“Try to bear up father. The trees here are speaking to us. Although maimed, cut down, they are trying to carry on, giving forth bud and blossom, teaching us however we are battered, to carry on.” These words were written by George Senior to his father Arthur in 1917. They are some of the most poignant to have emerged from our researches into the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation’s experience of the Great War.
Arthur had just learned that his son Joseph had died of wounds sustained on active service with the Royal Flying Corps. Another son, Walter, had been killed on the Somme in 1916. George, who was serving with the KOYLI’s 4th Battalion, was to survive the war.
The three brothers, all Old Savilians, figure prominently in the Foundation’s Archives and their stories can be found in ‘Some Other and Wider Destiny’, a history of the Foundation during the Great War written by Elaine Merckx and Neal Rigby and, in particular detail, in a newly-published book, ‘Missing-Died-Survived’, written by George’s grandson, Guy Senior.
The photographs are of George in his KOYLI tunic and of the tunic, which still survives. It was brought into school for display as part of this year’s Remembrance Day Service by Guy Senior who is also shown. The photographs appear with his permission, for which we are grateful.
Copies of the two books referenced above can be seen in QEGS Reception and can be purchased from WGSF Archives; each is priced at £18.00.
Elaine Merckx and Neal Rigby (WGSF Archives)