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.
Alan Hickling attended the School for just one term in Autumn 1957 after his primary eduction in Summerbee, and is looking to get back in touch with his contemporaries.
Some members of the Association may remember his father, Harold Hickling, who taught at the School on either side of WWII.
My greatest association with Bournemouth School is via my father, Harold Hickling, who taught there from 1928 until January 1958 (apart from the War when he served in France, Africa and India ending Lt Colonel in SEAC). He commanded the OTC before the War and had a long involvement with The Old Bournemouthians Cricket Club.
Hugh Walker, the son of the late artist, composer and Bournemouth School teacher Bernard Walker has been in touch to share his online tribute to his father’s life. The website has a variety of material from Mr Walker senior’s life, including some of his programme designs and playbills from his time at the school that were found among his papers in 2014.
If anyone can name an English Literature master from the school in the period 1939-1946, please could they get in touch by email, or by commenting on this post? We have had an enquiry from an Old Boy of the era.
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.
We are very sorry to announce that John Hawkins died on Monday evening at Bournemouth Hospital.
Mr Hawkins’ career at Bournemouth School spanned more than 40 years, as Chemistry teacher, Deputy Head and latterly examinations officer. During his time at the school, he always supported the Association, serving many years on the committee and as President of the Old Boys’ Cricket Club. However for most of us, we shall remember him for his happy demeanour, livening up lessons or calming pre-exam nerves, to justly earn his nickname of “Happy Harry”.
David Spencer and Paul Beardshaw wish to thank everybody who has written or sent cards and e-mails.