About the book: Bournemouth Heroes tells the story of the British Army on the Western Front in Belgium and France, 1914-18. The narrative integrates the experiences of Bournemouthians who took part in these campaigns from the initial battles of August 1914 to the Armistice of 1918 and the occupation of Germany in 1919, and sets out to assess the contribution made by a small and newly-founded boys’ grammar school to the course of the war. As the author reveals, Bournemouth School members were involved in every major battle fought by the British Army on the Western Front. There, they were involved in all of the many developments of the war, including the first use of poison gas, of flamethrowers, and of tanks. These included boys who managed to serve despite being under-age, with some paying the ultimate price for their bravery.
Having established the membership of the
school from its foundation in 1901, the author began eighteen years of research
using school records; a range of local newspapers from the period; files held
at the National Archives, and elsewhere; information offered by contacts made
through the school and through on-line forums; and through on-line archives
from various Commonwealth countries. He identified 1,125 members of the school
to investigate, and 674 members of the school who served, though by no means
only on the Western Front. Over one hundred of them were killed, and many more
The book will be of interest not only to military historians, but also to anyone with an interest in Bournemouth, Bournemouth School, and the families from Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Dorset whose lives were changed so dramatically by participation in the events of the war.
Former History teacher and Deputy Headmaster William Pyke, who’s career at Bournemouth School spanned almost three decades (1987-2014), has published a book which is now available to pre-order. It focuses on the stories of school alumni from WWI.
His research has also contributed new names to the School’s Roll of Honour.
All Old Bournemouthians are invited to attend the School’s Remembrance Service.
It shall be held at the School on 9th November at 10:00. Guests are asked to contact the School if they are interested in attending.
A recent Daily Echo article makes reference to former History Master and Deputy Head Master William Pyke, who shall be giving an address in the Assembly. He has recently written a book about alumni involvement in WWI. His research has also contributed new names to the School’s Roll of Honour.
The Association has donated £250 to the School to the cover costs of wreaths and materials for a large poppy display that shall be made by pupils.
A post submitted in a Bournemouth local history Facebook page shows an old prefect badge with bearers’ names inscribed on the reverse. Mike Fuller, the author of the post, is trying to reunite it:
This is a prefect’s badge from Bournemouth School. It is made of sterling silver and is engraved with the names of several ex-pupils on the reverse: N. Trayfort, A. Petty, K. Flintshire (46-47), J. Yeadon (54-55) and R. D. Seall (these are the names I can decipher). It is available to anyone who can convince me they are an ex-wearer or is a close relative.
Many of you will remember the long-standing school magazine, The Bournemouthian. Did you know that there have been no new issues since 2003? Ian Westhead, a current member of the Sixth Form, writes:
Recently, I discovered an extensive archive in the library containing, along with a plethora of other documents, all issues of The Bournemouthian. I was dismayed to realise there had not been a copy published since 2003 owing to the departure of Mr Rixon, an old English teacher who edited it (who has subsequently returned).
There is, however, good news:
I, along with a few friends who share my interest in the history and happenings of Bournemouth School, have decided to get The Bournemouthian back on its feet – to resurrect it. We’ve been discussing the content and the logistics of it, and it seems The Bournemouthian will live again!
To help this rebirth, Ian would like contributions of any information, anecdotes and chiefly pictures that could feature in some of the new copies. Ian is particularly interested in the development of the school buildings, especially the effects of “The Great Fire of 1973”,
(“an anecdote I had heard my father mention”). Pictures of past headmasters and old plans of classrooms would also be of particular interest.
Anything from the evolution of the school buildings to the different subjects taught at different times would be of great benefit to the new editions, as I’m looking forward to writing articles about the history of my school!
Please do let us know, in the comments below or by email, if you can help.
Will Pyke, one of Bournemouth School’s History Masters, is in the process of completing a study of Old Bournemouthians on the Western Front in the First World War. Mr Pyke’s work has involved building a database of some of the very first Old Bournemouthians, some of whom were in the school’s first intake, and is intended to provide a different approach to David Hilliam’s Tig’s Boys. Originally intended to cover the whole war, Mr Pyke reports that he narrowed the focus when he realised that he had 550 pages on the Western Front alone.
To celebrate the First World War Centenary, Mr Pyke has been invited to to give one of the series of Bournemouth Library lectures, Aspects of War, at 11am on Wednesday 8th July at Bournemouth Library. The talk will last for about half an hour, with tea, coffee and the opportunity to ask questions afterwards. A flyer for the event can be found here.