Royal Navy

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 …

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

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

11th November, 1916

William Hall. Schoolmaster. Chaplain & Naval Instructor, HMS Venerable, Royal Navy. Died on active service.

William Hall taught maths at Radley for just one year in 1889-90. He then taught at Rossall School until 1893, when he left to take Holy Orders. He served as Chaplain and Instructor to the Royal Navy from 1894 until his death on active service in 1916. He was a distinguished mathematician who had graduated as 2nd Wrangler from Cambridge University (King’s College). His naval career utilised his maths and he was the author of several books on navigation: Ex-Meridian Altitude Tables, Modern Navigation, Model Sights, Tables and Constants, and lnman’s Nautical Tables. He was seconded to the Ottoman Navy in 1910 and to the Australian Royal Navy in 1912. He served in the Endymion and the Astraea (1895-98), in the Raleigh (1899), St George (1899-1902), London (1902-4), Aurora (1904-5), Highflyer (1905-6), Britannia (1906-09), and the Collingwood (1911) before his final posting to the Venerable.

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

Mesopotamia Campaign

17th September 1916. John Bankes-Price. D Social, 1909. Flt-Lt, Royal Naval Air Service. Killed in action at El Arish, Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

John Bankes-Price was the son of the British Consul in Chicago. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. He is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial. Aged 21

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1

Today we remember …

31st May 1916.  Harold Gore-Browne, G Social, 1899.  Assistant Paymaster, HMS Invincible,  Royal Navy.

Died on HMS Invincible during the Battle of Jutland.Harold Gore-Browne was the grandson of the Bishop of Winchester.   He joined the Navy pay corps immediately upon leaving school in 1904. At the time of the Battle of Jutland, he was serving as Secretary to Rear Admiral Horace Hood on his flagship, HMS Invincible.

The destruction of HMS Invincible

The vanguards of the battlefleets, made up of battlecruisers and smaller ships, collided just before 18.00. The German fleet, possessing better gunnery and range-finding equipment, had the better of the early exchanges. Hood’s squadron was heavily engaged, Invincible facing the combined batteries of SMS Lutzow and SMS Derfflinger. The combination of the two ships proved too tough for Hood’s flagship however, and a shell from Derfflinger penetrated the “Q” turret of Invincible.

This resulted in a catastrophic explosion from the ship’s magazine, which blew the ship into two halves which sank separately. Of Invincible‍ ’​s 1,021 crew, there were just six survivors, pulled from the water by attendant destroyers. Hood and his staff were not amongst them.

None of the bodies were recovered and they remain in the wreckage of HMS Invincible at the bottom of the North Sea. The wreck is now a protected War Grave.

Aged 30

Harold Gore-Brown, Asst Paymaster, HMS Invincible, Royal Navy.  Died in the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916

Harold Gore-Brown, Asst Paymaster, HMS Invincible, Royal Navy. Died in the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916