War Heroes

It is important to remember that throughout the time of both the First and Second World Wars many Dragons fought bravely in the various arenas of the conflicts. The two Memorial Books record those who died in the Two World Wars. Each written piece records not only their career at The Dragon but also several appreciations from their fellow comrades. What is noticeable is how many made a difference, in the best possible manner, to the regiments in which they served.

In total four Old Dragons won the Victoria Cross:

Captain Jack RandleGroup Captain Leonard CheshireLt John SmythLt William Leefe Robinson

Captain Jack Randle; won his Victoria Cross in 1944, dying in the action which earned him the award for extreme bravery and which helped turn the tide of the war in Assam. He fought with the Royal Norfolk Regiment which suffered great losses in this action. His son (John Randle) was born soon after his death and last year he most generously gave to the Dragon Museum one of the uniforms which his Father had worn in the War. We have displayed it in the Museum with some replica medals and a copy of the citation which explains exactly how his Father won his V.C.medal.

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire also won his Victoria Cross in 1944 but was fortunate enough to survive his War. He went on to contribute an enormous amount to the life of many disabled men and women by founding the Cheshire Homes which exist to this day. Now these homes are spread all over the world and care for people of all ages and nationalities with a huge range of disabilities.

Lt John Smyth won his VC in 1915 as a member of the Luhiana Sikhs regiment. He was also fortunate enough to survive the action and he eventually became a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons and led a political life. He was a loyal supporter of the Dragon and often visited but disliked talking about the extreme bravery which won him the Victoria Cross medal. This photograph was taken outside the Hall (now the library) and was taken on the very day that his award was gazetted in The London Times (that means announced formally). He came to the school on that morning and said that he would only talk about it once, told the story and then asked for a half-holiday for the boys to celebrate the award.

Lt William Leefe Robinson won his Victoria Cross in 1916. As a member of the Royal Flying Corps (the first version of the Royal Air Force) he was the first airman to bring down a Zeppelin in England. Sadly he died of his wounds in 1918. It must be remembered that there were no antibiotics available at that time so many men died in the First World War from injuries which developed gangrene, a horrible death. Nowadays most of these injuries can be easily cured with the correct medicine.

No Ordinary Sunday

The poem written by Jon Stallworthy ( 1948) "No Ordinary Sunday" was written in memory of the various Remembrance Sundays that he took part in as a boy at the Dragon. It is worth reading this and imagining his path from the base of the Museum to the memorial Cross on the edge of the field and the River Cherwell.

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