December 18th 1920

As another term comes to an end, we gather in items for the next edition of ‘The Draconian’.

It has been a memorable term. The great features were the erecting and the dedication of our beautiful Memorial Cross. All followed the work of erection with increasing interest, and at times the boys lent a hand in hauling the sections (one of which weighed over three tons) from the gap in the hedge, on the north side of the field, to the site, about sixty yards away. The workmen of Mr Bridgeman, from Lichfield, seemed imbued with the proper spirit, and in one day over the fortnight their job was well and truly done. The gravel path, running from the top of the field to the Cross, is a great improvement to the field, and has already become something of a Sunday promenade for visitors wishing to see what is certainly a worthy addition to the sights of Oxford.

The Dedication Service went off without a hitch. The boys had thrown themselves into the preparation for it, and the reading and singing showed the vigour and enthusiasm of the Dragon at his best.

* * * * * *

Fireworks were let off in the field on Armistice night: no casualties.

* * * * * *

Hum is including the following in his House Notes:

“The chief ‘rage’ of the term has been stamp collecting. Chess was making way at the end of term. 

River bathing was kept up by some, up to the last ten days of term. Eighteen boys claimed the reward for not missing the Cold Plunge on any morning.

Sick rooms have again been singularly deserted, except for a few cases of mild jaundice. Even the seasonable weather of the last fortnight produced only a few colds. The staff seemed to suffer more than the boys. This may be because they were not inoculated last year. We believe that the experience of the last ten months is strong testimony to the value of inoculation: and if it is considered advisable to repeat the process next term, we shall be strongly in favour of doing so.”

* * * * * *

As always, we are delighted to include news of our Old Boys.

On return to civilian life, Patrick Duff (whose diary extracts on the evacuation from Gallipoli made such compelling reading)  has been working as Secretary to Sir Robert Horne, the President of the Board of Trade.

In the ‘Western Evening Herald’ there was a vivid description of gallant work done by Commander G Freyberg in the great gale of October 3rd. Geoffrey is King’s Harbourmaster at Plymouth. A French barque ran on to the outer side of the breakwater when trying to make the western entrance. Huge waves broke over the ship and the breakwater. The King’s Harbourmaster went out in the lifeboat and, after saving all the crew bar one, a black cook sixty-three years old called Campbell, Geoffrey swam to the breakwater and fought his way along it, looking for the cook, unfortunately without success. The coxswain of the lifeboat said it was the pluckiest thing he had ever seen.

We remember Geoffrey particularly for his graphic accounts of the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

* * * * * *

Lastly, for the boys there is a competition for the holidays, open to the whole school, to make a Mechanical Working Model.

Mr Bradley writes:

“My idea is to give the boys encouragement to use their hands, and I think if the prize, instead of the usual book, is either tools or a box of one of the ‘Erector’, ‘Meccano’ or ‘Primus’ to the value of £1… they will be more likely to enter the competition.”

Here are the rules:

  1. Models can be made from any material, including ‘Erector‘, ‘Meccano‘ or ‘Primus‘ outfits etc. Models made from raw materials preferred.
  2. Models must be made entirely without assistance.
  3. In awarding the prize, originality, good workmanship and age will be taken into consideration.
  4. Incomplete models, well put together, have the same chance of taking the prize as finished models poorly made.

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