June 21st 1919

‘The Battle of Blenheim’ by Robert Southey has been studied this term and some of the best work resulting from it will be in this term’s ‘Draconian’ magazine.

I hope that in the future my English VIth form will appreciate the English poetry I have given them to learn, its rarity and interest and beauty, and also my efforts to get them to become poets too!

Young James Alford (aged 13) is the author of this poem. It recalls the day the Armistice was declared last November, when James was at home, following our decision to send all our boarders to their families at a time of considerable concern over the influenza epidemic.

Sadly, James leaves us at the end of this term to go to Rugby School.

THE ARMISTICE
(Begging Mr. Southey's pardon).

It was a winter morning,
My French that day was done;
I sauntered down into the town
For exercise and fun.
The board-school children could be seen
A-sporting on the Richmond Green.

Just then a hideous syren
Sent up a frightful sound
The guns at Kew and hooters too
And church-bells all around,
And flags and shouts announced the fact 
The Huns had been severely whacked.

The shops in flags were shrouded
Banners were waved about,
Munition-workers crowded
To drink the publics out,
And all day long the vast mobs swell
From Kensal Rise to Camden Hill.

And when the dark had fallen
And the bright day had gone,
I went to bed with weary head
And slept until the dawn;
And thus if rightly I remember
I spent the 11th of November.

June 11th 1919

We were very pleased that Potter Baldwin, who wrote to us back in October, was able to visit us last month. We have now received this delightful letter from him:

6/6/19. Prisoner of War Escort Co. 271, APO 772, American Expeditionary Force.

I arrived back in camp the night of June 1st after having had of course easily the pleasantest 14 days since I left the States and one of the best two weeks of my life.

You can’t realize how wonderfully fine I felt to be in Oxford again and see the old School and my former teachers to whom I owe a tremendous lot. The preliminary training a boy receives is of course the foundation of his career and therefore the better it is, the easier his future is to be.

After I returned to the States I out-distanced the American boys in many of the subjects I was taught at the Dragon School, and was ready to enter College at 17, although I put if off for a year.

I was lucky to be in Oxford just at the time I was there. It could not have been more beautiful, everything in full bloom, the colours and odour of the flowers in St. John’s were gorgeous, and I am sure could not have been equalled anywhere…”

June 8th 1919

On the second anniversary of the death of Humphrey Arden (June 6th 1917) a Calvary has been dedicated in his memory in Yoxall Churchyard in Staffordshire. The Bishop of Stratford carried out the dedication in the presence of many relatives and friends, amongst whom were Hum and me.

The Calvary was erected by Messrs Bridgeman of Lichfield (who are to erect the OPS Memorial Cross). It stands 23 feet high and dominates the village street.

The inscription reads: “In thanksgiving to Almighty God for the beautiful life and glorious death of Humphrey Warwick Arden, BA Cantab. Killed at Messines, June 6th, 1917, aged 25. Laid to rest at Bailleul, France. Sed miles, sed pro patria. RIP.”

The following tribute to Humphrey is from the ‘Church Times’:

“He was one of those whose lives gave promise of a brilliant future. A Cambridge Honours man, a great athlete, a musician of no mean promise, one who exercised extraordinary influence on his fellow men, a lover of all the arts and of everything beautiful, great things were expected of him had he been spared.

A week before his death his fellow officers unanimously decided to recommend him for the MC which had been offered to the battery.

The Calvary was erected by his parents in Yoxall, where his grandfather, Dr Lowe, was rector for many years, and where twelve  generations of Ardens lie buried under the high altar.”