January 1st 1918

As we move into a New Year, I look back with a mixture of pride and extreme sadness at the achievements and sacrifice made by so many in 1917.

Since July, 13 Old Boys have been wounded, one has received the DSO, three the Military Cross, one a special promotion, one a Croix de Guerre, one an Egyptian distinction, one a Belgian, one an Italian and one a Royal Red Cross award. There have been 13 ‘Mentions in Despatches’ (Bat Price for the 5th, Tyrrell Brooks the 4th and Jocelyn Pickard the 3rd time).

The Roll of Old Boys that have fallen includes some of my best, and best-loved, friends. Their lives cannot and must not have been given in vain: and the thought that has come down the ages, that the souls of the brave and righteous still live on, cannot lie.

None do we mourn more greatly than Hugh Sidgwick. His family has passed to me this tribute from his old employer, Sir Amherst Selby-Bigge, Permanent Secretary to the Board of Education, reflecting on Hugh’s abilities:

“He was not only a perfect Private Secretary, but a very dear friend who could be trusted with anything. His loyalty, sincerity and candour were perfect and I never found in him the slightest touch of vanity or self-seeking…

His mind was singularly cool and well balanced and his exposition of intricate problems admirably clear and logical. His knowledge of Mathematics and power of handling figures were invaluable…

He had the gift of writing straight ahead in good proportion and with clear expression and articulation of argument, almost as quickly as another man could dictate…

When he was in doubt about coherence and lucidity of an important paper for publication he used to test it by turning it into Greek, and I have in my possession an admirable Greek version of a letter addressed by the President of the Board (HAL Fisher) to teachers, concerning their duties in regard to military service…”

Hugh was one of 18 Old Dragons to perish in 1917, 9 of whom were involved with the third and grimmest of struggles at Ypres. The fates of Edmund Gay,  John Dowson and Hunter Herbertson remain unknown.

          Capt. E Gay            Capt. OJ Dowson     Lieut. H Herbertson

Is it too much to expect, or even suggest, that 1918 might see the end of this terrible conflict?

 

April 20th 1915

BP Price

Lieut-Col BG Price DSO Ist Battalion Royal Fusiliers

Having been ‘Mentioned in Despatches’  (17/2/15), Bartholomew Price has now been ‘Promoted for Service in the Field’ and is transferring to take command of the 7th Battalion Warwickshire Regiment.

Bartholomew joined the Royal Fusiliers in 1892 and served in the Boer War, taking part in the Relief of Mafeking. He was awarded the DSO in 1901.

Bartholomew joined the OPS in its second year (1878). He is the son of the late Professor Bartholomew Price, Master of Pembroke College, one of the group of Oxford Resident Fellows who founded our school.

Professor Price is remembered as a teacher of Lewis Carroll (CL Dodgson) when he was an undergraduate studying Mathematics at Christ Church.

379px-MadlHatterByTenniel_svgCarroll referred to his teacher as ‘The Bat’ (‘Twinkle, twinkle Little Bat, How I wonder what you’re at’ as the Mad Hatter sang in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’).

 

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Following his rugger match for the South Midland Division against the 4th Division, Ronnie Poulton has returned to a tour of duty in the trenches:

Sunday 18th April. “About midday was warned to go up to our new trenches, at present held by the 4th Oxfords,  RWPP profileas we were taking them over tomorrow. I was to go up to see round them. You can enter these by day, so I went up in the afternoon and got a guide from the Oxford headquarters. A short walk along the edge of the wood brought us to the communication trench, and so into the trench well to the right of our line. Moved down this and got to our trench. This is a top-hole one, strong in front, apparently good wire, good parados in parts, not bad dug-outs and apparently never shelled by the enemy…”

And may this continue to be the case!