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Rugbeians in the Great War (Hardback)

Local History WWI Social History Home Front in WWI 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 Military

By Daniel McLean
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 234
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781526742858
Published: 20th November 2019

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Few schools can claim to have had such a deep and diverse effect on British history as Rugby. Its influence on the sporting field is well-known, but this book examines the roles played by Rugbeians in many different spheres during the Great War. Politicians and academics, Olympians and artists all left their ordinary lives to fight for their country and it was their school which bound them together. Some such as Ernest Swinton, inventor of the tank, and Maurice Hankey, Cabinet Secretary, had direct influence on the shaping of the conflict, whereas others such as Duncan Mackinnon (Olympic gold medal-winning rower) and the Cawley brothers (both Members of Parliament) are remembered primarily for their pre-war achievements. Until now there has never been a volume which traces the extent of Rugby’s influence, but this book showcases the extraordinary range of individuals from the school who left their mark on the war and the world at large.

Rugby School gave the civilized world Rugby Football but important though that was to history, the school did so much more in service of nation and Empire. The British Public School system misnamed because it was a private schooling system, was primarily geared to turning out the administrators and soldiers who kept the Empire together and the nation working. – Most Highly Recommended.

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Firetrench

Imagine my amazement at learning of the brilliant men who originated from Rugby and went on to play major roles in government and inventions and who took part in the first world war. This is an extraordinary account of some of the most famous individuals from our nation's history. It seems we have plenty to thank Rugby school for after all...

Books Monthly

Well written. 9/10

The Great War magazine, March 2020

I would say that the author has gone to great concentration and written an excellent and very detailed book. There is no other thing to do but to recommend this book, a really excellent book.

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UK Historian

I have a growing interest in public school contributions to the war effort and as far as Rugby School is concerned, I was already very familiar with the seven volumes of "Memorials of Rugbeians who fell in the Great War" which were published between 1916 and 1923. Indeed, most of the men whose portraits feature in those seven volumes also appear on my British Army Ancestors website. The Memorials volumes are extraordinary tributes to those Rugbeians who died in the service of their country during the First World War, and whilst this new volume from Pen & Sword draws on some of these biographies, and uses some of the photos, the scope is far wider and in places much more detailed; putting the service of individual Rugbeians into the context of the war as a whole.

There are helpful appendices and a useful index and bibliography; essentials in my book but sadly often overlooked these days. The author, a former teacher, has obviously also had access to the school archives and there are some, I'm guessing, previously unpublished photos of pupils and staff which add to the book's overall appeal.

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Army Ancestry Research, Paul Nixon

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About Daniel McLean

Daniel McLean was born in Kent and after school served as a Logistics Officer in the Royal Navy. At the age of 24 he left the armed forces and read Theology at Oriel College, Oxford, before beginning the teaching career which brought him to Rugby School in 2015. There he is employed as Head of Philosophy and Theology, Assistant Housemaster and Contingent Commander of the Combined Cadet Force.

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