What a great day of celebration yesterday was!
Jack Smyth, having been invested with the Victoria Cross by His Majesty, travelled straight to Oxford and his old school.
Young Cyril Harvey, who made the short speech referred to below, has written up the events of the day for the magazine:
“At nine o’clock on Tuesday 13th July, the school photograph was taken, and Jack Smyth was photographed with us. When the business was over we went into the Hall and sang a hymn. It was then the embarrassing duty of one of the boys to make a short (extremely short) speech, and he felt much more comfortable after it was finished.
Jack Smyth was then requested to tell us exactly how he won the VC. He climbed on to the platform to the accompaniment of thunderous cheers, and drew a map and explained all about it. In conclusion he said, “Needless to say, this is the first and last time I am ever going to say anything about this, and I would not have done so today unless I had been bullied into it by G.C.” * At this we nearly took the roof off with shouting.
Jack Smyth got down from his perch, and standing between the parallel bars produced his Victoria Cross, while the whole school filed by, one by one, to examine it.
Jack Smyth’s VC, dated 18 May 1915
He wound up by asking the Skipper for a whole holiday. After more cheering, Jack Smyth stepped boldly from the school buildings to face an enormous body of photographers. This latter ordeal ended the morning’s proceedings. In the afternoon we played a most exciting cricket match against Jack Smyth’s team.
Dragon Cricket Club Innings:
C. Owen b. HM Smyth 19
H. Gaskell b. Mrs Wallace 7
C. Harvey lbw b. Mrs Wallace 57
R. Potts c. Childe b. Skipper 7
J. Lynam c. JG Smyth b. Childe 14
F. Hudson b. HM Smyth 8
B. Mallalieu b. Mrs Wallace 0
H. Hall run out 7
A. Owen not out 2
Jack Smyth XII’s Innings:
Lt. FG Drew lbw b. Harvey 30
Capt. C. Childe st. Lynam b. Potts 0
Skipper b. H. Hall 8
Hum b. Potts 1
2nd Lt. G Rowell b. Harvey 0
HM Smyth b. Harvey 54
Mrs. Wallace run out 0
Miss Fisher not out 1
Dick Wallace c. Prichard b. Harvey 0
Maj. Proudfoot b. Owen 11
G. Nugent run out 0
Lt. JG Smyth VC retired 51
It is doubtful which was the most enjoyed, his innings, or winning the match, or the subsequent bathe with him (his first since he swam the stream with his bombs) and several members of his eleven.”
It should be noted that seven of Jack’s team are Old Dragons: my brother Hum, Greville Drew, Charlie Childe, G Rowell, Harry Smyth, Mrs Wallace and of course Jack himself). * “G.C” is of course my colleague and editor of the ‘Draconian,’ Mr G.C. Vassall, known to all as ‘Cheese.’