Tag Archives: F.A.Bird

“Dab” Furley Part Two

In January of 1918 Dab Furley was promoted to be a School Prefect. He joined a group of young men whose names and nicknames were listed in the new school magazine, The Highvite.
The Captain of the School was “Dicky” Bird, and the others included “Fuzzy” Barton, the Captain of Rugby, “Seaweed” Saward, “Fickle” Parr, “Nigel” Norris, “Our Stan” Buxton, “Dreg” Morley and “Jabez” King. Here is “Fuzzy” Barton at the time, wearing the uniform of the OTC:barton

“Dicky” Bird appears in similar uniform:

fa bird

And here he is, still looking desperately worried, as a member of the Mathematical and Science Sixth Form in 1915:

bird

The Highvite magazine also contained a number of humorous advertisements, with owners appealing for the return of their lost articles. They included a pair of socks, green stripes on a pink background, interspersed with yellow clocks, buff spots and heliotrope floral design (RJC Wood, 6B), a pair of parallel bars, supposedly ejected through the gymnasium window when RF Parr blew his nose (Staff-Sergeant Hall) and a white bulldog (Miss Pollard, the school secretary). There was also a list of recent additions to the literary world, including “How to Grow a Moustache” by Mr Barry Kipping, “What to Eat and How” by Dr RF Parr, and “The Evolution of Muscle” by Staff-Sergeant Hall.
I did in actual fact search the Internet for any mention of these young prefects. Results were inconclusive, but quite interesting. I did find a JA Saward in the lists of those who had served in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War:

Royal_Flying_Corps_cap_badge

Coincidental evidence, of course, but probably enough to convince me. The same list of RFC personnel did also include a TLE Morley, as if the two young prefects had perhaps joined up for a great adventure together. No name was supplied for JA Saward but his friend was listed as Thomas Leslie Erskine Morley.
In similar vein, I also found that an N.F.Norris had relinquished his commission in the Irish Guards on April 1st 1920, and he thereby reverted to being a mere Second Lieutenant.
On the very same day, an R.F.Parr had done exactly the same thing, in the very same regiment. Perhaps these two young prefects from the High School had hoped to preserve their friendship when they both joined the same regiment together in 1918:

Irish_Guards_cap_badge
The Nottinghamian of the Great War era also carried an interesting account of the Prefects’ Room, which was situated in what is now the tower of the school…

“There are only seven chairs for the ten prefects, and Saward spends most of his leisure time chewing gum, and then trailing strands of it across the door. Towle then immediately amuses himself by electrifying these wires. Parr is usually sitting in the corner eating his dinner at 11 o’clock in the morning. Norris is rather bad tempered, and writes many private letters, and Morley and Furley do much tidying of the room, in the face of enormous odds:

close up 2

King practises Jiu-Jitsu on chairs, tables, air, or any unfortunate person whom he may happen to get hold of. The room has two doors, one for people, the other for draughts, and is lit with a gas fire that keeps popping, but does not give much heat.”

In a rather bizarre aside, the magazine goes on to say that Jacob (alias J.A.Saward) is shortly going to marry the Queen of Sheba (alias J.King); the wedding is to be a very quiet one and there are to be no flowers by request.
Of these Prefects, Messrs Bird, Barton, King and Saward were to be four of the five Captains of the School in 1918, as young men departed for the Front. During the Summer Term, it was Percival Henry Biddulph Furley’s turn to hold the Number One Job.
Dab’s elder brother was the splendidly named Athelstan Willis Furley, who was his senior by six years. During the Football Season in 1908-1909, he was one of six Fifth Form boys, were found guilty of “systematic and persistent slacking at football”. The wrongdoers were H.G.Ellis, A.M.Forsyth, A.W.Furley, P.K.Johnson, E.R.Oakden and R.Staniforth.  The Prefects, responsible for school discipline, offered them the choice of writing out fifty lines of Shakespeare, or two strokes of the cane. They all opted for corporal punishment, except for Staniforth, who wrote out the Shakespeare. During the 1910-1911 Season, the School’s annual Eight-a-side football competition was won by a team consisting of H.B.M.Groves (captain), E.P.Betts, W.Clayton, P.L.Coppock, E.I.Dexter, A.W.Furley, L.B.Kellett and A.L.Lowe. During the Great War, Athelstan Willis Furley served in the Nottinghamshire Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery:

NLS_Haig_-_Artillery_going_through_a_cutting_in_the_Canal_du_Nord

In 1929, Athelstan was back living with the family at 72, Cromwell Street, Nottingham.
What may well be a close relative of the Furley family was Edwin Furley Mellor who won a Standard Medal for football at the end of the 1909-1910 season. During the Great War he too was an Acting-Captain in the Royal Field Artillery. Perhaps one young man joined up to be with another member of his family. By 1929, Edwin was living at “Addison House”, 58, Addison Street, Nottingham, only five minutes walk from the school and from Cromwell Street.

At the turn of the century, a former pupil of the High School, Richard St.Clair Page, had written a short novel entitled “The Three Merles” which was a thinly veiled description of the High School around 1880-1890:

late 1890s

It was very reminiscent of works such as “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”, and described how a new headmaster had arrived at a quiet, comfortable school, and changed it completely by the very force of his personality. The new Headmaster was Dr.Govan (Dr.Gow), and other teachers were called “Sammy” or “Johnny” Horner (Sammy Corner), and “Old Mr.Bray”, (Charles Bray). The imaginary school, like the real one, had a Mr.Lupton, and a Sergeant Holmes as its School Porter. “Doctor Govan” changes the school uniform and this is when what I presume to be Dab Furley’s father makes an appearance:

“The end of that Summer Term drew near, and Ray was walking down town with Furley of the Fourth. Each boy wore the new cap recently introduced by the Doctor. The cap fitted close to the head, and bore the quaint lozenge shaped crest of the school, with its three merles on a white ground, a badge restored to use by the Doctor, and of which the boys were proud. It was known by the vulgar boys of the town as the “three crows”. But on the top of the cap there was a small white button, visible at a distance and marking a Grammar School boy from behind. The whole school resented this; some of the boys inked it over.”

The reason that the boys from the “Grammar School” did this, was that, out in the streets, having recognised their social betters, the “vulgar boys of the town” (in real life, of course Nottingham),  would throw anything to hand at them from behind to knock their caps off, safe in the knowledge that they would never be caught.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of Dab Furley’s brief life.

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The Officer Training Corps 1915 Part Two

This photograph shows the High School Officer Training Corps in 1915. I have previously written about what happened to the teachers in the years after this iconic photograph was taken.

This time I want to write about the fates of some of the boys. You might be forgiven for thinking that these twelve individuals are all far too young to have left the school, joined the army, trained as officers, gone to the Western Front and then been killed. But you would be wrong. Three of these young men were to perish. And this, tragically, is a much better casualty rate than the rugby team of Boxing Day, 1913. On the other hand, though, it is still a staggering 25%!

otc 1915

On the back row of the photograph are, left to right, F.A.Bird, J.R.Coleman, D.J.Clarkson, J.Marriott, A.W.Barton, G.R.Ballamy, S.I.Wallis and W.D.Willatt.

On the front row are, left to right, L.W.Foster, V.G.Darrington, Second Lieutenant J.L.Kennard, Captain G.F.Hood, Second Lieutenant L.R.Strangeways, G.James and R.I.Mozley.

I have not been able to find information on all of the boys in this photograph, but here is what I have come up with:

In January 1918, the school magazine, “The Highvite” carried a list of the school prefects, with their nicknames. They included the Captain of the School, F.A.Bird (Dicky) and A.W.Barton (Fuzzy). Both of them feature in the photograph.

They seem to have been very good friends and we have already noted their advertisement “for poisons, the quality of which was endorsed by Mr.Strangeways”. I know nothing further of Mr Bird except that his first name was Francis and he was the best friend of Harold Arno Connop, a Flight Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service, who was killed at Dunkirk on Sunday, March 31st 1918:

connop zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Arthur Willoughby, “Fuzzy”, Barton had an unbelievably varied life. In his last year at the High School, he was Captain of the School and during the First World War, he became a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers Signal Service, until he was demobilised in December 1918.

Arthur then went to Cambridge University to study Physics and helped Lord Rutherford to split the atom. He became a top flight football referee and officiated in the only football match that Adolf Hitler ever watched. I will be telling you his story in another blogpost (Fuzzy Barton, not Adolf Hitler).

Arthur had been, however, the recipient of a gangster type extortion racket in the early part of his school career. The Prefects’ Book records that on Tuesday, October 27th 1908:

“…A meeting was held at 2.30 p.m. in the Library. All the prefects were present. M.M.Lyon was reported for bullying A.W.Barton during the preceding day. He had tried to make Barton accompany him home & as Barton refused, he dragged him along Forest Road towards Waverley St. Lyon also hit Barton with the knob of his umbrella on his head just behind the ear. This blow had raised a big lump on Barton’s head. Lyon only allowed Barton to go home on receiving a promise that he would bring him a penny in the afternoon. As Barton did not bring the money, Lyon thrashed him again in the afternoon.

Lyon admitted the offence, & was treated as a first offender & received 6 strokes.
On the next day, however, Mr Woodward told the school captain that Lyon had treated other boys in a similar way, & had obtained 2d, from J.B.Cooper. Dr.Turpin stated that he had warned Lyon previously, & threatened him with expulsion on a repetition of the offence. Mr Dark had also complained about Lyon’s bullying propensities. H.J.Hoyte reported Lyon at the end of the summer term for swearing, but Lyon had not been punished as he was away from School. Taking all this into consideration, the prefects offered Lyon the alternative of 15 strokes or expulsion by the Doctor. Lyon chose the strokes.”

Richard Inger Mozley was born on May 10th 1898, the son of Albert Henry and Laura Mozley. He entered the High School on January 14th 1908, at the age of nine.

In the School Register his address is given as Grosvenor Avenue, Mapperley Park (1908), and then later, “Hollies”, Burton Joyce, Nottingham. One other website gives the family address as 17a, Woodborough Road, Nottingham. His father, Albert Mozley, was a Coal Merchant.

Richard was a Sergeant in the O.T.C. and, as such, was recommended for a commission in the Army both by Captain Hood and by the Headmaster, Dr G.S.Turpin.  Richard had already applied himself to the O.T.C. of the 3rd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, but they were already vastly oversubscribed, and he duly joined the 3rd York & Lancaster Regiment.

Capture gazette mozley aaaaaaa

He was then attached to the 36th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry):

Capture gazette mozley 2  zzzzzz

During the course of “Operation Michael”, the Germans’ last do-or-die effort to win the war before the Americans began to influence the outcome of the conflict, Richard’s unit was assigned to defend the Forward Zone. Richard himself was stationed in the forward trenches, but he and his colleagues were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers of the enemy. They perished more or less to a man.

mozley_1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Richard was listed as missing, presumed killed, on March 21st 1918. At the time he was nineteen years of age:

capture mozley cvbnm

By the time he died, he was living in Hoveringham and his parents remained at the “Hollies”, Burton Joyce. In due course, a letter arrived from Sergeant Crenston:

“When Lt. Mozley came back to the Coy. in Dec. last, he took charge of “A” Section and I being the section Sgt. was nearly always with Mr. Mozley and when in the line that terrible morning 21st March Mr. Mozley, myself and about 19 others were in the same position and dugout, the most forward position of the Division, 4 guns with us; at about 4:30 the barrage started. We were being pounded most cruel with gas and high explosive shells but we stuck it till about 9 when your son was hit …… a piece of shell penetrated Mr. Mozley’s right breast …… I helped to bandage your son and asked him to get down to the dressing station a short distance away (it was a nasty wound and it would have got him home) but no, he refused to go, saying I will see it through Sergeant.”
“Now this splendid spirit and example inspired us all and setting our teeth we all determined to stand by to the end …… The first indication we got of the German approach was a death scream from one of the boys and after that my memory is nearly a blank for we all seemed to work by machinery, Mr. Mozley and self took up positions with revolvers and did our best, we were however surrounded by the Germans, a bomb or shell burst amongst us and I found myself with a wound in the back feeling dizzy”.
“Now as to what happened to your son I cannot say”.

Richard has no known grave and is remembered on the Pozières Memorial. This was one of his buttons:

button mozley

John Roberts Coleman was the son of John Bowley Coleman and Florence Annie Coleman of 29, Derby Grove, Lenton Sands, Nottingham. His father was a schoolmaster. John was born on April 16th 1899 and he entered the High School on September 23rd 1909 at the age of ten. He was a Foundation Scholar in both 1911 and 1914. He left in July 1916 and became a Second Lieutenant in the Special Brigade of the Royal Engineers. In the era before antibiotics, he died of pneumonia in Tourcoing, after the end of hostilities, on November 26th 1918. He was only nineteen years of age, and this fresh faced young man had seen so very little of the world beyond mud, blood and death.

coleman zzzzzz
He is buried in Pont-Neuville Communal Cemetery in Tourcoing.

Donald James Clarkson was born on May 11th 1899. He was son of James Clarkson, whose occupation was listed as “a manager”, and his mother was called Alice. The family lived at “Wyndene”, which is now Number 52, Caledon Road, Sherwood. He entered the High School on September 23rd 1909, at the age of ten. He was always known by his many friends as “Pug” because of his upturned nose.

clarkson zzzzzzz

Donald played for the Football 1st XI as a goalkeeper during the last ever term of the sport at the High School. He was a replacement for Roy Henderson, who, by his own admission “..did horribly.., conceding eight goals… for the First Team in an away game at Trent College.” Both of them were in the Fifth Form, Year 11, at the time. In one unrecorded year, Donald was also the High School Fives champion. This is the Fives Court, which was demolished during the 1980s.

best fives

The only other specific mention of him that I have been able to find is in a rather surreal report about a meeting of the Debating Society on Saturday, February 27th 1915, when the school magazine stated that “Mr.Barber was glad Mr.Clarkson had a long arm.” Perhaps you had to be there.

Donald left in December 1915, and then seems to have gone to University College, Nottingham where he immediately joined their Officer Training Corps. After that, he went to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst where, in his passing out examination in early 1918, he was placed first of all the candidates in the college and was awarded the King’s Sword and the King’s Medal.

On April 23rd 1918, Donald became a Second Lieutenant in the 1/6th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.

Capture commission clarkson

Just four months later, Donald was killed in action on August 9th 1918.  He is buried in Fouquières Churchyard Extension in France.  This cemetery is in the village of Fouquières-les-Béthune, about one kilometre to the south-west of Béthune in the Pas-de-Calais.

clarkson grasveyard

Donald’s death is commemorated on the memorial of University College, Nottingham’s Officer Training Corps as well as the High School’s war memorial.

Like the two other casualties in the photograph of the OTC, he was just nineteen years of age.

I was a teacher in the High School for thirty eight years. Neither there, nor in the rest of my life, do I ever recollect knowing anybody who was called “Clarkson”. On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, a simple search for any casualty with the surname “Clarkson”, in the Great War, in the Army, yields 226 results.

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The Officer Training Corps 1915 Part One

This photograph shows the Officer Training Corps in 1915. You might be forgiven for thinking that they are all far too young to have left the High School, to have immediately joined the army, trained as officers, gone to the Western Front and then been killed. But you would be wrong. This time, it was only three dead out of twelve though, and this represents a much better casualty rate than the rugby team of Boxing Day, 1913. On the other hand, though, it is still a staggering 25%!

otc 1915

On the back row of the photograph are, from left to right, F.A.Bird, J.R.Coleman, D.J.Clarkson, J.Marriott, A.W.Barton, G.R.Ballamy, S.I.Wallis and W.D.Willatt.

On the front row are, from left to right, L.W.Foster, V.G.Darrington, Second Lieutenant J.L.Kennard, Captain G.F.Hood, Second Lieutenant L.R.Strangeways, G.James and R.I.Mozley.

In 1915, the High School, according to the anonymous writer of some reminiscences about school life at the time, was a place:

“…dominated by the War and its effects. Masters disappeared and were replaced by women teachers, the Officer Training Corps underwent intensive training, and the School Flag seemed to be constantly at half-mast for Old Boys, many of whom had left us only a few months before.”

Only a year earlier, before August 1914, the O.T.C. had been poorly equipped and they frequently complained of the lack of equipment, both rifles and bayonets. Over the course of the war, however, the O.T.C. was to take on a much greater importance. According to the “History of the Corps”, written fifty years later by a member of staff, Mr.A.G.Duddell:

“By 1913 the O.T.C. had become a well-established organisation in the school, and while it had exchanged its picturesque uniform, of which the wide-awake hat with green puggaree and plume of black feathers was a striking feature, for the more conventional khaki tunic with flat peaked cap, knee-breeches and puttees, it had also become a contingent of the Officers’ Training Corps (Junior Division)…The reality of war brought a great increase in numbers, and gave urgency to the training ; parties of cadets were taken for camps at Barton-in-Fabis and field exercises were carried out on the Gotham Hills. Field Days then, and for many years after, were held at Ramsdale Park, and as no transport was available in the early days, much of the time, and energy, was used for the five mile long march out and back. Later the position was eased, but at first only by special trams between the Forest and Daybrook Square. Another handicap of those earlier days was the state of the School playground, the surface of which consisted of the raw sandstone rock, with a covering of loose sand. Uneven at all times, from dust in dry weather, it became a quagmire after rain.”

The senior officers in the O.T.C., Mr Leggett of the Preparatory School and Mr Lloyd Morgan, were among the first to join up in 1914, becoming Captain and Lieutenant, in the 11th Service Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and the 2nd Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment respectively. The school magazine hoped that:

“they will both have a “smack” at the enemy and return safely again.”

Ironically, Messrs Leggett and Morgan had been the two prime movers in favour of the school’s switch from football to rugby in December 1914. Here is one of the oldest photographs of a school rugby team that I have been able to find. It was taken around 1924:

rugger xxxxx

Presumably, if they had got to the Front in time, Messrs Leggett and Morgan would have been able to encourage the soldiers during the Christmas Truce to forget the football and play rugby across no-man’s-land.

As soon as they left, the O.T.C. was taken over by Captain Hood, assisted by Mr Kennard. I could not write a biography of Captain Hood, but I can recount one or two occasions when his name was on people’s lips. He had come to the school in 1908 as a teacher of Chemistry, or “Stinks” as it was nicknamed at this time. Mr Hood’s own nickname was “Freddy”, although I have been unable to trace his real first name. After three years in charge of the O.T.C., he finally received his very own chance to have “a “smack” at the enemy”, although by now it was a rather unsporting enemy who was using phosgene, chlorine and any other “Stinks” that could kill human beings in large numbers. Luckily though, the call came as late as July of 1918 so the chances are that Captain Hood may not have seen a lot of action during his spell with the Royal Engineers. A more sinister interpretation would be that when the Royal Engineers sent for somebody with a degree in Chemistry, they themselves were the ones trying to manufacture poison gas in larger quantities and at a faster rate than the Germans:

16-Gas-Attack-Getty

In 1925, the School was feeling the financial pinch and seems to have been, on occasion, extremely strapped for cash. Mr Hood, along with Mr Betts, offered to install electric lighting in part of the school while their classes were taking examinations. The offer was eagerly accepted, presumably in the days before that fateful phrase, “Health and Safety” had quite the ring to it that it has now.

A few years later, Mr Hood must have become a pastoral tutor, since, on Monday, July 6th 1931, in an effort to improve the general behaviour of one Burton of 2C, he put in him detention for receiving “too many detentions”.  On Tuesday, April 5th 1932, Mr Hood, accompanied by Mr Houghton, took a group of thirty boys to visit the Home Brewery in Daybrook. They saw the entire brewing process, from barley to the finished product. At the end of the visit, the boys were given sandwiches and soft drinks, while the delighted teachers “sampled the real stuff”:

home alse zzzzzzzz

In July 1946, Mr Hood retired after decades of service to the school. After 38 years as a dedicated teacher, his departure was marked in the school magazine by a warm tribute and farewell which lasted for just a line and a half of print, and must have been quite a bit short of one word for every year.

Second Lieutenant J.L.Kennard had the first name Joseph. He had come to the school in November 1910, and had previously been a teacher in Switzerland. He was a famous sportsman, having captained Lancashire at rugby, and having played for the North of England in an England trial. Here he is, on the left, with Mr Onion the groundskeeper and the First XV after the Great War in 1926-1927:

1926 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Inside the classroom, Mr Kennard was a teacher of Modern Languages and his nickname was “Guts”. When Mr E.P.Gaskin, the Head of Languages, retired in July 1927, he was succeeded by Mr Kennard. Around this time, Mr Kennard became the Housemaster of Mellers.

When war again came knocking at the school doors in 1939, the school had enormous difficulties carrying on with the ordinary day-to-day teaching because a large number of classrooms were being used by the men of the South Notts Hussars. By the Spring Term of 1940, Mr Kennard, along with Mr Duddell, came up with an emergency schedule, which allowed a full timetable of lessons to be taught, although every form had to spend one day per week at the Games Field, with normal classes in the mornings and then games in the afternoon:

sp day

The masters, who in many cases were forced to commute the mile and a half between the main school and the Games Field by bicycle, were somewhat less than happy with this situation. In 1941 when Mr Goddard retired, Mr Kennard was appointed Second Master. He had himself retired as the school rugby coach in 1939, although he was soon forced to resume these duties at the age of sixty by the absence of younger members of staff who were away in the forces. Mr Kennard finally retired in 1947.  After a splendidly long retirement, he died on Sunday, January 5th 1969, at the age of eighty-seven, after a short illness:

“sentiment had little place in his character, and his guiding principles were devotion to duty, loyal service and firm discipline”

Second Lieutenant L.R.Strangeways had come to the High School in 1908 as just Leonard Ralph Strangeways. He was a teacher of Classics and had been educated at Sheffield Royal Grammar School:

sheffield magazine

By late 1916, he was helping to produce food for the starving population of a U-boat beleaguered Britain:

“An area of some three quarters of an acre was cultivated by the boys at Woodthorpe. Despite being a “very uncompromising clay dump”, it was eventually to produce much fresh food. One member of staff, Mr Strangeways, a Classics teacher, dug so energetically that he “not only shattered one spade in sunder, and so bent another that it was impossible to discern which side was which, but also succeeded in unearthing an ancient Roman broom.”

Two years later, in January 1918, “The Highvite” carried the humorous story about two prefects and one teacher:

“Barton, Bird and Co Ltd. had an advertisement for poisons, the quality of which was endorsed by Mr Strangeways.”

Mr Strangeways left the school in 1918. He went to Bury Grammar School where he was Headmaster from 1919-1936. The school still has its Strangeways Library.

In my next blog post about this photograph, I will try to find out what happened to the boys in the years after it was taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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