A SCHOOL will launch an online tribute to those who died ‘on the King’s service’ following painstaking research by archivists and parents.

During the First World War, 730 former pupils and staff of Barnard Castle School, who hailed from across the North-East and North Yorkshire, marched to death or glory.

Since the 1920s the school has honoured its 150 dead with oak panels carrying their names on the chapel walls.

But to mark the centenary of the conclusion of the ‘war to end all wars’ a special memorial website has been commissioned to honour the Barney Boys.

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On sale from Wednesday, November 7, our special supplement marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. It costs £1 with 10p from every copy sold going to the Royal British Legion

The website will be launched officially at a commemorative dinner today (Wednesday), just days before the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which brought peace to Europe.

Around 180 guests will attend including former students who joined the Forces, Forces parents, civic and military dignities, staff and Combined Cadet Force officers.

Hours of detailed research have gone into the project led by Old Barnardians secretary Dorothy Jones, former chairman of governors Malcolm McCallum and past parents Pat Burgess and Christine Hick.

Miss Jones said: “It started when Pat was in chapel looking at the names on the roll of honour wondering what had happened to each of the fallen.

“She visits the war graves in Belgium and lays cards as an act of remembrance on behalf of the school.“We wanted to know what the soldiers had done while they were at school and she came in with Christine to go through our archive of the Barnardian magazines of the day.

“Malcolm then started helping by going through the records and we have come up with a wealth of material from there and military websites which we hope will be added to over the coming years.”

The research has already revealed missing names, which have now been added to the chapel panels, including merchant seaman W Sheel and soldier J F Barton, of Whitley Bay.

“Barton wanted to be a watchmaker like his father but went to war and didn’t come home,” said Miss Jones.

“We had records of boys and teachers but no support staff and our research has revealed boot boy and porter J R Watson, who is now honoured.”

Just as the Old Barnardians Club paid for the original panelling, the new website has been financed by their contemporaries.

Welcomed by the current headmaster Tony Jackson and featuring a picture of the chapel panelling, the site chronicles in words and pictures the lives of the 145 boys, four masters and porter who fell, including their rank, regiment, where they fought, where and how they died, where they are buried and the medals they received.

Among them is Victoria Cross winner Lt Commander George Bradford, Military Cross and bar recipient Captain Alexander McLare, honoured by their country for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.


Brothers Edwin and Thomas Lant and Walter and Alex Henderson are featured as is Christopher Binns, whose father owned Binns department store in Darlington and Frank Errington, the only son of farmers from Marwood, who was conscripted along with his horses into the Royal Field Artillery to die in a German offensive.

Private Harry Thorne, who boarded at the school after becoming an orphan only to die on the battlefield, was among four old boys and thousands of allied troops to perish on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

An entry in the Regiment War Diary reads: “The men of the attacking Companies moved forward like one man until the murderous fire of the Enemy’s machine guns forced them to halt. Not a man wavered and after nightfall we found in several places, straight lines of ten or 12 dead or badly wounded, as if the Platoons had just been dressed for parade.” Having no known grave, Harry is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.


Mr Jackson said: “It is so important that the whole school community remembers our fallen. For all the accounts we do have of the heroic actions of our staff and boys there are so many whose tales will never be told.

“As well as the daily reminder of their sacrifice on the walls of our chapel we now have a contemporary tribute with which we can build a clearer picture of the gallantry they exhibited on the King’s service.”