Hear their Footsteps

King Edward VII School, Sheffield, and the Old Edwardians in the Great War 1914-18

John Cornwell

Publication date:
October 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
44 photos
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911096269

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
This book is available


The book recounts the story of an elite Yorkshire day school - and its 'Old Boys' who joined the forces - in the First World War. The school was founded by Sheffield City Council in 1905, who finessed an amalgamation of two much older institutions as one of a number of prestigious projects (Sheffield University was founded the same year) to give a great - albeit new - northern industrial city the infrastructure and trappings commensurate with its wealth and importance.

The book details the stories of many of the 90 Old Edwardians killed in the war, whilst also relating the war service and subsequent careers of some of those who survived. King Edward's, like many day schools of its type, provided many of the junior officers for the New Armies after 1915 - mostly serving in local regiments and often losing their lives in the great offensives of the Somme, Arras and Passchendaele. A substantial number served in RFC - daring young men in the newest form of warfare - with one of them winning three MCs and surviving the war. Five Head Prefects were killed - all of them Oxford graduates, or with Oxford scholarships to continue after the war; there had only been nine Head Prefects before 1917.

The book also discusses the changes, pressures and upheavals the war caused in the general running of the school, from action taken against Zeppelin raids to Belgian refugees joining as pupils; to taking on female staff for the first time as younger masters joined up. Two staff members were killed during war - and as far as one can calculate, at least 12 percent of all the pupils who were at the school from 1905-17 were also killed in the war. Old Edwardians won 34 gallantry medals during the war - and these are recorded on the honours' boards at the school.


There are many accounts of groups of men from the same industry forming pals' regiments - this is slightly different. It showcases a group of young men, all from the same school in Sheffield, and documents their contribution to the Great War, their sacrifices and their courage, alongside fascinating accounts of how the school coped with the onslaught of the German military and air raids. Totally absorbing.
Books Monthly