Esteemed architect who survived the trenches

John Hubert Worthington, known as Hubert for most of his life, was born at Chorley on 4th July 1886 to Thomas & Edith Worthington. He was educated at Ryleys Preparatory School, where became good friends with Wilfrith Elstob, and Sedbergh School. In 1905 he joined Manchester University to study Architecture, for which he was awarded a BA in 1909 and an MA in 1910. During this period he visited Italy where he gained an enthusiasm for Italian Renaissance design. In 1912, after being articled to his half brother Percy for a time, he joined the office of Edward Lutyens, a man from who he gained much inspiration and friendship.

When war broke out in 1914 Hubert tried to enlist, but for some reason his papers were returned from the war office. On his second attempt a few weeks later he was accepted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 16th Battalion Manchester Regiment, a unit to which he persuaded Wilfrith to accept a commission. In December 1914 he was promoted to Captain. On the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, Hubert received multiple injuries from machine gun fire – left hip and hand, right lung and a broken rib – and spent 30 hours sheltering for 30 hours in a shell hole. Evacuated back to the UK it would take until March 1917 for him to be considered fit enough to be placed on home duties. He served as an instructor at the 21st Officer Cadet Battalion, suffering some breathing difficulties and strength issues which meant he could not return to the Western Front, until he was discharged from the Army in February 1918. His brother Claude Swanwick Worthington, another Manchester University graduate, was killed in October 1918.

Hubert returned to Percy’s firm in 1919. From 1923 to 1928 he was a professor at the Royal College of Art where he encouraged young painters, sculptors and craftsmaen to be appreciative of and co-operative in the architectural design and decoration of buildings. In 1929 he became Slade Lecturer in architecture at Oxford University and from 1933-34 was Ferens Lecturer in Fine Arts at University College in Hull. He also lectured in Town Planning at Manchester University, was President of the Manchester Society of Architects (1931) and gave many public lectures in the city. He served as Vice President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1945 to 1950.

In October 1928 he married Joan Banham and they had three children. When Percy, 20 years his elder, died in 1939 he took over the running of the firm.

Amongst Hubert’s many works were a number of new buildings for Oxford University, the restoration of the Radcliffe Camera and Bodlian Library, Alderley Edge War Memorial, Sedbergh School War Memorial Cloister, the Manchester Regiment Chapel at Manchester Cathedral, the gateway and lodge to Ashburne Hall (currently a University of Manchester student hall and conference centre), the Manchester Dental Hospital (now a café and part of Manchester Museum). He was also involved in the development of a plan for the University Manchester College of Science and Technology (UMIST, now the North Campus of The University of Manchester). On 23rd December 1923 he was called out to attend to air raid bomb damage suffered by Manchester Cathedral, a restoration task he was to remain involved in until it was completed in 1955.

In 1943 Hubert was appointed Principal Architect North Africa for the Imperial War Graves Commission, an organisation Lutyens has been working for since it’s inception. Hubert was responsible for the setting, design and construction of a number of cemeteries in the area including Heliopolis and the largest at El Alamein.

Hubert received many awards including a Mention In Despatches during the First World War, an OBE in 1929 and a Knighthood in 1949. He died on 27th July 1963, aged 77 and is commemorated at Manchester Cathedral by a stone tablet and by a stained glass window. His papers are held by the Special Collections, John Rylands Library.

Compiled by Pen Richardson.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The Sedberghian, 1918-2004 (

The Guardian, 27th July 1913

Old Dental Hospital Image Rights: The University of Manchester Library (Digital Collections (LUNA))

Harold’s Labour of Love

“They did not even have a filing cabinet,” said Prof. Harold Hankins, CBE, FEng when he began researching the history of the Manchester and Salford Universities Officers Training Corps (MUOTC). Sometime later he had produced its 296-page definitive history which spanned the years 1898 to 2002, and for its Great War chapter incorporated much of his earlier monograph: The Manchester University Officers Training Corps – The Great War 1914-1919. He could not find a single Roll of Honour for the OTC, and so began to rectify this omission. The latter is dedicated to the 314 members of the MUOTC “who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914-1919 defending the freedoms we take for granted today.”

Poignantly he ends his preface by citing a survivor: 2nd Lieutenant J D Cockcroft [born 1897; MUOTC, Oct 1914; enlisted Nov 1915, Royal Field Artillery 1915-1918; B Sc Tech, 1920; M Sc Tech, 1921] who with Ernest Walton split the atom in 1932, and received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956. John died in 1967 aged 70.

Such were the opportunities available to those members of the MUOTC who had survived the War and who possessed the talent and inspiration to succeed. Sadly, such opportunities were denied to their 314 comrades in death, and we can never know what they might have achieved had they lived.

After graduating with a first in 1955, Harold worked in industry, then returned to lecture at ‘the Tech’, as the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) was colloquially known. There he often passed the Great War Memorial to nearly 200 men. On retirement from UMIST in 1995 as its Principal he started to research in earnest the lives of those commemorated on the Memorial, an enormous project as he planned to visit their final resting places. His regular battlefield companion and tutor was Michael Seward, who along with his late wife, Harold and his wife, Kathleen, made many visits to the cemeteries and battlefields of northern France and Belgium. (Michael’s interest was in members of his old school, Uppingham.) They found that the only military grave in the communal cemetery of Briastre, a small village east of Cambrai, was that of Lieutenant A J H R Widdowson. The second MUOTC to fall, he was killed on 25 August 1914 after the retreat from Mons. Mr. Seward is full of praise for Harold’s work which is remarkable for the amount of detail, and he reckons that Harold’s son Nick deserves much credit too.

As a former Tech student I collaborated with Harold in his project, and was later described as ‘a colleague’. Had Harold not started down this path I fear few would have trod it. Thanks to our collective efforts we have ensured that the names of the fallen are not forgotten. For instance, Henry M Weyman once had no headstone in Philips Park, Manchester; now he has one. Similarly Harold Beard, who was a given a full military funeral before being buried in the family grave, was initially not recognised on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website. Due to our efforts he is now.

I sense that all the men were real to Harold and like any good teacher knew their background intimately. On one occasion after he had given a talk to the OTC he was asked by the officer who had commissioned him to give the talk “where are your notes or the hand-outs?” He replied that when he was a lecturer at the Tech that was the norm, otherwise students thought that you did not know your subject.

Although Harold was of the belief that the work of the 196 Tech men could not be published until all had been identified, it is with a few uncertainties which are difficult to resolve that the work was published. It was dedicated to him and the men who fell. Initially Harold had paper copies of the War Office documents listing those who died in the Great War. With the advent in 1998 of the CD-ROM “Soldiers/Officers who died in the Great War 1914-1919” by Naval and Military Press, and the incredible Commonwealth War Graves Commission website the searching process was speeded up.

When Harold died in 2009 the Independent’s obituary described him as the “ultimate Manchester Tech man” because he had been a student and risen to become its Principal. He was always at pains to point out that our work will leave its mark by remembering the Tech men who gave their lives a century ago. Now Harold, the “ultimate Tech man,” has left his mark with three publications which details their educational, professional and military lives. You would need a filing cabinet to hold these records, but thanks to his labour of love he has brought their stories to life. We salute his enthusiasm and dedication in helping us to remember them.

Further reading:

A History of the Manchester and Salford Universities OTC 1898-2002

The Manchester University Officers Training Corps – The Great War 1914-1919


Anti-war activism

Walton Newbold (1888-1943) is one of the few University students known to have been active opponents of the War.  Unlike some other student pacifists, his motives for opposing war were strictly political, rather than religious or humanitarian.

Walton Newbold had graduated from the University with a masters degree in history in 1912.  During this period, he had been briefly engaged to his fellow student Ellen Wilkinson, the future Labour cabinet minister.

Newbold had been a very active student politician, and although he seems to have considered an academic career, he soon gave up research to become a campaigning journalist. Newbold wrote prolifically for the radical press, and published a series of works arguing that an arms race, caused by colluding governments and armaments companies, lay behind the international tensions which eventually led to war in 1914.

Newbold was prominent in various anti-war groups, including the No Conscription Fellowship. Although opposed to military service, his poor health meant that he was unlikely to have been called up.

His polemical journalism continued throughout the War, and soon got him into trouble with the authorities. In October 1915, he was fined by a police court in Buxton for comments he made in the American press and in private correspondence (which the authorities were monitoring) about British firms trading with the enemy through neutral companies. He had also called for a US trade boycott of all belligerents.

Newbold appears to have relished his day in court. In his unpublished memoirs, “Wars of this World Revolution”,  he recalled “Of course, I was guilty … I had sought to prejudice the relations of His Majesty’s Government with a Foreign Power, to wit, the United States…” (Walton Newbold papers, University of Manchester Library).

Newbold was by all accounts a difficult personality and it seems he tried the patience even of erstwhile supporters. Newbold’s only defence witness at his hearing, John Graham, the Quaker Principal of Dalton Hall, was a tireless defender of pacifists. Graham later wrote to his son giving a slightly different picture of events: “Newbold’s advocate and I succeeded in persuading the magistrates that he was a Quaker enthusiast with his knife into armament firms, and not a German spy or Anti-British. I did not pay his fine. His mother paid it… I have had an abusive anonymous letter sent in consequence…containing a big old rusty nail and an imitation handcuff. It will amuse thee when thou see it”. (John Graham papers, University of Manchester Library.)

Newbold later became a supporter of the Bolshevik Revolution, and was one of two Communist MPs elected at the 1922 general election.  His parliamentary career was brief, as he lost his seat at the next election.  In later years he turned against his former left-wing colleagues, and became a supporter of Ramsay Macdonald’s National Government.

Find out more about the University of Manchester Archives


Ellen Wilkinson’s wartime work

Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947) is perhaps the most famous politician to have studied at our University. Her name is now indelibly associated with the Jarrow Crusade, the most prominent of the 1930s campaigns against unemployment and social deprivation.

Born locally in Ardwick, Ellen entered the University on a scholarship in 1910, and graduated in history in 1913. As a student, she was active in the Women’s Union and the University Fabian Society. Initially destined for a career as a teacher, Ellen chose to work instead for the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

Although critical of Britain’s entry into the War in 1914, Ellen became an organiser for the Stockport Relief Committee and later was secretary of the Women’s War Interests Committee, which supported women working in wartime industries.

This provided an entry into the world of trades unionism and national politics; in 1915 she was made national women’s organiser for the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative and Commercial Employees (AUCE), many of whose members were women ‘substituting’ for male workers then serving in the War.

In letters kept at the University Archives, Ellen describes her wartime experiences to Phoebe Sheavyn, the University’s adviser to women students. In a letter of 13 August 1915, she expresses her pleasure in getting the AUCE post: “I have always wanted to do Trade Union work…which incidentally was better [paid] financially than my present work.”

Her job was a demanding, combining a campaigning role for fair pay for women, with the routine business of pay negotiations, arbitration and conciliation work.   As she wrote in another letter, “Continuous hotel life is the one drawback of the work, which otherwise is tremendously interesting”, adding that her job had changed her outlook on a future career: “I cannot help feeling very thankful that I did not enter the teaching profession…”

For some women such as Ellen Wilkinson, the War for all its horrors, also brought unexpected opportunities, leading to careers in the post-war period which might not otherwise have been available .

Ellen was first elected as a Labour MP in 1924; she lost her seat in the 1931 landslide, but was managed to get back as member for Jarrow in 1935. During the Second World War, she was a junior minister, and later, as minister of education, was a member of Attlee’s Cabinet. Ellen was made an honorary doctorate of laws by the University in 1946. She died after a brief illness in 1947.

Our WW1 Memorials

In the aftermath of the Great War memorials to those who died were erected in almost every town and village in the United Kingdom. Repatriation of the bodies of those who fell abroad had not been permitted and some were sadly lost. Organised at the time by local groups war memorials take many forms and each one is unique. They acted as a focus of public commemoration, personal remembrance, a means of accepting loss and of saying goodbye to a loved one.  The unveiling of war memorials, in a small way, filled the gap left by the bereaved families’ inability to have a traditional funeral.

At the start of the new academic year in 1914 the Vice Chancellor, Professor Frederick Ernest Weiss movingly wrote:

“We are assembling under very exceptional and totally unexpected circumstances. Like a dark cloud the consciousness of the Great War, in which we are engaged, hangs over us, and we shall sorely miss the companionship of many students and some members of the Staff who are serving their country at the front or preparing themselves in various camps to step into the firing line. All of these have our sincerest wishes for their welfare and for their safe return. That the thought of their self sacrifice and their devotion to their duty, will be with us throughout the session, who can doubt.”

Unforeseen by many, the war lasted far longer than just one academic session. The names of 626 men and one woman are recorded across the University’s war memorials, of which there are four to multiple people and two to individuals.

The Tech Memorial

In the 1910s The Manchester School of Technology had an annual intake of 5-6,000 day release and evening students, plus 200 degree students in it’s capacity as the Faculty of Technology of Manchester University. It was known at the time as ‘The Tech’. Many will have known it as UMIST (University of Manchester Institute for Technology) before it merged with Manchester University in 2004.


This memorial is located on B Floor of the Sackville Building. Unveiled on 11th November 1921 at 11am, the Manchester Evening News reported:

Women could not restrain the tears, and men clung to the nearest chair to steady themselves as the buglers sounded the “Last Post”.

The thrilling notes died away and calm fell upon the whole building, broken only by a sobbing mother whose little sheaf of white chrysanthemums told its own simple tale and was to be laid at the foot of the newly unveiled memorial to the students and members of the College who were killed or injured in the war.

 The buglers sharply broke the reverie of the great audience that filled the Statuary Hall, where the pieces of a wrecked Zeppelin and a full sized model of a British aeroplane served as additional painful reminders of the strife of the past.

 Mr. J.H. Reynolds, a past principal of the College and Dean of the Faculty of Technology, unveiled the memorial and said that he was sure it would remain “a valued possession of the institution and an inspiration to the youth of the future to make the great sacrifice in defence of true liberty”.

Consisting of three wooden panels with ornate gold lettering it was designed by Henry Cadness, Design Master and Principal of Manchester School of Art. A local craftsman and teacher of wood carving at the School of Art, James Lenegan, made the memorial. The inscriptions read “To the Glory and Honour of the Members of this College who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. Honour the Brave. Their Names Shall Endure.

There are 194 names listed alphabetically on it, except for some at the end which are presumed to be late additions.

The Hulme Hall Memorial

For many students, then and now, a stint in Halls of Residence is one of the most significant aspects of their time at University. The bond formed to their Hall and the friends they make there often being ones for life. It was estimated after the war that 230 current and former residents and staff of Hulme Hall had served in the armed forces, approximately 50% of students who had passed through the Hall it since it’s foundation in 1877. Of those 34 died and are remembered on this memorial “To the glory of God and in memory of the members of this hall who gave their lives in the Great War“.


A service was held in March 1917 to remember those from the Hall who had been killed and a project was in hand to raise money for a permanent memorial. By 1923 sufficient funds had been secured and the tablet of oak and bronze located on the west end wall of the chapel, was unveiled on Friday 26th October 1923. In the presence of relatives, the Bishop of Manchester dedicated the memorial and reflected:

The losses of the War have fallen most heavily on Societies like this. The young had necessarily been the chief victims. They had offered their all to defeat a movement towards a World Empire of Might and such a cause was “God’s Cause”.

The memorial has since moved to a new Hall chapel built in the 1960s.

 The Quad Memorial

It was designed by Prof. A.C. Dickie, Chair of Architecture at the University and sculpted by the firm Earp, Hobbs and Miller. A quote from them in the University archive estimated the cost at between £800 and £850 pounds, which would be approximately £42,000 today. Placed in a prominent position under a clock on the side of the John Owen’s Building, in the main quadrangle, it consists of a bronze tablet and is 13ft wide and over 4ft high. The central panel carries the University coat of arms flanked by child figures and an inscription (see picture at top of page).

511 names are recorded here. In contrast to the other memorials this one does not list the names alphabetically. The ordering follows military precedence. The Navy as the Senior Service is listed first, then the Army with the artillery, cavalry/tank, engineers, and then infantry regiments oldest to newest. Men are then listed by rank under their regiment, and within that alphabetically. The Officer Training Corps had a strong influence on how the names were listed. It gives some sense of order to the loss, but does make a distinction between the men that is not as prominent, or present, on the other memorials.

quad1   quad2

Unveiled on Saturday 29th November 1924 the proceedings started when the Officer Training Corps guard of honour formed up at 10.30am in the quad for an inspection by the University Chancellor, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, who had himself served in the war in the Royal Army Medical Corps. University members, including the Vice Chancellor Sir Henry Miers, former Chancellor Weiss, relatives and the Officers Training Corps then entered Whitworth Hall in a procession for an 11am service. Canon Scott conducted the service. He and Professor Peake (Professor of Biblical Criticism), read passages of scripture. The University Choral Society sang sentences, there were hymns, the Lords Prayer was spoken and the Chancellor gave an address. The Dead March by Handel was played, everyone left the hall and crossed the quad to the memorial. The Chancellor pulled a cord that released the flag covering the memorial, read aloud the inscription, and Canon Scott dedicated the tablets. Buglers of the Manchester Regiment sounded The “Last post” and “Reveille”.

By the time of the unveiling, those that had returned from the war to complete or start their studies, had graduated.

 Manchester University Engineering Department War Memorial

gb1   gb2

We know very little about this memorial. A colleague, who has access to parts of buildings most of us will never be permitted to go, told me about a what he thought was a memorial in ‘storage’ on a service corridor. When he went to check if it was still there it had gone. It turned up a couple of years later on a wall in the basement of the George Begg Building, near some engineering labs, in a small display area. A far simpler memorial than the others, the lettering is not so well defined. It is metal, quite rough to the touch, and appears to have undergone some restoration.

Dalton Hall

Founded in 1876, Dalton Hall is one of the oldest halls outside Oxford and Cambridge. It has no memorial, but this is perhaps not unexpected as it was administered by the Society of Friends, a Quaker organization whose members were usually conscientious objectors to war. Indeed 3 men from the Hall were imprisoned in Britain during the Great War for holding this view and the principal John Graham was a frequent writer of letters to the Manchester Guardian which led to controversy when some people declared his views to be anti-british and pro-german.

The Daltonian hall magazine lists 26 men who died, 20 of whom are on University memorials. In addition a number died of influenza post war, one of these served in the Belgian Army and is on the Quad Memorial. A dozen others served in the forces and survived, two were prisoners of war.

St Anslem Hall – Thomas Robinson

St. Anselm, known affectionately as ‘Slems’, is a Hall of Residence in the Victoria Park area of Manchester, founded in 1907 by the Church of England. There is a small plaque in the chapel to those who have “died in the service of mankind”, but it is not clear when or why that was erected. A painting in the chapel of an English knight kneeling to pray carries a dedication to Thomas Robinson. He came to the University in 1913 as a student of Arts and died during the Gallipoli campaign serving with the Royal Naval Division.


Schuster Building – Henry Moseley


On 25th November 1921 a tablet in memory of Henry Moseley was unveiled by his mother at a ceremony in the physics building, which was at the time part of the buildings around the quad. It is now located at the back of a lecture theatre in the Schuster Building.

7th Manchester Regiment

Although not a a University memorial, there are a number of strong connections between the University and the unit commemorated on this memorial in Whitworth Park.



Memorials to those who perished during the Great War still see a yearly observance of silence and the laying of poppies and wreaths on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day by the modern day communities who live and work near them. Relatives still visit all year round to pay their respects to their ancestors. The University’s memorials are no exception.


Professor Wilkinson, former lecturer in Military History at the University, in 1918, during his Founders Day address, said of those the University lost in the war:

“All of them gave all that they were and all that they might have been.”


James Hern (Hulme Hall memorial), Neil Shuttleworth and The Late Professor Hankins (The Tech memorial), Dr. Timothy Stibbs, Principal of Dalton-Ellis Hall, & Laura Turner, Warden of St Anselm Hall and Canterbury Court.

A Forgotten University Memorial of World War One

Standing in a corner of Whitworth Park, adjacent to the newly-refurbished Whitworth Art Gallery, lies a seldom visited World War One memorial, commemorating those who lost their lives in the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. The majority of this territorial battalion’s recruits originated from the area of Manchester around the University and formed part of the renowned 42nd East Lancashire Division that distinguished itself in battles at Gallipoli, Egypt and on the Western front. Gerald B. Hurst, lecturer of law and special lecturer in colonial history, was one of many University men to serve with the 7th Manchester Regiment. He penned a battalion history covering the period 1914-early 1916 when it was serving Egypt and Gallipoli.

The original memorial from the McDougall Centre
The Centre Section of the Old Memorial in the McDougall Centre 1933
The Centre Section of the Old Memorial in the McDougall Centre 1933

The original war memorial that preceded the column situated in Whitworth Park was erected inside the Drill Hall and battalion headquarters which were located in the building now known as the McDougall Centre on Burlington Street. In 1933, the McDougall Centre was put up for sale following government defence spending cuts and the decision was made that a new memorial should be constructed. A design competition for the new memorial was subsequently held by Professor A.C Dickie, Chair of Architecture at the University of Manchester, and was won by Norman Wragge. His design was a tapered column made of black granite that stood on a base of white stone, with a floriated ‘fleur de Lys’ (the badge of the 7th Battalion) engraved on each of its four sides. The memorial was approved for construction by the Whitworth Trustees and Manchester City Council.

Side of the memorial in Whitworth Park
Side of the memorial in Whitworth Park

The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Reginald Wingate in September 1933 in front of a large crowd of veterans, present battalion members and relatives of deceased members of the battalion paying their respects.

If passing through Whitworth Park, do take a moment to admire this simple gesture of remembrance for the local Infantry Battalion and those who lost their lives in World War One.

Gerald B. Hurst: lecturer and author of ‘With The Manchesters in the East’

Gerald was born on 4th December 1877 at Bradford to William Martin Hertz, a Woolen Merchant of German Jewish descent. After attending Bradford Grammar School and reading History at Oxford he went on to qualify as a lawyer, was called to the Bar in 1902, and practiced in Manchester. In 1904 he joined Manchester University as a lecturer in law and special lecturer in colonial history, becoming a friend of Professor Tout. Gerald wrote a number of books including, The Old Colonial System (1905), British Imperialism in the Eighteenth Century (1908) and The Manchester Politician (1912). In 1905 he married Margaret Hopkinson, the daughter of the University’s Vice-Chancellor.

Gerald was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the local 4th Volunteer Manchester Regiment in January 1900, promoted to Captain in April 1908 and Major in January 1911. His unit was renamed the 7th Battalion Manchester Regiment in 1908 and he wrote a book called With the Manchesters in the East about the battalion’s role in Egypt and Gallipoli. In March 1915 Gerald was invalided home from Alexandria, with diphtheria, and missed the battalions May 1915 landings at Gallipoli.

In late July 1915 Gerald arrived in Cape Helles, Turkey. In honour of the battalion UK headquarters he named some trenches Greenhey’s Lane and Burlington Street. On the 6th August, the eve of a large allied attack, he observed, “the sky above the shell riddled ridge of Achi Baba was serene and purple in the glow of evening, but the fog of war was upon us”. A day later he wrote, “our men passed into a tornado of fire, and drifted forward on a broken moor, already littered with dead and wounded”. During October 1915 lack of sleep, ill health, limited water supplies and unpalatable monotonous rations were taking their toll on the men. The conditions in the trenches were poor and flies “blackened every jam pot and clustered thickly round the mouths and eyes of sleeping soldiers. The trenches became dry and dusty. Detached legs or feet or arms of the dead would protrude from the parapet, as the soil around them fell away”. Opportunities to bathe in the sea, have sing songs and lectures were a welcome respite to all. In early November Gerald fell ill again and was evacuated. The battalion left Gallipoli in late December as part of the withdrawal of all allied forces from the penninsula. They returned to duties in Egypt, where Gerald rejoined them in January 1916, and then moved to France in March 1917.

In mid-1916 Gerald was appointed as a court martial officer in Norfolk for a time and then joined the Suffolk Regiment. On 31st August 1916 he changed his surname from Hertz to Hurst, presumably to avoid difficulties in having a German name during wartime. He was sent back to 7th Manchesters in October 1917 and helped organise the Christmas play. January 1918 saw him recalled for more court martial work and he remained in the UK for the rest of the war. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel he took up command of the 7th Manchesters in February 1920, but resigned it at the end of the year.

Post war Gerald was a Member of Parliament for Moss Side for most of 1918 to 1935. In March 1929 he was awarded a Knighthood. He served as County Court Judge in Kent from 1938 to 1952 and Chairman of the Conscientious Objectors Tribunals 1940 to 1955. His only son, Quentin, was killed in action in Libya in 1941. In 1942 Manchester University Press published his biographical book, Closed Chapters . He wrote many articles for and letters to The Manchester Guardian. Gerald died in October 1957.



  • With The Manchesters In The East’ , by Gerald B. Hurst, 1918.
  • The Seventh Manchesters, S.J. Wilson, 1920 (Gerald wrote the Introduction).
  • The Manchester Guardian, 7th October 1933, 1st January 1943, Oct 27th 1957.
  • .
  • London Gazette, 16th January 1900, 6th November 1908, 3rd January 1911, 8th September 1916, 1st March 1929.
  • Closed Chapters, by Gerald B. Husrt, 1942.

Staff and students at Gallipoli

By late 1914 it was already apparent that a decisive victory on the Western Front was very unlikely. The Gallipoli campaign was conceived as a means to break the deadlock. It was hoped that an offensive in the Dardanelles peninsula would allow a passage to be forced into the Black Sea, therefore opening supply route to Britain`s ally Russia. It would also relieve pressure from Turkey on Russia`s Southern front and possibly force Turkey to the negotiating table. The major advocate of the plan was a young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty.

In February and March 1915 two attempts were made to force a passage through the narrow strait by a combined British and French fleet. Both failed due to the strong Turkish fortifications protecting the Dardanelles. It was decided, therefore, to land ground forces to capture the peninsula and so open the channel for the fleet. The initial forces available were the regular soldiers of the British 29th Division, Territorials of the 42nd East Lancashire Division, the Royal Navy Division and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs).


On 25 April, the troops landed to stiff opposition. Despite heavy casualties, they established bridgeheads at Helles (British) and Gaba Tepe (ANZACs), but afterwards progress slowed. Fresh reinforcements including French, Indian and New Army (Pals) in May, June and August allowed further Allied offensives including a new landing at Sulva. Despite the bravery of the troops, failures in senior leadership, poor administration, and a lack of sufficient reinforcements combined with a strong and well-led opposition resulted in stagnation and trench warfare. Due to the failed offensives, General Hamilton was replaced by Lieutenant General Monro in October. With mounting casualties, deteriorating conditions and no opportunity to advance Monro took the decision to withdraw from the Peninsula. Even though there were substantial risks involved, the withdrawal was well planned and the troops were successfully evacuated by 9 January 1916.

The surviving units were reallocated to other fronts. The fighting at Gallipoli caused 213,000 Allied and 300,000 Turkish casualties. The campaign destroyed the career of its commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton, and stalled Winston Churchill’s political ambitions. It became a defining moment in Australian and New Zealand nationalism and had a huge impact in East Lancashire where so many of the units involved were raised. It was here that the regulars of the locally recruited 1st Lancashire Fusiliers won “Six V.Cs before breakfast” in their costly beach assault, and where the Terriers of the 1/7th Manchester Regiment made up of University staff, students and other local workers paid such a huge price in the four battles fought around the village of Krithia.

Officers of the 1/6th (Rochdale) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, pictured just prior to landing at Gallipoli, amongst them are Manchester University ex-students Eric Duckworth and Alfred Clegg both killed in the fighting at Krithia Vineyard in August 1915. (Image by kind permission of Martin Purdy & Moonraker
Officers of the 1/6th (Rochdale) Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, pictured just prior to landing at Gallipoli, amongst them are Manchester University ex-students Eric Duckworth and Alfred Clegg both killed in the fighting at Krithia Vineyard in August 1915. (Image by kind permission of Martin Purdy & Moonraker

You can find out more about the University staff and students who died at Gallipoli in the roll of honour section, as well as stories about individuals such as Henry Moseley and Gerald Hurst.

Thomas Eric Peet

Thomas Eric Peet was born in 1882 in Liverpool to middle class parents, Thomas and Salome Peet. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, at Crosby near Liverpool and at Queen’s College, Oxford. From 1909 onwards he conducted excavations in Egypt for the Egypt Exploration Fund (now known as the Egyptian Exploration Society). From 1909 to 1913 Peet was working on the dig at Abydos with Swiss Archaeologist Edouard Neville where he was instrumental in pushing for more scientific methodology to be used. From 1913 to 1928 he was a Lecturer and Curator in Egyptology at Manchester University and the Manchester Museum.

When the Great War broke out it initially seemed that it would be “…over by Christmas…” however by 1915 it became obvious that this was not the case and Peet  against the advice of friends and colleagues  made the decision to enlist as he saw it as his patriotic duty and one he would not shy from. He was commissioned in October 1915 into the 14th Battalion of the King`s Liverpool Regiment an infantry regiment from his home town. However, in an unprecedented move the Egyptian Exploration Fund considered him so important to their work that their controlling body agreed to pay him a retaining fee on top of his Army salary to ensure his return to Egyptology after the War!

By 1917 he was serving on the Salonica Front with the British Expeditionary Force with a unit of the Army Service Corps. This mountainous region overlapped the border between Greece and Bulgaria and lay within the boundaries of Alexander the Greats ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Here a combined British, Serbian, Greek and French force faced Bulgarian, German, Austrian and Turkish troops in a front that was made up of trenches and mountain top strongpoints. It was soon discovered by the troops digging in here that the area was rich in archaeology! Edmund Barrett a rifle bomber in the 12th Lancashire Fusiliers noted that “…you could hardly turn a shovel of earth without a piece of old pot coming out…..” At first the soldiers on the ground dumped them into sandbags with other rubble, though the more enterprising would pocket items they felt of value to sell to local traders or their officers later. It wasn`t long before a number of men and officers with pre-war archaeological experience realised the importance of what was being found and alerted the Force Head Quarters. Realising the importance of protecting these potentially valuable finds as much to placate a sometimes hostile Greek Government as for the furthering of historical knowledge both the British and the French forces decided to set up specialist archaeology units whose job it was to locate, catalogue and save these artefacts.  The British unit was initially under Lieutenant Commander Ernest Gardner a leading archaeologist who established B.S.F H.Q Museum as the unit became known. Man power was provided by the Royal Engineers who also ran a Museum to hold finds, while field teams were formed to retrieve and record finds. These were commanded by officers with archaeological backgrounds recruited from units in theatre. Peet with his huge experience was originally recruited as a field section commander, however in 1917 Gardner was recalled to London and Peet took over command of the Unit. One of its major finds was a battlefield site found by the 7th Royal Berkshire Regiment while digging trenches in the “Birdcage Line” when Private Reg Bailey literally put his pick through an ancient oil lamp before turning over “…..bones with ancient armour and helmets…” amongst the finds field team involved discovered the finest example of a 5th Century B.C Greek helmet ever discovered. At the end of the War, General Milne the British Commander negotiated with the Greek government its transfer to the British Museum where the collection resides to this day, a lasting reminder of Peet and the work of this unique wartime unit.

Peet himself remained a highly patriotic soldier who believed the War must be won and he would do his duty in that cause, but this was not without pangs of sadness for friends lost on both sides. Archaeology before the War had been well populated with German academics and many were close colleagues at the University and on sites such as Abydos. Many like Peet had decided it was their patriotic duty to enlist and so had returned to join the German Army and Peet found himself on opposite sides possibly trying to kill men who had been friends before the War. A letter sent home to his family reveals his dilemma when the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology recorded the death of man named Erman, an Egyptologist killed while serving with the German Army, and the anger this raised amongst two officers sharing his trench who thought it wrong to show regret for the death of a German soldier. Peet while understanding this hate from men who had lost friends and brothers to the Germans could not at the same time bring himself to hate an old colleague “…both asked me how my paper could……print obituaries of slain Germans with …..expressions of regret for their deaths. I had no answer.”

Demobbed in 1919 he returned to the University declining a post with the Egyptian Exploration Fund and in 1920-1 was involved on the Amarna excavations in Egypt. This would be his last major excavation as he began to concentrate on academic research. He became a noted expert and author on Egyptian Military Campaigns’, and in 1933 he was appointed Reader in Egyptology at the University of Oxford. He died in February 1934 aged 52 leaving a wife and daughter only weeks after taking up his new post. The Queen’s College, Oxford houses the University’s Egyptology library, and it is named the Peet Library in his honour.


Researched by Mike Whitworth (Manchester Museum), with grateful acknowledgment to Clare Lewis at UCL and to the Peet family for excerpts from letters and images.


Clare Lewis (2014) Peet, “The JEA And The First World War”,  Journal of Egyptian Exploration Society.

Alan Wakefield (2013),  “Archaeology Behind The Lines”,  “Mosquito” The Journal Of The Salonica Campaign Society.

Manchester Museum Annual Report 1915.