The Names on the Desk

C. C. Barker 1891
Charles Barker, D Social, 1888. He was the son of Montague Cochrane Barker, of Craven House, Hampton Court, and great, great-uncle of Charlie Barker, Senior Master, Tutor of H Social. He played for the cricket XI from 1890-92 and the Football XI 1889-91. He left the school in 1892, and worked initially for the Stock Exchange. He joined the Army and served in the Imperial Yeomanry in the South African War, 1899-1902, alongside Basil Oxenden. He played hockey for Middlesex. In WW1 he served in France with 172 Canadians, and later became temporary Captain in the Gold Coast Regiment. He was mentioned in despatches. He died on 31st October 1934

I. F. Byng
Ivo Byng, A Social, 1888. He became a Prefect, and represented the school at Gym and Fives. He left in 1892, and lived for some time in Australia. In 1901 he married Agnes Constance, daughter of S. Smith-Travers, of Hobart, Tasmania. He died on 11th June 1949

Thomas Kingham, D Social, 1898. The smallest and faintest name on the desk but carved with equal precision. He left Radley in 1902, with no sporting or academic achievements listed. He joined the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1906, retired in 1910, and joined up again from the Reserves, attaining the rank of Captain 1914. He served in France, where he probably met his wife, Marie Ednée, daughter of Commandant Solland of Vichy, whom he married in 1915. He died at Putney on 25th June 1954

B. L. Lawrence 1891
Basil Lawrence, E Social, 1889. He played for the cricket XI in 1891-92, and the Football XI in 1891. He left the school in 1892. He went to work for ‘Messrs Darracq & Co., Motor Manufacturers’, so must have been one of the first Radleians to enter the car industry. Darracq’s was founded in 1896, and in the 1900s started to concentrate on racing cars, achieving the land speed record in 1904. In 1907 he married Alice, widow of Harry Wilson, from his home town, Heathfield, Maidenhead, but he died soon after on 15th November 1909 at Horton, Bucks.

B. H. D. Oxenden 1890 & B. D. Oxenden 1891.
Basil Oxenden, F Social, 1888. He carved his name in full twice, dated 1890 and 1891, and as a monogram, with wreath. He played for the cricket XI 1891-2, and the Fives team 1892. After school he joined the army and served with the Imperial Yeomanry in the South African War, 1899-1902. During WW1 he was a senior member of the Red Cross, 1915-1919. He died on 17 April 1919 after a ‘severe operation.’

J.C. Riley 1891
Lancelot John Cockcroft Riley, G Social, 1890. He became a prefect, played for the cricket XI in 1895, the Football XI in 1893-4, and left the school at the end of the summer term 1895. He went on to study at Brasenose College, Oxford, taking his BA in 1900 and MA 1901. He was married twice, first in 1911 to Mildred Elizabeth daughter of Simpson Rostron, and then in 1940 to Agatha Caroline, daughter of Rev. WW Lloyd. He died at Ledbury on 7th November 1949. His obituary appeared in The Radleian on the same page as Harold Smith

A J A Riley.
AElfric James Athlestan Riley, G Social, 1899. Younger brother of the above, he has squeezed his name in just below his brother’s on the desk. He had a less distinguished school career than his brother, with no sporting or academic achievements recorded for him. He left in 1903 and went to Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps 1914-19, being ranked Acting Major in 1918-19. He was at Gallipoli in 1915, and in Egypt and Palestine 1915-19, and was mentioned in despatches. In 1923 he married Cynthia Rowena, daughter of JH Starey. He died in 1979 at the age of 93.

The father of the Riley brothers planted 370 trees in the school grounds in 1897 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the school. Several of the trees still survive, particularly a cedar tree planted to the south of chapel.

Sankey. Two possible candidates:
a. Richard Harvey Sankey, G Social, 1889. He left in 1893. He went to Christ Church, Oxford, taking a degree in Natural Sciences, BA 1898, MA 1900. He then trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, qualifying as a surgeon in 1902. He was in practice in Oxford, and became Hon. Radiologist at the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1907. Since x-rays were discovered by Roentgen in 1895 and the practice of radiology just coming into use in the London hospitals in the early 1900s, this would put him at the forefront of the new medical technology. He eventually became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Member, later Fellow, of the British Institute of Radiology. In 1912 he married Audrey Mary, daughter of George Saxby, of Twickenham House, Abingdon. Their two sons both attended Radley in the 1930s. During WW1 he served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He died in Oxford on 6th April 1955.

b. Robert John Sankey, B Social, 1896. He left in 1901. He went to Pembroke College, Oxford and then to Ely Theological College, taking Holy Orders in 1906. He became a Vicar in various parishes and worked for the Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Antigua. He did not serve in WW1. He died at Hastings on 18th November 1952

H. R. Smith
Harold Smith, E Social, 1891 (later changed his name to Abel-Smith). There is no record of sporting or academic achievement for him. He left the school in 1895. From 1904 he worked as a land agent and surveyor, qualifying as a Fellow of the Institute of Surveyors in 1906. During WW1 he was Hon. Sec. of the Suffolk Co. Red Cross Hospital at Ampton, and was awarded a civilian MBE in 1918 for his work. In 1906 he married Eveline Margueritte, daughter of General Sir W. Payn. He died at Milford-on-Sea on 22nd January 1951. His obituary appeared in The Radleian on the same page as LJC Riley, whose name is also on the desk lid.

C T Stew.
Clifford Thomas Steward, B Social, 1895. He became a Prefect and rowed for the First VIII 1898-1900. He left in 1900 and became an architect and surveyor, eventually a Fellow of the Institute of Surveyors. He served as a Captain in 2/6 Battalion, King’s Regiment 1915-19, in France 1917-18. His interest in rowing continued. He rowed for Leander, and he served on the Henley Regatta Committee from 1919 until his death in 1943. He designed the Evans Memorial Boat House for Radley in 1911

T H E Stretch
Theodore Henry Ernest Stretch, D Social, 1888. He became a prefect and rowed for the First VIII 1892-3. He left in 1893 and went to New College, Oxford, where he rowed for the University in 1894-5. He won the Visitor’s Cup at Henley in 1895 and the Grand Challenge Cup in 1896. He died on 14th May 1897. His early death was marked by a huge out-pouring of grief in The Radleian of the time. A committee, led by his Tutor TD Raikes and HT Steward, father of Clifford Steward and then President of Leander, was set up to raise funds for a memorial to him in Chapel. This raised over £94 and was used for the small stained glass windows with images of saints in the ante-chapel. The window was unveiled by the Warden on Gaudy 1898. His death was included in the Latin prologue of the Gaudy play in 1897 and the window in 1898. In 1902 a rower was described as ‘the most promising oar we have had since the days of Stretch’. An evening in Social was remembered over fifty years later by Mrs Raikes:

the shortest and the best ghost story in the world told at a symposium in junior Socializing by T.H.E. Stretch, a boy whom everybody loved, later to become one of Radley’s finest oars … The story was told bashfully, after much persuasion: “A man was sitting in a room, and the door opened and in walked six ghosts – six ordinary ghosts …” It was not finished, and needs no finish.

M R Vidal
Montague Richard Reynolds Vidal, B Social, 1904, so may be the latest pupil to carve his name on the desk. He became a Prefect and played cricket for the XI in 1907-9 and football for the First XI in 1908. He left in 1909 and went to Oriel College, Oxford. He went into the Colonial Civil Service in Kenya in 1912, eventually becoming Senior District Commissioner in 1935. He retired from the colonial service in 1938 and returned to England where he worked for a silversmith’s in London. In WW1 he was a Second Lieutenant but remained in Africa. In WW2 he worked for the Ministry of Food. He was awarded the OBE in 1945. In 1952 he married Doris Felicite, daughter of G. Gaisford. He died at Ticehurst on 25th July 1962. He was a keen photographer who kept a full record of his time at Radley – the album was given to the Archives after his death.

A M H.
Probably Alec MacIntosh Hilton, F Social, 1892. He played cricket for the XI in 1896-7, and Fives in 1897. He left school in 1897 and joined the army as a Captain in The Buffs. He spent WW1 on recruitment in East Kent. He married Lilian, daughter of ADM Black, of Edinburgh, in 1914. He died in London on 17th November 1928.


1. head in profile (very reminiscent of medieval mss marginal graffiti)
2. 7 Boat Club maltese crosses, including 1 worn/excised
3. 4 fleur de lis
4. 1 flower/daisy/floret
5. 1 heraldic shield/ geometric figure central, below head
6. 2 triangles, possibly both the excised letter A
7. 1 sprig of leaves accompanying monogram
8. I unidentified midway on right
9. 1 complex piece of lettering and iconography abandoned lower right side?

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