Every Old Blue who lost his life in the First World War is commemorated by a poppy with their name attached on its leaf, in this year’s striking School Library Centenary display.
In creating this display, the school librarian Miss Hamilton drew inspiration to mark the end of the 1914-18 War from the School’s memorial plaque itself. Miss Hamilton, helped by Year 10 student librarians Ashley and Sophie, said: “Over several weeks we tracked the 83 names on the plaque via websites including Imperial War Museum, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Merseyside Role of Honour. I wanted something which made an impact as you entered the library, so I marked each Old Blue with a named poppy.”
The dead men’s tragic stories read like a capsule history of World War One itself, with a heart-breaking loss of the young men cut down in their prime: 11 Old Blues died on The Somme, including Henry Green and Ernest Shone, killed on 3 July 1916 (two days after fighting started), and 12 Old Blues at Ypres. Four Old Blues in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) were killed on the same day – 31 July 1917 – at Passchendaele: William Gray, Thomas Matthews, David McGregor and Joseph Valentine.
The youngest loss of all Old Blues, was 18-year-old Private Harold Forrester, of King’s (Liverpool Regiment), who lived in Wavertree. It is believed the oldest loss was Thomas Yarker, 34, of the King’s (Regiment Liverpool).
Not all of the deaths occurred on the Western Front. At Gallipoli, Private Henry Evers, 20, of the Australian Infantry, was killed. Private John Walmsley, 21, of the Cheshire Regiment, is listed on the Basra War Memorial, Iraq. Private J Hughan, 29, of the South Lancashire Regiment, was killed on 14 July 1918 and is buried at Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Thessaloniki.
Miss Hamilton said: “I am pleased to say that, to my surprise, students have been interested in the display’s stories and read and talked about them.
“There are intriguing loose ends, such as Lancashire Fusilier WJ Eaglesfield, 24, who won the Military Cross and Meritorious Service Medal, but we don’t what for. Very sadly he died, presumably from injuries, only four days after the War ended on 15 November 1918.”
There were also 35 Old Blues lost in the Second World War.