Posted: 7 November, 2018

Putney Remembers The Great War

Alumnae, General, Junior School, News, Senior School, Sixth Form

As we mark the centenary of the Great War (2014 - 2018), we look back at the part that Putney High School and its pupils had to play.

The impact of war was soon felt at Putney when Miss Ruth Hewetson, Headmistress from 1910–20 lost her brother, naval chaplain George Hewetson, when HMS Bulwark exploded at anchor near Sheerness with the loss of 736 men on 26 November 1914.

Boys had been a regular part of life at the school in the early 1900s, as they attended the Kindergarten from 1893 to 1947.

One of Putney’ s Old Boys, Douglas Lindsey fought at Ypres in October 1917.

In a letter from his Old Girl sister Dorothy on October 13 1917:
Last night a letter came from him that he has got out of it alive and unhurt, but so weak he had to be lifted on to the motor lorry which came to take them away to rest. The assault lasted from Thursday 6am till Monday 2am, during which time they had no sleep at all, very little food, and – worst of all – a shortage of water during the last two days. They are now many miles behind the line and expect two months’ rest.‘

Douglas was killed in action on 17 December 1917 aged 20.

The school has purchased a commemorative centenary ceramic poppy in his memory.

Many Old Girls worked in Whitehall at the War Cabinet Offices, War Trade Intelligence Department, Foreign Trade Department and the Ministry of Munitions, whilst a number of Old Girls did canteen work at the YMCA Tent in Richmond Park Camp.

Others worked as nurses in nearby hospitals including Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton.


With thanks to Geraldine Dyos, School Librarian
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