First World War

Hospital Evacuation under Fire, Dunkirk, Mar 1918

The following is a narrative account from the diary of Molly Evans, a VAD nurse in the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk. She had returned from leave on 17 Mar and the three days from 20 to 23 March 1918 were the worst experienced so far. She wrote up a special piece in the diary to describe it, starting on the evening of 20 Mar 1918. Continue reading →
Last updated on 3 December 2018 by JJ Morgan

Rachel Eveline Wilson

Rachel Wilson was born on 19 Dec 1894 to a wealthy Quaker family in Kidderminster. After the outbreak of the First World War, she trained as a nurse and eventually joined the Queen Alexandra Hospital run by the Friends’ Ambulance Unit (FAU) in Dunkirk in 1917. She became a close friend of Molly Evans. Continue reading →
Last updated on 3 December 2018 by JJ Morgan

Elizabeth Hardy

Elizabeth Hardy was born on 5 Jun 1889, the only daughter of Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy, VC  Before 1914 she worked as a schoolmistress, having obtained a degree from London University. After war broke out, she trained with the Red Cross in London and later joined the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk on 7 Feb 1917. She became a life-long friend of Molly Evans. Continue reading →
Last updated on 19 November 2018 by JJ Morgan

Future Officers, 4th Public Schools Battalion

The 4th Public Schools Battalion, 21st Royal Fusiliers, did not land in France until Nov 1915, approximately one year after they first gathered in Ashtead, Surrey as newly enlisted recruits. We have pieced together from the photos in Noel Downing‘s (PS/2581) collection, the names and identities of some of his comrades in arms.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 13 November 2018 by JJ Morgan

Old Mulgravians’ War Memorial

The Old Mulgravians’ War Memorial, a stained-glass window in Lady Chapel of  St Oswald’s Church, Lythe near Whitby, was unveiled on 28 Mar 1920. Noel Downing was among the former pupils of the Mulgrave Castle School who together with the headmaster Lord Normanby contributed in honouring their fallen friends. The surviving correspondence below includes 2 letters – a letter of appeal and a detailed description of the Memorial on its completion. The list would indicate that about 20 per cent of all the school pupils were killed. Continue reading →
Last updated on 27 October 2018 by E Morgan

Rev Thomas Henley Flynn

Tom Flynn was born in Falmouth on 11 Jan 1889 the son of Rev Canon John Stephen Flynn. He attended Harrow School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in 1908. He was a life long friend of Noel Downing who was a contemporary of him at both Harrow and Oxford.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 24 October 2018 by JJ Morgan

The Pow-Wow: Unofficial Journal of U.P.S. Brigade

The Pow-Wow as defined by its creators was The Unofficial Journal of the Universities and Public Schools  (U.P.S.) Brigade (118th and later 98th). The intention was both to chronicle training in Epsom, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Woodcote, Clipstone and Tidworth and to amuse “two or  three thousand members of the Brigade for a few minutes each Friday”. Noel Downing treasured a complete set of 38 numbers issued from 18 Nov 1914 to 3 Sep 1915. Continue reading →
Last updated on 15 October 2018 by E Morgan

Balfour Anthony Trotter

Balfour Anthony Trotter was born on 12 Jan 1888, the son of a solicitor. He went to Harrow School 1902-1907 and matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1907 the same year as Noel Downing. The two were life long friends. Continue reading →
Last updated on 31 October 2018 by JJ Morgan

21st Battalion (4th Public Schools) Royal Fusiliers

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Noel Downing enlisted and joined the 21st Battalion (4th Public Schools) Royal Fusiliers. In early Oct 1914 he arrived in Ashtead, Surrey where he was billeted. Noel kept a series of postcards that illustrate the new recruits’ arrival and early training and the construction of a vast encampment of huts in Woodcote Park, Epsom. Continue reading →
Last updated on 31 October 2018 by E Morgan

Wilmot Evans’s Service Records, 1909-1916

This is a timeline of Wilmot Evans‘s military career. He was commissioned into the South Staffordshire Regiment at the age of 19. He served in Gibraltar and South Africa during peacetime and fought on the battlefields on the Western Front during the First World War until he was killed at the age of 25. Continue reading →
Last updated on 20 March 2018 by E Morgan

Joseph Dezitter’s Pictures of Bergues

During the First World War, Joseph Dezitter (1883-1957), a Flemish artist, was mobilised and participated in the Belgian campaign where he was seriously wounded in 1914. After recovering he joined the ambulance auxiliary services in Northern France. Travelling between military hospitals, he took the opportunity to paint the places he visited. Continue reading →
Last updated on 24 January 2018 by E Morgan

Friends’ Ambulance Unit, Dunkirk

The Quakers ran the Friends’ Ambulance Unit including the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk for most of the duration of the First World War. One of its purposes was  that members of the Society of Friends should be able to carry out their patriotic duty without having to serve in the Military on conscientious grounds. However, it also recruited from beyond the Quaker community. Continue reading →
Last updated on 2 December 2018 by JJ Morgan