April 4th 1917

The holidays are here and we have every reason to be thankful, that during a term in which there has been a great deal of illness at many Preparatory or Public Schools, we have had nothing worse than an epidemic of mild mumps. Otherwise we have been delightfully free even from colds and coughs. Several boys have suffered from bad chilblains.

* * * * * * * *

We will remember this term particularly for the ice-skating. In the end, we had glorious skating for three weeks (Jan 27th – Feb 18th) on the University Skating Club flooded meadow. The authorities were good enough to admit us at half fees (3d a time) and, even so, got about £15 from the School!

Mr Haynes produced about 30 pairs of primeval skates that had been stowed away in the dim past, but before the skating was over many new ones had been purchased.

The morning was quite the best time to go and we took off one of the morning hours of work. Often the Caravan-Ambulance made three or four journeys with small boys and provisions for picnic lunch on the ice (once, when changing a wheel for a puncture, she went down gracefully on to her axle and was derelict for some hours).

ice-skating-6

Many boys learnt to skate quite well – Dennis Buck (who, given the opportunity, will rival his brother Geoffrey some day) and Fred Huggins could cut all forward threes and do outside edge backwards. This is G.C’s description of their performances – G.C (Mr Vassall) also gave them handsome skating prizes as rewards for their efforts.

* * * * * * * *

Miss Field’s collection of eggs for the wounded soldiers has been greatly appreciated at the hospitals. During this term 1,738 have been delivered, making a total of 3,531 since the start at Mr Fletcher’s instigation in October last.

 

Next term begins on Wednesday 2nd May.

 

Postscript. We have had word that Jack Haldane, who had recovered from his previous wound and gone out to Mesopotamia, to his intense chagrin, was wounded again the day before the fall of Kut. He was injured whilst trying to put out a fire in his camp, when a bomb exploded and wounded him in the leg.

December 18th 1916

As this term comes to a close, it is right that we should record some of the many note-worthy events that have taken place:

The Ambulance has been used for meeting convoys of wounded and conveying them from the station to the various hospitals. I have to thank the boys and others for supplying grapes, for which the wounded men express thanks. After their long and often tedious journey, a few grapes are found more refreshing than anything else.

* * * * * * *

Lieut. Hoare, brother of two new boys, gave us a capital description of the Tanks. He had just come from the Somme and had seen them in their first actions.

* * * * * * *

Bathing Parade!

bathers

These boys have kept up the morning bathe in the river with Mr Haynes before breakfast for the whole term: A. Owen, J. Tew,  C. Jaques, A. Rees,  E. Moffatt, whilst B. Mallalieu, R. Ferguson, T. Horsley and C. Salkeld only gave it up for the last ten days, owing to feverish colds. They started on Sept 20th (58°F) and finished on Dec 16th (34°F).

* * * * * * *

Mr CRL Fletcher (the father of Regie and George came and spoke to the boys early in the term about collecting new laid eggs for the wounded soldiers in the Oxford hospitals. Miss Field undertook the arrangements and the conveyance of the eggs. The response has been enthusiastic – 1,416 eggs ‘of the best’ have been handed in to the Matron at the Base Hospital during the 8 or 9 weeks since Mr Fletcher came.

* * * * * * *

During the second half of term, the VIth Forms learnt the whole of ‘The Passing of Arthur’ by Tennyson. With only one or two exceptions the whole form of 35 boys knew the poem perfectly and I am sure they find it a ‘possession for ever.’

As our hours for English are so limited, I fear that the form will come out badly in History and Geography.

* * * * * * *

NOTICE

In response to an appeal from many quarters, we have decided to add another week to the holidays this Christmas.

The boarders will return on Tuesday, January 16th. School will begin on Wednesday, January 17th, at 9 a.m.

The Play (Midsummer Night’s Dream) will be on Saturday January 20th at 2.30 and 5.45 p.m.

 

June 4th 1916

Following the news of the sinking of HMS Invincible, our deep concern for the well-being of Lieut. Charles Fisher continues. As always, whilst we fear the worst, we must hope for the best.

We are also aware of others who may well have been involved in this battle off Jutland. Charles’s brother, Captain William Fisher (HMS St. Vincent) is known to be part of Jellicoe’s 1st Battle Squadron.

HMS St Vincent

HMS St Vincent

Mr & Mrs CRL Fletcher have already lost two sons to the war: Regie Fletcher was killed at Ypres on October 31st 1914 (a day that claimed three OPS victims), followed in March 1915 by his brother George Fletcher. Their oldest (and only remaining son) Lieut. Leslie Fletcher is known to be serving on HMS Colossus (also part of the 1st Battle Squadron). Surely fate cannot be so cruel as to take from the Fletcher family their only remaining child.

Attached to the 5th Battle Squadron are HMS Valiant and HMS Malaya. Both have Old Dragons aboard: Commander Geoffrey Freyberg in the former and Midshipman Percy Trevelyan in the latter.

Midshipman Francis Studdy is believed to be on HMS Temeraire in the 4th Battle Squadron, Lieut-Commander John Bywater-Ward is on HMS Ajax and, lastly, we think Lieut. Desmond Stride is on HMS Conqueror.

We await news of all of them.