November 29th 1918

We must be thankful that the plague of ‘flu,’ which was so virulent in Oxford and elsewhere, has dealt lightly with us. We sent the boarders home for nearly three weeks.

The school was closed from Tuesday to Monday, and again from Thursday to Monday. Otherwise we kept the dayboys on.

The dozen or so boarders, who for various reasons could not go home, had some jolly expeditions, and did little work. They also made great use of the Carpenter’s Shop.

We let off some fireworks in honour of the Armistice yesterday. Many boys had never let off fireworks before, and there were moments when it seemed likely they would never let off any more (!) but there were no serious casualties.

It has been suggested that we should abolish Guy Fawkes’ Day and institute Nov. 11th instead, and burn a far less respectable and much more cowardly villain in effigy.

October 23rd 1918

The country is now in the grips of the influenza. The majority of the Elementary Schools in Oxford are now closed. Following a few mild cases here at school, as we could not possibly cope with a major outbreak amongst our boarders, I have taken the decision that they should go home to their families.

We will continue to look after about a dozen for whom this is not possible, and we will have the day boys in when we can.

This advice is from the Daily Telegraph (22.10.1918):

 

March 28th 1918

With the Easter holidays starting yesterday, it is time to take stock and reflect on the term past.

Since the last edition of the ‘Draconian,’ we have lost two very dear Old Boys: Martin Collier and Cyril Emmett. Three have been wounded, 2 have been made CB, 3 have got the DSO, 3 have had bars to the MC, 6 have won the MC, 1 OBE, 3 special promotions, 2 have been given the Croix de Guerre, 18 Mons Stars have been won and 12 have been mentioned in Despatches.

Capt. Reggie Carr-White (Indian Army) had the honour of introducing to the King two from the parties of Indian officers who visited England from the Western Front. At this investiture were Capt. Geoffrey Rose (OBLI) receiving a bar to his MC and Lieut. Stopford Jacks (RFA) his MC.

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I had great pleasure in handing to Miss Bagguley and Miss Williams each a cheque for £100, and a considerable sum will be paid later on. Miss Bagguley has been a valued member of staff for nearly 30 years, and we are fortunate enough to continue to retain her services. Miss Williams, owing to her brother’s blindness, has to live in London now, after 17 years at the OPS. She is at present at work at the Food Control Office, and made a pretty little speech, promising to do her best for our meat supply!

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I am sorry to say that war economy has compelled me to part with my dear macaws. Their cheerful bray and quaint ‘Form Fours’ and ‘Goodbye’ will no longer drown the voices of Mr Vassall and Miss Beevor, when conducting their attentive classes. I often long to go to Liverpool and buy them back! Polly and Joey I still happily retain to delight my little Lodge tea-parties.

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The Matron tells me that Miss Field has collected from the School more eggs than all the other contributors put together. The total for the last two terms is 1,813, and the grand total 6,749 since Mr Fletcher spoke to us in December 1916.

Colonel Hoare talked to the boys about the War Savings Association, and a sum of about £40 was collected from the boys for “Destroyer Week.”

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The health of our boarders is an important concern for any housemaster and my brother,  Hum Lynam, is providing some interesting “House Notes” for the ‘Draconian’:

“On the whole we have been exceedingly fortunate in the matter of health, though early in the term we had cases of ‘flu’, and soon after half-term we started measles. The latter was limited to seven cases, all quite normal in character, and the epidemic ceased before the end of term…

If the weighing machine is a good judge of health, it appears that the substitution of cereals and vegetables for a considerable percentage of meat food is all to the good. All boys, except three, increased in weight, some to an extraordinary degree; and several of these had lost weight in the Christmas holidays. The combination of magnificent weather, a short term and the ‘new’ feeding have kept the sick rooms practically empty, except for a few epidemic cases.”

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I fear that the events on the Western Front will over-shadow our holiday. It is clear now that the German Advance has been a significant one; indeed it seems we have now been driven back to where we were before the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Along with their families, I will be pleased to hear that our Old Boys have come through unscathed.

 

The Summer Term will start on Tuesday 30th April.