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Old Epsomians in the First World War
 
 

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Here we intend to build up a collection of sources about the exploits of our boys in the First World War. Primary research suggests that over 950 Old Epsomians served in uniform, many of them most heroically, but we also find that 155 had fallen, while in Michaelmas Term 1914 the College numbered just 276 boys.

Such a death toll was in no way unusual for Public Schools, but still we must ask whether, if the College had not taught the values of its age - patriotism, self-sacrifice and obligation - the toll would have been so great. The creation of the Rifle Corps in 1889 must be of particular interest here.

There are very many sad stories, and we have highlighted just a few. The career and death of Archie Paxton is a good example of what happened to very many boys, and we lost many on the Somme battlefield of whom 12 are commemorated as 'lost' at Thiepval.

Equally there are the heroes, such as Roland Bradford V.C., M.C., the youngest ever general in the British Army - a Brigadier General at 25 who did not live to 26. Young 'Hughie' Glyn Hughes, recommended for the V.C. three times, but denied it because his exploits in tending to the wounded took place out of sight in no-man's land. But really the story is of the heroism of the ordinary junior officer, medic or not, 'doing his bit'.

Over the next few years, from 2013 to 2018, we are rennung a public research project, to which you are invited to contribute. On the left you will find a button 'Known to have served' which takes you to a list of about 950 Epsomians known to have contributed during the First World War. Our aim is to find out what each did, with particular reference to stories, which can be told to future Epsomians. We would like factual details, remembrances, photographs and anything else which we can add to this bare record. If you can help, please register your interest by E-mailing me (a-scadding@epsomcollege.org.uk). Information can be sent in by E-mail, while the list will be regularly updated.