December 31st 1921

Captain JG Smyth VC MC

The past term’s edition of ‘The Draconian’ (due to be published shortly) includes this colour picture of a painting of Jack Smyth, the work of Old Dragon George Drinkwater, and done specially for our magazine.

George was at the OPS from 1889-94 and went on to Rugby School and then Wadham College, Oxford. When his friend from OPS days, Eric Macfadyen, enlisted as a trooper at the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars’ headquarters in New Inn Hall Street, he went off and did likewise. They were joined by four other Wadham men and a further two from other colleges and together formed half a troop in the 2nd Service Squadron (the 1st, formed the previous vacation, included OD Maurice Church, who was destined to become a war casualty).

After the Boer War George returned to his studies and the river: he was a noted rower, being in the Oxford eight in the University Boat Races of 1902 and 1903. Since 1906 he has been the rowing correspondent for the ‘Daily Telegraph’.

In the Great War, George gained a commission in the Royal Artillery and went with his battery to France. He was promoted to Staff Captain in 1916 and was then sent to Egypt and Palestine, where his services were recognised by his retention as Brigade Major for a year after the Armistice. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918.

In civilian life he has followed the architectural profession of his father, Harry Drinkwater, and has also met with success as a portrait painter, having a picture hung in the Royal Academy in 1913.

We were delighted to see George back for last year’s reunion dinner and he is seen here alongside his old schoolboy chum, Frank Sidgwick:

Frank Sidgwick and George Drinkwater

 

April 5th 1918

The Maitland Buildings, Somerville College (1913)

The death of Edmund Fisher, following that of his brother Charles at Jutland, is a terrible blow for the Fisher family as well as his many friends.

Some small consolation may be gained from the fact that he does leave a considerable legacy in the form of the buildings he has designed, the most impressive of which are to be found in the shape of the Maitland Buildings at Somerville College on Woodstock Road.

In April 1915, these buildings were requisitioned by War Office as a military hospital for wounded officers, and the Hall was used for a time as a medical ward, before being converted to its current use as an Officers’ Mess.

At the OPS we will remember Edmund for the Museum, which he designed.

Edmund can rest assured that the Museum is well used. This last term it was open to the whole school. A large number of boys have used it and studied the different collections. In addition there have been informal meetings on Natural History subjects several Saturday evenings.

We hope next term to have on show from time to time any interesting flowers or other Natural History objects found by the boys or other friends of the School. We hope also that we shall be able to get out into the country pretty often to look for specimens, but there is one form of collection – birds’ eggs – which ought to be discouraged this year entirely.

It is quite easy and interesting to look at and perhaps photograph nests without disturbing them, and the small insect-eating birds are so scarce, owing to the cold winter when we all enjoyed the skating, that no one ought to risk making them scarcer.

The butterflies and hawk moths have been rearranged and make a very good show. We have got a shell cabinet, but the arranging will have to stand over till next winter.

We are grateful for these recent gifts to the Museum: An African Tom-Tom (J Sanderson), tortoise’s and horse’s skulls (B Schuster), tiger’s skull (C Edwards) and African war stamps (Capt. GDH Carpenter).

The Museum was built to commemorate the death of my old sailing friend Maurice Church. He was a boy at the School (1884-86) and returned to join the staff (1898-1900). He enlisted as a Trooper in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry, going off to fight in the South African War. He was killed at Hartbeestfontein in February 1901.