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Blunderbuss News


This year’s news continues to be interspersed with details of Old Boys who were killed in action 100 years ago.


More memorabilia is in the pipeline so keep visiting the site!



News Content


Herbert Julius Caesar - Died 5 March 1918

OFA Annual Lunch - 17 March 2018

Archibald Donald Milner - Died 23 March 1918

Farnham Beerex - 14 April 2018

Hector Charles Carter - Died 25 April 1918

40th Anniversary Reunion at Tilford - 10 June 2018

The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain - Summer 2018

Christopher Young - Killed in Action 20 July 1918

J K Dutton - Died 15 August 1918

Leslie Baynes Starling - Killed in Action 29 August 1918

John Patrick O’Donnell - Killed in Action 4 September 1918

Robert Cecil Marsh - Died 17 September 1918

Edward A Atkinson - Died 4 November 1918

Arnie’s debut novel - November 2018

Commemorating William Bastow - 8 December 2018



Older News Content


News Archive for 2017

News Archive for 2016

News Archive for 2015

News Archive for 2014 (includes Martin Collier’s speech)

News Archive for 2013

News Archive for 2012

News Archive for 2011

Annual Dinner 2008 (includes Mike Mehta’s speech)

Annual Dinner 2005 (includes John Clarke’s speech)


For even older news items (covering 2005-7) see the Blunderbuss Archive


OFA Annual Lunch - 17 March 2018


The 86th Annual Gathering of the OFA took place on Saturday 17 March at the Farnham Hog’s Back Hotel.


In spite of a heavy snow storm and an ageing of membership the former pupils and staff of Farnham Boys Grammar School, almost sixty in total, attended. As usual former pupils of this school travelled from across the country to spend time with their old pals; one made his annual visit from America to coincide with the lunch and another had travelled from Sweden.


It is usual to read out a list of those Old Boys who have died during the past year and this time there were fourteen names read out, showing that in time this organisation will come to an end. A sad thought as the school has been part of the history of Farnham for over 400 years. This year we were represented by Mike Mehta, Julian Walden and John Clarke.


The main guests were Dr. Jason Jones, current Director of Farnham Sixth Form College, and Mike Potter, former Chief Executive of the Guildford College Group. The Toast to the School was given by Richard Lord and the Toast to the Association by Barry Hall. The current President and organiser of the event, Roger Edgell, replied to both toasts. Roger has been the President for two years and Cyril Trust praised his dedication to the position.


The afternoon ended with all standing for the School Song and the National Anthem. The whole occasion was managed most skilfully by stand-in Toastmaster Wally Walsh.


We look forward to another enjoyable lunch in 2019.


Old Farnhamians annual lunch 2018



































Mike, Julian and John at this year’s Annual Lunch


Farnham Beerex - 14 April 2018


A number of us were able to attend the Saturday lunchtime session at the Maltings Beerex.



























40th Anniversary Reunion (1978-2018) at the Barley Mow, Tilford, 10 June 2018


The social event of this year was keenly anticipated. The classes of '71 met in the relaxed surroundings of Tilford’s Barley Mow PH, with some electing to meet earlier to visit Farnham College.


The weather was excellent and there was a steady flow of beer and banter.


A gallery can be viewed on our Facebook page.


































In the beer garden of the Barley Mow.



































Pre-drinks get-together at Farnham College.


The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain by Robert McWilliams


The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain by Robert McWilliamsThe Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain: A Walk from Cape Wrath to the Solway Firth covers the route from Cape Wrath in the lonely northwest to a muddy estuary overlooking England, and takes the reader on a walk across Scotland.


“For Robert McWilliams - Scots-born but exiled since childhood - the walk is an obstinate ambition, and the start of a new direction in life. McWilliams crosses wild and beautiful landscapes, meets an ever-changing cast of companions, and passes through communities from remote hamlets to the smiling, but rough-edged, city of Glasgow. Around every corner, he explores Scotland's turbulent history and unique cultural and natural heritage, from the Gaelic language, to the fearsome Highland midge, and how the Stone of Destiny - an ancient coronation symbol - could now reside in an unassuming Glasgow pub.


“Struggling with terrain, injury, atrocious weather, and above all his own fragile confidence, McWilliams weaves into his narrative the threads of his life that led to the journey, and discovers that the rewards of adventure are rarely those that were anticipated. The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain informs and entertains. As well as a ben or a castle, there is usually a joke just around the next turn in the trail.”


We are delighted to add the book was cited as the Wadham College “August Alumni Author”.


Arnie’s debut novel


Alternative lives by Arnie ArnsteinArnie thought you might be amused to read his debut novel - a spy thriller, so here is his sales pitch:


“A bit of a boys-own tale and a romp but entertaining?! Apologies for some of the language...

I had the idea for the story more than ten years ago and was tempted to start writing during very long free-flap plastics operations but restrained myself. Anyhow, now it's done and I'm working on three other books - two of which might be better from a literary point of view, we'll see. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD as I'm using any royalties to support a specific charity (named at the end of the book but don't read because it might ruin the plot). It helps assuage my conscience. I would welcome any feedback - either by twitter or email as below. The paperback book price on Amazon is to be set so that postage is free and generates a modest amount for the good cause (no publishers including Amazon are generous). Also available as an e-book - follow this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1723713201


Commemorating William Henry Bastow (died 1915) - 8 December 2018


Commemorating William Henry Bastow at Farnham College

Mike Mehta and John Clarke attended a simple yet moving ceremony in the Old Building on the afternoon of Saturday 8 December to commemorate the life of William Henry Bastow whose name has, until today, been missing from the School’s war memorial plaque.


Although John first noted this omission 3 or 4 years ago, due credit to Roger Edgell for seeing this through to the end, including the commissioning of lettering to complete the War Memorial. Today's ceremony means that the correct number of 72 "Old Boys" are recorded on the memorial plaque.




Rev. Andrew Tuck and Roger Edgell following the unveiling of William Henry Bastow’s name on the World War 1 tablet




The ceremony was led by Roger Edgell, who related the background story to the ceremony, where he made reference to the need to right a perceived wrong by commissioning the addition of William Bastow’s name to the Roll of Honour tablet at Farnham College. Even though this was 103 years since his death in Gallipoli, it was right that his name should join those of his school friends.


Roger then read the poem “In Flanders Field” by Major John McCrae. This was followed by the unveiling of the W H Bastow details on the World War 1 tablet. Richard Phillips, President of the OFA then read his poem “W H Bastow - Memorium to a Farnham Fallen Soldier” which he had written especially for this occasion. An address and prayers were then given by The Rev. Andrew Tuck, former Rector of Farnham and an Old Farnhamian himself.


The additional lettering for William Henry Bastow supplied by Arro Signs Bournemouth for the First World War tablet in Farnham College

























The additional brass lettering was supplied by Arro Signs, Bournemouth, and were applied by Joanna Phillips, wife of Richard Phillips, the current OFA President.


William Henry Bastow leaflet December 2018You can download a copy of the booklet produced for the occasion (pdf format).


The booklet includes additional notes on the life of William Bastow, which is reproduced here:


“It is believed that William Henry Bastow was the only Farnham Hero to have died serving at Gallipoli with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS); he is buried at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Canakkale, Turkey Grave Reference K.53.


“The records show that 2nd Lieutenant William Henry Bastow, who was an army officer in the Royal Field Artillery, attached to the Royal Naval Air Service, attended Farnham Grammar School from 1904-1909. He was born in December 1894 in Hanwell, Middlesex, the son of Frank Rogers Bastow and Annie Louise (nee Channon). The 1911 census for Farnham lists him living at 2 The Borough, Farnham with his parents and brothers and sisters. Father Frank is listed as a shopkeeper (“Corn Dealer and Poultry Foods”), and William Henry is a 16 year old “Assistant” presumed to be in the family business.


“William did marry whilst on leave from the army in April 1915 - his bride was Maude Cowan, aged 18 years, born in 1897 her father Patrick H being of military descent stationed in Aldershot. Her mother was Matilda Purdey and Maude bore William a son, William Frank Henry, on the 31st October 1915 just 26 days before William died at Gallipoli on the 26th November 1915 aged 21 years and 11 months. Sadly William never met his son.


“His son William, who was married to Muriel Freeman from Tongham, Surrey where they resided until his death in 2000 - they were not blessed with children of their own.”


School War MemorialHerbert Julius Caesar - Died 5 March 1918

The death of Herbert Julius Caesar was reported in the the Farnhamian dated April 1918.


“Sergt. Herbert Julius Caesar, who joined up at the commencement of the war, and was invalided out last November, died at Hale on March 5th. He went to France in the beginning of 1916, but the severe strain of his duties taxed his strength beyond the limit, though he stuck to his job to the point of collapse. He was invalided home in October, and after a few months in hospital returned to work in England. But his health broke down again, and he was finally discharged from the service. His last days were spent in his native village of Hale, whence he used to come patiently to school every day seventeen to twenty years ago. He was of those that are faithful though not famous at school. Excellent at work, good at play, and always cheerful, his contemporaries would all agree that there was no boy so un-complaining and so ready to take a bright view of things. We need so many of that breed now.”


Serjeant Herbert Julius Caesar was serving with the 1st London Sanitary Company, Royal Army Medical Corps, and died on 5 March 1918, aged 35. He is buried in Upper Hale Cemetery and his memorial includes the inscription, “And so after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise”. Herbert Julius Caesar is also commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.


Serjeant Herbert Julius Caesar was born in Upper Hale and was the son of Eli and Margaret Caesar. He was the husband of Edith Caesar of 2 Dairy Villas, Upper Hale, Farnham.


Archibald Donald Milner - Died 23 March 1918

The death of Archibald Donald Milner does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.


Captain Archibald Donald Milner was serving with the 1st Battalion and attached to the 9th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and died on 23 March 1918. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and on the School’s War Memorial.


School War MemorialHector Charles Carter - Died 25 April 1918

The death of Hector Charles Carter does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.


Private Hector Charles Carter was serving with “D” Company, 7th Battalion of the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) and died on 25 April 1918, aged 19. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial and on the School’s War Memorial.


Hector Charles Carter was the son of Joseph and Selina Carter of 1 Surrey View, Rowledge, Farnham.


School War MemorialJ. K. Dutton - Died 15 August 1918

The death of J. K. Dutton does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.


Private J. K. Dutton was serving with the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and died on 15 August 1918. He is buried in Frensham (St Mary) Churchyard and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.


School War MemorialLeslie Baynes Starling - Killed in Action 29 August 1918

The death of Leslie Baynes Starling does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.


In the March 2014 issue of the Farnhamian it is noted that Leslie Baynes Starling was born in Farnham and was the son of Charles and Augusta Starling of Bridgefield, Farnham. He attended Farnham Grammar School before joining the staff of the London & County Westminster Bank. At the time of his enlistment he was living in Slough. He was a talented musician and had great promise of becoming a brilliant cellist. He frequently played at the Congregational Church and the P.S.A. And at concerts in Farnham.


Leslie Baynes Starling was killed in action on 29 August 1918. The official letter informing his parents said, “His loss was keenly felt by us and more especially by those of us who were with him in training at Brigade Signal School. He was a generous, willing and ever cheerful comrade and well liked by us all. We do feel for you in your great loss and trust the blow will be somewhat softened by the knowledge that your son died a hero’s death, making the great and supreme sacrifice in a just and righteous cause. Please accept this, our sincere and heartfelt sympathy, and regret that only a few lines cannot express our deep feelings.”


Private Signaller Leslie Baynes Starling was serving with the 1st/14th Battalion, London Regiment (London Scottish). He is buried in Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy in grave I-H-29. His memorial includes the epitaph, “So sleep the brave”. He is also commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.


School War MemorialJohn Patrick O’Donnell - Killed in Action 4 September 1918

The death of John Patrick O’Donnell was reported in the January 1919 Farnhamian.


“John Patrick O’Donnell, at first posted as missing, was officially reported to have been killed at Kemmel Hill on September 4th. His kindly ways, his bright cheerfulness, his splendid courage, made him generally beloved. We offer our deepest sympathy to each member of his family.”


The following obituary appeared in the Farnham Herald:


  “News has been received that Private John O’Donnell, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell of The Fairfield, serving in the Hampshire Regiment, who was previously reported as missing, is now reported killed on 4th September. Private O’Donnell, who was only twenty years old was an Old Grammar School boy, who joined up three years ago. He was home on leave quite recently and only returned to France a fortnight before his death.”


In the March 2012 issue of the Farnhamian it is noted that John O’Donnell joined the 15th Battalion of the Hampshire regiment in 1915. It was formed as part of the Fifth New Army at Aldershot in September 1915. John O’Donnell and Gordon Mason fought in the same areas of France and Italy and it is believed that John O’Donnell was killed when the Division was advancing into Belgium towards the end of the war.


Leslie Baynes Starling was killed in action on 29 August 1918. The official letter informing his parents said, “His loss was keenly felt by us and more especially by those of us who were with him in training at Brigade Signal School. He was a generous, willing and ever cheerful comrade and well liked by us all. We do feel for you in your great loss and trust the blow will be somewhat softened by the knowledge that your son died a hero’s death, making the great and supreme sacrifice in a just and righteous cause. Please accept this, our sincere and heartfelt sympathy, and regret that only a few lines cannot express our deep feelings.”


Private John Patrick O’Donnell was serving with the 15th (Hampshire Yeomary) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment and was killed on 4 September 1918, aged 20. He is buried in Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3 in grave XVI-J-23. His memorial includes the epitaph, “Eternal rest give unto him O Lord. May he rest in peace”. He is also commemorated on the memorial in Gostrey Meadow and on the School’s War Memorial.


School War MemorialChristopher Young - Killed in Action 20 July 1918

The death of Christopher Young was reported in the the Farnhamian dated January 1919.


“Lieut. Chris Young, R.A.F., Was reported missing on July 1st, 1918, but intelligence has now reached his friends of his death. When flying he was attacked by the Huns in superior numbers, and, though he made a gallant fight, he was shot dead, and his machine brought down in the German lines. He was buried with full military honours. He was a favourite among his comrades at school on account of his unfailing good nature and his thorough sportsmanship. We shall all miss him greatly.”


Lieutenant Christopher Young was serving in the 55th Squadron, Royal Air Force, and died on 20 July 1918, aged 27. He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, in grave I-H-1. His memorial includes the inscription, “He has soared the shadow of our night”. Christopher Young is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial. He was the son of the late Ernest Christopher Young and Laura, of Southampton; and husband of Phyllis Young (nee Lake), of 26 Mount Ephraim Road, Streatham.


School War MemorialRobert Cecil Marsh - Died 17 September 1918

The death of Robert Cecil Marsh does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.

 

Second Lieutenant Robert Cecil Marsh was serving with the 2nd Company, Machine Gun Corps and died on 17 September 1918, aged 21. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in grave XXVIII-O-1. His memorial includes the epitaph, “’Bobbie’ never forgotten his life for his country his soul to God”. Robert Marsh is also commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.


Robert Cecil Marsh was the son of Sidney and Kate Marsh of Richmond House, Cargate Avenue, Aldershot.


School War MemorialEdward A Atkinson - Died 4 November 1918

The death of Edward A Atkinson does not appear to have been reported in the the Farnhamian.

 

Private Edward A Atkinson was serving with the 14th Battalion, London Regiment (London Scottish) and died on 4 November 1918, aged 22. He is buried in Vichte Military Cemetery in grave I-BB-10. His memorial includes the epitaph, “In God’s keeping”. Robert Marsh is also commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.


Edward A Atkinson was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Atkinson of 21 The Vineyard, Richmond, Surrey.