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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Friday, 19 October 2012


I'm currently interested (for research purposes) in boys (for that they were) who attended Clifton College, Bristol and were born between September 1888 and August 1889. Trust me, I have a good reason. There turn out, according to Clifton College Register 1862-1947, to be rather a lot of them; though quite a few didn't survive beyond 1914-18. One of  the many interesting members of this cohort is a man called Hugh Arthur Franklin. He seems to have had a pretty eventful life and was imprisoned on a number of occasions  for his activities - once for attempting to strike Winston Churchill with a whip - in support of women's suffrage. You can read about him here. The entry on him in the Women's Library link claims that due to poor eyesight he was "disqualified for war service" during WWI and served on the staff of the Woolwich Ordnance Factories. Strangely the Clifton College Register has him serving as a Lieutenant in the Hampshire Yeomanry and being mentioned in dispatches. I wonder what the story is behind these discrepant accounts. Was it that he did indeed hold a commission in the Yeomanry but served in the Ordnance Factories? But then how did he come to be mentioned in dispatches? I can find no trace of him in the army medal rolls, the surviving enlistment & pension records or the London Gazette. This doesn't mean that he didn't serve, but my experience is that most serving soldiers of the 14-18 war  turn up in the medal rolls. Two highly speculative explanations come to mind. Was he confused in the school register with one or other of his two brothers who also attended Clifton? Or was the compiler of the register just a little embarrassed by this old boy's escapades and sought to uphold the honour of the school by, shall we say, embellishing the truth? The chances are I'll never know; unless, by the wonders of Google, somebody who knows the answer hits upon this blog posting and shares it with us.

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