April 30th 1918

Sister Wilkinson, with Miss Bagguley and Miss Williams.

With the start of the Summer Term today, we can welcome the boys back with some jolly good news. Yesterday Sister Wilkinson had the honour of receiving The Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) from the King at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. She was accompanied by Miss Bagguley and Miss Williams.

Nurse Wilkinson left the OPS for war work in October 1914 and was posted to the 3rd Southern Hospital in Oxford, working at Somerville College, which, being next door to the Radcliffe Infirmary, was taken over by the Army for the benefit of wounded officers.

In 1915 Sister Wilkinson was promoted to Sister, but earlier this year she developed Cellulitis (blood poisoning) affecting her arm and thumb through dressing septic wounds. She has been forced to take time off from her duties and is now going to Cornwall, where we sincerely hope she makes a full recovery.

Last summer, she was tireless in her endeavours to get wounded officers in her care to take exercise on our fields, and she raised many cricket teams to come and play against our boys.

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.

December 16th 1917

Christmas Term 1917

As another term draws to a close, there are always a number of matters to which I wish I had drawn attention. Thus, below are a collection of such things, of varying importance, but I hope worthy of being recorded here.

 

Our numbers this term totalled 143. Of these, 82 were boarders and 50 day boys and we had 11 day girls. The day boys were fewer than usual because many Oxford parents had left for work in Town or elsewhere, owing to the war; and in several cases their boys have been received into the Boarding House.

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We were delighted that Lieut. Lindsay Wallace – Pug – was able to rejoin the Staff this term. He was a boy at the OPS (1885-90) and a master (1901-15) before he joined the Army and was severely injured this summer.

He and his wife Deta are now looking after four young boarders in their house (which is known as the Ritz!)

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Miss Bagguley has taught the OPS for about 30 years, and, in the nature of things, will only remain with us a short time longer; Miss Williams has been here for 17 years, and now owing to her brother’s blindness (caused by a wound received in action) she has to leave us and live at home in London.

It is proposed to raise a joint subscription for a testimonial to them from their old pupils and friends. Will any who wish to contribute send their contributions to Lieut. Lindsay Wallace, 6 Park Town, Oxford.

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The Ford Ambulance caravan has been greatly in demand for convoy purposes. Since its equipment with an ambulance body it has met upwards of 60 convoys and has conveyed some 300 officers and soldiers to the hospitals in Oxford.

As a caravan it gave Kit, Joyce and myself a delightful summer holiday, with some adventurous incidents. It has now been fitted with a gas-bag, which however leaks at the seams and is not in use at present.

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We introduced morning drill this term. Swedish exercise took place from 8.50 – 9.00 in the Covered Playground. Hum tells me that the boys have become reconciled to missing 10 minutes of cramming up Prep before school, and have seemed fresher and better in school for the preliminary breathing and exercise in the open.

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The football team was so good and the selection so difficult that 17 colours were given. Four matches were won and we were only just beaten by a much heavier team of Radley boys under 15.

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May I thank those parents who, in response to the bursarial appeal accompanying the last School accounts, have added various sums to those accounts? I am afraid I must add that these additions, which amount in all to about £100 for the term, were far from enough to meet the vastly increased expenditure.

It is inevitable that all the salaries of masters, mistresses and other workers have had to be raised considerably, in addition to the great increase in housekeeping expenses. I only ask those, whose means enable them to do so, to increase their payments for their sons.

Many schools have raised their fees all round, but I know that would hit some of the parents of my boys very hard, and I will not do it.

 

Next term begins on Wednesday 16th January.