Amongst other details about the life of the school, log books list the absences of teachers for any reason. 23rd October 1914 saw D J Davies, assistant master, called up to join the London Welsh Regiment. Other war related absences in the log book for Holy Trinity School, Upper Tooting, includes the absence of B C Moore on the outbreak of the war, as he was detained in Switzerland and on 1st September the log book records the absence of T Moody, who had gone to Malta with his Territorial Company. Sadly he never returned to his post at Holy Trinity, as he was killed in July 1916 – he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Two temporary teachers had to be brought in, Annie Elizabeth Nelson had been there for a month by this week – she started on 19th September, presumably to cover Mr Moody – and on 23rd November Maud Alice McNeil joined the school to fill Davies’ post. Both these teachers were married, and it had been usual for women teachers to give up work on getting married so it may have been the war having an impact on the availability of male teachers that meant they got the posts.
Davies had been at the school since 1910 and returned to work in February 1919. After he returned the next absence recorded for him is a day “attending King’s investiture to get his Military Cross” in June 1920, a distinction that had earned the whole school a holiday on 12 July 1918 when they heard about it. As he was a David J Davies it is difficult to precisely pin down his war record. There were two David Davies gazetted with a Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at the same time in 1918. One was a Lieutenant David Davies of the London Regiment, and the other was a temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, either of whom could be the same David Davies who taught in Upper Tooting.
This was only one small entry in the records for this week in Wandsworth, but the results show the impact the war could have on the borough – more women in work, and occasional celebratory moments even during the war.
Holy Trinity, Upper Tooting log book, Boys, 1913-1930 – ref: S12/2/4
The London Gazette can be searched online. For more advice about finding out about soldiers awarded medals read The National Archives guide.