Category Archives: Uncategorized

Photograph of young man in early 20th century New Zealand army uniform. Below the photo are his details: E Hamblin 42323, 3rd Auckland Company, 3rd Battalion, Auckland Regiment.

Centenary of the death of Ernest James Hamblin


For various reasons I’ve not had chance to build the profile of Ernest Hamblin yet (either here or on Lives) but I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago which set out the basic details of his life, including his emigration to New Zealand. He was killed in the Battle of Broodseinde, one of the more successful actions of the the Third Battle of Ypres.

The current Hersham band rang a peal midway between the centenaries of the deaths of Ernest James Hamblin and George Basil Edser (whose profile I’ve also not yet finished), on 2 September 2017. 

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Another old dark green lorry, this one bearing the number 5304. Rather than a solid cab it has a canvas shade over the driver's position. It has four church bells on the flat bed behind the cab. The straps holding down the bells are decorated with poppies, and the bells also have some poppies painted on them.

Bells on their way to St George’s, Ypres

I’ve written a couple of posts about the ring of bells destined for St George’s Memorial Church Ypres (see original post and update). The bells were cast a few weeks ago, and formed one of the main attractions at the open day held by the Loughborough Bell Foundry, as shown in this tweet:

Today the bells left the foundry on the first stages of their journey to Ypres. Initially they went only as far as Queen’s Park, where they were displayed in front of the Loughborough Carillon. The carillon forms a war memorial to the men of Loughborough killed in the First World War. This included three sons of the Taylor family who owned the bell foundry. From there the bells are heading to the Great Dorset Steam Fair held over the Bank Holiday weekend. After that they will make their way to Ypres for hanging, being welcomed into the church on 31 August. The official opening will be on 22 October 2017. Details on the church’s website. One of the nice things about last Wednsday’s peal for George Honeyball was finally meeting Alan Regin, one of the trustees of this ptoject.

Why travelling via the steam fair, well they’ll be travelling on two 1915 army lorries, one a Dennis, the other a Thornycroft. Admittedly some of the time the lorries themselves will be travelling on a modern low loader, but as these photos kindly provided by Simon Westman of the bell foundry, they made an impressive sight at the foundry and in Queen’s Park this morning:

Some more photos here on the Facebook page “Old Glory Magazine”. Also another Facebook post with more photos, and also some video of the lorries moving around Queen’s Park and More video from the Loughborough Echo.

Photos of the bells’ future home, St George’s Memorial Church, and the arrival of the bells in Ieper can be found on the Keltek Trust’s Flickr album Bells for Ypres. The album also includes photos of the bells while they were at the Great Dorset Steam Fair and at the Foundry.

Hopefully this Facebook post is public. It contains photos of the bells’ journey around the Ypres and also video of the set of handbells that are also part of the project being rung at various locations, including as part of the service for the dedication of the bells. Details of the ringing can be found on BellBoard

The arrival of the bells also made the local press in Belgium, Klokken van ‘t Engels kerkje gezegend and Klokken zijn thuis in ‘t Engels kerkje, as well as local television, Britse Kerkklokken in Ieper (this includes an interview with the chapalin of St George’s, in English).

Bells for St George’s, Ypres — an update

A follow up to my original post about the installation of a ring in Ypres.

The bells have now been cast, as described in a local newspaper report. They will be on display, in their frame as part of a foundry open day at John Taylor & Co, Loughborough on Saturday 29 July 2017 10.30 – 17.00. After that the frame will be disassembled and everything will be transported to Ieper. My understanding is that the bells are expected to be ringing in time for Remembrance Sunday this year. 

Stone panel with many names ordered by year and then alphabetically

Cecil Herbert Schooling (18 October 1884 – 21 June 1917†)

The Revd Cecil Herbert Schooling (see also Lives profile) does not actually appear on the original Surrey Association roll, but he is listed on the Central Council roll as a member of the Cambridge University Guild, and from 1910 had been senior curate at Croydon Parish Church. He was the youngest of four children of Frederick Schooling and Lily Alphonsine Maria (nee Symondson).

Frederick and Lily married at St Stephen’s, Shepherd’s Bush, on 6 September 1879. Frederick was a 28-year-old clerk, the son of Charles Schooling a (commercial?) traveller, and living at 12 Eardley Crescent (close to West Brompton station). Lily was 23, the daughter of Francis Symondson (clerk), living at 33 Devonport Road, Shepherd’s Bush (very close to the church). From Frederick’s obituary we know he had been working for Prudential Insurance since 1867 (when he was 16).

Their first child, Margaret Lily, was born on 9 June 1880 and baptised at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, on 4 July. Frederick’s occupation is again recorded as clerk and the family were living at 15 Paris Villas, Wakehurst Road. The family of three were recorded at the same address in the 1881 census, Frederick now recorded as a Life Assurance Clerk. They also had one servant, Charlotte Langridge (14). Margaret was followed by Lionel Frederick Schooling, born 3 February 1882, baptised 5 March 1882 at St Mark’s. Frederick was now recorded as an assurance clerk and the family were living at 45 Wakehurst Road. Next was Eric Charles Schooling, born 27 June 1883, baptised 5 August 1883 at St Mark’s. Frederick was again recorded as a life assurance clerk and the family were still living at 45 Wakehurst Road.

Cecil Herbert born 18 October 1884 and baptised on 21 November 1884 at St Michael’s, Battersea. Frederick was now an actuary and the family were still living at 45 Wakehurst Road, so it’s not clear why they had changed church.

By the 1891 Census the family had moved to 257 Lavender Hill, Battersea. Frederick was now listed as an actuary, holding the Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries (he held this from 1886). Lionel and Eric were both at home, while Margaret was at a girl’s school in Shaftesbury Road, Hammersmith (the present Ravenscourt Park Station opened as Shaftesbury Road, so the school was presumably somewhere nearby). The family now employed two servants, Sarah Wyatt (29) a general servant, and Mary A T Fay (18) a nurse domestic.

In 1892 Frederick Schooling was appointed Prudential’s Company Actuary, a highly responsible post ensuring that premiums were set at the correct level to enable the company to meet all its likely liabilities.

Cecil made his way to Tonbridge School in September 1897, following Lionel who had gone there from 1895. Both were in Judde House. Cecil was still there by the time of the 1901 Census, by which time Eric was at Sandhurst where he was a Gentleman Cadet, training to be a regular army officer. The family home was now at Inversnaid, Bromley. The only family members there in 1901 were Fredrick and Lionel (now a stockbroker’s clerk), Lily and Margaret do not seem to appear at all so may have been out of the country. The family now had three servants: cook Annie McDonough (42, from Ireland), parlourmaid Ruth Nye (19, from Sussex) and house maid Ellen M Westley (26, from Chackmore, Berkshire).

Cecil left Tonbridge School aged 17 at Christmas 1901. He then spent almost two years in Germany, unfortunately it’s not clear what he did there, or exactly where he was. He went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge in October 1903 to read theology. In July 1904 he headed to Norway for Spitsbergen, the North Cape and the Fjords on the Ophir, travelling with his parents and sister. He graduated with his BA in 1906 and proceeded to Wells Theological College to study for ordination.  It was presumably while at Cambridge that he learned to ring and joined the University Guild. He was ordained deacon in Wakefield Cathedral by the Bishop of Wakefield on 21 December 1907 and became a curate at the cathedral, living at 16, St John’s Square. He was priested on 20 December 1908, again in Wakefield Cathedral.

Meanwhile Eric had been commissioned in to the Warwickshire Regiment, and in 1910 Eric married Edith McTaggart Gordon Paton at Radford Semele, Warwickshire. Cecil assisted the local vicar at the service on 7 April. On 27 November (Advent Sunday) Cecil took up a new role as senior curate in Croydon. He took charge of the mission church of St Edmund’s (originally known as Pitlake Mission) on Cornwall Road, though no doubt would also have taken services at the parish church (now Croydon Minster). At the 1911 census Cecil was living at 118 Waddon New Road, Croydon.

Eric was mobilised with his regiment on the outbreak of war in 1914, and was killed at Gheluvelt on 31 October 1914. Although clergy were exempt from conscription, many young clergy felt they had to serve in some way (and Cecil had been a member of the OTC at Tonbridge), and on 16 November 1916 Cecil was interviewed by the Chaplain General with a view to becoming an army chaplain. By this time he was living at 2 Courtney Road, Croydon. His interview was successful with the Chaplain General noting (among other things), that Cecil preached extempore (without notes). Cecil was commissioned on 5 December 1916. Lionel (who had previously served in a volunteer battalion) was also commissioned as a recruiting officer in Kent.

Initially he was attached to a casualty clearing station, I haven’t been able to establish which. In about April 1917 he was attached to 122 Infantry Brigade, this brigade included battalions of The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) and East Surrey Regiments, with several men from Bromley and Croydon. On 20 June he was with elements of the brigade in Dickesbusch (Dikkebus) when shells started to fall. He left his billet to warn the men to take cover, but was caught by shell fragments. Reportedly he gave no hint that he had been wounded, simply stopping a passing lorry, and being taken to a field ambulance a couple of miles away. He died of his wounds on 21 June, at 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Remy Siding, and was buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery, the second largest CWGC cemetery in Belgium, used by several medical units situated nearby. He was posthumously mentioned in despatched in December 1917. His death went unmentioned in the Brigade HQ war diary, and only one of the infantry battalions, 15 Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, mentions it in passing.

After the war his parents were instrumental in paying for a war memorial chapel in Bromley Parish Church. Sadly this was destroyed by German bombing in the Second World War. He is also commemorated on the main Bromely war memorial, a roll of honour at Croydon Minster, the war memorials at Pembroke College and Tonbridge School and the ringers’ roll of honour.

Schooling is a very hard name to search for, as you often find articles about schooling, rather than the particular individual. The only mentions of the surname in the Ringing World are Prudential adverts including the name of Frederick Schooling, and one mention when the roll of honour was being compiled trying to establish a particular tower for him. It appears no-one responded as, like most of the Cambridge University Guild men, no tower is listed on the roll as it exists today.

Bells for St George’s, Ieper

Update 8/11/2016: the project website is now rather more informative, and this article appeared in The Telegraph today 100 years on, the bells ring out for the war dead of Ypres (you may need to register to read it in full)

For some time I’ve been aware that there’s a project getting underway to install a light ring of eight (tenor 6 cwt) in the tower at St George’s Memorial Church, Ieper (or Ypres as it’s more often spelled in a First World War context). The tower currently holds a chime donated by shipping magnate Sir James Knott, in part a memorial for two of his sons killed in the war. I believe the intention is that the new bells will be in addition to this existing chime.

The Bells4StGeorge website has now launched, and the project is open for donations. The website itself is still rather barebones, but some more information was released in today’s issue of The Ringing World (subscription only). The total sought is £195,000, all donations over £100 will be recorded in a memorial book to be kept in the tower. The names of 54 ringers are inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial, with several more in nearby cemeteries. Those on the Menin Gate include the Surrey Association’s first casualty, Walter Eric Markey. In total at least 1361 ringers died during the First World War.

Until more information is on the project website a few snippets can be found on the church’s own website. The project is being run by Alan Regin (Steward of the Central Council’s Rolls of Honour), Ian G Campbell (a regular visitor to our practices at Putney), and David R Smith.

The Somme begins

07:30 (on the new “summer time”) approaches. There’s a subtle shift in the sound of the gunfire and shell explosions as the guns shift their targets along the 14 mile British section of the trench. The ground shakes, and an immense roar goes up as huge mines are exploded under sections of the German lines: some of the largest man made (non-nuclear) explosions ever.
Then officers blow their whistles, men clamber up ladders onto the parapet of their trenches, and begin to move into no man’s land. 
Soon almost 20,000 will be dead, and adding the wounded, prisoners and missing, the casualty list reaches towards 60,0000.
Men of the Surrey Association must have been among those taking part in the advance, though I’ve not attempted to draw up a list (and none of those on the roll of honour died that day). Certainly (as we shall see in a few days) they have been involved in the preliminary bombardment and other supporting roles. 

Of the wider set of Surrey ringers only Sidney Bowler Weatherston of Southwark will fall this day. But after today there will still be 140 more days of fighting before the generals call time on the Battle of the Somme. 

A blog post elsewhere and new sources for Sutton

Earlier this week, with my work hat on, I published a post on The National Archives’ blog, looking at the centenary of the institution of the Military Medal. It gives background info on the medal, and how it came into being.

Also this week has seen the release of various digitised records from Sutton Archives, including parish records, electoral registers, and water rates. More details are given in the archives’ press release (as ever subscription, or access via a subscribing institution, are required). These are obviously potentially very useful for this project. I’ve not had time for in depth investigations yet, but even a quick look shows the marriage certificate for Walter Hodges. This confirms he married Henrietta Russell, and gives the exact date, 26 December 1913, location, St Barnabas’ Church, Sutton, and the fact he was a postman at the time of his marriage (which opens up further research in the postal appointment books). Another example is the burial record for John Webb, which adds the detail that he died at a VAD hospital in Ashford. At some point I will have to revisit the profiles of the men from Beddington and Benhilton in detail in view of these new sources, and of course there is still the men of Carshalton to be researched.