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, a full schedule of Manchester Regiment Merchiston men can be compiled.  In alphabetical order:-

2nd Lt Alistair Cameron

2nd Lt Alistair Cameron

Lieutenant Alastair Gregory Cameron (17th E Coy. XVIII Pltn.).  Pupil 1903-08. Entered France 2/11/15 – ahead of the Battalion.  Wounded France February 1916  Promoted Lieutenant and attached D.A.D.A.  N.C. 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.

Captain Henry Rodham Cook Private RAMC Commissioned 2nd Lieut. (16th) 18/6/1915. & later Capt.  Arrived France (22nd Bttn) June 1916. Wounded July 1916. KiA 7/9/1917 serving as Intelligence Officer with (12th) aged 34. SUNKEN ROAD CEMETERY, FAMPOUX (b 1883) Pupil 1896-1903 Rugby, Cricket and School Captain. 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 Private Public Schools Bttn. Gazetted for his commission on 3/10/14 (16th), but probably appointed prior to this.  Killed in Action in command of defence of Manchester Hill 21/3/18. “Here we fight, and here we die.” Alumnii Manchester University. Preparatory Assistant Master 1912-14.  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.

Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Fearenside DSO OBE MID Twice. Received commission (17th)  after volunteering on 19/9/1914.  Survived the war after wounding in March 1917 and returned to teach at Merchiston.  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 R M Gourlay (10th) Alumnii 1913-17

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. Senior language master (Merchiston, Edinburgh).  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.

Captain Stanley Kenworthy MiD (C Coy. 17th) KIA 1/7/16 Montauban. Preparatory Master 1909-1914, Grad. Queen’s College, Oxford. 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 wife Dinah T Kenworthy and father John Dalziel Kenworthy, of Seacroft, St. Bees, Cumberland.  Stanley played cricket for St Bees, Queen’s College and Edinburgh Nomads.

2nd Lieutenant James Dunlop Kirkwood.  (A Coy. 17th)  Commissioned 2nd Lieut. 5/1/1915. Left the battalion with shell shock. Pupil 1899-1903. Inmate for 1901 Census, born Peterborough 1885.

Lt J D Kirkwood

Lt J D Kirkwood

2nd Lieutenant Douglas M Lander 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.   He was a Pupil 1912-15. Later resident of Glasgow with parents John and Maggie Lander.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Leslie Macdonald DSO with Bar MiD 2x (Capt. & Major 17th & Lt. Col. 19th) Pupil 1895-1900 BA Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1903 MA 1919. Born 22/9/81) Son of Charles, a cotton broker from Alder Bank, Bowden, Cheshire. Also Master and member of OTC. Head of Amesbury School, Hindhead from 1920, where he died in January 1939.

Capt John Madden

Capt John Madden

Captain John Madden DSO MiD C Company’s Commanding Officer was one of the few teachers (1912-14) from Merchiston College  to have survived hostilities.  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.

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

2nd Lt Robert Mansergh

2nd Lieutenant Robert Forbes Mansergh MC 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 P J Meade (16th) Commander of 17 Pln E Coy and then 4 Pln of A Coy. Wounded France 1915. Preparatory Master. Applied for his medals in 1929, while resident in Norwich.

Major Rupert Roberts. Daily Sketch

Major Rupert Roberts. Daily Sketch

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

2nd Lieutenant J S Watson (21st) Pupil 1907-08

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 (ManchR) Pupil Carrington Hse. entering 1898. Wounded

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

  2. Pingback: Centenary of the Somme – Three War Memorials | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  3. Pingback: Centenary of the Somme – Seven Pals from Manchester | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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