Where Are They Now? OBs in the Military

Days Gone By

Blundell's, from its foundation in 1604, has always had close contacts with the military; whether through the chosen profession of its pupils or their parents. On one occasion (thankfully, the only one) it was even used as an Army H.Q. - in October 1645 a part of Fairfax's New Model Army was based at the School during the siege of Tiverton Castle. As Britain's Empire grew during the succeeding centuries, Blundellians were to be found in every part, administering and defending its possessions. Indeed, the first European settler of Durban in South Africa was a Blundellian, Francis Farewell, a naval officer.

Blundellians have operated in many roles in the armed services. After a distinguished military career, serving in Ireland, the West Indies and New Zealand, Charles Cornwallis Chesney was appointed Professor of Military History at Sandhurst in 1858 and later at the Staff College, Camberley. Old Boys fought in the Crimea and in South Africa where 13 lost their lives, and the carnage of the two World Wars resulted in the deaths of no fewer than 367 former pupils, with many, many more being injured. National Service gave the post-war School leavers, with few exceptions, a taste of the Forces until it was abolished in 1960. Independence and the time leading up to it, in South East Asia and Africa saw many Blundellians in important positions, such as Gen. Sir Douglas Gracey who was Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan from 1948 to 1951. In more recent times conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the all too short peaceful intervals have all seen Old Blundellians operating in a wide variety of roles within the armed services. Along with the blood, sweat and tears, there have also been lighter moments...