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Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

BEDFORD MODERN SCHOOL - WW1 Memorial

World War 1 & 2 - Roll of Honour with detailed information
Compiled and copyright © 2001 Martin Edwards

With 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.

FIRST WORLD WAR

Stone tablets containing 167 incised names originally unveiled 1923. Location: Under covered area between Kaye and Liddle Quads.

From 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 sports trophy and by the annual rugby fixture between Northampton and the Barbarians played in his memory. 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 valour in Mesopotamia in 1915. At the end of the war The Eagle published a comprehensive list of decorations and amongst these were 32 DSO's and 57 MC’s. One member of staff, H E Crane, died of his wounds in October 1916. He taught Modern Languages for a year before volunteering in April 1916, one of the last to do so before conscription was introduced. He was severely wounded in the leg and died in Lincoln Military Hospital soon afterwards."

*** STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BEING TRANSCRIBED AND RESEARCHED ***

These names below are OBM's who died in WW1 that should be on the list of men who died.

CAMPION Walter Ernest
Major, 1st Battalion (15th Foot), The East Yorkshire Regiment. Son of the late Henry Campion, of Bletsoe Castle, near Bedford; born 9th August 1871, Dean Bedfordshire. Educated at Bedford Modern School. Gazetted 2nd Lieuteneant East Yorkshire Regiment from the Militia, 122th December 1894, promoted to Lieutenant 1st APril 1897, Captain 10th May 1900 and Major 16th April 1913. Served in South African (Boer War) 1900-2 with the Mounted Infantry where he was slightly wounded. Took part in operations in the Tansvaal in mAy and June, 1900, including actions neat Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill (11th and 12th June) : Operation Wittebergen (1st to 29th July), Bothaville and Caledon River (27th to 29th Nov): operations in Transvaal, west of Pretoria, including action at Frederickstad : was in command of the 5th Battalion, Mounted Infantry from February to March 1902 : took part in the operations in Orange River Colony and Cape Colony 30th November 1900 to March 1901 : operations in Orange River Colony March to September 1901 and October 1901 to April 1902, and those in Cape Colony September to October 1901 and April to 31st May 1902 (mentioned in Desptaches [London Gazette 10th September 1901 and 29th July 1902] : brevet of Major : Queen's Medal with four clasps and King's Medal with two clasps); subsequently served in Burma, India, and with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders : was wounded 20th September 1914 but returned to the front, and was subsequently killed in action near Lille, 28th October 1914. Age 43. Commemorated in Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-d'Armentieres, Nord, France. Special Memorial VI. M. [Soldiers Died in the Great War CD lists him as William Ernest CAMPION].
FARRAR (DSO, Bart)

George Herbert, (Sir)

Colonel, Assistant Quarter Master General to Centre Division of Union of South Africa Forces. Active Citizen Force. Died of wounds 18-5-15, age 56, motor trolley collided with a train at Knibis, near Gibeon, German South West Africa, on 17-5-15. Third son (born 17-6-1859 at Chatteris) of the late Charles Farrar MD, of Chatteris, and Mrs Helen Farrar, of Bedford. An engineer, he went to South Africa in 1879 and lived in the Transvaal. Founder and chairman of East Rand Proprietary Mines Ltd. Took part in Jameson Raid of 1895 and sentenced to death for treason by the Afrikaners, but remitted on payment of £25,000 fine. Awarded DSO (London Gazette 19-4-01) for services during Boer War. Knighted in 1902. MP for Georgetown in the first parliament of Union of South Africa in 1910-11. Created Baronet on 2-2-11. Married Ella Mabel Waylen on 3-6-1893, had six daughters. Bedford Farm Cemetery, Gauteng, South Africa.

From Andy Pay's research into the Marquis de Ruvigny' s Roll of Honour the following:

Volume 1, Part 1, Page 129, FARRAR, Sir George Herbert 1st Bart D.S.O. Colonel and assistant Q.M General - Central Force, Union Defence Forces, late Hon. Col South African Light Horse. Son of the late Charles Farrar, of Chatteris, co Cambridge, M.D. , by his wife Helen, (The Crescent Lodge, Bedford) , sister of Sir Frederick Howard and dau of John Howard. Born Chatteris 17-6-1859, educated Bedford Modern School and on leaving there entered the engineering business of his Uncle Sir Frederick Howard going in 1879 to South Africa to the Port Elizabeth and East London branches. Eight years later he and his brothers established themsleves at Johannesburg, where in a few years he became one of the leading men in the mining industry of the Witwatersrand. His cheif enterprise was the formation of the East Rand Proprietary Mines, of which he was chairman from its inception to the day of his death. He was for some time a member of the Legislative assembly of the Transvaal and Leadre of the opposition. For his share in the Jameson raid he was tried for treason and sentenced to death, but the sentence was remitted on payment of a fine of £25000.

When the South African war broke out he raised two Regiments of South African Horse, and was appointed Major , Kaffrarian Rifles, 1-12-1900 and served in this campaign as major on the staff of the Colonial Division 1899-1900. He took part in the operations in the Orange Free State, including the defence of Wepener, operations in the Transvaal, west of Pretoria, aug to sep 1900, operations in the Orange River Colony 1900 including actions at Wittebergen 1-29 July) and in Cape Colony, south of the Orange River. His services were mentioned in despatches ( London Gazette 16th April 1901 ) and he was awarded the Queens medal with 4 clasps and the D.S.O (1900).

After the conclusion of peace in 1902 he took an active part in the work of re-organisation, and when responsible government was granted to the Transvaal , he was unanimously elected leader of the progressive party in the house of assembly, in opposition to the inistry of General Botha. In 1903 he was elected president of the Witwatersrand Chamber of mines , and took a leading part in the negotiations which led up to formation of The Union of South Africa.

He had been knighted in 1902 and on 2-2-1911 was created a Baronet for his services on this occasion.He was M.P. for Georgetown in the first parliament of the Union of South Africa 1910-11 but in dec 1911 business demands in connection with the east rand co compelled him to retire from political work in order to devote his whole energies to the re-organisation of that enterprise.

When the European war broke out he was in England on a visit and was about to join General Sir Hubert Hamiltons staff with the army in Belgium , but the day before he was to have left he was ordered by the authorities to South Africa. On arrival he was appointed to General McKenzies Force with the rank of Colonel and was despatched to German South West Africa as Assistant Q.M-General.

Proceeding to Luderitz Bay in advance of the main force he was engaged in the organisation of the base camp , and subsequently had charge of the restoration of the railway and of providing the water supply to the force, an operation of primary importance in that country.

On 19th May 1915, he was returning from a tour of inspection when the motor trolley in which he was travelling collided with a construction train at Kuibis , near Gidson, German South West Africa, and Sir George succumbed to his injuries early next morning.

Sir George Farrar was one of the best known men in South Africa to whose advancement he had, by legislative work, by attention to mining process, and to practical sympathy with agricultural, powerfully contributed.

He married at Johannesburg 2-6-1893 , Ella Mabel ( Chicheley Hall, Newport Pagnell,Bucks & Bedford Farm , near Johannesburg , Transvaal), dau of the late Charles William Waylen, I.M.S. and had six daus , Helen Mabel b 2-10-1894, Muriel Frances b 6-4-1896, Gwendeline b 14-7-1897, Georgina Marjorie b 17-8-1901, Kathleen Elizabeth b 9-5-1907 and Ella Marguerite b 28-4-1911.

LEES

Thomas Prior

Major, 9th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles). Killed in action 21st April 1915 in France & Flanders. Age 41. Son of Alfred and Rosa Matilda Lees, of Bedford. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 54. See also Bedford St Peters.

Extract from The Bond of Sacrifice Volume 2 January to June 1915

MAJOR THOMAS PRIOR LEES, 1/9th (COUNTY OF LONDON) BATTN. THE LONDON REGIMENT, (QUEEN VICTORIA'S RIFLES) (T.F.), younger son of the late Alfred Lees and Mrs. Lees, of Bedford, was born on the 3rd September, 1874, at the Old Priory, Bedford.

He was educated at Bedford Modern School, under the Rev. R. B. Poole, P.D. He was head of the school, and proceeded to Clare College, Cambridge, where he was eighth Senior Optime, and took the degree of M.A. He then entered the Civil Service, and on mobilisation he was Assistant Secretary, Civil Service Commission, Burlington Gardens, London. He was fond of tennis, rowing, and music, and studied naval and military history. He joined the Victoria and St. George's Rifles in March, 1889, becoming Lieutenant in September, 1900; Captain in March, 1905 ; and Major in August, 1913; and passed the Army examinations for Field rank. He landed in France with his battalion (now the Queen Victoria's Rifles) in November, 1914, proceeding straight to the trenches, in which he remained, with the usual rest periods, all through the winter. On the night of the 20th-21st April the enemy took the trenches on the top of Hill 60. Major Lees organised and led a night assault with rather more than 100 of his men, afterwards reinforced to 150, drove the Germans out, found he was the senior officer left alive on the hill, and proceeded to conduct the defence. For some hours the enemy made repeated attempts to drive our men out by heavy artillery and machine-gune (sic) fire, bombing and infantry attacks, which were all repulsed. Between 4 and 5 a.m. on the 21st the situation became critical. He left his trench and crossed under a heavy fire to the trenches held by the Bedfordshire Regiment, which the Germans were assaulting, and he was shot through the head and heart while giving orders to hold on, only ten yards from the enemy. He fell into the arms of a Sergeant of the Bedfords and never spoke again. Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Shipley, C.M.G., writes: “He died like a hero, having retaken and made good a position of primary importance which the enemy were on the point of reoccupying. His last gallant charge was as he would have wished it—to the assistance of his county Regiment., the Bedford Regiment. The last words I heard him speak as he led his company off into the trenches were: Now, remember, if anyone is wounded, the others must carry-on—not stop with him. If I am hit, go on I ' It was his initiative and courageous behaviour that has enabled us to hold on to the position. I cannot even attempt to tell you what a stupendous loss this is to the Regiment and myself, but we must console ourselves by remembering and trying to emulate your brother's unswerving devotion to duty and the unflinching gallantry shown by him in all times of stress. His life so earnestly devoted to others will live in our memories for all time."

On the advanced detachment of the Queen Victoria's Rifles being relieved after this action they were found to have lost over seventy-five per cent, of their number killed mid wounded.

MOBBS (DSO) Edgar Roberts


Picture courtesy & copyright BMS

Lieutenant 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. Born 1882. Son of Oliver L. and Elizabeth Anne Mobbs, of Northampton. 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.

Life size (three-quarter) posthumous portrait by Barbara Chamier, originally unveiled 1925 . Location: Corridor adjacent to School Entrance Foyer. BMS 1892-98

From 'The Millennium Eagle' published by BMS.

"It 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.

In 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.

Mobbs 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."

SEDGWICK Arthur Edward

Captain, 5th Battalion (London Rifle Brigade) The London Regiment (Territorial Force). Second son of William George Sedgwick, of Byfield, a draper, by his second wife Jane, daughter of William Thompson, of Eydon ; and brother to Private H Sedgwick (q.c.); born Byfield, Northants, 26th October 1891. Educated Bedford Modern School and employed afterwards as a warehouseman with Messrs. Cook, Son & Co., St. Paul's Churchyard : joined the London rifle Brigade in 1910; volunteered for foreign service at the outbreak of war in August 1914; obtained a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, 26th February 1915; was promoted Lieutenant, 1st February 1916, and Captain in August 1916; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from November 1914 ; spent most of the winter of 1914-15 at Ploegsteert : was wounded abd gassed 2nd May 1915, while the Regiment was holding trenches at Ypres, where they had relieved the Canadians after the first gas attack by the Germans : went back to France in August 1916, and was again wounded while leading his company in an attack on Leuze Wood near Combles on 10th September 1916 and died in the Field Ambulance on the following day, Sunday. Buried at Corbie. His Colonel wrote, "Since he came to us in the 3rd Battalion he has been quite invaluable, and I got to know and appreciate his qualities more fully. He was a born soldier and beside that a most charming comrade ; one does not often come across men like him. i have to ourn the loss of a very gallant friend." and his Major wrote, "We will all miss him terribly : he was a most gallant and excellent officer, and I always knew that any duty or order entrusted to him would be carried out. He had a most charming personality and was universally popular with everyone." A brother officer wrote : "After dark the night he was wounded, I was in my trench when I heard a familiar voice call my name and I found him lying on a stretcher. He knew that he would not live but his thoughts were not for himself at all but only for the Regiment and for those of us still left unharmed." He was a first-class cricketer and tennis-player being captain of the first tennis team at Messrs. cook, Son & Co., and took part in the march to brighton made by a company selected from the L.R.B. in the summer of 1914, when they broke the record for that distance formerly held by the LOndon Scottish : unmarried. Aged 25. Buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie, Somme, France.

SETCHELL

Alfred Knight

Second Lieutenant, 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Died 21st March 1918 in France & Flanders. Age 20. Son of Alfred and Jessie Laura Setchell, of 16, Spenser Rd., Bedford. Educated at Bedford Modern School. Commemorated on ARRAS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 3. See also Bedford St Peters

WHEELER (VC) George [Godfrey] Massy

Major, 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.

Life 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).

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