Shrewsbury School

OS in the First World War

Background

According to the records, 1850 former pupils and masters from Shrewsbury School saw active service in the First World War.  They were involved in several theatres of war with 321 being recorded as being killed in action.  Many more were imprisoned, wounded (some several times) or died after the war of their injuries or in the influenza epidemic of 1918. 

Many of these Old Salopians were killed in the Somme and Ypres campaigns and this is reflected in the numbers buried in the Somme (around 60) and Arras (around 40) cemeteries with another 62 being buried either in or near Ypres.  Many more are buried in various cemeteries in France and Belgium with a significant number being killed in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia and buried in cemeteries in the Middle East.

Roll of Service

In 1921, the Old Salopian Club War Memorial Committee compiled and printed a Roll of Service of Old Salopians who served in the First World War (i.e. not just those killed). This invaluable historical resource is still in print and is available from the Naval and Military Press for £12.35 including p&p and it contains much information about the members concerned.  

Lists of Old Salopians killed in action are available to download in pdf format below.  These are searchable for people who wish to find people of special interest or where they are buried (please see the links below under 'Related Information').   Many well-known Salopian names are represented.  Even a cursory glance at the list of those killed reveals these surnames:  Palin, Goolden, Dixon, Worth, Bowring, Lewis, Richardson, Gurdon, Treasure and many more, familiar from the School War Memorial.   Historian, David Martin (Rt 1987-92) compiled the original lists and these have now been updated for general use.  If you spot any errors on them, please email the office oldsalopian@shrewsbury.org.uk and they will be corrected. 

The news this week 100 years ago - Old Salopians in WW1 commemorative project
In August 2014, Shrewsbury School launched a four-year project to commemorate all former boys and masters of Shrewsbury School who gave their lives in the First World War. Each week the names of those from the School who died 100 years previously are published on the website. The research is carried out by Sixth Form students Martha Pownall and George Young and by members of staff Philip Lapage and Dr Matthew Clark. Where possible, archival and other relevant material is included. It is hoped to build up a rolling archive over the four years of the War. Please see The news this week 100 years ago - OS in WW1.

Related information

PDF files (click on the links to download the file)

Old Salopians killed in action in date order

Old Salopians killed in action in area/cemetery order

Old Salopians killed in action in house and date-left-school order

Please email oldsalopian@shrewsbury.org.uk for an MS Excel version of the list.

Michael Palin's 2013 TV series about the 'Wipers (Ypres) Times':  http://www.shrewsbury.org.uk/news/always-look-bright-side-trenches. His grandfather, H W B Palin (SH 1899-1901), was killed in action in 1916 and he is buried at the Caterpillar Valley (NZ) Memorial at Albert on the Somme.

Book: 'Two Men; a memoir',  H E E Howson, master at Shrewsbury School

This book, an 'elegiac account' of life at Shrewsbury just before the First World War, is a collection of letters, poems and writings of two young masters , Evelyn Southwell and Malcolm White, who taught at Shrewsbury and who were both killed in the Battle of the Somme, The writings were subsequently collated and edited by their colleague, H E E Howson.  In the foreword to the memoir, Howson wrote,

'September 2010 to March 2015

Evelyn Southwell and Malcolm White came together as masters to Shrewsbury in 1910 - they left together in 1915 and they both were killed in the battle of the Somme.

For those who knew them both it is impossible to consider them apart; the memory of them is single. To their contemporaries and to each other they were known as 'The Men'. 'Man, it’'s time to go into school. 'Yes, Man.’  And so, in this account of their Shrewsbury life, they will be spoken of as ' the Men ', The following is an account of their first four terms'

In a letter to Howson, having read the proofs of the book, C A Alington wrote, 'The characteristic which stands out in my mind is the amazing power which both of them had of 'making believe '- or rather of making words and events and books and circumstances generally serve their own particular mood.  Any one who happened to read this letter without the book which it introduces might fancy that they dominated our Society at Shrewsbury by sheer force of personality and insistence on their own lines of thought; but to read their letters is assuredly to realize that we loved them for those very qualities of humility and unselfishness which shone out so supremely in the end. [ ]There is one thing I know they would wish me to say, and that is that the life of our Society from which they went was for those few years as nearly that of a happy family as any which the whole annals of schoolmastering can show. [ ] It never can happen again, but let us thank Heaven for the happiness we knew and for the friends from whom we learnt so much.

The book can be downloaded to read at http://archive.org/details/twomenmemoir00soutuoft and is available from rare booksellers such as Abe Books or from the Book Depository (Google 'two men: a memoir' to find outlets).

Southwell and White are featured as part of the BBC's 'World War One At Home' project. Their story was broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire on 4th August 2014 as part of the national commemorations of the centenary of WW1. It includes an interview with Dr Mike Morrogh, recorded shortly before his retirement from the History Faculty and as the School Archive, and extracts from 'Two Men: A Memoir' read by Ralph Wade and Rory Fraser, both in their final terms as students at Shrewsbury. It is available to listen to via the BBC website: Shrewsbury School: The Teachers Who Went to War

WW1 archive photographs
The School Archive includes many photos taken during the period of the First World War. One of these photos (displayed below) which was taken on Field Day in 1915 and shows young cadets of the OTC engaged in a mock charge, was re-enacted by current members of Shrewsbury’s CCF last term in memory of the boys and masters who fought and died in the War. The re-enactment and the story behind the original photo have been made into a film by Shrewsbury School TV: CCF cadets re-enact 1915 photo

 

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