Pound Lane School - World War I

4 August war was declared and at the beginning of September, two teachers, Mr Jones and Mr Williams enlisted and were accepted in the 8th Surrey. In November, Mr E J Scoones, after taking the Practical Examination for B Sc (Lond), also enlisted. The school received notice in December that Mr Scoones had been awarded his B Sc degree.

Zeppelin Poster A Zeppelin photographed over Epsom
A Zeppelin poster and a Zeppelin photographed over Epsom

Log Book entry for 28 September - Several children have been admitted to the School from London, they are leaving town for a time on account of the air raids. [ISLB] Some of the children were given drill for Zeppelin raids and they were told to shelter under their desks

The shortage of staff was causing great problems. An entry for Dec 4, "For the 2nd week the school has been 2 Assistants short, and no "Supply" has been sent. This means that one of the staff must always have charge of two classes" [BSLB]

In November 1914, many of the girls were kept away from school to help at home as men from the University and Public Schools Battalion were billeted around Epsom until their camp was completed at the R A C Club. This paid well and extra help was needed at home to look after the soldiers.

WW1 Soldiers marching through Epsom
WW1 Soldiers marching through Epsom

The schools took part in the National Egg Collection for the Wounded Scheme and it appeared many families must have been keeping chickens as in June the Infants' School collected 154 eggs and in July a further 907 eggs were collected by the Boys' School. These were sent to the Military Hospital at Horton.

National Egg Collection Poster
National Egg Collection Poster and Wounded Soldiers

In Feb 1916 - Lt Commander H Chamberlain gave a lecture to the boys, "His subject was "The War" and he dealt with the western front and the battle of the Falkland Islands illustrating his subject by most excellent maps of his own construction. The lesson was an admirable one and was listened to with keenly appreciative attention". [BSLB]

Battle of the Falkland Islands, 8 December 1914

The battle was a naval engagement fought between units of the Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy. The British reeling from the defeat at the Battle of Coronel, off the coast of Chile, sent a large force to destroy the German cruiser squadron. The force included two modern battle cruisers, HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible, together with armoured and light cruisers. The battle lasted all day, with a decisive victory to the Royal Navy. No British ships were lost but four German ships were sunk.

HMS Invincible
HMS Invincible

Earl Foster Scoones, Second Lieutenant.

13th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment).
Killed in Action 23 November 1916, Age 26.

Earl Foster Scoones
Earl Foster Scoones
Image courtesy of Rob Scoones © 2014

Earl Foster Scoones was born on 4 August 1890 in Walworth (GRO reference: Sep 1890 St. Saviours Southwark 1d 142), the son of Arthur Victor and Mary Evelyn Scoones. His parents had married on 30 July 1880 in St. Peter's church in Walworth.

When the 1891 census was taken, the family was living at 5 Spring Cottages, Merton Road, Mitcham, Surrey, with Earl's 73-year-old maternal grandmother Mary A. Foster and 37-year-old aunt Edith, an unmarried schoolteacher. Earl's 34-year-old father was working as a zinc worker while his 35-year-old mother looked after Earl and his older siblings Arthur Victor aged 8, Edith Emma aged 7 and Florence Ethel aged 4. Edith's twin sister, Evelyn Alice, had died in 1884. Their sister Florence died soon after the 1891 census was taken.

After her death, the family moved to Wimbledon where Earl's younger sister Elsie Evelyn was born in 1892 and his younger brother Herbert Edwin in 1894.

Earl and his family were living at 79 Hamilton Road, South Wimbledon along with aunt Edith, when the 1901 census was taken. Aged 10, Earl was at school with his younger siblings Elsie aged 8 and Herbert aged 6. His older sister Edith was a pupil teacher while their brother Arthur was a shorthand clerk. Their father was still working as a zinc worker while their mother kept house. Earl was educated at Rutlish School, Wimbledon and Battersea Polytechnic.

On 23 July 1904, aged 44, Earl's father died leaving his family £264.

When the 1911 census was taken, aged 20, Earl was one of 132 students studying to be teachers at Borough Road Training College, Isleworth. His family were living at 44 Southdown Road, Wimbledon. His mother filled in her census form stating that her name was 'Eva' and that although she was a widow, she had had 7 children, 2 of which had died. Earl's brother Arthur was working as a commercial traveller and brother Herbert as a draughtsman for National Telephones. His sister Edith was now a qualified teacher while sister Elsie was now, like Earl, a student teacher.

Earl started teaching at Pound Lane School in October 1911. He obtained a BSc degree in October 1914, but very soon afterwards he answered Lord Kitchener's appeal for men to join up and fight for their country in the Great War.

Earl attested in Epsom on 23 November 1914, into the 19th Battalion Royal Fusiliers as a Private soldier and was given service number 3577. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall, had a chest measurement of 37 inches with an expansion of 3½ inches, perfect vision, and he had a scar inside his left shin. He stated that he was unmarried, worked as a teacher and that his mother was his next of kin.

The 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers were known as the University and Public Schools (UPS) Brigade. The UPS Brigade comprised some 4,000 men, who were initially billeted in Epsom, Ashtead and Leatherhead, until the new camp of military huts at Woodcote Park was completed. A book on the UPS Brigade can be downloaded free at http://archive.org. We understand that he served side by side with his younger brother Herbert, but Herbert left the army and joined the air force to become a pilot just before Earl went to the Somme. Herbert gained his wings on 28 September 1916 in a Graham-White biplane at the Huntington Military School, and left the RAF with the rank of Captain.

Earl was appointed Lance Corporal (paid) on 2 October 1915, went to France with the battalion on 14 November 1915, and was promoted Corporal on 5 January 1916. On 1 February 1916 Earl suffered a gun shot wound to his right cheek, was treated by the 99th Field Ambulance and returned to duty on 8 February.

The vast majority of the UPS men were officer material, and on 24 March 1916 Earl was admitted to No. 4 Officer Cadet Battalion at 9 Alfred Street, Oxford, and was duly commissioned on 6 July 1916, Second Lieutenant, into the 16th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment). On his application for a commission he stated that he had once suffered with diphtheria.

On 7 July 1916 Earl transferred to the 13th Battalion The King's Liverpool Regiment, 9th Brigade 3rd Division, and fought in the battle of the Somme, which officially ended on 19th November 1916. However, the fighting never completely stopped, sniping, trench raiding and shelling continued daily.

The 13th Battalion Liverpool Regiment War Diary records that on 22 November 1916 the Battalion relieved the 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in trenches in the Serre sector, the relief being complete by 9pm.

The diary entry for 23 November simply states:
Battalion in trenches. 2/Lieut Scoones killed. Weather fairly good.
Telegram informin the family of Earl's death
Telegram informin the family of Earl's death
Image courtesy of Rob Scoones © 2014

Earl is buried in Plot 1. Row K. Grave 20 Bertrancourt Military Cemetery, France. His mother received a telegram notifying her of his death five days later.

Earl's headstone in the Bertrancourt Military Cemetery
Earl's headstone in the Bertrancourt Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

Bertrancourt Military Cemetery
Bertrancourt Military Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2014

Plan of Bertrancourt Military Cemetery, France
Plan of Bertrancourt Military Cemetery, France
Image courtesy of Rob Scoones © 2014

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British war medal and the Victory medal.

On 4 July 1917 administration of his Will and effects, valued at £85 8s. 10d., was given to his widowed mother Mary Evelyn Scoones of 19 Quintin Avenue, Merton Park.

Earl's effects consisted of:
  • Metal Flask
  • Revolver, lanyard and case
  • Whistle and cord
  • Pocket book
  • Tobacco pouch
  • Leather belt
  • Pipe
  • Identity disc
  • Wrist watch and guard
  • Clasp knife
  • Web belt
  • Letter

A gratuity was payable to the next of kin of deceased officers who had previously served in the ranks. For Earl this amounted to 10, and on 15 September 1919 his mother wrote to the War Office asking about his gratuity, that she, as his mother, was entitled to.

Earl was awarded the 1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal.

On 16 December 1919 Earl's brother Herbert sailed from the Port of London aboard S.S. Beltana bound for Melbourne, Australia. On 8 September 1921, his 65 year old mother and 37 year old sister Edith sailed from the Port of London aboard S.S. Benalla to join him. It is possible that Edith married but no further records have been found for her.

His mother died in Swan Hill, Victoria, in 1931 and his brother Herbert in 1962.

2 October, 1917 "Miss Wetherall away all the morning for an interview for an appointment under the Ministry of Munitions. Her salary is so poor she is unable to live on it and is therefore obliged to leave the profession" She was successful providing that she could leave straight away.

WW1 Munitions Poster WW1 Munitions Factory
WW1 Munitions Poster and Women working in a Munitions Factory

Throughout the war, teachers at the Girls' and Infants' Schools were given time off either to get married or if their husbands were on embarkation leave

8 March 1918, "the children have been bringing money this week in connection with the War Savings Association to swell the funds of the War Campaign. The total amount collected is £77. 7s. 0d" [ISLB].

The pupils were taught in "Standards" laid down by the Board of Education, and each child was tested regularly to see if he was suitable to move up to the next standard. This entry for 17 February 1915 from the Boys' School log book shows how these class/age differences throughout the school, made it very difficult to teach. For example, the bottom class had boys ranging in ages from 8 to 13.

Boys School log book (17 February 1915)
Boys School log book (17 February 1915)

Flu epidemic

Throughout the country, thousands of people were the victims of the world wide flu epidemic and the schools were no exception. The schools were closed for two weeks in October but it was not until the end of November that the numbers of cases began to decline.


During 1919 things slowly began to return to pre-war normal. On 19 July there was a Sports and Peace Celebration Day and the children had an extra week's holiday "at the wish of His Majesty King George V to celebrate the Victory Peace of the European War"[ISLB].

Station Sergeant Green

Surprisingly with all the extensive coverage of the of the killing of Police Sergeant Green at Epsom Police Station and the very large public funeral, there was only a passing reference to the event in the Infants' School Log Book - "Many children away this afternoon to witness the public funeral of Sgt Green killed in the Canadian riot"

Sgt Green's children and those of other policemen stationed at Epsom, including the daughters of Inspector Pawley, attended the school and even so the event did not seem to be of sufficient importance for the head teachers of the Boys' and Girls' Schools to record it.

June 1919 Log Book entries
June 1919 Log Book entries

This article is part of a series on Pound Lane Schools
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