History: King Edward’s School and the Great War

Over 1,400 of King Edward’s School’s old boys and masters served in the Great War. At least 245 Old Edwardians lost their lives during the conflict and in the School Chapel there are bronze memorial plaques which bear their names.

We have commemorated the service and sacrifice of these Old Edwardians through a programme of events during the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Many of these resources are available to be shared with local primary schools, as detailed below.

Roll of Honour

Our digital Roll of Honour provides biographies, service records and photographs (where possible) for each of the 245 Old Edwardians who lost their lives in the war. Just like the pupils at the school today, these boys came from across Birmingham and the wider region and from a range of family backgrounds.

Primary schoolchildren are able to browse the Roll of Honour to research the school careers, military records and honours received by these former pupils of King Edward’s. If you would like to direct your pupils to specific records based on factors such as name, address or age, a searchable spreadsheet is available by emailing: outreach@kes.org.uk

We would politely ask that you do not download any images from the Roll of Honour as many are subject to copyright.

Access the Roll of Honour and the Old Edwardians’ Deeds of Gallantry.

Visit our exhibition

Our Memorial Chapel has hosted three exhibitions to commemorate the First World War and remember our former pupils who served and died in the conflict.

The third and final phase of the exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, 6 November 2018, centres on the School’s Roll of Honour, whilst also seeking to remember forgotten casualties of the First World War.

Images of those who served and died in the war are projected into archways inside the Chapel. A drift of poppies rises up to the bronze memorial plaques, and a ceramic poppy installation includes a poppy for each boy lost in the Great War. Artefacts excavated from the battlefields are also on display.

At the centre of the exhibition is a film about Captain John Osborn Walford. Captain Walford joined up at the outbreak of war, aged 45, and became a decorated war hero, receiving the Military Cross and Bar. Although Captain Walford survived the war, he struggled to deal with its after-effects and ultimately succumbed to what would now be recognised as post-traumatic stress disorder, taking his own life in 1922. As a result, his name does not appear on any war memorial.

If you would be interested in bringing a school group to visit our exhibition, email: outreach@kes.org.uk for further details.

Great War films

Four films have been produced to accompany the exhibitions in the Chapel. The experiences of three Old Edwardians are told in individual documentary films, and an additional film explores the history of the Somme.

Each of the films are available to watch through the links below:

Tolkien’s Great War

Robert Gilson: Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

History of the Somme

Walford’s War

Website designed and built by Happy Giraffe