Roll of Honour 1914-1918
Every Friday nearest to Remembrance Day the school holds its own service and as part of this service the names of all the former pupils who gave their lives in defence of their country are read aloud as part of our personal act of remembrance.
It is my intention to provide the stories behind the names. When were they born? When were they pupils at Shoreham? Who were their parents? What can we find out about their time at school? What can we find out about their military careers? Where are they buried?
I have made numerous attempts at finishing this project and it is still far from complete. However, I am hoping this initial project will be picked up by fellow enthusiasts who will manage to find many of the missing pieces.
My first task was to trace when the pupils attended Shoreham and the first Registration Book in the schools possession started in 1899. (The year that Mr Gregory-Taylor took over the school.) Therefore we are unable to trace boys who were at the school before that time and subsequently died in the First World War.
This first Registration Book has proved invaluable but sadly there are many years of entries when only a surname has been entered without initials, date of birth, address or name of parents. (Unfortunately for researchers school inspectors were not very vigilant during this time.)
It would have been useful if we had a few more school magazines “The Record”. Sadly the few we have available have only enabled us to take a glimpse of the sacrifice just a few years later.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have an excellent website that has enabled us to trace the burial places of most of those who died in the First World War. Sadly, with a few of the Old Boys we have just not been able to find their places of rest. I am sure however, that in future years research techniques will have improved further to enable someone else to carry on this work.
As I carried out this research I found myself being disappointed with the number of errors in the information the school published. With such problems as Old Boys listed as dead but then removed from the list. Obviously this was good news for the people concerned but a bit worrying for the historian. Spelling varied, first names changed and in one particular case with H. Roades he is currently appearing as H. Thoades. But I had not appreciated just how difficult it was for the school to collate the information provided. Who provided the information? Was it the next of kin or was it a fellow school friend passing on information heard from somewhere else. And this makes me wonder just how many more Old Boys were killed in either of the wars without it being recorded.
Future researchers may be tempted to check all pre-war registrations with the Commonwealth War Games Commission. It will be a big task but I am sure it will be rewarding.
Several poignant observations deserve a special mention. Of the fifty three Old Boys who died in the First World War there were four sets of brothers and it is possible that with the Wheeler family it may have been three brothers who lost their lives.
From an Old Shorehamer point of view I found it moving that one or two Old Boys found themselves unknowingly sharing the same military cemeteries in France.
The saddest part of this project for me was the imbalance in my final results. One or two Old Boys were much easier to research and therefore appear to be more significant than with those Old Boys with whom I have been unable to find out any further information at this time. This is purely a reflection of my own research ability which will hopefully encourage others to pick up the torch.
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