Preston Grammar School Association

Alick Hadwen's Research Programme

The Great War 1914 - 1918

The Memorial Window remains in place in the School buildings in Moor Park Avenue. The bronze Memorial Tablet which was in the School Hall and is now in Preston Minster lists 44 Old Boys and one Master who gave their lives in the Great War. Unlike the Memorial for 1939 -1945, there is no supporting biographical information. As 2008 would see the 90th anniversary of the Armistice I thought, many months before the web-site was launched, that I could use my extensive pupil data-base to compile suitable biographical back-up. I also somewhat mistakenly thought that only a few hours work would be needed to prepare a print-out suitable for those attending the Remembrance Service in 2008.

The Hoghtonian came into being in December 1913 (H12-1913) under strict instructions from the Head Master that it was to be produced by the boys without expecting input or time consuming support from any member of Staff. Running in parallel was the Old Boys' Magazine which was launched in December 1910 (OBM12-1910). On the outbreak of war the six year-old Association put itself into suspended animation for the few weeks the war was expected to last -"home by Christmas" was the national attitude. The boys with help and support from the Head Master and members of the Staff began to collect information on Old Boys in the Services. The Lancashire Daily Post on Monday, 12th October 1914, carried the following:


To the Editor of the "Daily Post"

Sir,- May I ask the hospitality of your columns in order to beg of your readers who are acquainted with old Preston Grammar School Boys who have enlisted to send me their names that they may be put on record by me.-

Yours, &c,

NORMAN TREWBY, Headmaster, Grammar School, Preston. October 9th.

A Roll of Honour appeared in each edition of The Hoghtonian, listing those in the Forces and including information on those who had been killed. Information came from letters to the School, and to the Editor, and to individual boys; information from parents, from Old Boys in the same Units; whilst somewhat despairingly recourse was made to perusing the newspaper lists of killed, missing, wounded, and hoping to recognise and identify Old Boys amongst them. Every edition of The Hoghtonian appealed for information. The Head Master during Prize Days appealed for information, even asking the assembled parents to draw up lists of boys whom they knew had passed through the School so as to provide a base to assist identification. It is incredibly difficult to find someone when you do not know who you are looking for.

The Roll of Honour did not roll forward with cumulative information edition by edition. What appeared in one edition might appear in one or more subsequent editions. There were surnames and absolutely nothing else; surnames with an initial and nothing else. There were multiple entries which may or may not have been for one individual - for example, see Edwards in the following list. After the war there were lists of surnames of those released from the Forces, with no other details. The published Rolls and other items have now been reconstructed into a single alphabetical computer listing, a total of 274 names, which immediately rang alarm bells. Many more must have passed through the School and were of ages making them eligible for military service during 1914-1918. The reports in The Hoghtonian produced 21 wounded and one prisoner of war, although three more PoWs have now been found but there should be, on national averages, many more than those figures.

My pupil database was inadequate, what was needed was a comprehensive fully detailed database of every single admission to the School from 1874 to 1916. There were 599 known entrants between 1898 and 1912 all of whom are now in a computer record. Boys entered the School at varying ages, even 16-year olds. Depending on the information available in School records and from other sources, the data-base for each boy aims to show date of birth, father's name, address, occupation; boy's elementary or previous school, dates at PGS, school career details, post-PGS information. Each name is being searched in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site (CWG) and any positive identification added into the revised Roll of Honour. When the 274-name Roll was constructed and compared with existing information it was possible to eliminate duplications which reduced it to about 250 Old Boys, eight Staff (7 Masters and 1 Mistress) and two Head Master's Secretaries - one being subsequently identified as an Old Boy. It currently stands at nearly 300 and the Roll of those killed has increased from 44+1 Master to 57 in total with a further 26 inadequately identified and left elsewhere in abeyance. Only around 700 searches have been made so far. There remain all the eligible entrants between 1912 and 1916 together with those between 1874 and 1898 all of whom would have been of military age during 1914-1918.

When reading the following Roll of Honour, those entries taken from The Hoghtonian are shown after the personal and School details, and originally in the magazine would have had a name followed by information, if any, now shown as the information, followed by such as H4-1915. Whatever precedes that reference can be found somewhere within The Hoghtonian April 1915 edition; not necessarily printed in the Roll of Honour. Information was capable of being placed in any item including House and sports reports - it had to be searched for. Where two or more reference numbers are shown together, the preceding report has appeared unchanged in two or more editions. "School Scholarships", normally £10 pa for 3 years, were usually awarded on the strength of examination successes to assist in keeping the boys at School. Frequently they were related to an intention to take up teaching.

There is one lengthy report, R T W Howe, the only Old Boy so far identified as having served in the Merchant Navy. This report, containing details not totally relevant to the Old Boy, is for the time being deliberately lengthy to draw attention to the fact that service in the Merchant Navy is counted by CWG Commission and all other official bodies as War Service. The Merchant Marine did not apply age limits in the same manner as the Armed Forces, and Officers and seamen in their 60s and 70s took their ships to sea. There must have been more than one Old Boy in the sea-going Merchant Navy and information is requested.

There may be a gap in the Lists. From the outbreak of War there was a rapid turnover of male Staff, with some teachers arriving and departing within months. Some of them were young, possibly straight from University, and could have left to enter the Services. There was a similar turnover of the female teachers. There were opportunities for them to serve in or alongside the Forces - the WRNS was formed in 1917; Miss Furlong was in the Red Cross - but nothing has been found regarding most of the other ladies who came and left the School during the War. A list of names of staff will be added at a later date but in the meantime any information relating to War Service by any Staff members is requested.

Following home addresses can sometimes be seen "1922". The precise nature of this can only be guessed at and it has not been possible to discern a pattern. Some had "Nov 1922" and one has "Dec 1921". School Prize Days were in December and there seem to have been routine annual invitations to parents of present and past pupils to attend, therefore 1922 was something different. The "1922" frequently followed a tick, taken to indicate that the address remained the same, or without a tick and followed by a different address. Otherwise changes of address were not dated. Letters, content not known, were sent out in November 1922 possibly inviting the parents to the Prize Day. Probably not asking for donations to the Memorial. Possibly intending to use the Prize Day to up-date the parents on progress of the War Memorial scheme. However, a letter went to the parents of a boy who around 1910 attended the School for just one week; a letter went to a family whose son had been at the School for 14 months before they emigrated to South Africa in 1911. There does not appear to have been any structured fund-raising activities, possibly they were not needed. There is evidence of substantial donations by individuals, one-offs up to possibly £10,000 in today's money. Also noted are KILLED IN WAR and DEAD - records made by the School, not comprehensive and without any supporting information.

You may wonder at the number of Old Boys who became Chartered Accountants. At least up to the outbreak of war in 1914 the School curriculum had long included optional training for the accountancy examinations. A boy could leave PGS partly qualified.

The Association remained in suspended animation despite numerous pleas by the Head Master and in The Hoghtonian until two Masters, neither of them former pupils, brought it back into life in the first few days of 1925. Undoubtedly prompted by the forthcoming unveiling of the Memorial Window and Tablet. The early history of the Association is uncertain and whatever status existed before and during January 1908 and the following twenty months or so, activity increased from November 1910 with Keith Moore as the driving force behind its development. He had been a young Territorial officer who was called up on the outbreak of war and then became an early casualty. Most of his colleagues had been in the Forces with some also being casualties. Keeping the Association going or later trying to restart it must have been a major problem. Right up to the time when the Tablet was about to be made the Head Master continued to seek additional information, it being obvious that many more names should be on the Memorial. Whether or not he knew, but appreciably smaller grammar schools in this region had appreciably more names on their Memorials than were about to be entered on ours. Interestingly, in 1939 some weeks prior to the outbreak of war, the Association took decisions and set in motion a system for the collection and dissemination of information and the maintenance of contacts which seems to have been of text book standard. Most importantly, an administration was kept in being, with one Master, "Fog" Dodson, receiving incoming information as there was the certainty that his Great War injuries would prevent him from being called up for this one. It appears that every effort was made to ensure that all the problems arising in part or wholly due to the lack of an Association between 1914 and 1925 were eliminated in 1939.



Staff and pupils of the School were scanning newspapers for information they would not find those Old Boys who had moved out of the district. The lists were basic in content - regiment, rank, name, initial, number, date. When the War Office issued lists to regional newspapers there would have to be reliance on families or friends notifying newspapers and other interested bodies in different regions of death, wounding, capture. Robert McCleverty, a professional soldier, Captain in the 47th Sikhs, killed on the Western Front in October 1914, home address in Hampshire, is not easily linked with Preston.

At least 1,437 boys entered the School up to the end of 1916 and were of an age to serve at some time or throughout the whole of the War. However, in 1918 the Government took powers to conscript men of 50 years, and up to 56 years if they had skills which the Armed Forces needed. The extreme total of those eligible must contain over 1,600 names. There could be over 700 names still to be added to those who Served In The War, amongst them will be several more deaths. The names of those noted in School records as having been in the Forces are already in the list. There are no more to be found from School sources. Every name is being searched in the Commonwealth War Graves records. Numerous name matches are being found but these cannot be progressed any further without more background information. The stage has been reached where details of war service by any Old Boys and members of Staff can now only come from family members who have details in their family histories and mementos.

Your help is requested. For example, in the Roll of Honour is Arthur L Howard, apparently in the Royal Engineers. Up to now no School record has turned up so his age, years at School, address, father's name, are not available to check against other sources. CWG gives a bare outline for "A L Howard" but includes a Service Number which is also quoted in the entry for Arthur Lythgoe Howard on Preston's War Memorial in the Harris Museum. The three separate items may well relate to the one Old Boy but there is no positive link with the School. Until the link can be made he is held in abeyance. George Woods was one of the most difficult entries to resolve. It is not yet finalised. It was resolved on 17th September 2008. There were two George Woods, cousins, two years apart, both from Walton-le-Dale, both living in the same road. The Hoghtonian shows the elder left the School for Abingdon (Public) School, then to Keble College, Oxford, left, commissioned into The Loyals, killed in the war. There are 54 'Woods, G', 1914-18, in the CWG, a substantial number of them incomplete but not one has The Loyals as a regiment. The second George Woods was a fine athlete largely responsible for Miller repeatedly winning the Athletics Trophy during his time. He was known as Dody. All the material I held on 'G Woods' was separated by recourse to Miller-athletic skills-Dody, and dates after the elder's move to Abingdon. Which still left whichever was the deceased George Woods linked to The Loyals. That was a brick wall. The Archivist of Keble College was consulted and has provided detailed information that George Woods was a Captain in the 9th Battalion, London Regiment, who was killed in action on 9th September 1916. This still leaves the younger George Woods (24-2-1896) and The Loyals. Nothing is known (at present) of the second George Woods after 1914. Was he commissioned into The Loyals? Did he survive? - presumably he did because there isn't a 'Woods, G - Loyal North Lancashires' in the CWG so far as I can work out. Was he in a different regiment? There is an added complication. Richard Crozier placed in St Leonard's Church, Walton-le-Dale, a stained glass window commemorating his three sons killed in the Great War one of whom, Serjeant Cyril Crozier, MM, is on the School Memorial. Below the window is a heavy brass plate engraved with the names of the men of the Parish killed in the War. Captain George Woods is in that list. His father was John Woods. George Woods gave a window, depicting St George, commemorating his son George who was also killed in that War. That means either there is a mistake in a history of the village and the window was given by John for Captain George; or George Woods gave a window in memory of his son George. Does that mean George "Dody" Woods also died? If so, in which Unit, where, when? 17th September 2008:- The window portraying St George was given by the Woods family in memory of members of their family. It was not a War Memorial window. Within the window are names of those remembered including George Woods, Captain, killed in France in 1916 aged 22. This means that George, son of John, is in both the family memorial window and on the Parish war memorial tablet. George "Dody" Woods is on neither so any involvement by him in the Great War is still to be ascertained. Having settled the questions with the assistance of the Vicar, in mid-October a reference in a directory was stumbled across which states that a war memorial window to the memory of Captain George Woods....... ! Whether it is a war memorial window or not does not really matter within this context provided the individual has remained the same. By another strange quirk on 14th November 2008, full circle has now been made and all inconsistencies appear to be resolved. Somewhere around early 1916, the mother of Captain George Woods died. George, who had been studying at Keble College with the intention of entering the Church, was killed in September 1916. His father, John, died on 10th March 1917, leaving John's daughter as the sole survivor of the family. She headed the mourners with John's brother George and his wife. There is no mention of cousin George being present so was he on Active Service? The earlier reference to the Window having been given by George, brother of John, seems likely to be correct.

Thomas Worsley Pilkington has a paragraph in The Hoghtonian in which there is a categorical statement that he had been killed in action. His father was a member of PGSA. There was no retraction or correction. He is not on the Memorial or CWG. Neither is A Jackson and I have no record of him up to now. CWG is unable to offer any further information on Thomas Pilkington unless some definite facts come to light. November 2008: Thomas Worsley Pilkington, MC, survived the War to become Managing Director of T C Holden, Ltd, Steel Stockholders, of Lord Street, Preston. He died, apparently of considerable age, and is buried in St Helen's Churchyard, Churchtown, Garstang.

"Robinson, J" was an iconic figure throughout his time at PGS, invariably known only by "Robinson" despite there being other Robinsons in the School; his initial was used infrequently, and his Christian name possibly never used in The Hoghtonian so his identity was a mystery for a long time. No reference to his military career ever appeared in the Roll of Honour in any edition of The Hoghtonian. Combined with the number of Robinsons in the School of military age was a lack of information of his Service or Unit, date or place of death, plus a multitude of "Robinson, J" in the CWG, making identification impossible. There was a problem over an extremely athletic Robinson whose medical restricted him to UK service, Robinson in an OTC, and a Robinson noted in the Artillery about to go to France. St John's (Oxford) College Archivist kindly provided details which enabled all the loose ends to be tied up. He also made the first reference to the award of the MM.

"X" in WW2 frequently denoted experimental or unusual equipment. Does anyone know if "X" 9th T M Battery was something special? Or was "X" the 10th gun in the [Trench Mortar] Battery? His captors were obviously at close range, he continued firing shells into the German positions, and they did not throw a grenade or shoot him. Why not? It is not known where or when he was captured. John Wilcock, wounded, possibly died - only one boy of this name in PGS has been found so far. There was only one Private John Wilcock in the 1st/5th King's Own at this time and he is in the Regimental records as having been killed in action. The ages and dates are roughly in line but the family details bear no comparison. Could this entry be an incorrect identification?

One brief report has been seen that the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry part way through the War had been de-mounted, re-equipped and numbered as an infantry battalion of The Manchester Regiment.

During the 1890s a form was in use which required the date of birth as day, month, age in years. Some parents stated age last birthday; others stated age next birthday; some did not attempt to clarify; some played safe and gave the date of birth and the age; some gave day, date and current year. And someone in the School tried to make sense of it all. Where a boy has two dates of birth exactly twelve months apart it is not a problem. Just the end result of a silly system.

Family history researchers may wish to note that numbers of Roman Catholic boys attended Preston [Protestant] Grammar School before the Catholic College was founded on 1st September 1865 as the Catholic Grammar School, and continued to do so to a lesser degree for at least fifty years thereafter, one being admitted in 1916. Catholic boys going to and from PGS Cross Street endeavoured to avoid meeting the priests in the vicinity of St Wilfrid's. Some of them will have served in the Great War. In January 1898 work commenced on new buildings for the Catholic Boys' Grammar School which found itself temporarily homeless. The Corporation allowed it to use the Dr Shepherd's Library (L&PS) at the corner of Cross Street, next to and planned to be extended into by the Protestant Grammar School. When the new buildings on the west side of Winckley Square came into use it was with the new name of the Catholic College. As the Catholic Boys' Grammar School moved out of the Literary & Philosophical Society building the [Protestant] Grammar School moved in. There has been plenty of scope for confusion.

Not directly related to the War but perhaps of some interest. On Monday morning, 11th November 1918, a message was sent from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral that the terms of the Armistice had been agreed. This was announced during the Daily Service. There was a big congregation of people going into the Cathedral for Prayers as they anticipated the war was coming to an end. The congregation then sang "The Old Hundredth" and the National Anthem. The duty organist that day was F G Shuttleworth, organist of St Mary Abbots, Kensington. On Tuesday morning, 12th November 1918, the King and Queen and Princess Mary went, without ceremony or military escort, to a Thanksgiving Service at St Paul's. Entry was open to all and the Cathedral was full. F G Shuttleworth was again the organist. An Old Boy as well as being the nephew of Sir Charles (Dr R C) Brown, donor of the School organ, which Mr Shuttleworth had played at the opening ceremony of the new organ on 2nd October 1913.

There are numerous names in the Roll with no other information. Each possibly represents the same level of problems as James Robinson and George Woods produced. Please will you also note the substantial number of entries which end during the War and no subsequent information is known. Services' Museums sources have suggested they could be wounded and discharged; prisoners of war, or deaths. The only way in which these can now be resolved is with the assistance of family members.

Information on any Old Boy who served in the Great War is requested. (There should be sufficient personal details to enable his identity to be confirmed.)


Currently available details on those who served and those who died in the Great War. The fallen are indicated thus cross

Name Match Only. Help, please - definite links between the School and Service in the Armed Forces, 1914-1918, are needed for the following. Such as Service details plus personal or family details. Date of birth; date of marriage; wife's name; an address; anything which relates to someone positively known to have been at PGS. The School records are known for each of these.

Arthur Evelyn Abbott
H Armstrong (Possibly a badly written 'H' and should be George Arnold Armstrong, same DoB.)
John George Oswald Ash
J H Baxter (Joyce !! or Joseph Hewitson Baxter)
Beaven, H C (In the Army List in both the Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery as a junior officer but if it is Harold Castlereagh Beaven he is another mathematical genius.)
cross Fred Berry
Arthur Butterworth
Sidney Carwin
Joseph Alan Cross
cross James Crossthwaite
Thomas Dagger
cross John Darlington
Robert Fisher
Charles Fowler
John Hesketh Gardner
Sidney Ernest Glaister
George Clifford Goodier
John Harris
Richard Frankland Harrison
James Hibbert 
cross Joseph Hibbert
Norman Lockwood
Lindon Margerison
Jack Mayor
Thomas Oliver Myerscough
Charles John Geoffrey Palmour
cross Edmund Phillipson
S Porter (Possibly Stephen)
F J Preston
John Pye
Norman Rawcliffe
John Catterall Salisbury
Matthew Hackforth Seddon
Clifford Maymon Seed
Robert Seed - RN Officer?
cross Robert Sharp
William Sowerbutts
John Spencer
Henry Evan Pateshall THOMAS
Reginald Fawcett Tindall
John Hamilton Whitehead
Alfred James Whittall
Malcolm Cecil Wilson
Carl Gordon Winter (related to Arthur Winter)
William John Worden


D A C Divisional Ammunition Column (Royal Artillery)
HMHSHis Majesty's Hospital Ship
LCCLancashire County Council
LDPLancashire Daily Post
Liverpool ScottishA Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment
OBMOld Boys' Magazine
PCPPreston Council Proceedings
psmPassed School of Music (Graduate of the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.)
RAMCRoyal Army Medical Corps
RFARoyal Field Artillery (Later, and currently, Royal Fleet Auxiliary - RN supply ships)
RFCRoyal Flying Corps (RAF April 1918 onwards)
RGARoyal Garrison Artillery
RNASRoyal Naval Air Service
TRBTraining Reserve Battalion
VictorAny boy who represented the School in every football league match during a season was declared a "Victor". It may have applied to School cricket matches.
BombardierCorporal, Royal Artillery
GuardsmanPrivate, five Regiments of Foot Guards. King George V awarded the title to the Regiments on 11th November 1918
GunnerPrivate, Royal Artillery
SapperPrivate, Royal Engineers
SignalmanPrivate, Royal Signals
TrooperPrivate, frequently in former Mounted regiments
WOWarrant Officer - Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, such as Regimental Sergeant Major

World War II

(It will be advantageous to read the Introduction and Notes for The Great War, parts of which will be common to the Records for The Second World War. The Explanation of Abbreviations is listed with The Great War Notes.)

When the Introduction and Lists of Names for The Great War was put forward in May 2008 for placing on this web site the School records, as a source of information for compiling those Lists, were nearing exhaustion. That will not be the case with The Second World War, and a different system will have to be used.

In 1939 the theoretical capacity of the School was approximately three times that of 1914. However, the entry system with which Old Boys of the post-1944 Education Act era are familiar did not apply pre-1944. Up to the 1944 Act coming into effect boys entered the School mainly in September but throughout the School Year. They left in July, or at Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide. A boy could enter the School for one or more years. There are many occurrences of a younger boy (8 to 12 years), and not infrequently boys up to 16 years, being in the School for a period before moving to another Grammar School in the local region - Hutton, Kirkham, Arnold, for eg - or further afield to a boarding Grammar School or Public School. There were similar movements in the reverse direction into PGS, with quite a number of 16 and 17-year olds entering the School. Post-1944 a block of around 80 boys entered the School in September and stayed together for the next five years. Using hypothetical numbers, if pre-1944 the School capacity for 1st Year to 5th Year inclusive was 300 with a theoretical entry of 60 a year, in actual fact 60 would enter in September and a further 20 spread over the next few months up to and including the start of the Summer term. The number who left after one, two, or three years produced a greater number of vacancies each year than would be expected from one-fifth of the overall capacity entering and remaining together, as post-1944.

The Moor Park Buildings, opened in 1913, had a designed capacity of 250 which it was confidently anticipated would not be reached for many years, but in 1917 there were 240 boys and the following year 270 was attained. By 1923 the numbers approached 350. The original designs had included plans for additional classrooms and generally provided for expansion; the Hall, for example, was much larger than required for 250 pupils to assemble. With comparatively little work and almost visually imperceptible construction changes, the capacity was nearly doubled by 1927.

The gradual increase in central government involvement, the creation of Council Education Authorities, and the desire of those bodies to have records, systems, and standardisation has bequeathed to posterity an almost impenetrable mass of paper for each boy. So far as has been ascertained up to date (February 2009) each piece of paper was filed within its own system. A boy did not travel through School with a constantly growing pile of paper travelling with him. Moreover, with the passage of time the pieces of paper are not always where they ought to be! As more work is carried out on the 1914 to 1945 school records it is most fervently hoped that some simplified and more easily accessible records will turn up.

At this stage, the number of boys who entered the School and became of military age at some time during, or for the whole of, the Second World War, can only be an informed guess. It is highly unlikely to be under 3,000; but possibly will not exceed 4,000. During the planning stages for the invasion of Normandy, June 1944, the British, more correctly the Imperial, planners had to take into account that Britain and its Empire by then had exhausted its reserves of manpower, apart from school leavers coming up to military age. Only the USA had enough manpower to ensure sufficient numbers. The fact that manpower resources had been exhausted implies that the very great majority of able-bodied males would have been in the Services. With 3,000-plus Old Boys eligible for military service that means 2,000 or more will have been in the Forces.

There is a further complication relating to the Merchant Navy.

Bomber Command alone lost over 57,000 - about 1/10th of UK and Commonwealth military war dead.

We had, subject to later additions, 34 deaths in the RAF. The British Merchant Navy lost over 2,000 ships with nearly 114,000 crew of which 30,000 died. The war began with the British Merchant Navy being the largest in the world with about 6,000 ships and 120,000 men, women and boys from 15 to 75+ years. At this early stage in compiling the records from School sources only four Merchant Navy/Naval Auxiliaries have been found and two others are known to have served. There are two recorded deaths. A comparison between the Merchant Navy and the RAF possibly indicates that a substantial number of Old Boys may well have served in the MN and they remain to be found. There could be around 15 deaths which will be recorded in CWG, but they first have to be identified, and from a much greater spread of years. The total number of men serving in the MN throughout the war will affect any calculations based on dates at School and the resultant numbers of Old Boys who may have served during the war.

Similarly likely to affect calculations, the Royal Canadian Navy was the third largest in the world by 1945 with a large Royal Canadian Air Force. There were substantial Australian, New Zealand and South African Army, Navy and Air Force contingents and Units from throughout the Empire. Up to date only one Old Boy has been found in the Empire forces, and young men "going to the Colonies" was a reasonably common occurrence between the Wars. One quite elderly Old Boy has been found in the American Army, and he was only stumbled across by accident - memory switched into gear when a name was seen and, fortunately, the Americans record the date of birth on the Enlistment records so that positive identification was possible.

This first List of Those Who Served 1939-1945 (click on the Memorial blue button at the end of these Notes) has about 600 names on it. Records are being worked through to a plan which should see this first List growing month by month and the School sources will not be exhausted until about 2015. The deaths recorded in the Memorial Book for Old Boys in the fighting Army appears to be lower than might be expected. It will be several years before a reasonably complete listing can be compiled of all those who served in the Forces and to record any deaths which are not included in the Memorial Book. Any assistance which family members can provide will be most welcome.

The intention is to develop a system of "Additional Lists", each one being in the stand-alone category. An Old Boy who is in the main List can also be in one or more of the Additional Lists. Each entry will contain new information and normally will not repeat that previously listed. There will be cross-referencing upwards to previous entries but there will not be any return to earlier entries to cross-reference down to later entries. Additional Lists will be added quite possibly at four to six week intervals but the demands on the time of the webmaster will have to be taken into account. It is hoped that access to the Additional Lists will be by scrolling up or down as an uninterrupted continuation of the main List. Periodically, when the number and length of the Additional Lists becomes cumbersome the whole of the 1939-1945 listings will be reconstructed into a single main List and a new set of Additional Lists will begin. An Additional List will shortly be added to The Great War listing, which will help to determine how this method can best be used.

Note: With the realisation that this is going to take many years, at the beginning of October 2009 I decided to try to cram as many names onto the List as possible during the following two weeks. Detailed information will be added gradually but in the meanwhile the Lists provide the names of most of the former pupils and staff who took part in the War and who have been recorded in The Hoghtonian. This gives the surviving Old Boys the opportunity to provide details about themselves and their colleagues, and for family members to supply information on other Old Boys who were in the Services.

Another development will be an Appendix to cover all other wars, campaigns, and National Service. In theory Old Boys could have served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands. All those many hundreds of Old Boys who did their National Service post-1945 can now write out the details and let me have them. Plus details of others they knew who now are no longer available to produce their own. That covers their contemporaries at School plus their own fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and any other relatives who attended the School and at any time served in the Forces.

In all the records transcribed from original School records there are "Remarks" such as 'No information obtainable', sometimes followed by details of occupations or other provided information which appears to contradict the "Remarks". Mainly by a process of deduction and guesswork which was confirmed when a change in the handwriting, and the School Secretary, brought with it more details, it seems that "Remarks" applies quite specifically to comments related to the date and age of leaving the Grammar School. Apparently some admissions were conditional on remaining in the School for an agreed period of time or until a specific age, sometimes 16 years. Such an agreement appears to be the case with all exemptions from fees or the award of scholarships to be held at the School. If there was an agreement to remain to an age or for a set period and this was not complied with, the parents were contacted for an explanation, which may or may not have been forthcoming. There may have been no explanation forthcoming as to why the boy had left but details were known of his occupation, the former noted under "Remarks" and the latter under "Occupation", hence numerous apparent contradictions.

During the Great War and continuing afterwards, the School Governors, the Borough Education Authority and the Lancashire County Education Authority granted exemptions from fees on quite a wide scale. The occupations of some of the fathers appears to indicate that an ability to pay was not a factor. As exemptions were transferred when a boy moved between schools in different education authority areas the scheme was probably widespread.

Prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, the Association set in operation a scheme to maintain contact with Old Boys in the Services, members and non-members of the Association alike. This is outlined in the Great War Introduction. Despite every appearance of being a text book quality scheme it was in trouble before the end of 1940. Appeals were made for information, especially about Old Boys in their 30s and 40s who had started their family lives away from the Preston area, had lost touch with the School, and large numbers must have been in the Services but were not within the scheme. If the number of Old Boys who served in the war tops 2,000 then the details available from School resources will fall far below that number.

The early problems with the Association's scheme puts into perspective the relative success of the scheme run mainly by schoolboys in the Great War. In 1914 there was a fairly new Head Master, Trewby, whose immediate predecessor, Brooks, had been informed on taking up his appointment that his predecessor, Beaven, had not kept records. Most of the male staff had left to join the Forces; the only female teacher, who had known the boys from the Preparatory Department onwards, had left to be a Nurse, so there was limited continuity of personal knowledge of boys who had passed through the School. Matters were not quite as bad in 1939 but the scheme was dependent upon an inflow of information. Efforts to complete the two War Memorials together with the records of those Old Boys who served this nation in the two World Wars are similarly dependent upon an inflow of information. It will have to come from the 1939-1945 Veterans and from the first, second, and third generation descendants of those who served at any time in the Forces. Completion of records is taking place all over the country - War Memorials are notoriously incomplete and inaccurate. The Memorial Book for the Second World War has blank pages to provide for any additional names to be recorded. None have been added in over fifty years. This is the first known attempt to build on the records compiled during and shortly after the Second World War to create a complete and permanent record.

I have adopted throughout these records a standard procedure of not going back to delete erroneous information taken from an early notice in The Hoghtonian or other sources which was subsequently corrected or overtaken by events.

In the following List of the Old Boys who were in the Services and those who Died, there are references to Membership Books and Index Cards. These relate to notes made on the membership records of members of the Association, but are by no means complete. Only fourteen cards out of three boxes full of index cards have any reference to members' war service. The records which Mr Dodson kept throughout the War are not amongst the archive material held by the Association, nor known to be held in any other local archives. The best information is that they may have been destroyed not long after the School closed in 1969, when the future of the Association was apparently deemed by some to be short and terminal. Hopefully, however, a sensible Old Boy took them into safe keeping and if they still exist any accurate information which can be passed into the Association will be received with gratitude.

This may be read by generations unfamiliar with terms in everyday use during the War, as well as not necessarily being aware of the structure of the Armed Forces. As much detail as possible is being included and if some readers find it irritating to have to read something which is plainly obvious to them, would they please remember that whilst this was being compiled there were two enquiries about the Great War for which the difference between a Regiment and a Battalion had to be explained and that someone who had served in the Loyal North Lancashires had not necessarily served in the Preston Pals Company; to another that a sergeant is not an officer which was why he could not be found in the Army List, and to several the different ways in which some Units entitle their Private soldiers and other Ranks (Bombardier being an Artillery Corporal and not some sort of Brigadier, previously titled Brigadier-General) which led to the details being added to the list of Abbreviations.

Name Match, Second World War:

Thomas Topping, Lance Corporal, Corps of Military Police, KIA Italy 1945. Any information on date of birth, date of marriage, marital home address; father's name, family home address around 1915-1920.

Work is in progress on a Listing of the Former Pupils who served in the Second World War, 1939 to 1945. There will also be an Appendix for Korea and other wars, campaigns, insurgencies, skirmishes and National Service. Any information which can be given to me will be very helpful.

The closure of the School and cessation of The Hoghtonian has removed most sources of information about former pupils. The Association records only rarely give details of personal events and in any case the personal circumstances of non-members would not necessarily be known. Information will be welcomed. Photocopies will be greatly appreciated of lists of attendances at Association, Athletic Section, University Section, and other activities.


These records began many years ago by compiling details of coats of arms of Guild Burgesses, expanding to include any Preston armigers (bearers of coats of arms). Then moved sideways to list the PGS armigers and further sideways into an index of PGS names in case coats of arms for those families turned up at a later date. The index had to expand with more personal information so that the different generations and different lines of descent of any family could be determined. The information began to include sketchy details of service in the Great War and continued to expand in all directions. There was no question of any of this being published, the best which might happen would be for the records in note books and on index cards to end up in County Archives or the Harris Library. No records were kept of sources of information. Then came personal computers, the internet, and widespread public dissemination by vast numbers of people on every conceivable subject. With the best will in the world it is impossible for sources to be identified which I used prior to mid-2007. An attempt is being made to compile a list of sources which will be placed here as soon as possible.


In both World Wars and no doubt in due course in other military operations, instances have been found of Old Boys receiving awards for bravery and decorations or other honours for their work in planning, administration, and other activities not necessarily in the face of the enemy, which are not in the School records. Very few citations have been found with none so far traced in School sources. For example, Aidan Harrison, a young Captain in the Loyals in the Great War, was awarded the DSO, nothing further known, and School records do not show that he had one or possibly two Mentioned in Despatches. The DSO is second in precedence after the Victoria Cross. Old Boys with degrees or professional qualifications awarded by Universities have been noted without any information regarding their University. Please will Old Boys and family members provide details of all awards, honours, citations, higher education and qualifications.

Alick Hadwen 2008


Battle of Britain

Old Boys Serving in Fighter Command

School Records and The Hoghtonian do not give details of any Old Boys serving in Fighter Command, aircrew or groundcrew, during the Battle of Britain. The list of Those Who Served in WW2 has around 600 names and it is unlikely that very many more can be produced from School and Association sources. At a conservative estimate there should be in excess of 3,000 who were in the Services during WW2. There are 68 names in the Memorial Book and national averages indicate that number of deaths would come from not less than 2,200 Servicemen. There is a gap of 1,600 names and there will be more deaths amongst those. Four further names have been positively identified. The final death Roll is not likely to be fewer than 90 and may well reach 110.

The main source of information now has to be the Old Boys and their families. All information will be welcomed. School details, personal, family, further education and qualifications, civilian careers, Service careers. Many name matches of surname and initials are being found in Service records and some small personal detail may prove to be the one positive identifier.

The 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain is an appropriate time at which to make a determined effort to collect as much information as possible about the Old Boys and Staff who served in groundcrew and aircrew, particularly in Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain but also in all Commands throughout the War.

Please pick up your telephone, send e-mails, write letters, contact as many Old Boys and families as you can to alert them to this search so that they can provide information. Your help will be valued.



Register of National Service by PGS Old Boys after 1945

Immediately after the end of the war numbers of Old Boys were noted in The Hoghtonian and occasionally in the press as being in the Forces. It was not always made clear whether they had been caught by a residual call up for War Service, joined up as Regulars, called up for National Service, or had opted for a 3-Year Short Service Commission. So far as possible this listing is made up of those Old Boys who served as National Servicemen or took Short Service Commissions. Clarification of the status, the identification of errors, additional details of dates and locations, and many more names with full details will be welcomed.

Old Boys are asked to provide information about their own National Service and to give details, no matter how brief, of Service by other Old Boys who now are no longer amongst us.

National Service ended in 1963. National Service records have been arranged, in their own specific sections by branch of service. Other wars, campaigns, conflicts, insurgencies and skirmishes are shown below.


cross Lowe, John PGSA No 1222, 31st January 1952. 240 Stocks Road, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston. Entry to PGS 1943.

Lancashire Fusiliers, National Service. Killed in Action 25th February 1952, Egypt. Age 19 years.

Only son (possibly only child) of relatively elderly parents. Regularly played the organ at Assembly. Sang as a boy in St Andrew's Church Choir and then moved up to sing with the men. A more unlikely Fusilier would be hard to imagine. Outwardly tall and well built, he was totally unathletic, assiduously avoided physical exercise and could be relied upon to find an obscure quiet corner where he could read a book undetected by Masters keen to have him run around somewhere. The original purpose of a Fusilier Regiment was to provide specially recruited and trained infantry for the arduous duty of the last line of defence protecting the artillery against cavalry and infantry charges. They continued to have a hard fighting reputation - the Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli, "Six VCs before breakfast!". Killed after WW2, he may be the only Old Boy since 1945 to have been killed in action and not recorded on the War Memorials. Unless others from Korea or Malaya become known. The nature and wording of the War Memorial Book and WW2 Roll of Honour make them inappropriate for any additions from later actions but there must surely be some way of recording his death. If only here.

Letter in LEP, 2nd May 2000, from Walter Bentham, 60 Chatsworth Street, Preston,

Twenty nine ex-servicemen going on 6th May 2000 on a tour of the Canal Zone, Egypt. He was in the Lancashire Fusiliers who on 25th February 1952 were in an action to disarm Egyptian Police. Two Preston soldiers were killed - L/Cpl Eastham and Fusilier Lowe. Fusilier Allen was wounded and later died of his wounds. All three are buried in Moascar Garrison.

If you wish to add new information, or suggest amendment, you can do so by submitting this Data form.
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