Gresham's School in Wartime

We would like to invite people who have an interest in our WWI story to get in touch with us through the blog. Our sixth form researchers will be contributing their own experiences of the project to the blog and we hope to update the website as new material becomes available. If you have any relevant comments or contributions of stories or archive material we would be delighted to hear from you.

If you would like to submit a blog entry, please email Liz Larby.

Alice, Chloe and Georgia reflect on the year's work

Over the past year we have been researching numerous Old Greshamians who fell in WWI.  We have found this to be not only really interesting as modern Greshamians but also as historians.  The skill of archiving will also prove beneficial to us in our history based university courses in the near future.  It has been good fun and we have really enjoyed coming down every week and researching students such as Stanley George Marriott and Joseph H. Simpson, both of whom were enthusiastic participants in school life.

Somme commemorations

Gresham's will be remembering those who fell at the Somme in a special service on 1 July. We are researching the 10 OGs and one member of staff and profiles will appear on the website shortly but please get in touch if you would like information on the any of the following in the meantime - 

George Fenchelle, Walter Gissing, Henry Scott-Holmes, Geoffrey Barratt, Henry Russell, Mark Hill, John Foster, Douglas Richardson, Archibald Gilmour, Dawson Atkin, and Geoffrey Day.

Lost at the Battle of Jutland

Cuthbert Hill died aged 18 on 31 May 1916 when his ship Invincible went down at the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea. He attended from 1907-15 and was a popular Howson’s and School prefect, who showed great talent for acting and sport, as well as winning many prizes for school work.  Soon after leaving School he was accepted for training at the Royal Naval College at Keyham, near Devonport, passing out of the college in January of 1916 and being appointed as midshipman to HMS Invincible. He writes to his ‘Dear Mummie’ in May from his ship of the Scotch mists out at sea and of the enjoyable visit he made to School whilst on leave when he played cricket and rode one of the master’s motorbikes.  Invincible was destroyed when a barrage of shells caused a magazine explosion on 31 May.  The ship broke in two and sank in fifteen seconds, leaving only six survivors out of the 1.031 men on board. The battlecruiser was taking part in the largest naval battle of the War, off the Danish Jutland coast which resulted in huge loss of life, including fourteen British and eleven German ships.  Both sides claimed victory and debate still continues today over the significance of the battle. The School will commemorate Cuthbert Hill in a special service on 25 May.

Dawson Atkin's service medals

Thanks to parent Steven Todd for sending this photo of the service medals of George Dawson Hope Atkins(Woodlands 1911-14) who died on the Somme on 16 July 1916 working to dig trenches to 'consolidate the line'.

Dream team

I would like to thank my team of sixth form researchers for all their help so far - namely Georgia Rose, Kim Sly-Jex, Alice Goldsmith, Maddie Bailey, Emma Dugdale, Hannah Rice, Evie Rossi, Katie Francis, Joe Melvin and Leo Thomson.  Thanks is also due to the two members of the History Department who have supported the project from the start,  Chris Cox and Tim O'Donnell.

Liz Larby

World War Archives

I am pleased to be able to go live with the website which is still very much a work in progress with much information still to be added over the centenary years.  I have been very impressed by the way my team of sixth formers have embraced the task of researching our fallen OGs and staff.  Carrying out detailed research using original archive source such as registers, magazines and photograph albums is very different from the classroom based history they are familiar with and they are showing great promise as historical researchers.  We have started researching our fallen in chronological order to tie in with the services of commemoration held on the anniversary of their death in the School Chapel.  However, if anyone has an interest in one of our fallen whose details do not yet appear on the website we would be happy to carry out some research.

Liz Larby

Blog entry by Evie, Emma and Joe

We have wholly enjoyed our first term researching the lives of the boys who fell in WW1. This project has taken us on not only an emotional journey but also a journey of discovery. Over the course of the term we have researched the lives and achievements of these incredible individuals, following not only their time in School but their contributions to the War.  The wealth of information stored in the archives is truly fascinating and brings history to life in a way we have never experienced before. Last term we entered information on Frank Halsey into the database and it was immediately clear just what an inspirational character he was; he was head of school, he had a scholarship to Oxford and he participated in nearly every aspect of school life imaginable. Learning about characters such as Halsey makes us truly appreciate the opportunities presented to us at Gresham’s. One task that proved to be particularly challenging was trying to identify boys in the school photo albums, although this was time-consuming it was very worthwhile as it’s nice to have a face to put to the facts. 

Blog from two of our sixth form researchers, Emma and Maddie -

Throughout the term we have researched the lives of numerous OGs who fell in the War. We have used old Gresham magazines, photo albums and various websites to carry out our research. First, we checked the dates of the boy’s attendance so we could look through the relevant magazines to find out about their lives at school. We have also scanned many photos of OGs, collating a commemorative database. Researching the lives of these men has been truly inspiring and we have loved to find out about the profound effect that the War has had on our school. They all led ambitious and busy school lives, going on to sacrifice their lives for our country.