School History

Christmas 1917

Volume XI Christmas 1917 No. 63


Editorial

We beg to apologise for the inconvenience caused owing to the recall of the Summer Number of the "Sotoniensis".  We understood that the Germans knew all about the Mill's bomb; but apparently they did not!

War Notes

We regret to announce the death of one of our most distinguished Old Boys, Sir Charles Pardey Lukis, K.C.S.I., M.D., F.R.C.S., at the age of 60.  He was in the Sixth Form during the headmastership of the late Mr Hankin.  He received his professional education at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and entered the Indian Medical Service in 1880 at the top of the list.  He was with the field forces engaged in Waziristan in 1881 and in the Zhob Valley three years later.  He became Civil Surgeon of Simla in 1899, and was made Honorary Surgeon to the Viceroy. In 1905 he was appointed Principal and Professor of Medicine in the Calcutta Medical College, and in 1910 was made Director-General of the Indian Medical Service. 

His eldest son, also an Old Edwardian, who gave every promise of following his father in a brilliantly successful medical career, took a commission in the London Regiment immediately after the outbreak of the War, and was killed in France in March 1915.

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Lieut. H.C. Littlejohn says: "I am far from civilisation now.  There are no shops and no people except soldiers, and not a house is standing.  It is very desolate, and there is very little to do".

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Second-Lieut. W.L. Boyt writes: "We first went to a very hot part of the line, where fighting was very bitter.  The papers gave no idea of the reality.  Mile after mile of shattered ground, an old city completely in ruins, shell-holes, overlapping, corpses old and new, dead horses, miles of ruined trenches, dug-outs, and then shells, shells, shells -   aeroplanes fighting, dropping bombs and observing, and over all complete desolation - trees smashed to bits, woods and villages no longer existing".

"There are no trenches now; we only had shell holes or old dug-outs to shelter in.  The very first night I was up one of our officers and two men on the next gun to me were killed by a shell.  We found them as soon as it was light, and buried them at once where they lay, and with a 'God rest their souls', carried on with the good work".

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Second-Lieut. G.W.P. McLachlan says: "Last June, at a Divisional Horse Show behind the lines, I bumped into Donald Williamson, who is a sapper man in our Division.  He blew into the officer's canteen, and we had a rare old yarn over other days.  At one time I was quite close to Masters.  I have also met F.W. Parry, a Tauntonian, who, after stopping rather a lot of shell pieces in Gallipoli, came out here.  He is now Intelligence Officer, I believe.  Oh! there was one other, a Bournemouth man, whose name I forget, who remembered me playing against him in the 1913-14 soccer season.  I met him at Amiens one day".

"We did out little share in the show that is still going on up north (maybe you saw us mentioned in the papers in connection with Langemarck). I went "over the top" with the Battalion, and we had quite a good bag of Huns.  Of the four of us who went over, I am the only one left".

"I've had several chances of studying Fritz's morale at close quarters, and I've found that he usually puts his hands up at an average of twenty yards away, sometimes more.  So everyone seems to have a sort of presentiment that it will not be long before we're back playing the Old Boys' Match again".

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Captain W. Anderson although most severely wounded writes from hospital in most cheery fashion: "The Ward Surgeon is a bit of a humourist in his way.  The day before the last operation he informed me of the pending stunt as follows: 'Hullo! You're the bird Ormond wants to carve tomorrow, so don't go out of hospital.  I've told Sister what to do.  Two-thirty sharp in the theatre.  Matinee only.  Bye-bye; will meet you on the table'".

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Second-Lieut. L.A. Leith says: "This letter has been interrupted many times by runner with notes which require attention, and by one of the most thrilling air fights I have ever seen, four of our 'planes engaging nine German machines of great power.  One German was brought down and one of ours crashed just in front of my trench".

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Major W. Bradbeer says the Huns have been up to their old tricks, inventing a new gas composed of mustard oil and some poison which blisters the skin, poisons the blood, and temporarily blinds the unwary.  "For three-quarters of an hour last night I had my gas mask on in bed trying to get some sleep.  Probably you are anxious to know what we out here think of the war?  In my opinion we are doing very well, and by 1918 the Hun ought to be licked easily into submission, with the help of our new Ally - America.  We had a United States Field Artillery officer come to my Battery to learn tips.  He expressed his amazement at the matter-of-course cool-headed way we carried on out here.  Before arriving in France he told us he never realised what we went through.  In America under canvas he thought he roughed it, but that, in his opinion was a palace compared with life in the earth out here.

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C.O. Hooper had a thrilling experience in a recent advance.  He with a small party, were cut off in a German dug-out.  It was a shaky affair, and early in the evening a shell partially wrecked it and destroyed their only candle.  As there was great danger of the whole thing collapsing, it was decided to evacuate it.  The first man out was killed on the spot, the second was wounded; and so it went on.  A few succeeded in getting away.  Owen Hooper was last.  Just as he was preparing to bolt he heard a groan and, groping about in the rear of the dug-out, he came across a severely wounded Tommy.  He rolled him up in a blanket and tried to carry him out, but the entrance was so narrow that he had the greatest difficulty.  At this moment the trench was invaded by a Hun bombing party.  So he retired within, placing the wounded man in a corner near the entrance, and crowded himself in the opposite corner.  Here they waited throughout the night.  When dawn broke he found the wounded man had died.  He succeeded in getting away, but undoubtedly owed his life to the fact that he returned to attempt the rescue.

School Notes

Owing to the number of boys who now attend the School (there being just under 290) a new classroom had to be formed.

We are very sorry to announce that the Tuck Shop has had to be done away with; but only for the duration of the war, let it be noted.