Whilst much has been published on ‘The Skipper’s War’ blog throughout 2014–20, this form did not allow any context to be provided nor could it address many leading questions, such as what lay behind this extraordinary relationship between a preparatory school, its headmaster and its old boys?

This 300 page hardback book, to be published by Scala, tells the story of this remarkable generation (1877-1920). The foreword has been specially written by Old Dragon, Rory Stewart, who observes,

Rory Stewart

“The story of these hundreds of lives and deaths connected by five years in a north Oxford prep school is almost an encyclopaedia of the war. The Dragons evacuate from the beaches of Gallipoli, are killed at the third Battle of Ypres, meet Lawrence of Arabia and Marie Curie, grapple with the German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of Jutland, save the wounded at the Easter Rising and are shot out of the sky by Baron von Richthofen…”

The book includes over 150 images, some never published before (including one of a young John Betjeman at the Lynam holiday home in Cornwall).

Our current difficulties have sadly delayed publication, but it is hoped the book will be available in April 2021.

UPDATE – sadly, it now looks as if it will not be available till June or even July…

As it is a limited edition, it seems only right that the first opportunity to buy the book should go to those who have already discovered and even enjoyed the blog (which has now had over 37,000 views).

Although you can’t buy a copy yet, please do register your interest by filling in the form below:

You will be contacted as soon as the book is available for sale.

‘The Skipper’s War’ chapters:

  1. Summer Term 1917
  2. The Oxford Preparatory School
  3. Growth & Development
  4. The Clouds Descend
  5. Over by Christmas?
  6. The Western Front
  7. Summer 1915
  8. The Gallipoli Campaign
  9. Winter 1915/16
  10. The War at Sea
  11. Battle of the Somme
  12. ‘The School-house afar…’
  13. The War in the Air
  14. 1917/18 – the losses mount
  15. The Road to Victory
  16. ‘Too Many Empty Chairs’

* * * * * *

The Blog

Meanwhile, this will continue, albeit with fewer posts. The Commonwealth Graves Commission recorded the deaths of those who died serving in the Forces (from war-related wounds/illnesses) up until 31 August 1921. For many of those who fought, serious injuries (both mental and physical) were to remain with them well beyond the Armistice, and, as it happens, the 87th and final Old Dragon World War 1 death occurred only three days before this date.

Also, a new blog page is under preparation to provide short biographies of those who appeared in the blog and survived the War, to tell what became of them.