Elmfield College War Memorial


Stanley Merridew

David Redhead is researching the names on the Elmfield College memorial. He has been able to confirm that the magnificent clock still standing outside the headmaster’s study at Ashville College is indeed the war memorial that was unveiled at Elmfield College back in November 1921, as described in these extracts from the Primitive Methodist Leader. (Elmfield College, York, later merged with Ashville College, Harrogate).

Elmfield College War Memorial Unveiling

The spacious dining hall, of Elmfield College, York, was filled on Saturday afternoon by a gathering of Old Boys, present students, the head master and staff, many parents and friends, among whom were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of York, to witness the unveiling by Sir Dyson Mallinson of a war memorial to the memory of the masters and old boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.

The memorial is a magnificent clock with Westminster chimes. It stands about nine feet high. Wood carving round the face shows at the top the College motto, “Labor Omnia Vincit” and below appear the lines, ” At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

On the long front brass are inscribed the names of the fallen: J. N. Allison, C. K. Atkinson, R. Bannister, H. Blythe, J. B. Breed, H. L. Brock, R. M. Carr, C. J. Chipchase, C. Chippendale, M. H. Fell, W. S. Featherby,  G. F. Holden, W. C. M. Hodson, J. W. Jopling, E. Ladlay, T. P. Mather, C. A. Maynard,  B. E. McBeath, A. Morris, T. W. Normandale, E. M. Petler, G. Price, P. Raworth, J. F. Redhead, C. C. Roberts, N. Shepherd, S. Smith, J. R. Spence, W. Spencer, A. E. Trafford, J. D. Vaughan, A. I. C. Whiteley, H. Whittaker, A. Winch, R. Woolfenden and P. B. Wrigley.

The intensely impressive service was opened by the singing of that choice hymn, ” Father of All, to Thee with Loving Hearts We Pray.” Prayer was offered by Rev. J. E. Crabtree, Vicar of Kirkby Wharfe, and selected portions of Scripture were read by Rev N. M. Cuthbert. With emotion difficult to control the heed master, Mr. S. R. Slack, B.A., read the Roll of Honour, and paid a touching tribute to the fallen. Equally tender were the words of Sir Dyson Mallinson. The hymn, ” For All Thy Saints who from their Labours Rest,” and the Benediction by Rev. J. Reavley, brought to a close a ceremony which will live long in the memory of those present.

Old Elmfieldians

The unveiling of the war memorial at Elmfield College brought together an unusually large number of Old Elmfieldians from far and near. At a meeting held in the evening a strong desire was expressed that the Old Boys’ Association should- be restored to its pre-war state of activity. To that end efforts are being made to obtain a complete and up-to-date list of names and addresses of Old Elmfieldians. The headmaster referred to the many changes in addresses that have occurred during or since the war. The members of the Association will be obliged if all Old Elmfieldians (or friends) will forward their names and present addresses as early as possible to Mr. F. W. Parrott, Elmfield College, York. It is hoped that early in the New Year reunions will be held in the various centres of the O.B.A.


Primitive Methodist Leader 17th November 1921, page 732

Primitive Methodist Leader 15th December 1921, page 799

Editor’s Note

David adds: ‘By the way I am becoming very worried about Elmfield College admissions policy in the lead up to WW1. Christopher John Chipchase shows up on the war memorial and the 1911 Census return for the college shows him in attendance aged 12. Meanwhile his father, back in Darlington, was completing his census return on which he gives his occupation as “Licenced Victualler”!!!!!!  I discovered what remains
of his War Service Records  – just two pages but the second clearly states
he was a “P Methodist”!!!

The various Elmfield/Ashville war memorials do not do full credit to the fallen as they include at least one MC and two MMs.’

Edgar Ladlay was the son of John William Ladlay who was a Primitive Methodist Circuit Steward in Leeds at the time of the Great War.  Edgar was killed in action at Gallipoli on 2nd May 1915.


Comments about this page

  • At the Firing Line Museum in Cardiff Castle, there is a temporary display of two cabinets with the MC
    plus the Service and Victory Medal posthumously awarded to JD Vaughan.

    Also included are pictures of JD Vaughan, a postcard he wrote plus a copy of Elmfield Magazine.

    This display will be a the Firing Line Museum (in Cardiff Castle) for the rest of 2019.

    By Revd Philip Ashdown (18/03/2019)
  • On Armistice Day 2018 I was delighted to read the Revd Philip Ashdown’s comments on my obituary of John David Vaughan. I live in hope of similar comments on the other obituaries.
    John David Vaughan has now become much more of real person to me and no doubt he would have taken special delight in Wales beating Australia yesterday. If the Revd Ashdown would like to contact me my email address is d.redhead44@btinternet.com
    On re-examining the photograph I have of his grave headstone the incorrect Welsh is entirely my error.

    By David Redhead (11/11/2018)
  • J D Vaughan
    I have just become aware of your excellent obituary of JD Vaughan. I am the executor and godson of Miss Nesta Brazell (his niece – the daughter of Margaret Brazell nee Vaughan). She died at the family home in Mansel Street. Miss Brazell died last year (2017) and in her will bequeathed the MC medal, the ‘Death plaque’ with his name plus associated paperwork to the Firing Line Museum in Cardiff Castle. They were handed over at the start of September this year (2018), and may soon be on display there.

    JD Vaughan was a member of the Literary and Debating society and an editor of the school magazine at Llanelly Intermediate School. He was also captain of rugby – I think he played as a prop. At Aberystwyth he was captain of rugby – there is a picture of him as captain, handed to the museum. A letter from the university says he studied French and Maths.

    He attended Zion Welsh Independent Chapel in Burry Port (now closed). The worship would have been in Welsh. There are English and Welsh Bibles presented to him in 1905. His sister Edith died in 1890 aged 1, according to the tombstone in Jerusalem Chapel of his mother Rachel who died in January 1918. Henry Vaughan died in 1948 aged 85. There were two other sisters Mary Elizabeth, died (unmarried) in 1962 aged 74. Margaret Jane Brazell died in 1978 aged 85.

    One correction to the Welsh = WNELER ie a N not H but the translation is correct.
    Thank you, Revd Philip Ashdown

    By Revd Philip Ashdown (06/11/2018)
  • Please find attached a write-up for Ordinary Seaman Charles Clifford Roberts. This is the one who died at the Battle of Jutland – his ship was the second and largest casualty of the battle.

    The discipline of Elmfield College did not seem to rub off on him but then again his stay there must have been very short. 

    By David Redhead (01/05/2018)
  • Write up on W Spencer added. According to the Wharfedale FHS he is shown as Walter Spencer, Royal Air Force in the Memorial Hall. If he really was Walter Spencer, Royal Air Force he should not be there because he survived the war. I am 99.9999% certain he was William Spencer. Whether it should show Royal Flying Corps or Royal Air Force after his name is debatable. He enlisted in the army, was made a Cadet in a Training Reserve Brigade and transferred to the RFC on 1st August 1917. He was killed in action on 10th May 1918 by when the RFC had become the RAF.

    In summary a Lancashire Lad brought up amongst the cotton mills which indirectly provided the funds for Elmfield as his father ran an iron founding/machine making business supplying the cotton mills with machines. He had several aerial near misses before he met his end aged just under 19 and a half years old. Again no connection to Methodism established.

    By David Redhead (20/04/2018)
  • Write-up on Arthur Trafford added. Not sure whether Arthur’s rank should be given as Private, Bombadier or Flight Cadet – he definitely died as a Flight Cadet. 

    At first I had him down as a possible draft dodger having apparently enlisted, aged 21, in the RAF in the last year of the war. Nothing could be further from the truth – he originally enlisted in the Army a few days before the Great War started and a few months shy of his 18th birthday. Being a tall youth he ends up on the Western Front before he was 19 and appeared to get sent back home pretty smartish. Although, in he his nearly two and half year active army career, he spent more time at “home” than in a war zone he ended up getting badly wounded during the Somme Offensive of the summer of 1916. In May 1917 he was discharged “clinically” unfit with a badly damaged right shoulder which affected the mobility of his right arm. Just under a year later, in spite of his dodgy right arm, he was accepted by the RAF as a Flight Cadet. 12 days before the end of the war he unsuccessfully attempted a loop in a Sopwith Camel and died in the resulting crash. No doubt you are now all asking the same question I have asked myself – did his dodgy right arm affect his ability to control his acrobatic endeavour? 

    His family life is just as fascinating and raises lots of questions. What mental health issues did his wonderfully named mother (Hannah Newton Osterfield – all three are given names!) have and what effect did they have on Arthur and his relationship with his parents? What exactly was a “Student Prospector” – somebody who found students or somebody who was learning to find gold (or other minerals) – I suspect the latter especially as he had, an apparently unfilled, aspiration to go to the USA but he would have been a bit late for the Gold Rush. Why when he enlisted in the RAF did he give the headmaster of Elmfield College as his next of kin and “Guardian”? Was the Mrs Newton he was living with at the time of his second discharge related army medical a distant relation? – his maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Newton. Finally are the couple his father left his much diminished fortune to in 1954 some sort of relations – their given names suggest they could have been. I could spend a lifetime trying to answer some of these questions but have decided to leave it as is at the moment. Also some time I will try to find and download the battalion war diary for the day he gets wounded on the Somme – so there will eventually be a version 2. 

    We also have a lack of Methodism and Publican issue. Twice Arthur states he is CofE. Both his grandfathers were publicans at some time or other although they both seem to have ended their working lives as gardeners. The wonderfully named Hannah Newton Osterfield Peck (it rolls off the tongue) spent some of her formative years at The Druids Arms, which lay alongside the River Witham in Lincoln just downstream of the Brayford Water. In those days the R Witham was navigable right up to Lincoln and beyond via the Fossdyke and Brayford Water was a working inland harbour. So living in the Druids Arms would have been interesting although, I suspect, not very salubrious. Family history has the habit of going in partial circles and one of the nephews of another immortalised on the Ashville Cenotaph had two moments of glory connected to Brayford Water. As a youth my Uncle Jack, without any regard for his best and only suit, jumped into Brayford Water to save a young girl from drowning. Later, when he was a working man, he was sitting on a bus when it rolled back into Brayford Water because the driver had not applied the handbrake before going into the bus station office. Uncle Jack stayed calm and helped all the other passengers out of the escape hatch in the roof before being the last to leave. I have newspaper cuttings to prove both stories.

    By David Redhead (20/04/2018)
  • I have been investigating the C Chippendale on the Ashville Cenotaph and come to the conclusion he was Clement Chippindale (the different spelling is not a mistake). He was a late entry as he was not included in the 1921 Roll of Honour. This was because he died after the war, presumably from injuries received during the war, and probably (from an unverified source) on 20th Nov 1921 about a week after the original memorial was unveiled. 

    Looking at census forms there has been a tendency for the Chippindales to be recorded as Chippendales probably due to the influence of Thomas Chippendale. A classic example is the 1911 census form which Clement completes. He clearly writes the surname of himself, his wife and two daughters as Chippindale but the enumerator on the attached schedule still writes their name as Chippendale. 

    Moving to the MPMA page on Harrrogate and the 1913 article cited there. Amos Chippindale gets an early mention. Later on it is Amos Chippendale with a titled picture. Comparing that picture with the one on the Amos Chippindale page I would say they are one and the same gentleman just separated by a number of years. The Harrogate article goes on to say that Amos Chippendale had brothers Arthur and James. The 1861 Census return shows Amos Chippindale’s parents, William & Grace with their 3 sons James, Arthur & Amos. Once again it looks as though the enumerator fell into the trap and spelt the name wrongly.  

    There is one final bit of proof that it should be C Chippindale on the Ashville Cenotaph rather than C Chippendale. I have found pictures of the panels on the Harrogate War Memorial – which show a C Chippindale but no C Chippendale. 

    Hope you are now not as confused as I am! I suspect if you go into Harrogate Cemetery you will detect a ghostly whisper of “Its Chippindale with two i’s”.

    By David Redhead (20/04/2018)
  • The order of service for the unveiling of the Clock Memorial at Elmfield College in November 1921 states “Unveiling of the War Memorial to the memory of the Masters and Old Boys who made the supreme sacrifice for country, home and humanity in the Great War.” The inclusion of masters has not been recognised on the Ashville Cenotaph which is headed “In memory of Old Boys of Elmfield College who fell in the Great War”. Two masters are included on the Cenotaph – A Morris & J D Vaughan – the evidence for this is the 1911 Census Return for Elmfield College.

    Write up on Andrew Morris added. Second Lieutenant Andrew Morris – a master at Elmfield at time of 1911 Census. Tracing his tortuous army career was a bit difficult but the actual record of his death in the war diary of the 12th Manchesters shows I got to the right destination – all other sources had him, when he died, in a Battalion that, as far as I can see, never existed. His apparent marriage looked a bit odd until I discovered he had been stationed in Grimsby for some of the war. Even so, regarding the issuing of his campaign medals the Army seem to have been dealing with his widowed mother (except I don’t think she ever was a widow) rather than his wife who would surely have taken precedence. The sources of him having got married come from the Forces War Records website and the GWGC website who give her only as next of kin. How they know this is not clear.    

    Considering his background I would think he was probably involved in the musical side of life at Elmfield. I cannot find any connection to Methodism but the family lived down the road from the following Methodist church but it does not get a mention on Methodist history websites.

    St George’s Road Methodist, St George’s Road, Little Bolton, BL1 2AX
    St George’s Road Methodist is located at OS Grid Reference – SD 714095
    Founded: before 1874. Located at the corner of St George’s Road and Duke Street, now demolished. Originally known as St George’s Street Methodist New Connexion Chapel, it succeeded the Ebenezer New Connexion chapel on Deane Road. It became the St George’s Road United Methodist Church in 1908.

    Write-up on John David Vaughan added. In summary – a Welshman, born and brought up in Carmarthenshire, son of a tin worker, graduate of Aberystwyth University, schoolmaster at Elmfield College, winner of the MC for the part he played in a famous raid on a German Stronghold on the Ypres Salient, officially died of wounds 18th March 1917 but possibly19th. 

    Like Andrew Morris I have been able to find his death recorded in Battalion War Diary because they were both officers – officers get mentioned by name, other ranks are “ORs” unless they get an MM or do something else notable. 

    By David Redhead (11/04/2018)
  • Write up on Harold Whittaker, and William Campbell Macdougall Hodson  added.

    Marconi Operator Harold Whittaker – his drowning did not prove to be as famous as that of Marconi Operator Harold Bride who went down with the Titanic six years earlier. Again no connection with Methodism found – in fact the opposite based on his parents marriage & his own baptism. His parents appear to have had the means to fund his education at Elmfield.

    William Campbell MacDougall Hodson. This one is a spelling minefield – Rev Slack does not quite manage to get it right on the 1911 Census – “Wm Campbell McDougal”. Things appear to get worse in the Memorial Hall – “Wilfrid Campbell McDougall” – hopefully the major error lies with the Wharfedale FH Soc listing. 

    Not born in Scotland and would have spoken with a Yorkshire accent unless his time at Elmfield superimposed the King’s English. 

    At the end I have portrayed it as another mother’s tale like Percy Bernard Wrigley but with Hotels rather than Dept Stores providing the funding. However, I am not so sure as the Hodson’s Scottish ancestors seem to have been moneyed. His paternal grandmother, Marianne Eliza Hodson (nee MacDougall), when she died in 1900 with her husband (a stockbroker) and William’s father as joint executors left an estate worth £3,079 – or about £380k in today’s money. Perhaps not much of this filtered through to William’s mother when his father died 6 years later because as a former hotel worker she was not entirely approved of. Anyhow when his father died his mother went back to work as a Housekeeper in the Grand Hotel in Harrogate. I can’t find any mention of the Grand Hotel today but an on-line article about the Valley Gardens in Harrogate tells me that in 1903 “the Grand Hotel opened on Cornwall Road overlooking the Valley Gardens”. From my own, aged 18, experience of spending a summer working in a hotel in Newquay, Cornwall all the other staff and the owners would have lived in fear of Emily Hodson, Housekeeper. 

    William had a short “real” war of 75 days and only about 20 days of that was spent in the front line but sadly that was one day too many. At first sight another wasted education but I like to think that there were a few soldiers who survived the war and were less illiterate than at the start because of William’s teaching efforts/skills.

    By David Redhead (11/04/2018)
  • A write-up on Raymond Bannister added. Having done Department Stores, this time it is the turn of both Politics and Jam – yes you can make a connection between the two. 

    The Thomas Tickler, MP for Grimsby & Jam Maker, referred to in Raymond’s write-up I have met before. In helping to uncover my wife’s family history (which was more or less a closed book when we started) we discovered her great-grandfather’s sister’s daughter, although living in Nottingham, married Thomas Tickler’s heir. As my mother’s family came from the Grimsby area I opined that we might end up being related. In practice the relationship proved more sinister – whilst Wendy’s relation was living in a grand house with servants my relation was struggling to bring up 8 children in a two up two down whilst her husband boiled jam helping to make Wendy’s relation even richer! Added to this a second cousin on the well to do side of my mother’s family had a really rich relation who invested in Tickler’s Jam. He used to travel up from London to attend board meetings and stay the night after with his sister. At dinner his sister would pull his leg about Tickler’s rotten jam declaring she always ate Maypole jam (anybody else remember the Maypole?). One time when he sat down to dinner and the leg pulling started he silently reached into his pocket and placed a sheaf of papers on the table. When his sister examined them, to her horror, she realised they were copies of invoices from Ticklers to the Maypole for the jam they had supplied!  

    By David Redhead (04/04/2018)
  • Write-up on Percy Bernard Wrigley added. He should be on the original Elmfield Clock Memorial but according to the Wharfedale Family History Society listing is absent from the Ashville Memorial Hall (but that might be their mistake). He is on the Cenotaph.  

    I now know much more about department stores than I ever wanted to. I state that the two Bon Marche stores and Pratts had no commercial connections – prior to WW1 this was true but in the 1920’s they were all bought up by Selfridges and then became part of the John Lewis chain. I think the Bon Marche stores had been closed before John Lewis came on the scene but Pratts became a successful John Lewis Branch and was not closed until July 1990. The site is now occupied by (shock & horror) McDonalds, Lidl & Argos and a modern pub called “Pratts & Payne” – apparently the Payne comes from Cynthia who operated nearby – perhaps I had better move on and not tell the joke about the vicar! 

    In some ways this is a mother’s tale rather than a son’s and I suspect she made considerable sacrifice to ensure Percy got a good education. Sadly it was in many ways wasted but such is the price of wars. 

    Percy died in the German offensive of spring 1918 which made major ground and nearly resulted in a different outcome to the war. However, they rather overstretched themselves and then started to seriously feel the effects of an overall lack of resources. By the summer the tide was definitely turning but they continued to put up surprisingly stiff resistance and many more lives were lost before the armistice was agreed.

    By David Redhead (03/04/2018)
  • See also Quibell Cooper whose name should have been included on the memorial.

    By David Redhead (03/04/2018)
  • Write-up on Ronald Woolfenden added.

    The Manchester University Roll of Honour website says he went to Manchester University in 1912. Early Oct 1912 he would have been a month shy of his 17th birthday which is a bit early to be going to University, or were things different in those days? My father did a law degree nearly 20 years later. When he left school at 16 he started work for Lincoln City Council but registered as an external student with London University and did “Intermediate” exams which I think were the equivalent of A levels before moving on to an external full-blown law degree course. I wonder if Ronald was pursuing a similar route? 

    The Manchester University site lists his education in the order Stockport Grammar School, Elmfield College, Manchester University which probably means he did not do a full 5 years at Elmfield – if he had he would have started 1906/7 and left 1911/2. Like G F Holden his parents seem to have considered Elmfield a step up indicating it had good reputation.

    By David Redhead (29/03/2018)
  • Write-up on George Forster Holden added. He is buried in Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.

    By David Redhead (22/03/2018)

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