Newark Schools in the First World War

By Trevor Frecknall

The following has been unearthed by Trevor Frecknall, author of Newark in The Great War. If you discover any more information about your school’s part in World War I, Trevor would be delighted to hear about it by email at


Newark schools in The Great War

The patriotism of schoolboys after Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 was perhaps best illustrated by Albert John Herrod of 15 Cross Street, Newark. A star in the Newark Schoolboys’ football team and eager member of the 5th Newark Scout Troop while he studied at Christ Church School, he was so determined to “do his bit” for his country that he enlisted as a drummer boy in the Sherwood Foresters even though he was only 14½ years old. His father Samuel, a widower, insisted on him being sent back home, and he worked in the Great Northern Railway Company’s goods yards near Northgate Station until 18 May 1917 when he was legally old enough to join-up. As recently as Easter 1918, Albert was being trained to take a place in the Army Gymnastic Staff rather than the firing line. But the biggest German attack of the entire War – the Kaiserschlacht’ launched on 21 March 1918 – changed all that. So many British soldiers were killed, wounded or captured that thousands of youngsters were rushed out to France to prevent the Germans reaching the Channel ports, which would have meant they could have launched an invasion of Britain. Albert crossed the English Channel on 29 March 1918.  He was killed on 26 April while fighting with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. It was more than a month before old Samuel was given the news by the Army Records Office.

 Not all boys suffered so badly, if course. Some returned home as heroes. Many stayed home and worked in the factories or on the farms, replacing the grown-ups who had gone to fight. But most children went to school for only half-days because so many classrooms had been turned into bedrooms for thousands of soldiers training in and around Newark.

 What follows is a diary of how the War affected Newark’s schools…

 Barnby Road


Christ Church

Holy Trinity

Lover’s Lane



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