March 18th 1916

Nigel Madan

Lieut. Nigel Madan (8th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment)

We had heard that Nigel Madan was missing and we are distressed to see his death announced in today’s edition of The Times.

It is understood that Nigel’s regiment was involved in diversionary attacks around the Ypres Salient.  The Germans had captured strategically important high ground called the ‘Bluff’ last month and the aim was to re-take this to deny the Germans the opportunity to observe our lines.

The artillery bombardment began on 1st March and the attack went in early on the morning of 2nd March. It caught the Germans by surprise and was successful. Nigel Madam, however, was declared missing at the end of the day and today’s announcement confirms that he did indeed die in this attack.

Nigel’s father is Mr Falconer Madan, Bodley’s Librarian, and Nigel attended the OPS in 1897/98.

All who knew him mourn a gallant gentleman, who fell in the flower of his early manhood, fighting for his country and in defence of a cause of which no higher can be found.

September 21st 1915

Eastwood 2

2nd Lieut. Leslie Eastwood (King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment).

We have just received the most shocking news that, far from recovering, Leslie Eastwood has succumbed to the dysentery of which he spoke in his letter of August 20th.

The sister in charge of the Officers’ Division of the 17th General Hospital at Alexandria has written to inform his parents of his death on September 19th saying,

“I am afraid he delayed too long before he gave in. One of his brother officers told me he suffered from dysentery since the first few days he came out here, but would never give in and report sick and probably, had he not been wounded, would not have given in when he did.

You may rest assured everything that was possible was done for him.”

We are all very shocked by this news and, as one of my colleagues has put it,

“He leaves a gap which we shall find it very hard to fill, as he knew what was wanted and what to expect from a boy. He was no respecter of persons and consequently his advice was generally sought by those who knew him; and he was respected by a still wider circle.”

The boys return to school tomorrow, no doubt full of their usual good cheer and optimism for the coming term, and I must dent their youthful enthusiasm with the most upsetting news of the death of one of their most popular masters.

This is a most cruel blow.

 

 

August 29th 1915

We had hoped to hear better news of our friend and colleague, Leslie Eastwood. He is still in the 17th General Hospital in Alexandria and he is now suffering from dysentery.

His family have kindly passed on to us his most recent letter to them:

Leslie Eastwood

2nd Lieut. L Eastwood, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Reg’t

“The 20th of the month and I am still lying in bed; what a waste of time it seems to be lying here, day after day! I was wounded on the 28th July, so I have been in bed 24 whole days; what a time it does seem. This dysentery which I have got takes a lot of getting rid of, but there is no doubt I am getting better gradually.

I think you would hardly recognise me now if you saw me. I have gone so thin, but it will all come right again when I once more get on my legs. My wounds have been quite all right and are healing well.

We get all sorts of visitors to the hospital: young ladies come with flowers and chocolates, cigarettes and tobacco, older ladies come with testaments and good advice and comforting words, and men come round with what news they can get from the Peninsula, which amounts to nothing.

I am in a nice airy ward with two other officers, one slightly wounded but also suffering from dysentery like myself, the other sent back from the Peninsula sick; I don’t know what is the matter with him.

Outside on the balcony is a poor Australian boy of 22, who has had one of his hands blown off by a bomb and is blinded in both eyes; he is just beginning to learn the Braille system of reading; it is very sad and I have seen many cases like his, or little better…”

It is typical of the man that he should be thinking of those worse off than himself. However, we would all be most relieved to hear that he is out of hospital before long. Let us hope that by the time the boys return for the Christmas Term, we will have news for them of the full recovery of one of their most loved and respected masters.

There are currently five OPS assistant masters, who left us over the last year, in the Army. Along with Leslie Eastwood, we continue to keep Blair Watson, Tom Higginson, Pug Wallace and Mr Bye very much in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

August 13th 1915

We have another letter from Leslie Eastwood, written from the 17th General Hospital in Alexandria, to which he has been transferred following the wounds he suffered in the Gallipoli campaign.

Leslie Eastwood

2nd Lieut. Leslie Eastwood

“I don’t think I have yet given you any detailed account of how I was wounded. We had just come out of a long communication trench to the firing line on our way to camp for the night; we were marching by small parties. I was at the end of my platoon. For some reason we were held up and I went forward to see the cause of the delay. I had just stopped under a tree to speak to two officers, when shrapnel burst and picked me off in the leg and arm; it felt just as if I had been hit by a mighty blow with a sledge hammer.

I was taken to the clearing hospital where I was very uncomfortable for 16 hours, having nothing to lie on but a stretcher; then I was taken on board a hospital ship where I remained 10 days. I was operated on and the bullet taken out of my leg; chloroform is not at all bad, not so bad as gas. I arrived here two days ago and am very comfortable. 

How long I shall be a cripple I don’t know; the Doctor on the ship said my knee is damaged; the Doctor here does not think so, so I don’t know how long it will take. There is no chance of my getting home, as they only send cases that take over three months to cure.”

August 9th 1915

Leslie Eastwood was one of the first members of the OPS staff to leave us for service in the Army. Now a 2nd Lieutenant with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, he has been serving in Gallipoli.

We have just received a letter from him, informing us he has been wounded:

Leslie Eastwood

2nd Lieut. Leslie Eastwood

2/8/15. “I hope you will get this letter before you hear from any other source that I am wounded. I have two wounds, one in the arm, quite slight, and one in the leg which may, perhaps, have done some damage to the knee. The bullet is still in and the Doctor has not yet made a thorough examination; it gives me practically no pain now and I don’t think it can be at all bad. I am on a new Hospital Ship which had just come out here.”

It is good of him to write to us so promptly and we all hope that he will make a speedy recovery.