The bravest man in the trenches

Many of the former pupils of Reading School were serving with distinction.


Military Cross

Temp. 2nd Lieut. F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berks Regiment.- For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy twice attacked under cover of liquid fire, 2nd Lieut. Edwards showed great pluck under most trying circumstances and held off the enemy. He was badly wounded in the head while constructing a barricade within twenty-five yards of the enemy.

2nd Lieut. (Temp. Lieut.) W/C. Costin, Gloucester Regiment. – For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy penetrated our front line he pushed forward to a point where he was much exposed, and directed an accurate fire on the trench with his trench guns. It was largely due to his skill and courage that we recaptured the trench. An Old Boy of Reading School, he won a scholarship at St. John’s College. Oxford.

2nd Lieut. D.F.Cowan.

Killed in Action.

Lieut. Hubert Charles Loder Minchin, Indian Infantry, was the eldest of three sons of the late Lieut-Col. Hugh Minchin, Indian Army, who followed their father into that branch of the service, and of whom the youngest was wounded in France in May, 1915. Lieutenant Minchin, who was 23 years old, was educated at Bath College, Reading School, and Sandhurst. After a probationary year with the Royal Sussex Regiment, he was posted to the 125th (Napier’s) Rifles, then at Mhow, with whom he served in the trenches.

After the engagement at Givenchy on December 20th, 1914, he was reported missing. Sometime later an Indian Officer, on returning to duty from hospital, reported that he had seen Lieut. Minchin struck in the neck, and killed instantly, when in the act of personally discharging a machine-gun against the enemy. The Indian officer has now notified that he must be believed to have fallen on that day.
2nd lieut.

F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berkshire Regiment, awarded the military cross, died of wounds on August 10th. He was 23 years of age, and the youngest son of the late Capt. H.H. Edwards, Royal Navy, and Mrs. Edwards, of Broadlands, Cholsey. He was educated at Reading School and the City and Guilds College, Kensington. He had been on active service 10 months. His Adjutant wrote:

“He was the bravest man in the trenches. All the men say he was simply wonderful on the morning of August 8th. We lost a very gallant soldier and a very lovable man.”


“Kipling in real life”: the life of a trainee dispatch rider

Apsley Cherry-Garrard enjoyed life as a dispatch rider in training:

14th Signalling Company
Royal Engineers
Stanhope Lines

Dear Farrer

Here I am living as a Tommy & a good life too – pretty rough. Luckily in barracks and so we are better off than 14 in a Bell Tent. I have had no medical & so cannot tell about that – otherwise I have my job as Dispatch Rider. They appear to have had so many casualties among the 1st batch of Dispatch Riders that they are going to have us fully trained before going out, & I don’t think we shall go for at least two months though we can say nothing.

So we are to do signalling & ordinary drill. We are just off now at 5.30 pm, starting 5.30 am. We have a real good fellow, Captain Stratton, as CO of the company. A lot of this company have already seen active service so things look good, and they are a splendid lot of men. It’s just Kipling in real life!

Yours very sincerely

Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Sept 23

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard to Arthur Farrer, D/EHR/Z8/140