Road Race in a time of 4 mins. 36 secs.

However, the coroner and jury noted, such were the after effects of shell-shock and gassing during his war service, Charles had found that he was unable to resume athletic pursuits when he returned to Oxford.

His father gave evidence that it was he who first discovered his son’s death, having found a note from Charles asking people to be careful of an explosion, as there was gas in his room. On going to the room Mr Pittar found it was indeed full of gas and, from the examination he made, realised his son was dead.

It was further reported that Mrs Pittar had been the last to see Charles alive:

“About 10.30 on Sunday night she went to his room to say ‘good night’ and at that time he was working. He seemed quite natural and when witness asked him if he was busy, he replied, ‘Yes, I am very busy.’ Witness said ‘Good night’ and left.”

In further evidence his mother added that “The fits of depression came on when her son came back from the war. He had nervous headaches, but had gradually become better. It was only occasionally that he did not sleep very well. There was nothing in his demeanour to show that he would do such a thing. It must have been a sudden impulse. She was quite sure he had no idea he was going to do such a thing. He had no personal worries or cares, but he appeared to be very much affected by losing friends one after another as a result of the war.” 

Dr Brooks observed that before the war Charles had been happy and well, but that during the war many young men who escaped death or wounds suffered from shell-shock: their nerves became shaken and their minds somewhat abnormal. He read out part of a farewell letter Charles had written to his parents stating,

“I cannot ask you to forgive me for what I am going to do, and I don’t think you will ever realise my general state of mind. There seems to be a sort of cloud which oppresses me. Today I have been throughout in a most extraordinary state – a mixture between deep depression and wild excitement, and always this cloud.”

A verdict of gas poisoning, self-administered, during a fit of temporary insanity was returned.

 

 

 

 

 

August 30th 1921

Charles Pittar (Lieut. Coldstream Guards)

The tranquillity of the holidays has been broken with the news of the totally unexpected death of Charles Pittar on Sunday night (28th August). Until the end of last term he had been assisting us on the staff with the teaching of classics to the top form.

It was a shock to read of the sad circumstances of his death in today’s edition of ‘The Times’ in an article under the heading “Father’s Distressing Discovery”:

“Going to an annexe at his house in Banbury Road, Oxford, shortly before 8 yesterday morning, Mr CWE Pittar, an Indian Civil servant, found his son, Charles Austin Pittar, dead, a gas tap being turned full on.

The son, who was about 23 and a member of Queen’s College, went to the annexe, which he used as a study, after dinner on Sunday night, and was not seen again until he was found dead by his father. A fine scholar, he was to have gone to India shortly, having passed his Civil Service examination. At Eton, before the war, he did exceptionally well as an athlete, and he won the MC with the Coldstream Guards in the war…”

Charles was still at school when war broke out in 1914, but he joined up when old enough and spent the final two years on active service on the Western Front. In November 1918 he was rewarded for his bravery with the Military Cross:

“For conspicuous gallantry and initiative while on a daylight patrol. He left his lines in broad daylight, accompanied only by his orderly, and scouted right up through the enemy outpost line, a distance of some 700 yards. He showed great daring and enterprise, and the information he brought back was of the utmost importance.”

Charles was a most affectionate and loyal Old Dragon, and was present whenever possible at our Old Boys’ Dinners and other gatherings. We looked forward to a distinguished career for him.

However, albeit nearly three years after the end of that savage conflict, the war has claimed yet another life.

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.