E Social

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

10th November 1918

Francis Storrs, Russian Order of St Anne. F Social 1897. Lt, HMS President, Royal Navy. Intelligence Corps. Died of pneumonia contracted on active service

At school, he was a prefect, the Sewell Scholar, and won the Historical Essay Prize and the Richards Gold Medal. After school he had a distinguished career as an academic, winning an Exhibition to Wadham College, Oxford, then attending Jesus College, Cambridge as a Rustat Scholar.  He became Professor at Elphinstone College, Mumbai and at Rangoon College in Burma. He qualified as a Barrister of the Inner Temple in 1911.  In 1912 he married Catherine Schiff.  They had two sons who both came to Radley on War Memorial Scholarships. The Storrs French Prize is still awarded in his memory.

In 1915 he served with the Russian Civil Service, then served with the Royal Navy in Greece in 1916.  Details of his career as the Head of Counter-Espionage in the Aegean from 1917 were published by Compton-MacKenzie in ‘Aegean memories.’ He was working for the War Office when he died from pneumonia following influenza – a victim of the great outbreak of Spanish flu which took more lives than WW1.

‘He was gifted with a charming kindliness and geniality. A colleague in the Russian work says, ‘It was impossible to work with him without loving him.’ The enthusiastic welcome with which his visits to the Radley College Mission (of which he was treasurer) were invariably hailed by the boys, showed how he had won their hearts. But, perhaps, his most marked characteristic was an unswerving devotion to duty.’ His chief writes of him: ‘I have never known anyone so zealous’ and so devoted to his work for the country for which he has given his life.’

His influence at Radley was so great among his peers that his loss was still lamented at the 1947 Centenary: ‘No truer Radleian fell in the two world wars than Francis Storrs, who died on the eve of the Armistice in 1918. No one would have rejoiced in the centenary more than he; no Old Radleian would have contributed more to the gaiety of the day.’

Aged 35


Benjamin Croft, E Social 1898. Captain, London Regt (Artists Rifles). Killed in action in an unknown engagement

At school, he was a Junior Scholar. After school he went to London University, then trained as a Chartered Accountant. From 1901, he was accountant to the Board of the Green Cloth at Buckingham Palace. He served as a member of the Artists Rifles, and was commissioned in 1898. A keen all-round sportsman, Croft led the Battalion’s victorious bayonet team at Earls Court in 1914. Soon afterwards, he went to France, was advanced to Captain and was onetime attached to the 10th London Regiment.

The Battalion’s war diary, states Croft died 24 hours before the Armistice:

10.11.18: Battalion advanced in a N.E. direction and took up a line facing N.E. N. of the Mons-Maubeurge Road at 9.30 hours. While 188th Brigade passed through Asquillies (Battalion H.Q.) enemy shelled village with 5.9 howitzers causing some damage. At midday orders were received to relieve 56th Division on right. Battalion moved at 16.00 hours S. through Harvengt and took up line just E. of Harvengt. Captain Croft, B., 2 Lieutenant King, H. W., killed; 2 Lieutenant Conway, F. H., wounded; O.Rs killed 2; wounded 25. 10 November 1918: ‘Just after they had gone, I got news by runner, that poor old Croft had been killed. It is no use trying to tell you what that meant to the Battalion, or to me personally. He had not been back with us very long after a prolonged absence, and I know he felt like coming home when he rejoined us at Brias. He was always like a ray of sunshine if there was anything doing. With him were two other good fellows. 2nd Lieutenant King and Sergeant Garbutt; also a Lancer with whom they were talking at the time; a stray shell fell in the sunken road and killed all four of them.’

He was buried at Mons – a place he had last been in August 1914.

Benjamin Croft’s war medals were sold at auction in 2010

Aged 44

Lt Francis Storrs, RN

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

5th November 1918

Reginald Blackburn, E Social 1902. Lt,  9th Bn, Bedfordshire Regt. Died of pneumonia contracted on active service.

After school, he went to Exeter College, Oxford.  He was a Lloyds Underwriter. In 1912 he married Hazel Coghlan.

He died in hospital at Brocton in Staffordshire from pneumonia contracted on active service.

Aged 29

Lt Reginald Blackburn

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

14th October 1918

Arthur Buchanan, E Social 1899. Lt, 45th Wing, Royal Air Force. Died of illness whilst on leave from France

Arthur Buchanan was from Cape Town, South Africa. He only attended Radley for one year. On leaving school in 1900 he went back to South Africa. He returned in 1904 to attend Trinity College, Cambridge.

He served with the Royal Flying Corps/RAF throughout the war, including some time as a prisoner-of-war in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

He died whilst on leave from France and is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Aged 34

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

14th September 1918

George Plater, E Social 1899. Private, 2/20th Bn, London Regt. Killed during the ‘Advance to Victory’ in an unknown engagement

He was at Radley for just one year, leaving in 1900.  George Plater’s death was not recorded in The Radleian magazine in 1918.  He is not included on the War Memorial. He is listed as still alive in the 1923 and 1962 Registers, both of which record that he went to work on the London Stock Exchange after leaving school. Work on updating the Registers in the 1990s received confirmation of his death in 1918, via the family of his sister, who was his only surviving relative in 1918.

He was killed during the ‘Advance to Victory’ and is among 9000 servicemen who have no known grave who are listed on the Vis-en-Artois memorial.

Aged 34

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

21st August 1918

Nicholas van Gruisen. E Social 1904. Captain, Liverpool Regt. Killed in action, Battle of Albert

He went straight into the army on leaving school in 1909.

Aged 29

Nicholas van Gruisen’s grave at Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais. Photographed for ‘Marching in Memory’ July 2015

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

10th August 1918

Henry Utterson, DSO. E Social 1892. Lt-Col, 15th Bn, Lancashire Fusiliers. Killed in action, Battle of Amiens

After leaving Radley he went to Sandhurst, serving with the Dorsetshire Regt. In the South African War 1899-1902 he fought at the Relief of Ladysmith and at Spion Kop

He served through the South African War (Queen’s Medal, 5 clasps, and King’s Medal, 2 clasps) and with the West African Frontier Force, 1904-1907. He served in Mesopotamia, 1914-1915,where he gained the D.S.O. and was 3 times mentioned in dispatches. He was invalided to England after being wounded at Ctesiphon. From 1917 onwards he commanded a battalion of the Lancaster Fusiliers on another front.

Citation for the DSO DISTINCTIONS. D.S,O. Major Henry Kelso Utterson, 2nd Bn. Dorsetshire Regt., for conspicuous gallantry and ability. He led his men with marked coolness and skill when assaulting a strong redoubt. He behaved very gallantly in several engagements, during one of whIch he took command of his battalion, when all the senior officers had been killed or wounded, and led a successful charge resulting in the capture of the enemy’s trenches.

He married Beatrice Hill in 1916

Aged 40

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

15th June 1918

Edward Monson, MC, E Social 1912. Lt, 331st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Died of wounds received near Béthune

He was a member of Radley’s earliest Rugby team in 1914.

He passed in Woolwich in 1916 and was a Lt. in R.F.A. He went to France in Feb., 1918, and fought all through the Somme retreat, back to Amiens. He and another officer volunteered to take their guns into the infantry line, where they stayed for twelve hours. For this he gained the Military Cross. On the 29th he was gassed. His last action was on the night of June 14-15, when he was wounded by the explosion of a shell, which penetrated his steel helmet. He never recovered consciousness, and died on June 15. He had evidently made his mark in the Battery, both as a brave officer and a keen sportsman.

Citation for the Military Cross. This officer volunteered for special service, he and another officer at dawn taking two guns in front of the infantry line without escort and engaging the enemy, bringing back the limbers for more ammunition, and using it up. This action checked the enemy advance and afforded time for the withdrawal of the infantry.

Aged 20

Edward Monson in the 1914 Rugby team

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

The grave of Richard Colborne at Dainville. Photographed for ‘Marching in Memory’ July 2015

28th May1918

Richard Colborne, E Social 1900. Chaplain (4th Class), 1st Bn, London Regt

Killed in an unknown engagement near Arras whilst bringing in wounded men

At school, Richard Colborne was an Exhibitioner who won the History and Literature Prizes, was Second Prefect and played for the Football XI.  After school, he won an Exhibition to Worcester College, Oxford, and then trained for the priesthood.  His first curacy was at Great Gaddesdon , Herts.  Then, in 1916, he took up the post of Curate-in-Charge at St John’s Merton.  He was called up in 1917.

He was second Prefect, a member of the Football XI, and won the Senior Quarter by sheer pluck (and incidentally the Sports’ Cup). On leaving, he went up to Worcester College, and later took work at a Preparatory School at Hemel Hampstead. 

He was ordained deacon in 1912 and priest in 1913, and worked at Romford, and later at Merton, where he was most popular and greatly esteemed by his parishioners. He was wounded on Jan. 4, and killed in action on May 28 while assisting in bringing in the wounded. His chief described him as “one of the finest chaplains” he had ever had. He was Secretary of the Radleian Society during 1916-7, and brought out the last Year Book. He leaves very many friends who mourn his death.

Addenda. 2.4.1919 The Radleian. Memorial. A handsome new reading desk has been placed in St. John’s Church, Romford, to commemorate the memory of Rev. R A P . Colborne, T/C.F., who died of wounds last year

As Secretary of the Radleian Society, he was responsible for scouring the newspapers, writing to families and compiling all the information about Radleians serving during WW1.  His meticulous work forms the basis of the War Memorial and of all the records in this Commemoration.

Aged 32

Rev Richard Colborne, Chaplain to the Forces

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

20th October 1917

John Clark, E Social 1912. 2nd Lt, 196th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.  Died of wounds received in an unknown engagement

He won an exhibition for mathematics while he was at Radley. He was also a member of the Officers Training Corps and of the Country Life Shooting Team in 1916-7.

He passed the Woolwich Entrance Examination in November, 1916, but being disqualified owing to short sight, joined the R.G.A. through the Maresfield Park Cadet School, whence he passed out “with honours.” 

He went to the front on September 22. His C.O writes : – “Your son had been only a short time with my battery, but he had already proved himself to be a brave and efficient officer.“

A former master writes : – ” Of all the boys I have had I should pick him out as one I could absolutely trust and honour.“

Aged 19

2nd Lt John Clark, Royal Garrison Artillery. kia 20 October 1917

2nd Lt John Clark, Royal Garrison Artillery. kia 20 October 1917