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Keble and the Great War

A Rugby Team at War

The global conflicts of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 didn’t just affect the academic life of the College.

The College was a tight-knit family, and even more so in the small sporting teams. Temporary adjustments could be made to accommodate short-term down turns in numbers, such as rowing joint crews with Wadham during World War II, but the permanent losses were keenly felt. One of the most poignant reminders of those losses suffered is the story of the 1st Association Rugby Football Team 1912-1913. Of the 15 members, 13 went to serve in the armed forces. 8 were killed. Their names are highlighted in the key below the photograph.

1st (top) row, left to right: J.C. Millar, H.B. Davies, H.N. Smith

2nd row: J.S. Boulter, C.P. Tanner, J.D. Tombs, G. Woodhams, A.H. Hudson

3rd row: C.B. Matheson, A.A. Wilson, A.J. Dingle (Capt.), T.G. Morgan, B.H. Geary

4th row (seated on ground): J.T. Davies, B.R. Newman


Theodore Guthrie Morgan (1910) was awarded an M.C. in 1917. After the War, Morgan became Bursar of Dover College, 1923 – 1940. Morgan was later acting Warden and Bursar at the Imperial Service College, Windsor, Bursar at Haileybury and I.S.C., and Governor of Dover College.

After the war John Thomas Davies (1913) returned to his studies at Keble and was awarded his B.A. in 1921. He became Assistant Master at St. John’s School, Leatherhead and later Assistant Master at St. Peter’s School, York, Imperial Service College, Windsor and Whitchurch House Preparatory School, Whitchurch. He died in 1955.

Bernard Robert Newman (1912) was mentioned in Despatches in 1918. He also returned to Keble following the War and to the 1st Rugby Football Association from 1919-1921. He also became Captain of the Hockey XI in 1920 and President of the JCR, XIII Club and Debating Society in 1919. He was awarded his B.A. in 1919 and M.A. in 1920. Newman became Assistant Master at Marlborough from 1920 – 1952. He died in 1958.

Benjamin Handley Geary (1910) was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1915.


Prepared by the previous College Archivist & Records Manager, Eleanor Ward, as part of the College’s commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.