MODERN SCHOOL - Memorials
War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
copyright © 2001 Martin Edwards
grateful thanks to Bedford Modern School
for allowing the reproduction of
various photographs and articles from the Eagle,
the research information
supplied by Richard Wildman, the Archivist and many others.
School circa 1907
Modern School originally stood on the site of the now Harpur Centre in
Bedford. The school itself moved to Manton Lane, Bedford in 1974. Here
there are a myriad of memorials that are listed below.
& copyright BMS
Memorial Hall (1923) with portrait of Lt. Col. Mobbs DSO.
This picture was
taken in 1953 and
forms part of the BMS Archives.
Plate originally unveiled 1904, with nine names, one of whom was not killed, and
another of whom has no apparent military connection. Location: School Entrance
Bedford Modernian's (OBM's) who died in the Boer War
Information relating to
the Boer War Memorial Plaque with reference to the 'The Eagle' (School
Journal) and Alumni lists. Many OBMs served in South Africa, and some
sent accounts of their experiences to the editor (probably W M 'Billy'
Marsh). No member of the school fought in the Boer War but a number of
Old Boys were involved. The Eagle for 1900 and 1901 contains correspondence
detailing the conditions in war. Nine OBM's were killed in the conflict
and a memorial plaque that was unveiled by Dr. Robert Burton Poole (Headmaster
1887-1900) in April 1904 commemorates them. None of these men appear on
the Bedfordshire Boer War Memorial. Certain information has been taken
from the Old Boys Register 1900 and other from "THE LAST POST:
OFFICERS WHO FELL IN SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1902" by Mildred G Dooner,
published by Naval & Military Press.
Horse. Died of peritonitis. Krugersdorp - The Eagle, March 1901
p.4. Lived at 2 Park View. Foster Hill Road, Bedford. At school
from 2nd Term 1891 to 2nd Term 1899. In the First IV., Rowing,
1898. First XV, Rugby, 1898.
3244, Cape Mounted Rifles. Killed in action, Dordrecht, near Bird's
River, 16 February 1900 - The Eagle, March 1900 pp. 247-8, June
1900 pp. 290-1, November 1900 p. 327. He was in School House.
Started 2nd Term 1893, left 2nd Term 1896. In the First Xv, Rugby,
Volunteer Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action,
Reitz, early 1901 (Lance-corporal) - The Eagle, July 1901 p.52
774, Imperial Light Horse. Killed in action. Ventersdorp, aged
27, 1st August 1900 - No entry in The Eagle card-index but 'Killed
in action. Ventersdorp (aged 27) 1901' according to handwritten
note (probably by H E Vipan) in BMS Register 1900. At
school from 2nd Term 1881 to 2nd Term 1888.
W D] Wilhelm Arthur David
Lieutenant, 2nd Battalion, Royal Lancashire Regiment. Killed in
action, at Vryheid, 11th December 1900 - The Eagle March 1901
p.4. He was the eldest son of W.A. Lippert, of Eastbourne. Born
October 1878. At school from 3rd Term 1890 to 3rd Term 1895. In
the First IX., Cricket, 1895. First XV, Rugby, 1894-5. Entered
the Royal Lancaster Regiment from the 4th Battalion, Somersetshire
Light Infantry April, 1900, being promoted lieutenant, August
1900. Lieutenant Lippert was in charge of a part of 10 men on
outpost duty, who were suddenly attached on a dark morning about
2.15. His conduct is stated to be most gallant. There were four
outposts, and these were all fiercely attached by the enemy, but,
owing to the splendind resistance made by the outposts, the troops
in the rear were not seriously pressed. Lieutanant Lippert is
buried at Vryheid.
Sergeant 947, Robert's Horse. Died of enteric fever, 6th June
1900 at Florida, South Africa- The Eagle, 1900 p.327. At
school from 3rd Term 1889 to 3rd Term 1893. In the First IV.,
Rowing, 1898. First XV, Rugby, 1898.
24th Company, 8th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry Killed in action
at Dehoop, north-east of Calvinia, 6th February 1902 - At school
from 1st Term 1885 to 1st Term 1889. Lived in Ware, Hertfordshire.
He first served as a trooper, but was afterwards granted a commission,
and was appointed to the 8th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, as
a lieutenant, October 12th, 1901, with the rank of lieutenant
in the army.
1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Died of wounds
received in reconnaissance made by Col. Gough, 9th Lancers, at
Belmont 10th November 1899. Aged 23. He was the youngest son of
J. Taylor Wood (a Captain in the Confederate Army during the American
Civil War), grandson of General R C Wood, U.S. Army and great
grandson of Zachary Taylor, President of the United States of
America. Lived in Spenser Road, Bedford. Born March 1876 - No
entry in The Eagle card-index. At school from 3rd Term 1886 to
3rd Term 1899. Educated at Royal Military College, Kingston. He
entered the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in September, 1896,
being promoted lieutenant May, 1899, and was serving with his
battalion in South Africa on the outbreak of war. He was then
sent to Orange River with the Mounted Infantry, and was killed
in his first action.
but not on memorial
1st Term 1895 and left 2nd Term 1889. R.M.C. at Sandhurst 1890.
Played for the First XV at Rugby 1888. Killed in the Mashonaland
1st Term 1876 and left 2nd Term 1879. Died of enteric fever during
the siege of Mafeking, 1900.
3rd Term 1890 and left 3rd Term 1896. Lived in Foster Hill Road,
Bedford. Died of enteric fever at Kimberley, 1900 with Paget's
but not killed
Yeomanry - was not killed in the Boer War. He later joined the
South African Constabulary, won the MC in the First World War,
fought for the Whites in the Russian civil war, and died on 2
May 1936 in Istanbul after 'a severe operation.' The Eagle, July
1936. p.469. 'How [the mistake] arose is not clear at this distance
tablets containing 167 incised names originally unveiled 1923. Location: Under
covered area between Kaye and Liddle Quads. See separate page for transcription
The Eagle Millennium published by BMS.
Throughout hostilities The
Eagle contained communications from Old Boys ín the various theatres
of war and published regular lists of casualties and awards. In every
issue the Roll of Honour provided a biography of each OBM killed. which
included his war service and achievements at school.
In all, 167 OBMs died on active service just under 14% of those who
joined up. The oldest casualty was Lt Col Sir George Farrar. Bt. who
had left in 1875. and
the best known was Lt Col Edgar Mobbs. DSO. CO of the 7th Battalion
of the Northamptonshire Regiment. His charisma and leadership was transferred
from the rugby field to the battlefield and he was killed on 31 July
1917 at Zilleheke in the Battle of Passchendaele. Immiedìately prior
to his death he had met Lt Norman Spencer, a fellow OBM. and in the
heat of battle the pair had reminisced about rugby and mutual acquaintances
at school. Spencer witnessed Mobbs' heroic effort: ‘In the tornado of
hostile shelling he got ahead and seeing a number of his men cut down
by an undiscovered machine-gun strong-point, he charged to bomb it,
certain death under such a terrific hail of shell.’ Mobbs’ body was
never found and he is severally commemorated. on the list of the missing
at the Menin Gate. on the school memorial tablets, by a public memorial
in Northampton, by the
trophy and by the annual rugby fixture between Northampton and the Barbarians
played in his
There was a strong feeling at the time that Mobbs deserved a VC for
his action. Amongst OBMs that honour belongs to Major George Wheeler
who was awarded a posthumous VC for his
1915. At the end of the war
published a comprehensive list of decorations and amongst these were
32 DSO's and 57
One member of staff, H E Crane, died of his wounds in October 1916.
Languages for a year before volunteering in April 1916, one of the last
to do so before conscription
severely wounded in the leg and died in Lincoln Military Hospital soon
panels containing 126 incised names originally unveiled 1948. Also
Memorial Book in glass-topped display case (see below under Berkeley)
containing photograph of each person with brief details of early
career and war record (page turned daily in termtime by Custodian,
usually from Year 10 or 11). Location: Specially constructed alcove
in School Entrance Foyer. See separate page for transcription
courtesy & copyright BMS
Second World War Memorial (1948), with portrait of
Major Wheeler VC. This picture was taken in 1953 and
forms part of the BMS Archives.
The Eagle Millennium published by BMS.
The first OBM casualty was Lt G B Grey who was killed in November
1939. and the following Easter The Eagle reported that ‘like old
war horses sniffing at the battle, quite a number who served in
the Great War are serving in this.’
in the Great War, The Eagle published lists of serving Old Boys.
decorations awarded and obituaries of those killed. From Easter
1942 an additional feature was a record of prisoners of war together
with locations. The most famous OBM PoW was Capt Richard Howe,
MC, who had left school in 1929 and was taken prisoner at Calais
during the fall of France. After persistent escape attempts, he
was consigned to Colditz and became Escape Officer, 1942-5, masterminding
the increasingly elaborate escape schemes.
By the end of the war over 1200 Old Boys had seen military service
and 126 had been killed, a casualty rate of almost 10%. An addition
to the Memorial Hall was made, with 126 names carved on oak panels
in an alcove and the Memorial Book which contained photographs
and personal details of all Old Boys who were killed. This was
unveiled on 3 October 1948, in the presence of two former headmasters,
H W Liddle and A C Powell. The latter. who gave the address, had
been present at the dedication of the original memorial in 1923.
As Canon Powell he would dedicate the Harpur Memorial Window on
11 November 1959."
AND VICTORY CLOCK
is wrongly ascribed to Bedford School in the Duxford list. The clock was
subscribed to by OBM's and friends and placed in the front elevation of
the entrance tower of the old BMS in Harpur Street to commemorate both
the end of the War and the visit to Bedford (though not to BMS) of the
King and Queen in June 1918. The clock face is still in situ but the mechanism
has been replaced. There is an inscription inside the tower entrance,
usually obscured by a flower-seller's stock.
Douglas Arthur SIMCOX (1st Bttn, Gloucestershire Regt)
only known OBM casualty of the Korean War. Wooden plaque fixed inside
the Second World War Memorial alcove (see above). Unveiled c 1981. Lieutenant
P/397307, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment attached to The
Gloucestershire Regiment. Killed in action 16th February 1951, listed
in the London Gazette 3rd March 1951. Buried
at UN Memorial Cemetery. Plot 4, Row 2, Grave 126. Constable in the
Bedfordshire Constabulary. See also Kempston
Barracks and Bedfordshire
COL. Edgar Roberts MOBBS DSO (1882-1917 - BMS 1892-98)
& copyright BMS
Colonel, 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment who was killed in action in
the Battle of Passchendale on
Tuesday, 31st July 1917 charging an enemy machine-gun post. Age 37. Son of Oliver
L. and Elizabeth Anne Mobbs, of Northampton. At school from 2nd Term 1892 to 3rd
Term 1898 - lived at Olney, Buckinghamshire. Former England International Rugby
Football player. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). Commemorated on
Yres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 43 and 45.
See also Olney and Northampton
size (three-quarter) posthumous portrait by Barbara Chamier, originally
unveiled 1925. Location: Corridor adjacent to School Entrance Foyer.
'The Millennium Eagle' published by BMS.
has been ninety years since Edgar Mobbs played rugby for England. At school he
was regarded as the greatest sportsman BMS ever produced and was a hero to every
man and boy who played, and loved the game, of rugby football. He had a natural
aptitude for the game, to which he added great technical skill. Since he could
run 100 yards in a little over 10 seconds, it was not surprising that he became
a wing three-quarter of genius.
1904 he was invited to play at Northampton and only a year later he was made captain.
He played for the East Midlands and the Barbarians before being awarded an England
cap against Wales in 1909. The new cap was said to be majestic and full of a will
to win: his legendary status was born. In 1909 he captained his country against
the touring Australians.
was a charismatic leader and at the outbreak of the First World War he personally
raised a company of volunteers of the Northampton Regiment, known as 'Mobbs Own'.
He was killed in the battle of Passchendale, charging an enemy machine-gun post.
Today there stands a memorial to him in Northampton bearing the words '...By subscriptions
of admirers the world over, to the memory of a great and gallant soldier and sportsman,
Lieutenant-Colonel E R Hobbs.' His name is also commemorated in the annual Mobbs
Memorial Match between the East Midlands and the Barbarians."
George [Godfrey] Massy WHEELER VC
- BMS 1896-91
six (three quarter) posthumous portrait by Barbara Chamier, originally unveiled
1925. Location: as for Lt Col Mobbs. (See Second World War Memorial above for
picture). NOTE: Bedford School also had a Major G Wheeler VC, who
survived (no relation to the OBM Wheeler).
7th Hariana Lancers, Indian Army. Killed in action 13th April 1915.
Aged 42. On 12 April 1915 at Shaiba, Mesopotamia, Major Wheeler took
out his squadron in an attempt to capture a flag which was the centre-point
of a group of the enemy who were firing on one of our picquets. He advanced,
attacked the enemy's infantry with the lance, and then retired while
the enemy swarmed out of hidden ground, and formed an excellent target
for the Royal Artillery guns. On 13 April Major Wheeler led his squadron
to the attack of the North Mound. He was seen far ahead of his men,
riding straight for the enemy's standards but was killed in the attack.
Awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his valour in Mesopotamia in
1915. See the Victoria
Cross Reference site for more details and picture.
LT [P] Henry Robert Anthony Cheyne BERKELEY [RNVR]
This is not
a separate memorial. His grandmother Mrs Bromley gave the display case
for the Second World War
Memorial Book in his memory. Sub Lt Berkeley's father, Captain Reginald
Berkeley MC MP (OBM) had unveiled the First World War memorial.
Robert Anthony Cheyne BERKELEY, Sub-Lieutenant, 0/6050, His Majesty's
Motor Torpedo Boat (HMMTB) 417, Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve
who died on Thursday, 16th March 1944. Age 21. Son of Reginald Cheyne
Berkeley and Gwendoline Judith Louise Berkeley. Buried in Coxyde Military
Cemetery, Koksijde, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave V. H. 1.
(except Simcox and the clock) were brought from the old BMS site to the
present one in 1974. Dr Muncaster, Head of History, wrote an article on
'BMS in Uniform' for the 1999 edition of The Eagle.
6 October, 2006