Flanders & France (Western Front)

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 …

9th November 1918

Gervase Alington, MM with bar, G Social 1906. Corporal, 17th Bn, London Regt. Killed in action in an unknown engagement

After school he went to Magdalen College, Oxford. He enlisted as a Private and served with the London Regiment in Greece, Palestine, Gaza and France.  He was awarded the Military Medal early in 1918, with bar shortly before his death.  He was in the process of applying for a commission when he was killed.

Aged 26

Corporal Gervase Alington, MM with bar, kia 9 November 1918

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

8th November 1918

Thomas Upton, A Social 1908. Captain, 1st Bn, Yorkshire LI. Killed in action in an unknown engagement

He took a commission soon after the outbreak of the War in 1914.  He was seriously wounded shortly after, but returned to the Western Front and served throughout the rest of the War.

He is buried in Semousies Churchyard in northern France.  The churchyard contains the graves of two soldiers of the Yorkshires and Captain Upton: all died on 8th November 1918, presumably all wounded in the same unknown engagement which happened around 5th November.

Aged 22

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

7th November 1918

Frederick Wells, F Social 1894, Lt,  Horse Transport, Army service Corps. Died of pneumonia contracted on active service

After school, he was ranching in South Africa from 1899-1902 (at the height of the Boer War). He then moved to Guernsey where he was a fruit grower until 1916.

In 1908 he married Mary Stewart. She had already been widowed twice; he was her third husband. Her second husband was also an Old Radleian,  TNF Davenport.  The couple had one son of their own, and Frederick was stepfather to the four sons from Mary’s previous marriages.  Her eldest son, Cecil Draper, was also killed in WW1.  Frederick’s death meant that Mary was widowed three times before she was 45. All the younger boys and Frederick’s step-grandsons, were awarded War Memorial Scholarships to enable them to attend Radley.

Frederick Wells and Cecil Draper are the only father and son to both be recorded on Radley’s WW1 War Memorial.

Aged 38

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 …

31st October 1918

Thomas Irwin, H Social 1910. Lt. 2nd Bn, Sherwood Foresters. Died of wounds received in the Second Battle of Cambrai

At school he played for the Cricket XI and the Racquets Pair. ‘It was in the latter that he made his mark and was conspicuous at Queen’s Club for his cool and clever game. On leaving he enlisted as a private  in the P.S.B.,but later entered Sandhurst, and took a commission in the Sherwood Foresters. He was very badly wounded in 1916, being shot through the lung. He went out again to France this year, and died of wounds on Oct. 31 (received on Oct. 8).’

He died in England and is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Aged 22

Lt Thomas Irwin

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

18th October 1918

Reginald Loxley, A Social 1910, Captain, Royal Air Force. Died of pneumonia on active service in France

He served first with the RNVR, then with the Navy Air Arm the RNAS which was later amalgamated with the Royal Flying Corps to form the RAF in the summer of 1918.  He served throughout the Gallipoli Campaign and was invalided home. He died of pneumonia in Paris.

His brother, Vere, was killed on the Somme in 1916.

Aged 31

Captain R Loxley, RAF, died 1918