News Content 2017
Philip Bradford -
John Clement Day -
Arthur Hopcraft -
Sidney John Elliot Spencer -
Frank Laurence Fulton -
OFA Annual Lunch -
Jazz and Comedy at Farnham College -
Alfred Greenwood -
Farnham Beerex -
David’s Hymnathon -
Gordon Mason -
Jean Blair: Died 29 November 2016
Memorial Service for John Commerford -
Reunion for All Years 1971-
Thomas Hollingsworth Tovey -
Daniel Arthur Mardon -
Walter Percy White -
Frederick Percy Cook -
John Victor Twitchin -
The death of Philip Bradford was listed in the the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
Philip Bradford was born in 1894 and lived on the Waverley Estate. He attended West Street School before entering Farnham Grammar School. His father, Curtis Bradford, ran the corner shop in Alfred Road and the Waverley sub-
Philip Bradford was a well-
Early in the war he joined the Hants Carabiners and later transferred to the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was posted to France just before Christmas 1916. He was killed on 16 January 1917. It is believed he was shot during his first spell in the trenches.
Private Philip Bradford was serving with the 11th Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was killed on 16 January 2017, aged 22. His is buried in grave L-
Philip Bradford was the son of Curtis and E. Bradford, of Alfred Road, Farnham, Surrey.
The death of John (Jack) Day was listed in the the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
Private John Clement Day was serving with the 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and as killed on 28 January 1917, aged 20. He is buried in grave 1-
John Clement Day was the son of Clement and Florence Day, of “Withdene”, Gordon Road, Camberley, Surrey.
The death of Arthur Hopcraft was listed in the the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
“Arthur Hopcraft, The Buffs, killed in action at Kut”. There appears to be a discrepancy between the school’s record of his name (Hopcraft, as recorded also on the School’s War Memorial) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (which records his name as Hopcroft).
Arthur Hopcraft was born in Alton and lived with his aunt and uncle at 36, Long Garden Walk, Farnham. He attended West Street School and then moved to Farnham Grammar School. He enrolled in Ashford and joined the 1st/5th Battalion, The Buffs.
His regiment sailed for India and fought in Mesopotamia. The town of Sannalyut was attacked and captured in February 1917. It seems likely that Arthur Hopcraft was killed during this action.
The Farnham Herald reported his death as follows, “Much sympathy has been expressed with Mrs. A. Andrews [his aunt] of Firgrove Hill, Farnham, who has received notification of the death of her nephew … He was killed in action on February 15th 1917 in Mesopotomia. He was the youngest son of Mrs. Hopcraft of Bentworth. Lance Corporal Hopcraft was an old Farnham Grammar School boy and was well known and liked by the people of Farnham.”
Lance Corporal Arthur Hopcraft was serving with the 1st/5th Battalion, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and was killed in action on 15 February 1917. He is buried in grave XXI-
The death of Sidney John Elliot Spencer was was listed in the the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
Sidney John Elliot Spencer was previously wounded in France, and recovered from his wounds in a hospital in Brighton. His parents were well known for running a drapers shop at 51 The Borough, Farnham.
After recovering from his wounds Sidney Spencer wanted to return quickly to the front and catch up with his friends. Unfortunately he found that most of them had been killed or wounded. Sidney was later killed fighting on the Somme on 28 February 1917.
Private Sidney John Elliot Spencer was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and was killed on 28 February 1917, aged 23. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 8 C 9A and 16A of the Thiepval Memorial, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
The 85th Annual Gathering of the OFA took place on Saturday 25 March at the Surya Farnham Hog’s Back Hotel. There was an excellent turnout of “old boys” for the event.
Brian Williams said grace after which all stood in respect, as the names of Old Boys who had died in the past year were read out.
The guest speaker was Sally Francis, Principal at Farnham Sixth Form College from 1997 until 2007. She recalled her dealings with the Old Boys and appreciated being a life honorary member of the Association. Her speech was typical of this well liked Principal and contained some humorous recollections.
Gordon Andrews proposed the Toast to the Association and told the guests that in his youth he was a sickly child and frequently spent time ill in bed. To keep his mind active he began to explore mental arithmetic and in time could work out difficult mathematical sums in his head. Returning to school he amazed the teachers with this new found skill and gave an example to the guests of this. It was an interesting and very original toast.
Ted Mayne made the Toast to the Association and explained that after leaving school he worked for a while in France and improved his ability in the language. On returning home he applied, and surprisingly obtained, a position with the diplomatic corps. This resulted in many years travelling across the globe and he thanked the old school for giving him an excellent basic education.
Roger Edgell replied to both toasts with his dry wit and explained that the Old Boys were increasingly involved in supporting projects at the Sixth Form College. He welcomed former Principal Mike Potter to the dinner and said he would always be welcome. The current Director of Farnham SFC, Dr Jason Jones, was unable to attend.
Derek Bowtell made the Roll Call and guests stood as he called out the years covering their years at school. John Crotty was first to stand for the year 1941 and John Clarke and Julian Walden were left standing with the last year of grammar school pupils in 1978.
We look forward to another enjoyable lunch in 2018.
Table 9 at this year’s Annual Lunch
Guests attending the Old Farnhamians and Farnham Sixth Form College show entitled “Jazz and Comedy at the College” received quite shock as they entered the reception area and were faced with show band leader, Geoff Hiscott dressed as a Headmaster in gown, mortar board and wielding a cane. They were urged to take their seats or get “six of the best” and were escorted to the Performance Hall at Morley Road by current students dressed in St. Trinians garb. This set the tone for a first class evening of entertainment.
This was a special evening for the college, the Old Boys and the 150 plus audience. It is hoped that £1000 was the result and these proceeds will go to the college to purchase computer equipment. A full report of the evening’s entertainment can be downloaded here.
Dr. Jason Jones (Director of Farnham Sixth Form College) thanked the organiser, the performers and the helpers and wished everyone a safe journey home. This was a new experience for the college and a possible repeat will be considered for 2018. You have been warned!
Front row: Nick Ridley, Headmaster Geoff Hiscott, Cyril Trust (Organiser); Second Row: Sue Lampard (Quintessential), Roger Edgell (President of the Old Boys), Back Row: Richard Phillips (Old Boys Vice-
We regret to report the passing of Miss Blair on 29 November last. She was aged 94.
A number of us were able to attend the Saturday lunchtime session at the Maltings Beerex. This year we were delighted to be joined by Andy Vincent!
The Beer Festival as closely followed by David Bathurst’s Hymnathon. This unusual event was held at St. George’s Church, Eastergate, Sussex.
David tells us that, “Between 29 April and 1 May inclusive I will endeavour to sing, from memory(with organ accompaniment), all 400 hymns in the BBC Songs Of Praise hymnbook. Unlike my Bible reading I will stop for sleeps! The timings are 9.30-
During the afternoon of 30 April, David sang “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” dedicated to FGS, FGGS and FC, former students and staff.
A Thanksgiving Service to celebrate the life of John Commerford took place in All Saints’ Church, Tilford, on the afternoon of Friday 23 June.
It was followed by the interment of John’s ashes in the churchyard.
Afterwards, a party to further celebrate his life took place in the Tilford Institute.
As previously reported on our Facebook page, John passed away on 29 May.
For many years he taught Physics at the Grammar School and Farnham College. A full obituary has been posted here.
Many former staff and pupils attended both the Thanksgiving Service and the party. We include a photo of John, Andy Sayer and Mike.
The social event of the year was keenly anticipated. The classes of '71 and '72 (the last cohorts from the former Grammar Schools) met in the relaxed surroundings of Tilford’s Duke of Cambridge PH.
The weather was favourable and there was a steady flow of beer and banter, followed by lunches and a further run on the ales and Hazy Hog Cider.
Former pupils had travelled from near and far; from as far away as Australia (thank you, Bridget!), from Thailand (Phil Hambly), from Scotland (Arnie Arnstein) and from the depths of the West Country (Ian and Gill Richards).
The careers of those attending ranged from ship master to barrister. The medical profession was particularly well represented. Everyone was reassured to learn that in the event of any medical emergency developing during the course of the afternoon, they could rely on the presence of no fewer than three GPs, a consultant surgeon and a consultant anaesthetist!
The sun’s appearance brought out the summer dresses (on the girls, not the boys! -
Surprisingly, Martin didn’t regale us with his risque joke concerning the Second World War Polish Air Force pilot and the German Fokkers, however there was no escaping Arnie’s account of his own unusual use of cling film in lieu of clothes. Fortunately, Bridget, having enjoyed several large glasses of Sauvignon blanc, raised the tone with a delightful and unexpected end of afternoon speech,
thanking everyone for being there and saying what wonderful friends we all were (hear, hear!).
Arnie was presented with his birthday card and as people slowly drifted away, thoughts turned to the possibility of staging a further social event a few years hence, marking our collective 60th birthdays.
Below, we present a photographic gallery of the reunion.
The death of Frank Laurence Fulton was was listed in the the Farnhamian dated April 1919.
Frank Laurence Fulton was killed by a shell near Dorian, Macedonia, on 20 March 1917. According to The Farnhamian, “He volunteered at the very beginning of the war, as one would have expected of him, and was only 19½ at the time of this death. His contemporaries at the school will be deeply grieved to hear of his death.” The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that Frank Fulton volunteered for Foreign Service in August 1914, and he served in France and Greece.
Frank Laurence Fulton was the son of George E. Fulton and Isabella Lansdown Fulton of 4 Victoria Villas, Brookwood, Surrey.
Corporal Frank Laurence Fulton was serving with the 2nd/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles), and was killed on 20 March 1917, aged 19. He is buried in grave F-
The death of Alfred Greenwood was was listed in the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
According to that report, Alfred Greenwood “was officially reported missing after the engagement at Gaza on April 19th. The Commanding Officer has since written stating that a high explosive shell fell near where he and two others were advancing, and that none of the party were seen subsequently.”
“All will remember Greenwood as a sterling sportsman. In his first season he fully replaced the almost perfect Todman as goal-
“He joined up at the beginning of the war, and we are confident that he bore himself worthily there.”
Alfred Greenwood was the son of Ernest and Marie Greenwood of 9 Testland Road, Guildford, Surrey.
Rifleman Alfred Greenwood was serving with the 11th Battalion, London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles), and was killed on 19 April 1917, aged 21. He is buried in grave XIV-
The death of Gordon Mason was was listed in the Farnhamian dated August 1917.
According to The Farnhamian, Gordon Mason, “was killed in action in France on June 6th [sic]. We have no particulars of his death. Those of his generation will remember him as a bright energetic boy. He gave up a good appointment in London to join at the beginning of the war. Those who only knew him by his manly bearing in the streets here make no doubt that he died a manly death.”
Gordon Mason was the son of Fannie Elizabeth Mason of 13 East Street, Farnham, and of the late Robert Dykes Mason.
Second Lieutenant Gordon Mason was serving with the 21st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and was killed on 7 June 1917, aged 20. He is buried in grave III-
The death of Thomas Hollingsworth Tovey does not appear to have been reported in the pages of the Farnhamian.
“It is with feelings of real regret that we have to announce the sad news of the death of Sergeant Thomas Hollingsworth Tovey, only son of Mrs Tovey of 78 West Street, who, it is reported, was killed in action on 5th August 1917. In a letter to Mrs. Tovey “2nd Lieutenant J.O.S. Porter, the deceased soldier’s section officer of the Machine Gun Corps states: “I feel his loss very much as he was a most cheerful fellow in the line and proved himself a capable sergeant.”
“At the time of his death he was with one of the foremost guns and it so unfortunately happened that the Germans attacked in a very thick mist at dawn. I regret to say that the Germans apparently crawled right up to the gun and bombed it and the crew out. No trace of Sergeant Tovey could be found afterwards and the long list of names of the Roll of Glory at the Farnham Grammar School is added to for the deceased was a scholar of the school for several years.”
“During his school days Tom Tovey took a great interest in the Cadet Corps and Scout Movement and was a patrol leader and an assistant and a great help to the scoutmaster of the Farnham troop of scouts. Upon leaving the school in 1912 he joined the Farnham Company of Cadets and rose to the rank of colour sergeant. He transferred into the Farnham Company of Territorials in February 1914, and was in camp with them at Salisbury upon the outbreak of the war. When the company was mobilised he volunteered to go overseas but being underage he was not allowed to go.”
“Before he attained his 19th birthday he held the rank of sergeant and in November was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps as, to use his own words, “There would not have been a chance of going out otherwise”. He went to France about a week after Easter of this year and was for a time at the base as an instructor in machine guns, but later went into the first line in charge of a gun and its team.
“His death is greatly deplored, occurred at the age of 21 years. The late Sergeant Tovey was formerly a Sunday school teacher at St Andrew’s and a member of the c.E.M.S.”
Thomas Hollingsworth Tovey was the only son of the late Thomas William Tovey and of Kate Tovey, of 78 West Street, Farnham.
Sergeant Thomas Hollingsworth Tovey was serving with the 2nd Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), and was killed on 5 August 1917, aged 21. He is commemorated on Panel 56 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
However the following information was printed in the Farnham Herald dated 25th August 1917:
“News has been received by Mr. & Mrs. A. G. Mardon that their only son Daniel Arthur Mardon has been wounded whilst on service in France. (As reported he later died of his wounds).
“He is a second corporal in the Royal Engineers and for two years had seen service overseas.
“He enlisted in September 1914 and was posted first overseas to Gallipoli and was present at the evacuation where they were transported to Egypt. For six months he served in Egypt and from there moved directly to France. On the sea journey to France his ship was torpedoed. He had served for twelve months in France before being wounded.
“Daniel is a Farnham Grammar School boy and he was so sad to read of the Memorial Service to the fallen old boys [held on 26 July 1917 in the Parish Church, with 35 old boys listed in the Roll of Honour] since he had been at school and knew so many of them.”
“Daniel was born on 31st December 1894 and his parents Mr. Arthur George Mardon and Mrs. Ellen Louisa Mardon lived at 68 Castle Street, although Daniel was actually born in Hale. He initially attended West Street School before entering the Farnham Grammar School.
“On leaving school he joined the Royal Engineers. During the First World War they expanded their duties as greater technology became available. Among their general duties were laying and clearing mines, tunnelling under enemy trenches and maintenance of communications with their Signalling Companies. There were specialist teams for railway transport, inland waterway transport, bridge construction, and many other duties.
“Daniel was one of many local men who died while serving with the Royal Engineers.”
Daniel Arthur Mardon was the son of Arthur George and Ellen Louisa Mardon of “Hawarden”, Farnham.
Second Corporal Daniel Arthur Mardon was serving with the 11th Signal Company, Royal Engineers, and died on 20 August 1917, aged 22. He is buried in grave IV-
“Walter Percy White was the son of Walter and Charlotte White of Ridgway Corner, Farnham. His father was born in Battersea, and his mother born in Bristol. He had a younger brother names Charles and according to a plaque in the Bourne Church he was a member of the church choir.
He enrolled in the Army in Farnham and joined the 2nd/21st Battalion, London Regiment. He was 27 years of age and a Sergenat when he was killed on 8 [sic] December 1917. Severe fighting occurred up to that evening, when the Turks were driven from the City of Jerusalem by units which included the 2nd/21st Battalion London Regiment. On the following day the Turks counter-
Sergeant Walter Percy White was serving with the 2nd/21st Battalion, London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles), and died on 9 December 1917 [CWGC date of death], aged 27. He is buried in grave IV-
The death of Frederick Percy Cook appears to have been reported in the pages of the Farnhamian, albeit as F. R. Cook.
According to the April 1918 issue of The Farnhamian, “F. R. Cook, [sic] who was with us at school as it were yesterday, died in a German prison on December 13th. He had been reported wounded and missing since December 1st, and we had hope that we might see his bright face with us again. But at the end of March the official news of his death was received from the War Office. At School he was one of the brightest and most liked boys of his generation. Excellent at work, good at football, and a reliable bowler, he worthily filled his place here. During the training in England he really endeared himself to the families where he was billeted. And when he was first missing we received more than one letter of inquiries from his friends.”
The following additional information is taken from Henry Ellwood’s Remembrance Book No. 2 (held in the Farnham Museum), and reproduced in the June 2009 issue of The Farnhamian:
“Frederick Percy Cook lived with his family at 8 Tavistock Villas, St George's Road, Farnham. He initially attended East Street School and then entered Farnham Grammar School by winning a scholarship. After a successful period at the school he joined Messrs. Ball & Co., drainage contractors, and was with them until he joined the army. He was a Wesleyan local preacher and hoped eventually to join the Wesleyan Church. He joined the 6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, owing to not being able to get into the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, on November 14th 1914 and was for twelve months at their divisional headquarters.
“When the Division was broken up he was transferred to the 7th Battalion and after training went to France. He was there for only five weeks before being wounded in action and was then reported as missing. His burial was reported as having taken place in an East German cemetery.
“Frederick Cook and his brother Ernest Edward Cook joined up together and both were killed.
“It is probable that Frederick Percy Cook received his fatal wounds after the Division took part in the attack on Cambrai. He was 22 years of age.”
Frederick Percy Cook was the sone of Mr. & Mrs. A. E. Cook of “Wey View”, Bridgefield, Farnham.
Lance Corporal Frederick Percy Cook was serving with the 7th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, and died on 13 December 1917, aged 22. He is buried in grave IV-
The death of John Victor Twitchin does not appear to have been reported in the pages of the Farnhamian.
John Victor Twitchin was the son of John K. And Catherine Twitchin, of Manor Farm, Holybourne, Alton.
John Victor Twitchin was serving with the 2nd/5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, and died on 17 December 1917, aged 20. He is buried in grave D-