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).



February 25th 1921

Charles Lynam

It is with great sadness that I must record the death of my father, Charles Lynam FRIBA FSA JP and former Mayor of Stoke (1903-4), who died at ‘Cliff Bank’ in Stoke-on-Trent on February 21st, aged 92. Together with my mother Lucy (née Garner), who predeceased him in 1906, he brought up our large family of 14 children, ten of whom survive.

He was born in 1829 at Colwich, in Staffordshire and lived in the reigns of five English monarchs. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital (then in central London) and made his first journeys to school in the old stage coaches.

After an apprenticeship he joined his father, who was borough surveyor of Stoke, and on his father’s death he started for himself as architect and surveyor and continued in active work until the outbreak of war in 1914.

It would be out of place here to enumerate the many important buildings which he designed in Staffordshire, the North Stafford Infirmary, many churches, schools, private houses and public buildings. He designed the present Dragon School in 1895 and its extension with the present School House in 1910. In his 91st year he made the design for our War Memorial Cross, which was erected and dedicated on November 8th, 1920. It was his and our great regret that he was unable to be present, and that he has never actually seen it. For the last months of his life he had a large photograph of it always at hand, and very often spoke of it.

My father’s practical creed may be summed up in the word, work. When he took a short holiday he would be found sketching or studying the beauty of nature or art from earliest dawn till outdoor work was no longer possible. Extremes of cold or heat or rain never stopped him; indeed, he found something to admire and enjoy in every phase of weather or scene, however unpleasant it might seem to other people.

On the Bench in his latter years he was known as most kind and tender-hearted towards those in trouble and was a terror to wilful evil-doers. It may be noted that he became a total abstainer early in life as an example to others, but that he never dictated to others what course they should pursue. Every man should follow his own conscience was his creed. He never smoked, he never read a work of fiction, he had no liking for poetry or the stage, but grand prose such as he found in the Bible and Ruskin he loved. His architectural drawings and paintings were of the highest order, and he greatly admired the Pre-Raphaelite school of painting. He was one of the great Victorians.

The words of St. Paul fitly sum up my father’s long, strenuous and most useful life:

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’

Stoke Borough Cemetery – twin chapels designed by Charles Lynam

January 28th 1921


JANUARY 26th 1921

A schoolboy, whose name was not divulged, speaking the inaugural lines at the opening of the World Service Exhibition at the Town Hall, Oxford. This youth was intended to represent anonymously the spirit of youth as the Unknown Warrior represented the spirit of sacrifice in the War.

The photograph and caption above are from yesterday’s edition of the ‘Daily Mirror’ and is of great interest to us all here.

Just why a schoolboy came to open this prestigious event and how he was chosen was reported in another local newspaper (the ‘Nottingham Evening Post’) a few days ago:

“The schoolboy’s rank or wealth will not be considered. His only qualification will be a voice that can be heard throughout the town hall. The decision to select the anonymous schoolboy followed the inability of the Prince of Wales, owing to the pressure of his engagements, to open the exhibition, which aims at improving conditions of life throughout the world. A prominent exhibitor will be the International Labour Office, whose ideal and function is the methodical improvement of world labour conditions.”

We are quietly very proud of our own young Per Mallalieu (aged 12) who is the ‘anonymous schoolboy’ in question.

The inaugural lines he recited in opening the event (which runs until February 6th) were those of  ‘The Trust’ by Dr Cyril Alington:

They trusted God. Unslumbering and unsleeping
He sees and sorrows for a world at war,
His ancient covenant secretly keeping;
And these had seen His promise from afar,
That through the pain, the sorrow, and the sinning,
That righteous Judge the issue should decide,
Who ruled over all from the beginning - 
And in that faith they died.

They trusted England - Scarce the prayer was spoken
Ere they beheld what they had hungered for -
A mighty country with its ranks unbroken,
A city built in unity once more;
Freedom's best champion, girt for yet another
And mightier enterprise for Right defied,
A land whose children live to serve their Mother - 
And in that faith they died.

And us thy trusted: we the task inherit,
The unfinished task for which their lives were spent;
But leaving us a portion of their spirit
They gave their witness and they died content.
Full well they knew they could not build without us
That better country, giant and far descried,
God's own true England: but they did not doubt us - 
And in that faith they died.

Per has had plenty of practice recently, having just played the role of Macbeth in our annual Shakespeare production, alongside Esmé Vernon as his Lady.

Esmé Vernon and Per Mallalieu

The ‘Oxford Chronicle’ reported that “Esmé played the part of Lady Macbeth with great and feeling power, whilst Percival Mallalieu as Macbeth did splendidly. He knew his long part perfectly, and acted and spoke with intelligence and effect. His appearance was perhaps too youthful and amiable, and indeed he obeyed his fierce Lady in looking ‘like the innocent flower,’ but at the same time there was a good deal of ‘the serpent under it.’”

January 14th 1921

S K I – I N G    I N    S W I T Z E R L A N D 

The British Championship

The first ever British Ski Championship was held at Wengen in Switzerland on January 6th and 7th, and yesterday’s edition of ‘The Times’ reveals that it was won by an Old Dragon!

The correspondent writes:

“The championship was awarded on the combined marking of a race and a style competition. It is notorious that races are often won by inferior ski-runners who run straight, risking falls and using their stick for changes of direction and control of speed. It would be a pity if the British Champion was a stick-rider, however plucky, who has not mastered the graceful and effortless Norwegian style, and it was to insure against any such depressing result that the committee decided to mark the race and the style competition equally.

Mr Leonard Dobbs, a young Cambridge undergraduate, won both parts of the championship. He scored 82% on style against Mr RB McConnell’s 80, and was 67 seconds faster than McConnell in the race. His victory was popular, for he is a sporting runner who does not shirk steep slopes, and he is the son of another fine ski-runner, Mr GC Dobbs, so well known to Wengen and Villars visitors. Mr Patrick Dobbs was second in the race and fourth in the Championship, so the family have every reason to remember with pride the first British Championship.”

Leonard’s father, Mr George Dobbs, was a director of the tourist agency belonging to Sir Henry Lunn and as a result the family spent a lot of time in Switzerland before the war, where they learnt to ski.

Whilst Patrick displayed great academic ability whilst at the OPS – indeed he won a scholarship to Winchester College – Leonard was less so. On the advice of a friend of the family he was sent to Bedales School. He is currently up at St John’s College Cambridge studying mathematics and science.

The Draconian of his time records one less than successful moment in his career with us, regarding his performance in a poetry recital in December 1913:

“Of 35 boys, half got practically full marks, and there was only one failure, L. Dobbs.”

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.

November 20th 1920

Yesterday we said our final goodbyes to Kenneth Stradling, following his death on November 16th.

Most beautiful flowers were sent by relations and by friends from Osborne and Dartmouth, many wreaths by combinations of boarders, a splendid wreath from ‘the dayboys’, as well as others from masters and friends and individual boys.

At two o’clock, the boys lined both sides of the drive, while the motor-hearse, followed by two cars with the family and the staff (who acted as bearers), passed out on their way to Wolvercote Cemetery. Here a special service – a very beautiful one, sanctioned by the Bishop for use in the case of children – was read by Rev Henry Spurling.

Mr & Mrs Stradling have kindly allowed us to print the this reproduction of their card in memory of their son.

The card also had these most fitting verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (a poem which we also used in our school service on the day following Kenneth’s death).

Yet, O stricken heart, remember, O remember
How of human days he lived the better part.
April came to bloom, and never dim December
Breathed its killing chills upon the head or heart.

Doomed to know not Winter, only Spring, a being
Trod the flowery April blithely for a while,
Took his fill of music, joy of thought and seeing,
Came and stayed and went, nor ever ceased to smile.

Came and stayed and went, and now when all is finished,
You alone have crossed the melancholy stream,
Yours the pang, but his, O his, the undiminished
Undecaying gladness, undeparted dream.

All that life contains of torture, toil, and treason,
Shame, dishonour, death, to him were but a name.
Here, a boy, he dwelt through all the singing season,
And, ere the day of sorrow, departed as he came.

When Kenneth came to the School at the beginning of term, it became clear at once that he was a boy of outstanding qualities. He had not played rugger before, but he took to it at once, and came to the front in every game. He was generally top of his form, and would have had a double move at the beginning of next term. Above all, his delightfully cheery disposition and his tonic smile had won him a place in the hearts of all in so short a time.


[The above poem, ‘In Memoriam F.A.S,’ was written in Davos, Switzerland, in 1881. Stevenson wrote it following the death of the 18-year-old son of a friend, who had died from pulmonary disease.]

November 17th 1920

Kenneth Stradling

The years of the Great War brought many of us untold grief; the influenza epidemic too caused us great concern, but thankfully our boys escaped the worst of it. Only now has the hand of fate descended on us. It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of one of our new boys, Kenneth Stradling. He joined us, aged ten, barely eight weeks ago when his father joined the staff to teach Science and run a junior boarding house.

On Sunday [7th] he was on the football field having an informal kickabout with one or two others. After tea at home he felt unwell, and came back to School and went to bed. There were no serious symptoms till Tuesday, when meningitis was suspected, and soon afterwards this was definitely diagnosed.

From Friday November 12th, Kenneth was unconscious, until 3.30 p.m. yesterday, when he passed peacefully into that new life, where we cannot doubt that his sweet temperament, and his glorious boyish smile, are in some way filling a part not less important than that which he would have played here.

We must record a word of thanks to his parents for their considerate attitude, through a time of great anxiety, and to Sister Willis for her indefatigable efforts and her skill, by which that young life was undoubtedly prolonged, though, unhappily for us, the hoped-for rally never came.

November 13th 1920

We are very grateful for parents past and present who come to take part in our Sunday services. On last Sunday (November 7th), the day before the Dedication of our Memorial Cross, we were particularly fortunate to have someone as eminent as the Ven. Archdeacon of Oakham, Rev. WG Whittingham. His son, Lieut. Thomas Whittingham, having been killed leading an attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915, is one of those whose name is inscribed on the plinth of our Cross.

Having spoken on the tone and spirit of our school, as he sees it, Rev Whittingham went on to his main theme, that of service:

Rev. WG Whittingham

“What are the ideals and the efforts which are specially needed now, and which mark, I think, this school? The first is that which we are constantly having put before us in these days, the ideal of service. That is the great call of the present time, that we should learn not to live for ourselves, but to serve one another.

You may have heard the story of the stage coach that ran, I believe, in Scotland. It carried three classes of passengers, who paid first, second, or third class fares. There was no distinction, however, in seating; people sat where they liked; but when they came to a hill the guard appeared at the door and said, ‘First class passengers, sit where you are; second class passengers, get out and walk; third class passengers, get out and shove.’ 

There is a great deal in that story. We have had far too many first class passengers who only wanted to be carried, and carried in comfort. There have been and still are a good many second class passengers who are ready to exert themselves to their own advantage, but who don’t think beyond themselves. There is really no use for first and second class passengers today. We must all try not to please ourselves, or to get on ourselves, but to put our heart and our hand to the common service, and to help the whole thing along. That is the great ideal that we need, the ideal of service.”

Rev. Whittingham concluded that we should strive to be the best we can be, in order that we may do the best service we can do, as it would bring us personally the fullest blessing and satisfaction.