Updated 29 Mar 2013

Retford Grammar School

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ex-King Edward VI Grammar School boys and
the Flying Services during World War One

Thanks to research done by Sam Curtis of Retford.


    Louis Frederick ASHLEY (Fred)

  • b. 25 July 1895, Retford
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1908; Valete: Summer Term 1912
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics & swimming); Speech Day (Prize winner)
  • WWI: Army (2nd Lt, 3rd West Yorkshire Regt, France); RAF (Lt (A), 12 Sqn, France & Germany)
  • Inter-war: Reserve of Air Force Officers (Flg Off); Civilian Pilot's Licence (Yorkshire Aeroplane Club, 1938)
  • d. January-March 1966, Grange-over-Sands

    Sidney BEEVER

  • b. April-June 1899, Glossop, Sheffield
  • Avete: Easter Term 1912 (boarder); Valete: Spring Term 1916
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics & swimming); Cross-country (paper chase); Football (captain 1st XI & Colours and captain Merton House); Cricket (captain First XI & Colours); Prefect; Debating Society
  • WWI: Army (57th TRB); RAF (Training as Scout Pilot, RAF Scampton - Hon. 2nd Lt?)
  • Post-war: Played for Glossop Football Club (Lancashire Combination)
  • d. unknown (post-Christmas Term 1919)

    Leonard Turnell CARRUTHERS (Leonard)

  • b. 28 March 1899, Long Eaton, Derby
  • Avete: Summer Term 1908 (boarder); Valete: Summer Term 1915
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics, winner of Leslie Cup); Speech Day (prize winner); School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); Cross-country (paper chase); Scout (Cpl); School Shooting Eight (Marksman Badge, tied winner Junior Championship Challenge Cup of the Retford Club, Rifleman's Certificate); Debating Society; Football (1st XI & Merton House)
  • WWI: Army (Nottingham OTC); RFC (Cadet); RAF (2nd Lt (A), Egypt)
  • Inter-war: No 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park, Coventry (injured in crash); RAF Short Service Commission; 9 Sqn (Manston); 24 (Comms) Sqn (VIP flights); 55 (B) Sqn, (Hinaidi, Iraq); No 5 Flying Training School (Sealand); Dismissed the Service by sentence of General Court Martial (Flt Lt, 1934); Civilian charter work (North Africa); Cobham's Air Circus; Chief Flying Instructor for Reid and Sigrist Reserve School (Desford)
  • WWII: Test pilot at Bristols (Filton); 24 EFTS (Luton); Chief Test Pilot at Percival Aircraft
  • d. October-December 1973, Exeter District

    Basil Stuart CHARLES

  • b. 2 April 1890, Retford
  • Avete: Summer Term 1899 (day boy); Valete: Autumn Term 1904 (day boy)
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics, winner of Leslie Cup)
  • WWI: RFC (Temp 2nd Lt (on prob), Equip Off, 3rd Class); RAF (2nd Lt (T))
  • d. 7 December 1918 at 14th General Hospital, Wimereux, France (formerly Hotel Splendid); Commonwealth War Grave at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais; Not named on KEGS War Memorial; Recorded on St. Marks Church Roll of Honour, Broomhill; Recorded on Sheffield Corporation's Roll of Honour

    Henry Frederick CLARKE (Fred)

  • b. April-June 1898, Doncaster
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1910 (boarder); Valete: Autumn Term 1914
  • School activities: School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); Sports Day competitor (athletics & swimming); Scout (Cpl); Speech Day (prize winner); School Shooting Eight (Marksman Badge & Rifleman's Certificate); Football (1st XI & captain Merton House); School Folk Dancing Team (Sword dancing); Debating Society; Hockey (1st XI); Cricket (1st XI); Sub-editor (The Retfordian); Monitor
  • WWI: RFC (Sgt, dispatch rider, "hopes to begin training as observer and gunner," engine mechanic, UK); RAF (Sgt, engine mechanic, France)
  • d. unknown (post-Autumn Term 1918)

    Owen William CLARKE (Owen)

  • b. January-March 1896, East Markham
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1909 (day boy, then boarder from Christmas Term 1911); Valete: Summer Term 1912
  • School activities: School Orchestra (2nd violin); Scout (Cpl)
  • WWI: Army (Sapper, West Riding Telegraph Company, Royal Engineers, France); RFC (Observer, France); Army (Despatch rider, France)
  • Post-war: Grocer, East Markham
  • d. 9 July 1951 (suicide)

    Frederick Allan DOWNES (Allan)

  • b. 11 November 1898, Retford
  • Avete: Easter Term 1910 (day boy) [NOTE: Retfordian Spring 1916 records entered January 1909?]; Valete: Spring Term 1916
  • School activities: Debating Society; School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); Scout (Cpl)
  • WWI: RFC (2nd Lt, Equipment Officer/Airship Officer); RAF (Lt, Airships)
    [NOTE: On 5 October 1918, Allan was in command of an airship which circled low over the School buildings and playing-field, throwing all into "a state of overwhelming excitement," and dropped a message of greeting on departure. His younger brother, David Gordon Downes (KEGS 1916-1924), was a pupil at the time]
  • Inter-war: Working in India (Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railways), after return ten patents issued while working at The Siemens And General Electric Railway Signal Company, UK (mostly to do with traffic lights for roads)
  • WWII: RAF (Sqn Ldr, Technical Branch (Signals Officer) / Admin & Special Duties Branch (For Special Duties)); Civilian Pilot's Licence (issued while at RAF Dyce)
  • Post-war: Four patents issued while working at The Sperry Gyroscope Company
  • d. January-March 1974, Midhurst District

    John Reginald FARRINGTON (Rex/Farry)

  • b. 16 February 1894, Calcutta, India
  • Avete: Easter Term 1908 (boarder); Valete: Summer Term 1911
  • School activities: Debating Society; Monitor; Sports Day competitor (athletics & swimming); School Shooting Eight (Bisley, 1909); Cricket (1st XI); Hockey (1st XI)
  • Pre-war: Engineering apprentice (oil and gas engines); passed Students' Examination of the Institute of Civil Engineers
  • WWI: Army (Capt, 1st & 7th Batt, Lincoln Regt (Motor Maxim Battery); Motor Machine Gun Service (S Lan Rgt); Mentioned in Despatches (Hill 60); 7th Light Armoured Motor Battery (all in France & Belgium); Comdt Rly Bty, MGC, Mesopotamia); RAF (working on wings in Cairo at Armistice); Army (Capt, armoured cars, near Cairo)
  • Inter-war: Tank Corps; Staff College (Quetta); Staff Capt (Western Command); DAA & QMG (South Midland Area)
  • WWII: Army (Colonel, Tank Corps)
  • Post-war: Retired
  • d. unknown (post-September 1946)

    George Colin FLETCHER (Colin)

  • b. July-September 1894, Heanor
  • Avete: Summer Term 1905 (boarder); Valete: Summer Term 1910
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics); School Shooting Eight; School Orchestra (violin)
  • Pre-war: Working at father's business (lace manufacturer)
  • WWI: Army (VTC); RFC (motor-cyclist); RAF (1st Air Mechanic, Reading RAF School)
    [NOTE: Younger brothers, Frederick Leslie and Stuart Kirkland, both ex-KEGS, served with the Army during WWI. Leslie a dispatch rider in France, Stuart with the RAMC in Baghdad & Basra]
  • Post-war: Managing the hosiery department in father's factory
  • d. 4 June 1960, Heanor (Ilkeston District)

    Cyril FOSTER

  • b. 27 October 1897, Worksop
  • Avete: September 1911; Valete: Autumn Term 1916
  • School activities: Speech Day (prize winner); Cricket (1st XI & Colours, vice-captain 2nd XI, vice-captain Country House); Football (1st XI, Country House)
  • WWI: RFC (Engine mechanic, France); RAF (France & UK)
  • Post-war: Working with father, F.G. Foster & Son, Fruiterers, Worksop
  • d. November 1987, Worksop

    Sydney FRANKS

  • b. 2 June 1899, Basford District
  • Avete: Easter Term 1912 (day boy); Valete: Spring Term 1915
  • School activities: Speech Day (prize winner); Sports Day competitor (athletics)
  • WWI: RFC (Cadet); RAF (2nd Lt, Admin Branch, 89 Sqn, UK)
    [NOTE: Elder brothers, Percy (KEGS 1906-?) and Edwin, (also ex-KEGS), served with the Army during WWI. Percy with the Machine Gun Corps (Light Armoured Car Brigade) in France, Egypt, Libya & Palestine, Edwin a gunner with the Tank Corps in France]
  • Post-war: City and Midland Bank (living in Worksop)
  • d. January-March 1987, Ipswich District

    Eric Ottway FULLER (Eric)

  • b. 28 January 1899, Normanton (Shardlow District)
  • Avete: Spring Term 1914; Valete: Spring Term 1917
  • School activities: Debating Society; School Shooting Eight; Scout (Senior Patrol Leader); Sports Day competitor (athletics - runner-up Wilson Cup & swimming - winner Bradshaw Cup); School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); Prefect; Football (vice-captain 1st XI & Colours, vice-captain The House); Cricket (1st XI & Colours, 2nd XI, captain The House & Merton House)
  • WWI: RFC (Temp 2nd Lt, No. 5 & 28 Training Sqns); RAF (Lt, night pilot in France, injured "playing football," instructor at RAF Retford [6th Brigade (Night) Training Squadron School, Midland Area])
  • Inter-war: Motor engineer; Reserve of Air Force Officers (Flg Off); Manager, Royal Hotel Derby
    [NOTE: Father was The Royal Hotel's proprietor in Eric's KEGS Admission Register entry of January 1914]
  • WWII: RAFVR (Sqn Ldr, Admin & Special Duties Branch)
  • d. July-September 1964, W. Cheshire District

    John William GILLIS (William)

  • b. 28 February 1896, Bolton
  • Avete: Spring Term 1907 (boarder); Valete: Easter Term 1910 (boarder)
  • School activities: School Concert (solo singer); Debating Society
  • Pre-war: Emigrated to Canada; Student at Connecticut Agricultural College (Class of 1917, Sophomore Secretary, Sergeant in Military Band, member College Shakespearean Club, member Dramatic Club)
  • WWI: Army (Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force, February 1916); RFC (Temp 2nd Lt (on prob), Flying Officer); RAF (Lt, pilot, injured on active service)
  • Post-war: Returned to Connecticut Agricultural College; Long Island Aviation Country Club (Hicksville, Long Island, New York) 1930s (Manager?); Manager, Stamford Yacht Club (until at least 1950)
  • d. January 1972, Tesuque, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Charles Richard GLADISH (Dick)

  • b. 5 August 1893, Retford
  • Avete: September 1905 (day boy); Valete: 1908
  • School activities: School Shooting Eight (School Team, Bisley, 1907; winner of silver cup, Retford Miniature Rifle Club, 1908); Speech Day (prize winner)
  • Pre-war: Member of Retford Old Boys' Association
  • WWI: Army (Signaller, 1/8th Batt, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt), "temporarily buried after the trench he was in collapsed during shelling", France; OCB, Cambridge; Temp 2nd Lt); RFC (Reading); RAF (2nd Lt (A), trained at RAF Retford [6th Brigade (Night) Training Squadron School, Midland Area])
  • Inter-war: Gladish & Sons shop, corner of Albert Road & Carolgate; Vice-President & President Chamber of Trade (1934 & 1935)
  • WWII: Head of ARP Organisation Group, Retford (1939-45); Member of Retford Town Council, representing East Ward (1944-45)
  • Post-war: Retford Mayor, 1951/52; Member Retford Bowling Green Ltd.; Deputy Mayor (1952), member of Parks, Cemetery and Baths, Estates and Markets, Town Planning and Development, Valuation, Privileges and Procedures, Selection, Road Safety and Civil Defence Committees; Member of Retford Town Council, June 1944-May 1955.; Independent Councillor (1960-63); Chairman of the General Commissioners of Income Tax in Bassetlaw (retired 1968); Vice-Chairman British Legion (Retford Branch); Board of Governors of King Edward VI Grammar School, Sir Frederick Milner School and the Hallcroft Secondary Modern School; Chairman of East Retford Charity Trustees (administering the Almshouses in Union Street and Sloswicke's Hospital)
  • d. 9 November 1968, Retford
    [NOTE: Younger brother follows]

    John Noel GLADISH (Jack)

  • b. 29 October 1898, Retford
  • Avete: Spring Term 1907 (day boy); Valete: unknown (post-Autumn Term 1914)
  • School activities: Speech Day (prize winner); Cricket (1st XI); Sports Day competitor (throwing the cricket ball); Scout (bugler); School Concert (solo singer)
  • WWI: Army (Nottingham University OTC - Engineering course; Crookham OCB; Temp 2nd Lt, Notts & Derby Regt; 3rd Sherwood Foresters); RFC (Reading); RAF (Lt (A), "crashed rather badly through striking a searchlight (!) apparatus in the dark at RAF Retford [6th Brigade (Night) Training Squadron School, Midland Area] but escaped with the loss of a tooth"; Civilian Plot Licence (annotated "Competitor's Certificate"); 33 Sqn, Gainsborough)
  • Inter-war: Running the milling side of the family business (there were two mills, one on Albert Road); Secretary of the Malton Aero Club (Gliding); Civilian Pilot Licence (Scarborough Aero Club); Commercial Traveller; Territorial Army (Lt, 5th Bn. Green Howards, 1936-38)
  • WWII: FAA (Lt Cdr, Served on training Squadrons in UK, West Indies, Iceland and aboard aircraft carriers; CO 739 Sqn; 750 Sqn; 781 Sqn; CO 720 Sqn)
  • Post-war: RAFVR Training Branch (Plt Off)
  • 1968: Renewed Pilot's Licence for powered flight. An entry was published in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest holder of Pilot's Licence (aged 70), unfortunately accompanied by the wrong picture
  • d. February 1986, Ashford, Kent (at 87 he was in the process of moving to be with daughter in the Orkneys, flying himself there!)

    George William GOODWIN (George)

  • b. 13 January 1900, Edgbaston
  • Avete: September 1913; Valete: Autumn Term 1916 (boarder)
  • School activities: School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); School Shooting Eight (Marksman Badge & Rifleman's Certificate); Debating Society; Scout (Patrol Leader); Cricket (captain 1st XI & Colours, 2nd XI, vice-captain Merton House); Prefect; Deputy Assistant Editor (The Retfordian); Football (1st XI & vice-captain Merton House); Sports Day competitor (athletics)
  • WWI: RNAS (Flight Officer); RAF (2nd Lt, Airships)
  • Post-war: Loughboro' Technical College (Engineering)
  • 1947: Hotel manager
  • d. unknown (post-July 1947)
    [NOTE: Older brother follows]

    Godfrey John Whitehouse GOODWIN (Godfrey)

  • b. 1 August 1898, Edgbaston
  • Avete: September 1913; Valete: Spring Term 1916 (boarder)
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (swimming - runner up & winner Bradshaw Cup); School Orchestra (1st & 2nd violin); School Shooting Eight (Rifleman's Certificate & 2nd place in Junior Challenge Cup of Retford Miniature Rifle Club); Royal Life Saving Society Proficiency Medallion; Prefect; Football (1st & 2nd XI, The House); Debating Society; Scout (Patrol Leader); Cricket (1st & 2nd XI, The House)
  • WWI: RNVR (torpedo boat signaller); RNAS (Flight Sub-Lt)
  • d. 12 March 1918; Pilot with 12 Sqn, RNAS, arriving on 2 March, killed in flying accident (F1 Camel, B3845). After an engine fire, aircraft dived vertically and was completely wrecked at Loon Plage, France; Commonwealth War Grave, Dunkirk Town Cemetery, Nord; Retfordian Obituary, Summer Term 1918, p.17; Named on KEGS War Memorial as "J. W. Goodwin"; Memorial Inscription on plaque at St. Giles' Church, Matlock; Named on Matlock War Memorial; Named on Herbert Strutt School Memorial, Belper (Junior School)

    Ernest Edward HALE (Ernest)

  • b. 6 March 1897, West Didsbury, Lancashire
  • Avete: Summer Term 1908; Valete: Easter Term 1913
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics, winner Leslie Cup); Cross-country (paper chase); Debating Society; Scout
  • Pre-war: Manchester Old Retfordian's Association (Committee) & Retford Old Boys' Association
  • WWI: Army (Bombardier, 2nd Batt, East Lancs, RFA, Egypt & France, 2nd Lt); RAF (possible printing error)
  • Post-war: Emigrated to North Island, New Zealand; farmer; contractor; salesman; retired (Auckland)
  • d. unknown (post-1987, NZ?)

    Frederick HIGGINBOTTOM (Fred)

  • b. 31 October 1894, Didsbury
  • Avete: Easter Term 1908 (boarder); Valete: Christmas Term 1911
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics & winner Teasdale Prize for gymnastics); Debating Society; School Shooting Eight; School Orchestra (1st violin)
  • Pre-war: In Hamburg (learning German); Manchester Old Retfordian's Association (Committee) & Retford Old Boys' Association; Working in father's office
  • WWI: Army (Gunner, 13 & 12th Batt, Machine Gun Corps, France; Cheshire Regt, 2nd Lt, France); RFC (appointed Flying Officer (Observer), 9 March 1917)
    [NOTE: Elder brother Roy, (KEGS 1907-?), served in the RNR on HMS Indefatigable in the Mediterranean]
  • d. 6 April 1917; Observer on 23 Sqn, shot down over Pronville, 5 April 1917 (FE2b, A805), died of wounds in German hands; Commonwealth War Grave, Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais; Retfordian Obituary, Autumn Term 1917, p.94; Named on KEGS War Memorial

    Nelson Hepburn MARSHALL

  • b. 11 May 1899, Retford
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1906 (day boy); Valete: Spring Term 1915
  • WWI: Army (Durham Light Infantry); RFC (2nd Lt); RAF (shot down, 14th July 1918, 85 Sqn, SE5a, C6490, PoW, Mentioned in Reports for valuable services whilst in captivity); RAF (2nd Lt)
  • Post-war: Marshall & Son, Market Square then Cannon Square
  • WWII: Shopkeeper; Royal Observer Corp; Special Constable
  • d. 9 August 1962, Retford

    Charles Sydney NEALE

  • b. 24 January 1891, Lincoln
  • Avete: January 1906 (boarder); Valete: Christmas Term 1909
  • School activities: Speech Day (piano duet, scene from Henry V, rendition of Hugo's "L'Expiation"); Head Monitor; Football (captain 2nd XI); School Shooting Eight (Bisley, 1907); Debating Society; School Orchestra (piano); School Play ("Ici On Parle FranÁais" later performed at Town Hall)
  • Pre-war: College of the Resurrection, Mirfield & Leeds University (BA); Deacon, Diocese of Southwell (Parish of Glossop); Ordained and made Assistant Curate at Old Glossop Parish Church; Priest
  • WWI: Army (Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class); Chaplain to the RAF (Cairo); Army (Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class)
  • Post-war: Vicar of St. Cyprian's Church, Nottingham (1920); Emigrated to Argentina (1927); Emigrated to Brazil (1931); OBE (1953)
  • d. 5 June 1956, Strangers' Hospital, Rio de Janeiro (Archdeacon in Brazil and Chaplain of Christ Church, Rio de Janeiro)

    Eric Neish PATERSON (Eric)

  • b. 21 December 1888, Didsbury
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1903 (boarder); Valete: Autumn Term 1906 (boarder)
  • School activities: Sports Day steward & competitor (athletics, cycling & swimming); Speech Day (prize winner including two Conduct Prizes voted for by the boys, recitation of Shakespeare's "Deposition of Richard II" & scene from Moliere's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," scene from Corneille's "Le Cid"); School Shooting Eight (winning the first National Rifle Association's Frankfort Shield at Bisley, August 1906; Marksman); Football (1st XI & Colours)
  • Pre-war: Manchester Old Retfordian's Association & Retford Old Boys' Association; Surveyor's assistant
  • WWI: Army (2nd Lt, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), Egypt & France, wounded, lower left leg amputated, artificial limb fitted, posted to Cycle Battalion!); RFC (2nd Lt, Equipment Officer); RAF (Lt, RAF Sealand)
    [NOTE: Brothers Edward Douglas (KEGS 1901-1903), and Ronald Simpson (KEGS 1906-1907?), did not (apparently) serve in the military during the war. Ronald was training as a doctor, Douglas was rejected for military service and became a pastor]
  • WWII: Territorial Army Reserve of Officers, Army Cadet Force (2nd Lt)
  • d. April-June 1982, Congleton/C. District

    William Arthur PAXTON

  • b. 18 June 1899, Durham
  • Avete: Spring Term 1914 (day boy); Valete: pre-Autumn Term 1915
  • School activities: Football (1st XI, captain South House); Cricket (1st XI, captain South House)
  • Pre-war: Beckett's Bank, Retford (Cannon Square - now location of Bassetlaw Council Contact Point)
  • WWI: RFC (Cadet, UK & Cairo); RAF (mid-air collision during flying training, Egypt); Army (Temp 2nd Lt, Notts & Derby Regt, Egypt)
  • Post-war: Beckett's Bank (becoming Westminster Bank), Retford, then Buxton & Macclesfield
  • d. unknown (post-1976, no England/Wales entry found to December 1983)

    Alfred Edgar PEATFIELD (Edgar)

  • b. 20 January 1896, Retford
  • Avete: Easter Term 1908 (day boy); Valete: post-Christmas Term 1911
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics); Speech Day (prize winner); Cricket (1st XI)
  • Pre-war: Apprentice at W. J. Jenkins, Retford
  • WWI: RFC (Joined RFC at Retford; 2nd Air Mechanic (engines), No.5 Reserve / Training Sqn then 19 Sqn, Castle Bromwich & France); RAF (engine mechanic, 19 Sqn, France)
  • Inter-war: W. J. Jenkins & Co, Retford
  • WWII: ? (wife & daughter on Civilian Electoral Roll in Retford; eldest son (Lt, 2nd Bn, RM Engineers, Far East) on Service Electoral Roll; no Edgar)
  • Post-war: Published 3-volume "Teach Yourself Mechanical Engineering" series, still in use today (e.g. currently available on a Thai University's library list!), plus "Teach Yourself Practical Concreting"; RAFA member
  • d. September 1986, Scunthorpe and Barton-upon-Humber District

    Cyril PORTER

  • b. January-March 1897, Carlton-in-Lindrick
  • Avete: Summer Term 1909 (day boy); Valete: Summer Term 1912
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics)
  • WWI: RFC (discharged, 1915, hit by propeller); returned to Carlton
  • d. 3 February 1964, Nottingham?

    William Earnshaw RAWDING

  • b. 11 April 1899, Conisboro', Doncaster
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1913 (boarder); Valete: Autumn Term 1916
  • School activities: School Orchestra (piano); Sports Day competitor (athletics); Speech Day (prize winner); Prefect; Football (1st & 2nd XI, Colours, vice-captain The House, captain Merton House); Cricket (1st XI, Colours, captain Merton House); School Concert (solo vocal & piano duet)
  • Pre-war: Sheffield University (Engineering)
  • WWI: Army (Sheffield OTC/West Yorkshire Regt); applied for RFC, discharged "Medically unfit" (October 1918)
  • d. July-September 1975, Falmouth District

    Richard Arthur ROBINSON (Dick)

  • b. October-December 1893, Grimsby
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1909 (boarder); Valete: Easter Term 1912
  • School activities: Football (1st XI & Colours); Monitor; Editorial Committee (The Retfordian); Shooting; Debating Society; Cricket (1st XI)
  • WWI: Army (Artists Rifles OTC); RFC (2nd Lt); Army (Lt, MT, ASC/RASC, France)
  • WWII: Commercial clerk
  • d. January-March 1968, Cleethorpes District

    Robert Henry SHARP (Bob)

  • b. 11 June 1893, Conisbro', Doncaster
  • Avete: Summer Term 1905 (boarder); Valete: Christmas Term 1910
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics - winner Leslie Cup & Rose Bowl for best all-round athlete, single & doubles tennis - "best player in the School"); Speech Day (prize winner - Cricket Bat for highest average); Football (vice-captain 1st & 2nd XI, Colours); Cricket (vice-captain 1st XI & Colours - elder brother, Stephen Oswald Sharp, captain); School Orchestra (1st flute); Hockey (1st XI); Shooting; Monitor; Debating Society
  • Pre-war: Agricultural student (Wye College); Retford Old Boys' Association; Bought fruit farm, Pershore, Worcester
  • WWI: Army (Lt, 12th (Service) Batt, Worcester Regt); RFC (Flying Officer, 42 Sqn, France/Italy); RAF (Capt., Bronze Medal for Military Valour (Italian) & DFC, 42 Sqn, France)
    [NOTE: Elder brother, Stephen Oswald (KEGS 1902-1909), Lt, 13th York and Lancs, was killed in France, 1 July 1916 "leading his men into action". He is named on the KEGS War Memorial. Bob's daughter, born shortly after, was named Stephanie in memory of his late brother]
  • WWII: RAF (Flt Lt, Admin & Special Duties Branch (Admin & Misc Duties) )
  • d. April-June 1949, Staincliffe District, West Riding

    Francis Eric SHORT (Eric)

  • b. 20 November 1898, Chesterfield
  • Avete: Summer Term 1912 (boarder); Valete: Summer Term 1913
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics & swimming); Gymnastics; Cricket (1st XI); Football (1st XI); School Folk Dancing Team (Sword dancing); Debating Society; School Shooting Eight; Hockey (1st XI); Cross-country (paper chase)
  • WWI: Army (Sheffield University OTC); RFC (2nd Lt, Flying Officer); RAF (Lt)
  • d. October-December 1957, Chesterfield

    Arthur William SOUTHALL

  • b. January-March 1896, Retford
  • Avete: Spring Term 1905 (day boy); Valete: Christmas Term 1912 (day boy)
  • School activities: Speech Day (prize winner); Sports Day steward & competitor (athletics, swimming, cycling & gymnastics); Debating Society; Scout (bass drummer in band)
  • Pre-war: Retford Old Boys' Association
  • WWI: Army (Sherwood Rangers Imperial Yeomanry, Egypt (at Gallipoli?); 20th Hussars, OCB, UK); RFC (Temp 2nd Lt); RAF (2nd Lt (A&S) )
  • Post-war: RAF instructor, 24 Sqn (Flt Lt), resigned; Working in garage (Oxford)
  • d. 13 April 1927, Headington District, Oxfordshire (motorbike run over by lorry)

    Harold Cecil STOCKDALE (Cecil)

  • b. 5 March 1889, Ingoldsby
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1902 (day boy); Valete: Summer Term 1904 (day boy)
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics)?; Speech Day (prize winner)?
  • Pre-war: Emigrated to USA (1904); US citizen (1912); wool buyer/sorter
  • WWI American Flying Corps (France)
    [NOTE: Elder brother Joe, ex-KEGS, served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the war]
  • WWII: Draft Card issued (US)
  • Post-war: Wool buyer, Newton, Massachusetts
  • d. January 1966, Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts

    Walter Winks STRAW (Walter)

  • b. 16 September 1899, Worksop
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1912 (day boy); Valete: Summer Term 1916
  • School activities: Debating Society
  • WWI: Army (RAMC); RFC (3rd Mechanic); RAF
    [NOTE: Elder brother William, (KEGS 1910-?), recorded as in training with the 4th Leicesters during the war]
  • Post-war: Straw's Grocers (family business, Worksop); Institute of Certified Grocers; Moved to 7 Blyth Grove, i.e. "Mr. Straw's House" (1923)
  • WWII: Grocer; Fire Watch Warden
  • d. 16 December 1976, Worksop

    Joseph Ernest TAYLOR

  • b. April-June 1898, Chesterfield
  • Avete: Easter Term 1912 (boarder); Valete: Summer Term 1914
  • School activities: Speech Day (prize winner); Sports Day competitor (swimming); School Folk Dancing Team (Sword dancing); Cross-country (paper chase); School Orchestra (2nd violin); Football (1st XI & Merton House)
  • Pre-war: Sheffield University
  • WWI: RFC (2nd Lt, on probation); RAF (2nd Lt (A) )
    [NOTE: Twin, Leonard Gladstone, was also a boarder at KEGS, then served with the Army in France during the war]
  • Post-war: Sheffield University
  • d. unknown (post-Summer Term 1919)

    George Valentine Thorpe THOMSON (Val)

  • b. 14 February 1899, Retford
  • Avete: Spring Term 1907 (day boy); Valete: Summer Term 1910 (to Felsted School)
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics)
  • WWI: RFC Naval Wing (RNAS) (Probationary Flight Officer); RNAS (Flt Sub-Lieut); RAF (Lt (A) )
  • Inter-war: Founding member of Royal New Zealand Territorial Air Force (Lt); RAF (Flt Lt, RAF Gosport; Torpedo Bomber Flight, RAF Donibristle; RAF Leuchars (Training Base); 100 (Torpedo Bomber) Sqn, RAF Donibristle; RAF Leuchars (Training Base); School of Naval Co-Operation, RAF Ford; Adjutant, RAF Lee-on-the-Solent); FAA (Lt Cdr (A), HMS Furious)
  • WWII: FAA (HMS Furious; HMS Vulture; HMS Garuda, Lt Cdr (A) & Lt Cdr Flying)
  • Post-war: Retired, April 1948 (Lt Cdr (A)); emigrated to South Africa May 1948
  • d. 16 May 1961, Mafuteni, Manzini District, Swaziland

    Allan Reginald TRACY (Rex)

  • b. 1889, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1898 (day boy); Valete: Autumn Term 1902 (day boy)
  • School activities: Speech Day (scene from Moliere's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" & solo during National Anthem)
  • Pre-war: National Telephone Company clerk (Liverpool); Building contractor
    [NOTE: Father recorded as an engineer employer in the building of flats]
  • WWI: Army (ASC/2nd Lt, Queen's Own Worcester Hussars (aka The Worcestershire Yeomanry); RFC (from Retfordian Active Service List); Army (Lt, Worcestershire Yeomanry)
  • d. 30 June 1947, Meliden, Flintshire

    Thomas Sanderson WALKER (Tom)

  • b. July-September 1885, Retford
  • Avete: unknown; Valete: unknown
  • Pre-war: Retford Old Boys' Association; Assisting/running family business (ironmongers), exempt military service until 1917
  • WWI: RFC; RAF (Sgt, 1st Air Mechanic, Repair Park, No. 2 Emergency Landing Ground, Nr Liege, France)
    [NOTE: Brothers Edward (Ted) (KEGS 1898-?), Sydney Watkin (KEGS 1901-?) and Robert Hodgson (Bob) (KEGS 1905-?), served as a gunner (RGA), with the Education Staff in Nigeria and as a Lt in the 14th Yorks and Lancs (taken PoW) respectively during the war]
  • Post-war: Returned to run family business in Market Square, moving to new shop on Carolgate in 1924 (ironmonger, bar iron merchant, sports outfitter, china & glass dealer); Freemason; President of Retford Traders' Association
  • d. 31 October 1925, Retford

    John Percy WIDMANN (Percy)

  • b. 4 March 1894, Sheffield (moved to 4 Highland Grove, Worksop, 1907)
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1908 (day boy); Valete: Summer Term 1911
  • School activities: Football (1st XI & Colours); Speech Day (prize winner)
  • Pre-war: Germany, Belgium (Brussels, then at steel works in Antwerp during German artillery shelling), Spain ("business training")
    [NOTE: Father was German, naturalised British, "clerk at steelworks" in 1911]
  • WWI: Royal Naval Division (Wireless Section); Army; RFC (transport service); RAF
    [NOTE: Younger brother William Swinnerton (Willie), ex-KEGS, was serving as an engineering apprentice at the Yorkshire Engine Company, Sheffield, then enlisted with "a Middlesex Regiment"]
  • Post-war: Father appointed Cuban Consul in Sheffield! (1922; d. 1925); Tax Clerk, Inland Revenue (1926)
  • d. 13 January 1974, Hathersage, Derbyshire

    Eric George L. WILLIAMS (Eric)

  • b. July-September 1898, Didsbury, Manchester
  • Avete: May 1912 (boarder); Valete: Spring Term 1915 (boarder)
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics); School Orchestra (1st violin); School Folk Dancing Team (Sword dancing); School Shooting Eight (Rifleman's Certificate, Junior Challenge Cup of Retford Miniature Rifle Club, second place Colonel's Cup); Cricket (2nd XI & Umpire); Football (2nd XI); Prefect
  • WWI: Applied to RNAS (Wireless Section) rejected; Army (Cpl, Machine Gun Corps/Tank Corps, France - injured in eye by shrapnel when tank destroyed by direct hit)
  • Post-war: "Anxious to return to complete his articles as a Surveyor"
  • d. unknown (post-war)
    [NOTE: Older brother follows]

    Reginald Robert WILLIAMS (Rex)

  • b. 17 December 1895, Didsbury, Manchester
  • Avete: pre-July 1910 (boarder); Valete: Easter Term 1913
  • School activities: Sports Day steward & competitor (athletics); Scout (Patrol Leader); Monitor; Drawings published in The Retfordian; Debating Society
  • Pre-war: Retford Old Boys' Association
  • WWI: RNAS (Mediterranean; returned to start flying training at Wormwood Scrubs; 1st Air Mechanic, Scotland; Leading Mechanical Engineer, Egypt; Chief Air Mechanic, Mudros; Aircraft Carrier HMS Empress, on anti-submarine patrols throughout Mediterranean); RAF (Chief Air Mechanic, on HMS Empress escorting fleet through Dardanelles to Constantinople after Armistice was signed)
  • Post-war: At leading motor works (Manchester); Civilian Pilot's Licence (1926, Lancashire Aero Club)
  • d. January-March 1964, Solihull District

    Harry Robert WILSON (Robert)

  • b. April-June 1897, Tuxford
  • Avete: Christmas Term 1909?; Valete: Easter Term 1912?
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics)
  • WWI: Army (Field Ambulance, 2/1 Notts & Derby Regt, MBFA); RFC (Observer)
  • d. unknown (no Commonwealth War Grave entry found)

    Leonard Francis WOOD

  • b. 25 September 1893, York
  • Avete: Easter Term 1911 (boarder); Valete: Christmas Term 1912
  • School activities: Editorial Committee (The Retfordian); Monitor; Hockey (vice-captain 1st XI & Colours); Sports Day competitor (athletics, single & doubles tennis); Speech Day (scene from Sheridan's "The Critic", prize winner, two Cricket Bats for highest average); Cricket (vice-captain 1st XI & Colours); School Shooting Eight (winning member of Team Competition for the School arranged by Retford Rifle Club); Football (1st XI & Colours); Debating Society
  • Pre-war: Retford Old Boys' Association; Leeds University; "Accepted the offer of an opening in a Tea Plantation in Assam, under the Imperial Tea Company"; Laid up with concussion, August 1914-Summer 1915
  • WWI: Army (Lt, Inns of Court OTC; Scottish Horse; MT ASC, France); RAF (Lt, Flying Branch)
  • d. January-March 1973, Worthing District

    Henry Bernard WORDSWORTH (Bernard)

  • b. January-March 1892, Pitsmoor, Sheffield
  • Avete: Spring Term 1901 (day boy); Valete: Christmas Term 1908
  • School activities: Sports Day competitor (athletics); Speech Day (prize winner, recitation of John Farmer's "Forty Years On")
  • Pre-war: Engineering apprentice; Sherwood Rangers Imperial Yeomanry (joined 1910/11)
  • WWI: Army (Sgt, Sherwood Rangers Imperial Yeomanry, Egypt, Gallipoli, Salonika); RFC (Air Mechanic, Salonika); RAF (Cpl Mechanic, Salonika)
  • d. 26 March 1960, Norton, Sheffield

    John Edwin YATES (Jack)

  • b. 28 April 1899, Erdington, Warwickshire
  • Avete: Autumn Term 1907 (boarder); Valete: Christmas Term 1911
  • School activities: Debating Society
  • Pre-war: Scholarship at Christ's Hospital; Emigrated to work on farm as "pupil," Winnipeg, Canada (March 1913); Drug clerk (on enlistment)
  • WWI: Army (Private, 15th Canadian Reserve Battalion; 152nd Over-seas Battalion, Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force; France); RFC (Temp 2nd Lt, Flying Officer, 28 September 1917)
  • d. 1 November 1917; Joined 70 Sqn, Ypres, 18 October 1917; Left aerodrome at 14.20 on Offensive Patrol and at 14.25 his aircraft (Sopwith Camel, B2305) spun and crashed at La Lovie; Commonwealth War Grave, Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium; Retfordian Obituary, Autumn Term 1917, p.95; Named on KEGS War Memorial; Mother presented School with inscribed Cromwell clock (Autumn Term 1918), current location unknown (not at Retford Oaks, or in Nottingham Archives)


----Anyone with more details for publication on this webpage,
please email ----

Dear John,

Thanks for your reply back in January regarding KEGS boys and WWI.  
Due to circumstances, etc., my apologies for the delay in replying.

I didn't realise that you were intending to place the details
 on your website, so apologies for the wrong format being sent.

As this is an ongoing project (e.g. hopefully I will be
 meeting with Edgar Peatfield's daughter soon) I have taken 
the liberty of adding to your page some of my latest findings 
and making a few adjustments/additions, while keeping to the original 
page's formatting (hand-coding, of course!).  I hope the attached 
RGSkites.htm file meets with your approval.

With kind regards,
Hello John,

Looking back at my final print for RAF Retford, the prison 
"opened for business" in July 1971, with 150 inmates, expected to 
increase to a maximum of 350 by March 1973.  The latest 
H.M. Chief Inspector of Prisons Report available at the time, 
March 2007, noted the population as 1,029 - including 20 serving 
"life" and 41 "ten years and over" - with an operational capacity 
of 1,038.  Of course millions had been spent on expansion programmes 
since opening.

Individual aircraft types I have managed to identify from numerous 
sources as flying at the aerodrome were (in lower serial number order 
first):  Martinsyde G102 Elephant, FE2b, Henri Farman, Henri Farman F.20, 
De-Havilland 1, RE7, RE8, DH6, BE12, BE12b, BE2e, Avro, Avro 504K, BF, 
FE2b (120) and Sopwith 1Ĺ Strutter.  If you look closely at the aerial 
photo I sent you of the aerodrome, you can see an in-flight FE2b at the 
lower left and more FE2b's parked outside 199 & 200 Sqn canvas hangars 
at top right.  Looking even closer, you can just make out the aerodrome's 
"E. Retford" ident marking.

In progress, heavily abbreviated, details of the 41 boys I am looking at, 
and the two Gladish brothers previously researched as part of the 
RAF Retford project, are attached (actual attendance years have yet to be 
confirmed with School Registers for the period held at Nottingham Archives).

Note that "Term" refer to the published Retfordian edition, meaning that 
whatever is being reported usually happened months before;  
e.g., Goodwin, Snr., is recorded in the "Valete" section of Spring 1916, 
but his obituary records that he left in December 1915.

"Unknown" death details are where either I havenít been able to confirm 
their specific entries, they died in the UK but outside England, or they 
died overseas.

Is this the kind of thing you were after?

With kind regards,
Hello Kohn (or was that the well known typing error for John!?),

Thank you for replying to my email, and apologies for a delay in 
responding - I only get on the interwebs when visiting the metropolis 
that is Retford.

The scan of Rev. Nealeís obituary has added a few interesting details, 
which I will have to put on the seemingly never-ending list of things 
to chase-up (looks like Iím now going to have to learn Spanish, on top 
of the Portuguese!).

With regards to RAF Retford, looking at the old-maps.co.uk website would 
do no good, as the aerodrome didnít appear on any OS maps - pre-war it 
was fields, during the war non-Service maps werenít updated, and post-war 
the site had largely closed down as an operational station, but with the 
airfield part still available as an emergency landing ground.  The 1920 
OS maps I have seen even go so far as to not show any buildings there, 
including the WRAF accommodation blocks on the opposite side of the 
Worksop road (security concerns probably).  The 1918 RAF Quarterly Survey 
of Stations (Autumn) does include a reference to the aerodrome, although 
it was only published once.

Fortunately I have managed to acquire quite a few photographs of the 
aerodrome, aircraft and personnel when it was in "full flow" and have 
attached some for you to look at - the RAF Museum even have a photograph 
of the front gate.  After being used initially in 1916 as a night landing 
ground by 33 Squadron, based at Gainsborough, it became the 6th Brigade 
(Night) Training Squadron School, Midland Area, as a part of 48th Wing 
(Home Defence), also headquartered at Gainsborough, during an expansion 
period of the new-fangled night fighting and bombing operations of 1917, 
ending up with four resident Training Squadrons, each with something like 
50 trainees at any one time.

The last of the flying Squadron disbanded on 1 May 1919 and, even though 
the War Department tried to sell the landing ground, buildings, et al., 
in auctions held in 1920 and 1921, sporadic flying still took place there 
until at least the mid-30ís.  Alan Cobham even brought his Flying Circus to 
give two displays on a Wednesday afternoon in May 1934.

While researching I found that the site was known by a multitude of names; 
East Retford Aerodrome, East Retford Airfield, East Retford Station, 
RAF East Retford, RAF Retford, Retford Aerodrome, Babworth Aerodrome, 
Ranby Aerodrome, Ranby Air Training Ground and latterly the Old Aerodrome 
at Green Mile.  You maybe remember it as an Army camp - they trained tank 
transporter drivers in the 60s - after the Army had moved in during the 
Second World War.  These days most of the original aerodrome site is known 
as HMP Ranby (an Argentine pilot, Frank Allyn Benitz, who trained at the 
camp was killed on Home Defence duties and subsequently buried at 
Gainsborough in August 1918, and after contacting one of the staff at Ranby, 
I got them to make up a wreath of flowers grown on-site when his headstone 
at Gainsborough Cemetery was refurbished and a re-dedication ceremony 
carried out last year.  His familyís website, www.benitz.com, has more 
details).  Part of the original site, in fact where the attached picture 
of one of 199 Squadronís Bessonneau hangars being erected was, did return 
to agricultural use, and I had to explain to the local land owner why that 
particular field was known as "The Air Field"... it had been an airfield!  
As for "The Bomb Field"...

The camp you remember at Scofton was RAF Worksop (opened November 1943), 
also locally was RAF Gamston (opened November 1942), now called Retford 
(Gamston) Airport.  Most of the people I spoke to seemed to think one of 
these two was RAF Retford, but they were both built from scratch as 
Second World War stations, with concrete runways.  The equally little-known 
satellite landing ground at Grove did pop up a few times, but again it was 
1940s.  Because Retfordís runways were only grass there was really nothing 
left when it closed; even the huts, complete with plumbing, were sold off 
(The Ivy Leaf Club on Spa Common and the original Little Theatre on Wharf 
Road were created using huts brought from the site). There was some survey 
work carried out in July 1935, looking at re-opening the station, but in 
September it was announced that RAF Finningley would be created.

Retfordís Denman library does indeed hold all copies of The Retfordian 
from 1907 to 1930, not 1927 as I had thought, in bound volumes (1907-08, 
1909-12, 1913-18, 1919-24 & 1925-30) with a few odds and sods from the 
1941 to 1977 in a dedicated box.  They also hold extensive microfilm copies 
of old Retford Times and Retford Herald newspapers.

As I have 41 boys to research, and they were mostly pupils between 1907 and 
1914, Iím not sure if it would be worth the time thumbing through your 
Retfordians to see if they get an odd mention in the Old Boys section.  It 
was just fortunate that one rose to become an Arch Deacon.  However, I can 
let you have all their names if you want.  As the majority were boarders, 
there was a bomb-burst effect, meaning Iím having to track down details 
from locations as far flung as New Zealand, Canada, America, India, 
South Africa, and now Argentina... again.  This out-of-town issue may be 
why one of the boys who died during the war wasnít named on the War Memorial 
which used to be in the main assembly hall; his family had, by the war years, 
moved back to Sheffield and possibly lost touch with the school.  Saying 
that though, a few interesting snippets are turning up, such as that I used 
to live in the same house as one of them!

Once again, thank you for Rev. Nealeís details.  If you canít read 
Portuguese... howís your Spanish!

With kind regards,
Dear Mr Palmer,

Several years ago a militaria collector friend of mine acquired a 
photograph, annotated at the bottom "200 (N) Training Squadron, 48th Wing, 
RAF Retford, August 1918."

Knowing I live in the area, he asked if I knew anything about this station.

I was unaware of its existence, and a trawl of local libraries, Bassetlaw 
Museum and the internet revealed that hardly anyone else had much of a 
clue about it either.

As a "back-burner" project, I set about collecting details of this 
long-forgotten aerodrome, and ended up depositing the resulting information 
and photographs of RFC/RAF Retford, the resident four night bomber/fighter 
training squadrons, and its post-war evolution in both Retford Local 
Studies Library and the Bassetlaw Museum.

While carrying out this research, I found one sentence in a Retford Times 
edition that two local brothers had trained at this aerodrome during the 
First World War, the Gladdish boys.

As part of the project, I compiled some biographical information on about 
20 of the pilots at RFC/RAF Retford, including Charles Richard and 
John Noel Gladdish. While looking into these two boys, I found that they 
had attended King Edward VI Grammar School, and was fortunate in having 
access to all the School magazines from 1907-1927 at Retford library.

Trawling through The Retfordian, I noticed other boys also mentioned as 
serving with, or attached to, various flying services - RFC/RAF/RNAS/US 
Flying Corps - during the war, and made a mental note to return to them 
when the aerodrome project was completed.

I am now collecting information on these boys, 41 in all, including four 
who did not return.

One of the "fortunate" ones was Charles Sydney Neale, 1891-1956, 
KEGS 1906-1909, who served as Chaplain to the R.A.F. at Aboukir, Egypt, 

This gentleman is the reason I am contacting you (sorry to be so long winded).

During an internet search, I found that you have a record of his obituary 
as published in The Retfordianís July 1956 edition, of which I have been 
unable to locate a physical copy.

I was wondering if this article contains any information I may use which 
supplements that already found from other sources. I have attached an 
interim working copy of his details so far, as Neale.pdf, which includes 
an in-progress translation of numerous Brazilian newspaper entries 
(don't read Portuguese do you?).

With kind regards,
Sam Curtis

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