|15 Nov 2021|
The RGS Worcester Archives contain a wealth of information about former pupils, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We have recently been exploring our Archives and, with the help of an excellent book written by Alumnus Mark Rogers (1963-70), have been able to tell the stories of some of those who were killed during the Great War.
The above photograph is the 1911 1st XI Football Team, of which two members were killed in action during WWI:
Archibald Edward Gibbs (back row, second from left) – Archibald (1904-12) and his brother, Gilbert (1902-08), were both pupils at RGS having grown up on Sunnyside Rd in Barbourne. Unfortunately the brothers were to die within days of each other in April 1917 – Archibald during the Salonika Campaign in Greece where he was serving with the 11th Worcestershire Regiment, and Gilbert in France where he was serving with the Somerset Light Infantry. The bodies of the brothers were never found, but they have been memorialised at St Barnabas Church, Worcester; on the Perrins Hall Memorials; and at their respective places of death.
Edgar William Venner (bottom row, last on the right) – Edward (1909-12) was a member of the 16th Manchester Battalion, otherwise known as the “Manchester Pals”, who had “gone over the top” on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. His date of death is recorded as 9 July 1916, though his body was never found and it is likely he was killed on 1 July – the first day of the battle.
Above is a portrait of Private Laurence Barnard Carlton. Laurence (1906-08) was the only son of the High Sheriff, Mayor of Worcester, and Alderman of the City, Arthur Carlton. He studied dentistry at university and enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps in August 1914 at the outbreak of war. He was sent to Gallipoli where he was part of an expeditionary force and attached to their nursing section, and was killed whilst attending to an injured soldier. For his bravery he was mentioned in Despatches, and after the war his parents had him memorialised in a window in the Worcester Cathedral Cloisters (below)
Our Archives also contain a collection of medals, two of which were awarded to Private A Y Lees. These are the Victory Medal (rainbow) and the British War Medal (blue and orange). We have no information about Private Lees, other than knowing he was and active member of the WRGS OTC during his time at the School, and he was luckily not one of the former pupils who lost his life during WWI. If anyone in our alumni community has any information, we would love to hear from you.
All former pupils who lost their lives in WWI are commemorated on the Memorial Boards in Perrins Hall
Finally, we have a copy of an article about the AOS cellars, which were used as an ARP shelter during WWII. We've heard many tales of the drawings on the walls in the cellar and the connection between the School and Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), so it's fabulous to find some contemporary information about the Alice in Wonderland theme that was given to the shelter in order to make the children less afraid. Unfortunately, we're unable to locate the original article, and the drawings have long since disappeared, so we'll just have to use our imagination to try and picture how they looked.
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