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News > From the Archives > Our School Archivist reflects on the Old Brutonians who fell during the First World War

Our School Archivist reflects on the Old Brutonians who fell during the First World War

Andrew Leach, King's Bruton Archivist, remembers the Old Brutonians who fell during WWI.

We can try to imagine what it was like at King’s during the First World War, when the Headmaster, David Norton (junior), would read out the names of the fallen in front of the School at Assembly. The seemingly unending loss of ‘his boys’, as well as his uncle, was hard to bear - indeed the anguish he felt was one of the reasons he stepped down as Headmaster in 1916.

The first Old Boy to lose his life was Harold Hippisley, killed in action at Langemarck, Belgium, on 23rd October 1914. He was 24 years old. The last, was William Rowell, who finally succumbed to his injuries on 22nd May 1919. He was 26. Four Old Brutonians were just eighteen when they were killed - the youngest was Harry Meyer, killed in action at Agagia, Egypt on 26th February 1916, two days after his 18th birthday. The oldest Old Brutonian to die was Frederick Norton, eldest son of the Headmaster, the Rev. D.E. Norton (senior). When he tried to enlist at the outbreak of war he was rejected on grounds of age, but finally he was awarded a commission in the 10th Labour Battalion. He served in France for a year before falling ill and dying in hospital at Abbeville on 14th October 1916. He was 55 years old.

Andrew Leach - School Archivist

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