While researching for his series of books commemorating the fallen whose names appear on the Boston War Memorial (and others in Boston) Dr William M Hunt, MPhil, PhD identified three casualties of the First World War who were Boston Grammar School pupils not included on the School Memorial:
- Leonard Edward Adams, 2nd Battalion, The London Regiment - killed 13th March 1918
- Walter George Burnett Dickinson, 1st Battery, 1st North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery - died, 6 August 1914
- Arthur Rastall, Royal Engineers - died of wounds, 16th November 1918
- Edgar Sutcliffe, Labour Corps - killed, 17 August 1917
Dr Hunt also found two casualties of the Second World War who were ommitted from the memorial:
Dr Hunt's two volumes "A Town Remembers Those commemorated on the Boston War Memorial" are published in association with the "History of Boston Project". Volume I: The First World War; Volume II: The Second World War.
Old Boys' War Memorial - Unveiling ceremony at Boston Grammar School
Article from The Boston Guardian dated Saturday, November 17, 1923
It was extremely apt that the memorial to old scholars of the Boston Grammar School should be unveiled on an Armistice Day. In all, two hundred and fifty old boys participated in the Great War, in one capacity or another, and of this number forty-two laid down their lives. In order to perpetuate their memory, a brass tablet has been placed on the South wall of the Great Hall of the School, in which they spent their youthful careers and fitted themselves for service in their manhood. The memorial had been subscribed for by 125 old boys.
On the subscribers' list are noted names of those who were scholars of the school nearly seventy years ago; others had sent their tribute from far distant lands; old boys from India and Ceylon, Australia and Africa, Canada and the Argentine are to be found giving proof of their lasting affection and regard for their Alma Mater and her gallant dead.
On Sunday afternoon last, in the presence of a large number of parents of old boys and present scholars, the ceremony of unveiling was performed by Earl Brownlow, who wore the uniform of a Col. of the Lincs. Regiment.
Those present included the Mayor and Mayoress (Coun. and Mrs CH Wing), Mr RW Staniland, Miss Staniland, Miss E Staniland, Ald. T Kitwood JP, Mrs T Kitwood JP, Mr and Mrs J M Simpson, Mr Cheesewright, Miss Cheesewright, Mr Jos Maltby, Mrs A Maltby, Miss King, Miss Gregory, Mr H W Burchnall, Mr and Mrs Brittain, Mr and Mrs H Pinner, Mr R N Chapman, Mr and Mrs Waterfield, Mr and Mrs T Comer, Mrs C Garnham, Mrs B J Halliday, Mr and Mrs G H Claypoole, Miss Claypoole, Mr and Mrs S Lucas, Mrs Harrison, Mr and Mrs J Smith, Mr and Mrs W T Steele, Mrs Allen, Mr F Thompson, Coun, J Maltby, Major O B Giles, Coun. J H Tooley, Coun F Peck, Mrs O Cooper, and Mr F Parkes JP. In addition to the above there was a splendid attendance of old boys of the School, including: Messrs. B J Kent, Dr R Tuxford, F Harrison, Edmund Waite, S Claypoole (March), C H Adcock, S J Hurst, G E Hackford, F Hardy, F Allen, Capt. C Mawer, R J Harwood, F Bothamley, T Yorkstone, H Fountain, G E Pinches, A C Rysdale, Stuart C Simpson, C Gregory, G A Brough, G H Mason, Capt. J L Burchnall MC, J W Kime, W Ingram, H G Woods, F Day, J W Hickman, T Ryan, M A Halliday, T H Lincoln, G W Langstaff, E Brough, F O Fountain, W Mason, M Moslin, G Stray, P Cumberworth, F Mitchell, J McGuire, H A Waterfield, C N F Woodward, J Mitchell, J R Anderson, S Clifton, F Clifton, A Burchnall, E Ward, C F parkinson, G A Tunnard, F H Higden, J Dion, F Chester, F Allen, C Lefley, W Holland, R Sutcliffe and R Peck.
There were also present the Committee of the Old Bostonian Club, who had made all the arrangements in connection with the Memorial Scheme: Mr J S Towell, Major O Cooper, Major S C Wright DSO, Capt H C Marris, Messrs. A Day, A C Rysdale, C Garnham, J L Towell, E Stutcliff, J Mather, and the Honorary Secretary (B J Halliday).
Letters of apology were received for non-attendance from many old boys of the School, including: professor A J Grant, Leeds University, President of the Old Bostonian Club; Mr Wm. Scorer, Mr N C Ridley, Mr C W Adcock, Dr H F Maltby, and others.
The proceedings opened with the hymn "O God our help in ages past," after which sentences and prayers were read by the Rev. J B Simpson MA, an "old boy," son of the Chairman of the Governors, and brother of Capt. Eric Simpson, who was killed in the war. The Lesson, from the Book of Wisdom, was read by the Headmaster (Capt. H H Morris). Old Bostonian Club (Mr A Hill) read the following:-
- We unite in praise and thanksgiving for those members of our old school, who, during the Great War, died for King and Country, in France and Flanders, in Gallipoli and Egypt, in Mespopotamia, in this country, and on the seas, in the high cause of freedom and honour. At a call of duty they went forth gallantly to fight and die. Their renown receives to-day the tribute of our gratitude and reverent admiration. In this hall, where, as boys, they answered to the roll-call, we proudly set up their names in token of their worthiness and that all who come after may hold in remembrance their great deserving."
Then followed a list of those whose names appear upon the memorial tablet, and which are reported below.
The recessional hymn, "God of our Fathers" was sung, after which Earl Brownlow unveiled the memorial, which had been shrouded by a Union Jack. The Memorial bore the following inscription:-
"IN PROUD MEMORY OF THE OLD BOYS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918."
The names on the memorial are listed but are omitted here because they can be found above.
This tablet is erected by former members of this school
In the course of his remarks, Earl Brownlow said:-
- On this, the fifth anniversary of the Armistice, which brought the Great War to an end, we are met here to render our homage to the memory of 42 old boys of this famous old school, who gave their lives for this country, and to unveil this memorial tablet as a monument to their heroic sacrifice.
- I understand that about 250 old boys of the school were engaged in the campaign, and that the school was represented in each of the theatres of operation - in France and Belgium, in Gallipoli, in Egypt and Palestine, in Salonica, in Mesopotamia, and with the Fleets at sea.
- Few, if any, of these men were soldiers or sailors by profession. They did not hesitate or wait for compulsion, but they came forward cheerfully and readily to answer the call of duty, leaving their homes and families, and their businesses and professions, often at great personal loss. Imbued with the traditions, and by the lofty principles which they had absorbed at their old school - principles with which they were inspired, not only in the Schoolroom, but also in the cricket and football field; the principle of subordinating self-interest, and playing up for the success of their own side; the principle of risking all, regardless of consequences when the freedom and honour of the country is at stake. These men came forward voluntarily, and flung themselves into the conflict.
- And of these 250 old boys, 42, whose names are inscribed on this tablet, sacrificed ALL, and never returned to their homes again. Two of them, both sons of an honoured and greatly-respected citizen of Boston, were intimate friends of mine, who served with me in the old Lincolnshire Volunteers, many years ago. The homes of all these men are desolate. Their loss is indeed irreparable, but all those who loved them are justly proud of their gallant sacrifice.
- These men have set us a great example which, I feel sure, will inspire the present and future generations of boys at the school.
- This tablet will stand here as an enduring testimony of sacrifice and good citizenship, and it will serve to remind those who are here now, and those who come after, of the heroes who were here in this school before them.
- Whether you, or those who come here, after you, will be called upon in the future to defend your country's freedom in war, we cannot tell, but you should not forget that there are many other duties of citizenship besides military service, which you may be called upon to fulfil in the manhood that lies ahead of you; and the sacrifices of your predecessors, commemorated by this tablet, will inspire you to perform these duties patiently, unselfishly, and efficiently keeping ever before you the golden principles of freedom, honour, justice, and truth.
- These men, whose memory we honour to-day, appeal to you for loyal service to your country, whether in war or in peace, as long as you live.
- The following lines, which appeared in the newspapers a few days ago, remind us that the opportunity is ours to-day to play our part honourably and unselfishly in our country's service, and that those brave men who gave their lives in their country's service expect us to carry the torch which they have thrown to us:-
- What say the dead, who are at rest,
- The heroes, true and brave?
- We fought our fight, we gave our best
- The cause of man to save.
- God called us yesterday: we answered true.
- To-day this same great call is come to you
- Nobis Heri, Nobis Heri, Vobis, Vobis Hodie.
- Who lives so deaf as not to hear
- Those voices low but plain.
- Who will not heed their call so clear
- The same cause to maintain?
- Of those who live who can refuse the trust
- Bequeathed by them now sleeping in the dust.
- Nobis Heri, Nobis Heri, Vobis, Vobis Hodie.
Wreaths were then placed on the Memorial by Mr J S Towell, senior member of the Committee of the Old Bostonian Club, on behalf of the Old Boys; and Mr A E Clarke, on behalf of the present scholars.
This was followed by the Benediction and the singing of the National Anthem. The "Last Post" was then sounded, and so fittingly brought the proceedings to a conclusion.
"Old Boy's" Impressions
If Sunday's morning service to the fallen townsmen of Boston was impressive, equally moving to those privileged to attend, was the more private tribute paid at Boston School in the afternoon.
The old hall was thronged as rarely before. The ancient walls with their more than three century old existence looked upon another historic scene - a further landmark in the history of the School. A wan autumn light filtered through the mullioned panes and lit but gently the reverential setting. The gathering was significantly silent - even greetings were whispered as though speech itself were and irreverence. Three generations were present - it was a great re-union, such a one that refutes again and again the suggestion of forgetfulness.
Mingled with the young faces of present boys, were those of the past - old boys, who have long borne civic burdens of the town, old boys who had borne their share in the late calamitous struggle; proud scholars of a proud school reunited in common grief. The very air was charged with "Remembrance;" time was bridged; the past was but yesterday, the future only to-morrow. Then came the mingling of young voices with old, in supplication to the Great Healer of all troubles and griefs.
The tender words of comfort, tenderly spoken by a son of the School, himself a bereaved one, himself tried and proved in the struggle, fell upon strained ears. The freshly awakened sorrow found consolations, where only it can be found.
Poignant for old boys, was the voice of another, uttering names that fell in familiar manner from his lips. A very torrent of memories falls around the listeners, memories grave and memories gay - as the long roll continues. The voice betrays the feeling only too well; if his is the grief and sorrow, so also must be his the proud knowledge of having greatly shared their glory. His was the task of moulding these, his boys, to men - and to men indeed worthy to be so-called.
Names were spoken whose bearers had proved their sterling worth in varied walks of life. Others there were upon whose young shoulders also had fallen a man's task. The youngest and oldest differed but in years, the same will to serve, and the same will to sacrifice, burned in all.
Such scenes as these re-open old griefs and wound anew, but through all the struggles a nerce (unclear in the copy) uplifting pride in their achievements, and through our hearts echoes with a meaning new. "Floreat Bostona! Floreant priores! Exempla qui dedere posteris."
Notes on the above article
A puzzle: While George Bagley in his book Floreat Bostona described Earl Brownlow as "hon. colonel of the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment", it appears that the title Earl Brownlow had become extinct on the death of Adelbert Brownlow-Cust in 1921 and that the Barony of Brownlow passed to his second cousin, Adelbert Salusbury Cockayne Cust. So even if it was he who unveileded the memorial, it seems that he was not an Earl.
In Floreat Bostona, George Bagley relates Arthur Hill's memory of the occasion, as recalled some years later:
- I was asked to read the names inscribed on the tablet. Just before I started I recalled how I used to call the roll, and I could see those boys before me. Believe me, it was with the greatest difficulty that I succeeded in reading through that list of names.
- Cracroft's Peerage Retrieved 2 December 2017