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 …

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 …

16th October 1918

Thomas Babington, G Social 1903, Lt, Indian Army. Died of pneumonia on active service in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq)

Thomas Babington was a Junior Scholar. He played for the Cricket XI and was Captain of the Soccer team. After school, he attended Magdalen College, Oxford.  He went out to India in 1913 as Professor of English Literature at the Government College, Rangoon, Burma. He joined up in 1916 as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers; promoted to Acting Captain 108th Infantry in 1917.

Aged 29

Radley College prefects, 1908

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

27th September 1918

Arthur Bruce-Freeman, D Social 1910. Lt, 2nd Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers. Killed during the Advance across Flanders

He was a member of a military family whose father also served in the 3rd Hussars.  He went straight to Sandhurst on leaving school in 1914.  He served on the Western Front throughout WW1

was known at Radley always with the initials of T. B. On leaving, he entered Sandhurst, and passed into the 3rd Hussars.In April last he was transferred to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, and was wounded a month later. He went out again on Sept. 12, and was killed on the 27th.

Aged 22


Lt Arthur Bruce-Freeman, Royal Scots Fusiliers

James Carter, Don. Captain, 1st Bn, Grenadier Guards. Killed in action, Battle of Canal du Nord

After a distinguished career at Eton and Cambridge, where he rowed in the fine eight of 1903, J. S. Carter came to Radley as a master. and was here for five years, leaving at the end of the Summer term, 1909. He took up work at Warren Hill, and, just before the war, had taken a private school at Cromer in partnership with Mr. Hales. After the latter’s death, Mr. Carter carried on till Easter 1917, when he decided that he too would go out to the front, for he had always been a keen Territorial. He took a commission in the Grenadier Guards, and went to France early this year. In August he was made Acting Captain, and was killed on Sept. 27th.

I should think it is quite true to say that Jim never had an enemy: for he was one of those genial large-hearted giants, with whom it was impossible to feel anger, and who was popular with everyone.

Naturally when he was here he associated himself with the river, and he coached the crew of 1909: but his interests were wide and varied. He had stayed some months in Athens, and he took a keen interest in archaeology, while he was more than an enthusiastic entomologist. Many a night have I been out” sugaring” with him, and he was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who was keen on that subject. He was a first class skater, and competed two or three times for the “Open Bowl” at Davos, while at Leuzerheide he was deservedly the most popular man in the place. It was only this time last year that he came down to Radley to sing in a concert, and perform in the “Radley Quartette,” which for five years enjoyed some popularity while he was here.

It is hard to realize that poor old Jim is gone too, like, Sammy Hales and Lance Vidal. Truly Radley has had some cruel losses, but the loss of these three leaves a sorrow that will never fade away. In his last letter, only three weeks’ ago, he wrote, ” I would not miss this for anything. The men are simply splendid, and it is a real privilege to be with them. Keep the home fires burning and some day I shall be sitting by your fireside, with a pipe, boring you stiff with what we did in the great war.” And now he has joined all those other heroes, but he still lives enshrined. in the hearts of many devoted and sorrowing friends.

Aged 37


JS Carter, from Radley College Common Room photo, 1906

Alfred Morris, F Social 1909. Lt, 1st Bn, Grenadier Guards. Killed in action, Battle of Canal du Nord

He left school in 1912 and went straight to Sandhurst. He served initially with the Royal Fusiliers from 1914, then joined the Grenadier Guards.

Aged 23

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

30th August 1918

George Simpson, G Social 1910. Lt, Cheshire Regt. Died of wounds received in an unknown engagement

He volunteered for service on the outbreak of war and received his commission in March, 1915; he served in France until July, 1916, when he was wounded; he returned to France on Aug. 30, 1917, and met his death exactly a year later.

He was an only son. He is buried at Terlincthun Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

The War Memorial Committee Minutes record the George Simpson Exhibition which was created in his memory to help Radleians at university.  The first recipient was George Mallaby, Senior Prefect in 1921, to help him go to Oxford; others aided by the gift were RE Raikes at London University and Vincent O’Connor at Oxford.  Vincent O’Connor became one of the most significant donors of rare and valuable books to Radley College Library – a skill in collecting which he gained at Oxford.

Aged 22