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).