Lest We Forget
Warwick School has two towering memorial stones in Chapel to remember the Old Warwickians who died in the First and Second World Wars. At the time, the school worked hard to trace every casualty, and ensure no-one was missed from the list of names. However, this was not an easy task; the World Wars were huge, international conflicts, fought long before the advent of easy, instant communication. And tragically, we now know that a number of names were missed off these original memorial stones.
The annual whole school act of remembrance took place in Warwick Hall at 11 o’clock this morning. The focus of this years’ service was on 13 members of the school community whose names are now recorded on a new war memorial which will be ‘unveiled’ in Sunday evening’s Service of Remembrance.
In 2018 to mark the centenary of Armistice Day we decided to compile as accurate a database as possible of the school’s casualties in both World Wars. Following five years of research, our archivist Gervald Frykman identified 8 additional students of Warwick School, and 5 members of the non-teaching staff, who gave their lives in the World Wars but who were not recorded alongside their peers and colleagues on the original memorials.
The ‘missing’ First World War casualties are:
Eric Walker, a pupil at Warwick School who was a fine singer. He died in Northern France on 29th December 1915.
Herbert Davies, served with distinction at Gallipoli, Egypt and in Palestine and died on 3rd November 1917 shortly after becoming an officer. He is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery.
Francis Edward Smith grew up at number 14 Wedgnock Green, off Cape Road in Warwick. After attending Warwick School, he went off to Cambridge University. He died of his wounds on 18th November 1918 just after the war had ended.
Frank Kent grew up in Sri Lanka and was a boarder at Warwick School. He died in March 1917; his body was never found.
James Faulkes lived on the Saltisford in Warwick. He was 22 when he died on the Somme on 23rd July 1916.
Roger Duffield-Brownson was a linesman for the rugby team and scorer for the cricket team. After Warwick he attended Cambridge University and went on to qualify as a doctor. He got married and started a family. Upon the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served as surgeon in France from 1915. In France he was subjected to the terror of a gas attack and would never quite recover from the lung damage he sustained on the battlefield. Eventually dying of pneumonia in India on 21st October 1918
The missing names from the Second World War are:
Ralph Hart, worked at Warwick School before leaving to join the RAF. He died on 18th December 1940.
Leonard Glover-Price, died in a bombing mission over Germany on 29th June 1943.
John Harper, worked at Warwick School and lived in Leamington with his wife and children. His plane was shot down on 31st July 1943. He is buried in Germany.
George Faulkner worked at Warwick School. His Lancaster bomber was shot down over Germany on 29th December 1944.
Kenneth Hardiman worked at Warwick School before becoming a pilot in the Royal Navy, operating from aircraft carrier HMS Victorious his plane crashed during the assault on Okinawa and he was lost at sea on 17th May 1945.
Harold Clarke grew up in Leamington and was a pupil at Warwick School. He was a navigator in the RAF. His plane went missing on 24th July 1942, and his body was found.
Jack Coles was a pupil at Warwick from 1932 to 1939. He was a talented sportsman. He was captain of the first team for both rugby and cricket. He was in Greville house, and in 1938 came 3rd place in the house cross-country. Jack joined the RAF for the war and became a pilot. His plane crashed in Iceland on 10th June 1943. He was 22 years old.
That the deaths of more than a dozen members of our school community have only now come to our attention, so long after the wars, speaks to the tragedy of war. That death should become so commonplace that the violent death of a young man should pass un-noticed by his school is difficult to comprehend. On Armistice Day and at a time when the world is once more engulfed by war, and acts of military violence dominate the news headline’s the tragic stories of these ‘forgotten’ Warwickian’s are a poignant reminder of the human tragedy of armed conflict and an endorsement of the words of Mahatma Ghandi;
‘I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good it does is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.’
Let us hope that as the world unites in recalling the past this weekend, we can learn from history, remember our shared humanity and find a peaceful solution to our disagreements.