The school’s recent performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘The Mikado’, could not go by without noting the pain we still feel at the loss of the two members of staff who have died in the War, Leslie Eastwood and Tom Higginson. Higgy it was who first brought G & S to the OPS stage.
How appropriate that we were joined in the audience by a number of wounded soldiers, who were most appreciative. As one of our reviewers said,
“How can one care to do anything so much as for these dear men who have gone out, simply, with a sort of bright eagerness and cheeriness, to lay down their lives and who, having nearly lost them, having seen death and hell and having suffered every torment and hardness, return with the same brightness and cheeriness in this dark world of loss and anxiety?”
The Friday audiences were cheered by many young soldiers, all longing to be out of the OTC and at the Front, and the mother of the School’s own VC, just home from seeing him in Egypt, and by some Dragons home from the Front in France, Russia and the Dardanelles.
2nd Lieut. Jack Gamlen (Ox & Bucks Light Infantry) attended the one of these performances.
“It was delightful to find this performance awaiting one as a treat after a cold and wet October in camp. We, too, when under canvas, had tried to warm ourselves by singing songs from the G & S operas.
Our greatest success was to rouse our Colonel in his pyjamas at 11 pm, by beating the big drum as an accompaniment to the Duke of Plaza-Toro’s first song, and to be sent to bed. There were five of us, including a College Dean, two solicitors and a real wounded warrior from the Indian Army…”
When Jack came down from Balliol (to which he had won an exhibition from Rugby School) he trained as a solicitor and was practising here in Oxford in the firm of Morrell, Peel & Gamlen, when the war broke out. Much of his military training has been done locally and he likely to be sent to the Front before long.