June 11th 1919

We were very pleased that Potter Baldwin, who wrote to us back in October, was able to visit us last month. We have now received this delightful letter from him:

6/6/19. Prisoner of War Escort Co. 271, APO 772, American Expeditionary Force.

I arrived back in camp the night of June 1st after having had of course easily the pleasantest 14 days since I left the States and one of the best two weeks of my life.

You can’t realize how wonderfully fine I felt to be in Oxford again and see the old School and my former teachers to whom I owe a tremendous lot. The preliminary training a boy receives is of course the foundation of his career and therefore the better it is, the easier his future is to be.

After I returned to the States I out-distanced the American boys in many of the subjects I was taught at the Dragon School, and was ready to enter College at 17, although I put if off for a year.

I was lucky to be in Oxford just at the time I was there. It could not have been more beautiful, everything in full bloom, the colours and odour of the flowers in St. John’s were gorgeous, and I am sure could not have been equalled anywhere…”

October 10th 1918

We have had a most unexpected letter from Potter Baldwin, who with his brother Charles was at the OPS between 1898-1902, when his family came over from New York to spend some time in Oxford.

3/10/18. Company B., 345th Infantry, American Expeditionary Force, France.

“I have been in the service of Uncle Sam since July 8th, when I enlisted in the Army in New York.

I have been on this side about a month. Of course, our plans are unsettled, and we do not know our next move. In Liverpool station we were served hot coffee and biscuits by the Red Cross.

I noticed a fellow wearing the old familiar cap, with the Dragon on it; he was helping his mother. I spoke to him and his mother, who told me of you and the school. It certainly makes the world seem very small, especially after one has travelled nearly 4,000 miles by boat.” 

This must have coincided with the start of term, when the boarders were returning to school.

OPS boarders come from far and wide – the three Liverpool boys are part of a significant northern contingent, consisting of 9 from Lancashire, 9 from Yorkshire and 1 from each of Cumberland, Cheshire and Northumberland. From even further afield we have 2 from Dublin, 3 from Scotland and 1 from each of Jersey, France and India.

The greatest number do of course come from London/Middlesex (21), whilst we have representatives from 16 other counties: Buckinghamshire (1), Cornwall (3), Derbyshire (1), Devon (4), Essex (1), Gloucestershire (2), Hampshire (5), Hertfordshire (4), Norfolk (1), Northamptonshire (1), Rutland (2), Somerset (4), Staffordshire (1), Surrey (2), Warwickshire (1) and Wiltshire (1).