So far I have given an explanation of how I came to ‘meet’ Rycharde Haythornthwaite along with a small amount I have discovered about his parents and siblings.
Now we discover a little bit more about Rycharde himself as he grew up in Edwardian England.
Haileybury and the Imperial Civil Service
I next meet Rycharde on 2 April 1911 when the census records he was 17 and boarding at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire although he had been at this school from a very young age.
The headmaster said he remembered him “…as a very small boy, younger than boys generally were when they joined a public school…”
The choice of college comes as no surprise; Haileybury was the Imperial Service College, training people for the Indian Civil Service, having been built in 1809 on the instructions of the Honourable East India Company.
Both Zettie and John were continuing their medical and missionary work in India so would probably have expected Rycharde to join them once he had passed his exams.
1911 was another milestone year marking a change in the way the census was recorded and it was not only Rycharde who was registered as residing somewhere other than in his home. A plaque put up in 1991 by Tony Benn MP reads…
‘In this broom cupboard Emily Wilding Davison hid herself, illegally, during the night of the 1911 census…In this way she was able to record her address…as being the House of Commons, thus making her claim to the same political rights as men.’
The police report dated 3 April 1911 reads: ‘Miss E W Davison
Found hiding in crypt of Westminster Hall since Saturday
Apply Common Row Police Station for more information’
Other memorable events include:
The coronation of King George V and Queen Mary
Great Britain and Japan renewed their 1902 alliance for another four years; Japan was to enter the First World War on the side of the Allies.
The first public elevator is opened at Earl’s Court London
Britain’s first sea plane takes flight
The South Pole is reached by Norwegian Roald Amundsen ahead of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition led by Captain Scott
The Titanic was launched
The Official Secrets Act came into effect
Rycharde was not a great athlete or especially clever, but he worked hard and played hard; he was the 2nd XI at cricket and won the school mile in 1912.
He left Haileybury in the summer of 1913 when he was 19 years old; his school report states ‘…his work was well prepared…’ and he had ‘sound judgement’.
The Housemaster said ‘…his energy and sense of duty have done wonders…’
The Headmaster ‘He has been a keen and trustworthy head of the school…’
Rycharde went onto Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge where he read history.
However, he was there for just three terms before war broke out and he did not hesitate in signing up and on 15 August 1914 he entered as Second Lieutenant, East Kent Regiment ‘The Buffs’.
He trained with his regiment for several months before heading over to France on 9 May to his base camp outside of Rouen in “…fairly comfortable huts…”
His letter dated 11 May confirms his arrival at Ypres
“…we can hear the guns easily where we are now and several aeroplanes keep passing overhead. It’s awfully ripping out here, the weather is grand and everything looks splendid……there is much more green than in England and all the way up to here the land is being cultivated just as if nothing were happening! They are simply splendid these peasants!”