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Wyatt-Smith, John Drummond (1899-1918) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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Wyatt-Smith, John Drummond (1899-1918)

Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the First World War, 1914-1918.


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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.


Details: John Drummond Wyatt-Smith (1899-1918), born 26 January 1899, second son of Rupert Wyatt-Smith (Old Shirburnian) and Maud Wyatt-Smith of Abersky, London Road, Guildford, Surrey, formerly of Gunton, PO Schutters, Draai, Orange Free State, South Africa. Brother of Hugh Hargrave Wyatt-Smith (1898-1916)


Attended Packwood Haugh Preparatory School, Warwickshire.


Attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) January 1913-July 1917; Prefect; Head of House; 1st XI cricket team 1915, 1916, 1917 (captain); 1st XV rugby football team 1915, 1916. Appears as 'Whitaker' in A.R. Waugh's semi-autobiographical novel about Sherborne School, 'The Loom of Youth' (1917)

Characters of the XI, 1916 (The Shirburnian, July 1916):

‘J.D. WYATT-SMITH (1915-16). A really good bat, with scoring strokes all round the wicket. Should improve his forward defensive play. A very useful bowler and excellent field.’

Characters of the XI, 1917 (The Shirburnian, July 1917):

‘J.D. WYATT-SMITH (1914-17). A really good all-round cricketer – a fact which has counted this season against his success in batting. Except in one important particular his defence is sound and, when set, he makes beautiful shots all round the wicket. A good captain on the field and off it. Has left.’


WW1, 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. Killed near Padua in Italy on 17 March 1918, owing to an accident to his machine when leaving the aerodrome.


Commemorated at:

Padua Main Cemetery, B. 3,%2...


Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Abbey House roll of honour.


His obituary appeared in 'The Shirburnian', March 1918: '2nd Lieut. J.D. Wyatt-Smith, R.F.C., was the second son of Rupert Wyatt-Smith, O.S., and belonged to a family long known and honoured in this School. Educated first at Packwood Haugh Preparatory School, he entered the Abbey House in January 1913, which he left in July 1917, at the age of 18 1/2 to join the R.F.C. On joining the School he at once gave evidence of exceptional athletic ability, gaining both his XV and XI colours in 1915, and becoming one of the best all-round cricketers Sherborne has produced. Although made a School prefect he did not rise high in the School. Yet, though not excelling in booklearning, he possessed good judgement and sound commonsense, and was a born leader. Indeed he became proverbial in his 'House' - and also in the School - for efficiency in command and leadership, not only as a class-leader of physical training and in all games (he was very largely instrumental in reviving a waning interest in cricket during his year of captaincy), but also in the O.T.C., in which he became a Cadet Officer. Many of his friends regretted his choice of the R.F.C., in which branch of the service he might not get full scope for his conspicuous gift of getting the best out of everyone, whatever his character and disposition, under his command.

His progress in flying was very rapid, and after a six months' probation he was sent out in the middle of this month to Italy, whence in a letter to one in the School he described with boyish light-heartedness his feelings for the first time under fire. Three days later - on Sunday, March 17th - he was killed in an accident to his machine as he left the aerodrome. Jack Wyatt-Smith has bequeathed to us the memory of a true son of Sherborne. Keen in whatever he set his hand to, brave, modest, affectionate, intensely loyal to his School and his friends, 'hating the evil.' Full of sorrow we, who watched his growth and development here are also full of gratitude and pride for the life of one - cut off indeed before his day in the midst of rich promise of usefulness and service to others, - 'sed miles, sed pro patria.'

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Taken on July 22, 2013