Merchiston Castle School – Pals and Chaps from Edinburgh

New Material Under Review

The pupils and masters of Merchiston School provided a large number of Officers for the Manchester City Battalions.  Thanks to the recent online publication of the Roll of honour 1914-1919 : Merchiston Castle School, a full schedule of Manchester Regiment Merchiston men can be compiled.  In alphabetical order:-

Aberdeen Press and Journal 11 February 1916

Aberdeen Press and Journal 11 February 1916

2nd Lt Cameron XVIII Pln E Coy

2nd Lt Cameron XVIII Pln E Coy

Lt Alastair Gregory Cameron Born 10/4/1889 (17th E Coy. XVIII Pltn.).  Pupil 1903-08. Captain of School 1907-08. Captain Rugby (XV 1905-1908) & Cricket (XI 1906-1908). Under-Officer in OTC 1907-08. Left school July 1908. International Hockey for Scotland.  Entered France 2/11/15 – ahead of the Battalion.  Wounded in tibia 10 February 1916  Promoted Lieutenant and attached D.A.D.A.  N.C. in  Ripon after treatment in Isle of Wight. Survived the war. Later A Cameron and Co, Merchant Shippers, 2a Upper Thames Street in the City of View PostLondon.  He later lived at Ilchester Mansions, Kensington High Street.  Died in London May 1962.

Yarwood Cameron MEN 18.2.16


Captain Henry Rodham Cook Born 3/9/1883. Pupil 1896-1903 Rugby XV 1900-02, Cricket XI 1903 and School Captain 1902-3. Left School 1903. Worked at Bombay and Burmah Forest Service up to 1913. Acting-Magistrate at Yandoon. Private RAMC Commissioned 2nd Lieut. (16th) 18/6/1915. .  Arrived France (22nd Bttn) May 1916. Wounded July 1916. KiA 7/9/1917 serving as Intelligence Officer with (12th) aged 34. SUNKEN ROAD CEMETERY, FAMPOUX   Son of Rodham Home Cook and Mabel Cook, of “Kilmory,” 4, Ollerbarrow Rd., Hale, Cheshire. Also included on Foreigners’ Great War Memorial, Yokohama, Japan. Born in China, Amoy and included as inmate in 1901 School Census return.  Left Estate to brother George Home Cook at Woodville Road, Altrincham.

Wilfrith Elstob VC

Wilfrith Elstob VC



The Sphere 24/8/1919

Saturday 24 August 1918, The Sphere

Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfrith Elstob VC DSO MC Born 1888. BA Manchester University. Preparatory Assistant Master 1912-14.Private Public Schools Bttn. Gazetted for his commission on 3/10/14 (16th) (with Hubert Worthington), following enlistment in Public Schools Battalion.  Killed in Action in command of defence of Manchester Hill 21/3/18. “Here we fight, and here we die.”   Full details at  The Men Behind the Medals, along with details of Hubert Worthington (volunteered 12/9/1914) who encouraged childhood friend Wilfrith to join the Regiment.


Lt Col Elstob seated Centre.  Major Rupert Roberts seated to his right.

Lt Col Elstob seated Centre. Major Rupert Roberts seated to his right.

Lt Col Edmund Fearenside DSO OBE

Lt Col Edmund Fearenside DSO OBE PC

Lt Col D Fearenside DSO OBE

Edmund Fearenside with Merchiston masters in 1922.

Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Fearenside DSO OBE MID Twice. Teacher of Classics & English. Scholar of Queen’s College, Oxford. MA. Oxford University Rugby XV 1903. English trials 1903, 04 & 05. School rugby football committee 1905-09. School Games Committee 1921-28. Editor of the Merchistonian 1907-14.  Received commission (17th)  after volunteering on 19/9/1914.  Survived the war after wounding in March 1917 and returned to teach at Merchiston. House Master Castle Bank 1922-1930 and Rogerson West after the school relocated 1930-34.  Senior Resident Master 1930-35.  Retired due to ill health 1935 and died in Oxford 1959.  He had been a member of Mortonhall Golf Club prior to enlisting. :t Col Edward Henry Trotter DSO was another member of the same club and OC of the 18th Kings Liverpools.  He was killed near Trones Wood on 8th July 1916. Edmund was Classics Master 1905-14 & 1919-35.  See Edmund Fearenside 

2nd Lieutenant Roy Mackenzie Gourlay (10th) Old Boy 1913-17 Born Australia 29/3/1897. Parents Wm Frdk & Agnes Margaret Herring.  (P. 1907) Prefect in VI Form.  Hope Prize for modern languages in 1917. Rugby XV 3 years (1914-17). Cricket XI 4 years (Captain 1916 & 17), colours Captain 1916/17. CSM in OTC in 1917.  4 brothers attended the school. KI Major in RE. GB Lt Col Seaforth Highlanders.

Left School July 1917 for Commission in 4th (Reserve) Battalion.  Gazetted 2/Lt. in Special Reserve from Officer Cadet Unit on 13/3/1918 (LG 22/3/1918). No identified overseas service.  Attached to RFC/RAF

Scott & Patterson Accountants, Edinburgh, 1918-25. Chartered Accountant 1925. Soc Accs 1926. Ed. Stock Exchange 1930. Vice-Chair 1945,47 & 50.  President Council Stock Exchanges of GB 1962.  Resident Kerrisdale, Capelaw Road, Ed. 13. M.  Married Dorothy Iniz Lang Stevenson. Daughter Faith Mackenzie Gourlay McLeish b 29/7/1931.

Lt Aubrey Harris

Lt A Harris

Lieutenant Aubrey Harris  Killed by a shell 04/09/1916 age 22. Manchester Regiment. Thiepval Memorial.  Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in 21st Battalion 23/12/14 (III Pln. A Coy).  Son of William and Mary Elizabeth Harris, of Oak Bank Villa, 72, Alexandra Rd, Wrexham. B.A. (Hons.) Manchester University. Preparatory language master at Merchiston.  Commemorated on Wrexham War Memorial. Courtesy JWRH on Manchesters Forum “I have seen letter from Lt Aubrey Harris’ parents to the Warden of Hulme Hall, where Aubrey studied at Manchester University:

“Lieut J H Miller writing on Sept 6th says: My very best pal, your son Aubrey was killed with a shell on the evening of the fourth of September. We had gone forward together to find Captain Cunliffe and his company to discover what the situation was like. I left them together and returned to the Brigade with what news we had gathered. He remained behind doing more than his duty in helping Capt Cunliffe. Two hours later some of his men came back and reported to me that both he and Capt Cunliffe had been killed instantaneously by the same shell. The news quite broke me – I pray that you may be able to bear it”

Aubrey Harris was also known to Captain Charlie May of 22nd Battalion.  For unknown reasons Charlie referred to Aubrey as ‘Bottom’ or ‘Bum’ Harris and described him being the Battalion Bombing Officer and providing a demonstration of Trench Mortars.(Credit Gerry Harrison).

Capt.S Kenworthy. OC D Coy.

Capt.S Kenworthy. OC D Coy.

Kenworthy The Sphere 26.8.1916

Kenworthy The Sphere 26.8.1916

Captain Stanley Kenworthy MiD (C Coy. 17th) KIA 1/7/16 Montauban. Preparatory Master 1909-1914, Grad. Queen’s College, Oxford. Preparatory Master at Merchiston. Commissioned 2/Lt 19/9/1914. Captain Stanley Kenworthy had died in the assault. As a former pupil of St Bees, it is poignant Stanley’s last resting place is also Dantzig Alley, with former St Bees Master, Captain Ford of A Company. Stanley was 32 when he died and left behind his mother Dinah T Kenworthy and father John Dalziel Kenworthy, of Seacroft, St. Bees, Cumberland.  Stanley played cricket & rugby for St Bees, Queen’s College, Cumberland & Cheshire and cricket for Edinburgh Nomads. He was Mentioned in Douglas Haig’s Despatch of 16 June 1916.

2nd Lieutenant James Dunlop Kirkwood.  (A Coy. 17th) Born 11/11/1885. Pupil 1899- April 1903. Inmate for 1901 Census, born Peterborough 1885.  Forest Supervisor, formerly Department for the Interior, Ottawa. Commissioned 2nd Lieut. 5/1/1915. Left the battalion with shell shock. Died in 1937.

Lt J D Kirkwood

Lt J D Kirkwood

2nd Lieutenant Douglas Munro Lauder Born 8/4/1897. He was a Pupil 1912- April 1915. School records indicate Douglas served in 8th Battalion and the Medal Card for specifies 2nd/5th Battalion.  At some stage he was wounded and received a Silver War Badge in November 1917 – aged approx. 19 when he resigned his Commission as honourary 2nd Lt.  Later resident of Glasgow with parents John and Maggie Lauder. 143 West Regent Street.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Leslie Macdonald DSO with Bar MiD 2x (Capt. & Major 17th & Lt. Col. 19th) Born 22/9/1881. Pupil 1895-1900 Won school hurdles race on 1900 in 20 Seconds. Merchiston Club Prize for Classics in 1900.  Rugby XV 1899/1900. Predect in VI Form. BA Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1903 MA Classics Tripos 1919. Born 22/9/81) Son of Charles, a cotton broker from Alder Bank, Bowden, Cheshire. Also Master  at Preparatory until 1909 and then taught English in main school and Captain of OTC 1909-14, where he took over command 1912/13 when Rupert Roberts resigned in 1912.  Leave in India in 1913/14. Hon Sec of Merchistonian Club 1909-14.  Also Treasurer. (Commissioned 24/12/1914).  Lt Col Charles Macdonald returned to the school in 1916/17 to deliver a lecture on “The New Form of Attack”.  He also undertook the annual inspection of the OTC in 1919, while praising the efficiency of the Corps in general, commented specially on the good word of command of the junior NCOs. Head of Amesbury School, Hindhead from 1920, where he died on 19th January 1939. Married Annie Mary Kinross.

Capt John Madden

Capt John Madden

Captain J G Madden DSO June 1918 © IWM (HU 117797)

Captain J G Madden DSO June 1918 © IWM (HU 117797)

Captain John Grevile Madden DSO MiD

John’s father was employed at King’s College, London, having attended Clare College, Cambridge.  John had been brought up in London.

C Company’s Commanding Officer. Exhibitioner at Pembroke College, Cambridge, BA. Maths Teacher (1912-14) .  Commissioned 24/12/1914 having been Lt in OTC 1912-14, taking Command in 1913/14, when Charles Macdonald took leave in India. Originally, the OC of Herbert Vernon’s (Arthur Bell’s brother in law)  VIII Platoon in B Company, he had clearly taken further responsibility with promotion to Company Commander and records suggest he may have commanded the Battalion at Trones Wood on 9th July 1916.   He is known to have spent time with the 3rd Battalion in Cleethorpes during 1917 – presumably after wounds – and retired from the Regiment as a Major.  John and his wife Annie lost two sons in the 2nd World War.  Lt Keith Manseield Madden MC was killed in 1943 and elder brother David John Madden was killed in 1944; both served in the Royal Artilllery.  John was a research scientist at Wollwich Aresenal, for War Office, living in Blackheath in 1920 and Alverstoke, Hants in WWII.  John was commissioned 2/Lt, without pay in 1945. He died in 1950.

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

2nd Lieutenant Robert Forbes Mansergh MC Rugby XV 1914-15 with R M Gourlay (above) was III Platoon OC from March 1915, to the summer of 1916, although other officers seem to have fulfilled this role from July onwards.   He was also Battalion Adjutant in August 1916 and a member of the Battalion Bugle Band.  Arthur Bell had referred to his prior bravery in preventing injuries during an accident in grenade training.“Perhaps a notch towards an honour later.  In fact, he was awarded the M.C. in September, 1916.”The former Merchiston pupil (1912-14),  was promoted to Captain during service and retired at the end of the War.  School Records show he had been wounded at some stage.  He was living at Farmwouth in Belle Vue, Morecambe when he collected his medals in 1923.

Lt P J Meade

Lt P J Meade

Lieutenant Percy John Mead (16th) Commander

Manchester Evening News 15 December 1915 2

Manchester Evening News 15 December 1915 2

of 17 Pln E Coy and then 4 Pln of A Coy. Commissioned 16th Bttn, 25/12/1914.  Wounded ‘slightly’ by German shelling of cross-roads at Hebuterne 8th December 1915. He had returned to duty by January 1916. Pte Charlie Heaton[A.coy] recounted “We were looking through the trees around maricourt wood and Lt Mead came into our trench with a pair of binoculars,he handed them to pte chase and said,these will make it easier for you fellas,but be careful how you use them,pte chase put them to his eyes and within 20 seconds he was shot through the head by a sniper,we were facing east into the sun,and the glint off the binoculars alerted a sniper.”  Preparatory Classics Master. Applied for his medals in 1929, while resident in Norwich. Percy had been born on Brixton in 1888 and educated at Manchester University.  Parents lived at Hale. In 1911, he was an assistant schoolmaster at Wadham House School in Hale.


Major Rupert Roberts. Daily Sketch

Major Rupert Roberts. Daily Sketch

Roberts R E Courtesy Catherine Roberts & LivesFWW

Roberts R E Courtesy Catherine Roberts & LivesFWW

Major Rupert Edward Roberts (16th)     Photo Assistant Master (Maths) 1905-12 and Captain in OTC (1907-12).  Cadet Corps First Lt. in Christmas Left the School in summer 1912. 1904.  Previously teacher at Dunstable Grammar School.  Born 1881. Son of the late James and Ada Roberts, of Worcester. Educated Worcester Grammar. Exhibitioner and  BA at Jesus College, Cambridge.
Wounded at Etrelliers 26/3/18. Died of Wounds 26/03/1918 in Hospital at Rouen. ST. SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN



2nd Lieutenant John Spiers Watson (21st) Pupil 1907-08








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Other Scottish Schools

Fettes School – Fettes College Roll of Honour

Captain Walter James Ablitt (9th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1905. Mentioned in Despatches twice. GSI GHQ EEF.

Major John Barton Aiken (3rd & 18th) Pupil Moredun Hse. entering 1886

A/Major Thomas Somerville Beaumont (2/8th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1895.  Killed at Est. Dunkerque, France, Sept. 24, 1917.  ‘Beloved Son’ of James William and Emily P. Beaumont, of Baronald, Wilmslow, Cheshire; husband of Blanche Beaumont (now Mrs. Fraser Bryant), of 134, Rue Perronet, Neuiley-sur-Seine, Seine, France. RAMSCAPPELLE ROAD MILITARY CEMETERY

2nd Lieutenant Gilbert Moorhead Brown (15th) Pupil Moredun Hse. entering 1896

Lieutenant John Gordon Dunn (1/8th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1898. Wounded. 2/Lt and Lt.  Resident 230 Burton Road, Didsbury in 1922.  It appears a former cloth mrechant John Gordon Dunn may have initially enlisted in RAMC during May 1916, prior to his Commission (Service Record).

2nd Lieutenant James Ellis Love (18th 16th & 1/6th)  Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1912. Commissioned 18th Bttn 1st March 1917.  Killed Sept. 2nd 1918. Aged 20. Son of John and Florence Selina Love, of The Gables, Northwood, Middx. Born at Winnipeg, Canada. Also pupil of Mostyn House.

2nd Lt Later Capt RH Megson XVI Pln 16th BttnCaptain Robert Hargraves Megson (16th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1901. Killed nr. Arras 23rd April 1917 in action near Bapaume. Battalion Signals Officer. Twice Mentioned in Despatches.  Son of James M. Megson, of Stockdale, Didsbury, Manchester. Arras Memorial. Chartered Accountant for Ashworth,Mosley & Co

Capt Arthur TaylorCaptain Arthur Taylor (16th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1884.  Later 90th Bgd. Staff Captain.  Discharged ill-health.  Mentioned in Despatches.  Second Lieutenant Robert Loudon Johnston (17th) had worked with Arthur Taylor who was part of the Committee formed in the raising of the Pals Battalions with Sir Daniel McAbe (Mayor) and others in 1914 and who subsequently became Staff Captain to the 90th Infantry Brigade Headquarters.  He was the President of Ancoats Lads’ Club.

 2nd Lt W R Tonge. The 17th Bttn's 1st Officer casualty in the trenches,

2nd Lt W R Tonge. The 17th Bttn’s 1st Officer casualty in the trenches,

90th Bgd Staff Capt Arthur Taylor 1915 JPG

2nd Lieutenant William Russel Tonge (17th) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1907. Killed in action 12/1/1916, aged 21, on initial tour for Battalion in Maricourt Defences. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated at Thiepval. Son of Henry Dacre Tonge and Alma Tonge.

Acknowledgement of help with these records from Manchesters Forum and Great War Forum


3 thoughts on “Merchiston Castle School – Pals and Chaps from Edinburgh

  1. Pingback: Manchester Warehouseman and Clerks Orphans’ School – Manchester Regiment | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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