School Diary – WW1

Extracts from the School Diary during WW1


Aug 17 Reopened school after the summer holidays. The attendance is somewhat low, some of the children being unable to get home on account of difficulty with trains and boats owing to the war, some of the boy scouts being on duty from the cause, and some other children being away from home on account of parents’ holidays.

Nov 3 Mr Councillor A.J. Cheverton, J.P., Chairman of the Southampton Education Committee, attending the opening of the school this morning and afterwards addressed the children on “Why we are at war with Germany”.

Nov 30 A “pound or packet” collection for the benefit of the Red Cross Hospitals in Highfield was made this morning at 9 o’clock and resulted in useful goods to the value of £7.8.0 [now c. £587] being collected.

Dec 21 A collection of gifts for the hospitals, in which three members of the staff act as nurses during the weekends, was made this morning and groceries to the value of nearly £3 [c. £270] were brought in, and dispatched to these institutions.


Jan 22 Received letter from H.M.I. suggesting that the common should be used for organised games for each class. Replied I should be glad to do all I could in that direction when the soldiers had ceased to occupy it.

May 26 The result of an Empire Day collection on behalf of the Soldiers & Sailors amounted to £1.10.0 (now c £119) and this sum has been sent to the organising Secretary of the Overseas Club.
.Oct 6 School closed in the afternoon, because the attendance would be seriously interfered with by the recruiting parade in town.

Oct 25 Miss Bennett resumed her duties today after an absence of 38 weeks. The children today sent a parcel of 60 handkerchiefs and a quantity of cigarettes to the Highfield Lane Red Cross Hospital.

Nov 2 Under direction of the Education Committee and in order to economise in the use of fuel and light, the school will meet for the afternoon session at 1.30pm instead of 2pm until Easter. The lessons are therefore advanced by 30 minutes and the school closes at 3.40pm.

Nov 12 The school today sent 27 sticks to the hospital at Eastleigh for the use of the wounded soldiers.

Nov 16 The school today made a collection of fresh vegetables and fruit for the sailors of the North Sea Fleet. Altogether 4¾ cwts were sent and 9/- in money was sent to the local agent to be expended for the same purpose.

Nov 25 Mr Harrison has enlisted in the army reserve B under Lord Derby’s scheme and is liable to be called up for military service on 14 day’s notice.

Dec 10 The children today sent £1.14.0 to the Over Seas Club for the purpose of sending tobacco and cigarettes to the soldiers and sailors abroad. This makes a total of £22.3.6 raised by the Children for this and similar purposes during the war
Dec 21 At 3.0 the children went into the Church Institute for the annual prize distribution. All prizes were distributed by Councillor A.J. Cheverton JP Chairman of the Southampton Education Committee. Afterwards the Revd. Canon Mitchell, Chairman of the School Managers, unveiled the school Roll of Honour, containing the names of upwards of a hundred old boys who have joined the army or navy and are serving King and Country.

Dec 22 The children today subscribed the sum of £1.3.9 [now c.£94] towards the cost of an invalid chair for a disabled soldier in Highfield.


Jan 10 Owing to the “lighting” regulations made under the “Defence of the Realm Act”, the Head Master gave special instructions to the Caretaker re cleaning after dark.

Mar 16 Mr Harrison today joined the Royal Garrison Artillery for active service and will therefore be absent on leave until further notice.

Mar 20 A collection on behalf of the soldiers at Netley Hospital realised 18/6
Apr 14 The staff and children sent Mr Harrison, ……. a present as a reminder that he is not forgotten.

May 24 Empire Day. All the children wore the national colours and the school was decorated with British flags. At the opening of morning school the National Anthem was sung and special prayers were said by the Revd Canon Mitchell, who afterwards addressed the children on “The Foundations of the British Empire”. He was followed by the Head Master who spoke on “Self sacrifice and Saving”. Cheers were given for the King and the old boys of the school who were in the Army or Navy.

Aug 31 The Head Master was out of school ….. in order to attend at the Recruiting Office and prove his age.

Sep 21 Made a collection on behalf of the “Jack Cornwell Fund” to provide an endowment for a ward in the Star & Garter Hospital at Richmond in memory of one of the heroes of the Jutland Battle.

Nov 21 The School today made a collection of fresh fruit & vegetables for the sailors of the North Sea Fleet.

Dec 21 The children today sent £3.6.8 worth of cigarettes and matches to the University War Hospital.


May 10 The children sent two barrow loads of perennial flowering plants to the University War Hospital.

Jun 29 News received today that an old boy of the school – William Channell – has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field with the British Expeditionary Force in France.

Aug 27 News has been received today that another old boy of the school – Reginald Lovelock –has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field.

Sep 4 Sent three and a half guineas to ‘Our Own Day’ fund on behalf of the Royal South Hants Hospital, the proceeds of a collection made in school.

Sep 12 Arrangements have this day been made for dealing with the children in the event of an air raid. The children will be kept in school and arranged as far as possible from the windows.

Oct 1 Mrs Millen is absent until further notice, the reason being that her husband is home on leave from the front and she made this absence a stipulation of her appointment as a temporary teacher.

Oct 2 Leonard Holdaway, an “old boy” of this school has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery and initiative in the bombing operations at the front.

Oct 15 This afternoon a member of the U.S.A. army, Mr Geo. F. Poutasse, who represented himself as Chairman of the Board of Education for the town of Wayland, Mass. U.S.A. visited the school and watched the classes at work.

Oct 23 Geo. Bennett, who was a scholar for a short time here, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. Miss Lee, (foundation manager) visited the school this afternoon.

Nov 15 The Belgian Consul sent a number of flags, bearing the picture of King Albert of Belgium, for distribution among the children. They were asked to wear them in honour of King Albert.

Dec 14 As a result of a Christmas collection among the children, the sum of ten guineas was today sent to Sir Arthur Pearson for the Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Fund.


Feb 15 …. 70 children were sent to the Gaiety Theatre to witness a film depicting “With the Empire’s Fighters”. Arrangements were made for a special car each way.

Feb 21 The Head Master left school at 3.15 this afternoon by direction of the Education Committee in order to attend a meeting of Head Teachers at the Municipal Offices in connection with the issue of food cards.

Feb 22 School closed all day, in common with all the other elementary schools of the town, in order to enable the Teachers to render assistance in connection with the issue of Food Cards.

Feb 25 News was received today that Harold Jolly an old boy …… has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Feb 28 Edwin Pope, an old boy has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Mar 18 Received collecting box from the Hospital Sunday Fund Committee.

Mar 25 Returned the Hospital Box to the Education Office. It contained approximately £2.16.6.

Apr 8 Re-opened school after the Easter holidays. Miss May resumed her duties this morning. From today the afternoon session will commence at 2 o’clock. By direction of the Education Committee and on the invitation of the Belgian Consul, the boys of Stds. V, VI & VII were taken, under the charge of the Head Master, to the Portswood Palladium Picture Palace to witness the famous “Meons’ Film”. This visit is made under Art. 44 (b) of the Code. The remainder of the school was under the charge of Mr. Bevis.

Apr 9 The Head Master & Staff in common with those of other elementary schools in the town, attended at a centre in the town in order to make out the meat ration tickets for the Borough of Southampton. The schools were therefore closed all day.

May 15 News has been received today that Harold Jolly, an “old boy” of the school, who had previously been awarded the D.C.M. has now received the Croix de Guerre.

Jun 19 Under the provisions of the Military Service Act the Head Master was absent today in order to present himself for medical examination at the county recruiting station.

Jul 4 This being “Independence Day” and because of the number of American troops in the town, the Head Master spoke to the school at nine o’clock on the significance of the fourth of July, the American War of Independence and the entry of the U.S.A. into the present European War. The various classes subsequently had a lesson on the subject. The English and American national flags were displayed in the school.

Jul 25 Seventy bags for the use of wounded soldiers have been made by the girls in Stds IV – VII and they were today forwarded to Lady Smith Dorien who is organising the work.

Sep 16 Three certificates were received today in connection with essays on “What I know of our Navy” written under the auspices of the Navy League. One girl was “highly” commended.

Oct 1 The Headmaster spoke to the upper children on the effect of Bulgaria’s capitulation.

Oct 9 In consequence of the prevalence of influenza the school has been closed until Monday October 21st by order of the Education Committee.

Nov 4 Owing to the continued prevalence of influenza this school, in common with all the other elementary schools in the town, remained closed, by the order of the Education Committee until today. It may be of interest to record that all the staff, except Mr Bevis, and 154 children out of 286 have been attacked by the complaint.

Nov 11 An Armistice was this day signed with Germany, and, an intimation of this having been sent to the Head Master by the Mayor, he assembled the school at a quarter to twelve and spoke about it, laying special emphasis on its importance and the feeling of thankfulness which, he said, was the general feeling of the nation. To mark the event the school was closed in the afternoon.