President Mike Lax
SVP Simon Farrell
A background from Bob:
Firstly, my interest in the Great War stems from the fact that my father's elder brother was killed in the Battle of the Somme - a fact that I had absorbed as a kid then "back-burnered" until a throw away remark to my father when my eldest son was doing a history project on the Great War kick-started the interest and the rest, as they say is history (sorry, no pun intended - much!)
As a result, I have been involved in many and various events, including for and on behalf of the Royal British Legion, run guided tours for coach parties and small groups to the battlefields and also found myself seeking out soldiers for their relatives and regimental associations from around the globe. What started this was Phil's [Swann] fault when he arranged for a few of us to meet up for John Loarridge's 82nd birthday. After a splendid evening of several bottles and reminiscences which Phil may remember...., my wife suggested that we should visit the Old Boys on the school Roll of Honour - and as I always have to have the last word, I said "Yes, dear."
There are over 70 Old Boys who died in the Great War and who are "Honoured by Name on Big School Wall" as the old school song has it. 11 of them I am still researching as, for one reason or another, I cannot positively confirm them as the "right" man - more work will follow!
Of those I can confirm, as many as 23 have no known graves and are named on Memorials to the Missing, including11 on the Thiepval Memorial; 2 on the Arras Memorial; 2 on the Arras Flying Services Memorial; 3 on the Tyne Cott Memorial; 2 on the Ploegsteert Memorial; 1 on the Teran Memorial; 1 on the Alexandria (Hadra) Memorial; 1 on the Helles Memorial.
Of those who do have known graves, 6 are buried in theatres of war other than the Western front, one each in Jerusalem War Cemetery; Beersheba War Cemetery; Azmak Cemetery, Sulva; Hill 10 Cemetery, Turkey; Gamboa British Cemetery; Donai British Cemetery; Yardley Cemetery; the Churchyard of Saints Mary & Margaret, Castle Bromwich! With the exception of the last two - whom I have already visited - the first six may well not get the dubious pleasure of our company.
Subject to those still being researched, who could be anywhere, the rest are buried on the Western Front. These are they on whom we are concentrating. To date, we have visited and made photographic record of 32 of them. We will be over again in a week's time (for the Battle of the Somme commemorations of 1st July) and again for 11th November, so this number is set to rise.
..........more from Bob as we get it!! Superb and much valued work.
Old Boy, Bob Curry in advance of the centenary of the start of World War 1, obtained a list of the names of Old Boys who fell in the war from the plaque in Big School. He is visiting all of the graves but some are only recorded at Thiepval memorial as no remains were ever found. This is the wreath he placed on behalf of the Old Boys.