King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Macswiney, Felix Desmond

Private ▪ 49th Battalion Canadian Infantry

Felix Desmond Macswiney, born on 27th October 1893, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1903, as both a Foundation and a King Edward’s Scholar. Felix lived with his widowed father, a schoolmaster also named Felix, and his four siblings. The family moved three times while Felix was at School, from Park Hill Road, Harborne, to Ethel Road, Harborne, and finally to Station Road, Wylde Green. Felix’s brother, Denis, also an Old Edwardian and School Captain in 1909-10, served with the Royal Air Force as a Second Lieutenant during the war.

At School, Felix was very bright, placing top of the First Class in the Modern School (which offered a curriculum that emphasised scientific rather than classical subjects). He was in the School Officer Training Corps and played cricket, although his skill on the pitch did not live up to his academic prowess: he made only 26 runs from ten innings in 1911. After School, Felix worked as a bank clerk, and on 29th August 1914, he sailed from Liverpool on the SS Laurentic to Quebec, intending to settle in Canada.

On 28th June 1915, Felix joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. His attestation papers survive, and tell us that he stood “5 feet 10.5 inches tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and a 36.5 fully-expanded girth.” On 3rd June 1916, while serving with the 49th Battalion Canadian Infantry at Ypres, Felix was wounded in the left shoulder by an enemy machine-gun bullet. He was taken to No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, where he died three days later, aged twenty-two. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Flanders.