Worcester College and the First World War
On Tuesday 4 August 1914, during the Long Vacation, Britain declared war on Germany. By 31 December 1914 49 of the 69 undergraduates shown in this photograph (of Worcester College members in June 1914) were serving in the armed forces. The College emptied rapidly as many undergraduates were able to receive a commission quickly through their membership of the Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps. The College was itself used as quarters first for an Officer Training School, and then for a Company of an Officers’ Cadet Battalion; further information can be found in Jessica Goodman’s account, ‘Worcester at War’, in Bate and Goodman (eds), Worcester: Portrait of an Oxford College (London: Third Millennium, 2014).
In total 86 members of the College and 2 members of staff were killed during the First World War and the Bursar, F J Lys, wrote to the families of all those who were killed asking for biographical details and photographs. It was his intention to use this information to produce a book of remembrance to accompany the First World War memorial situated outside the Chapel. This book was never produced but the material for it was preserved in the College Archives and is now presented in these webpages.