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Wright, Frank Humphrey (1906-1941) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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Wright, Frank Humphrey (1906-1941)

Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.


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


Details: Frank Humphrey Wright (1906-1941), born 15 November 1906, son of Arthur George Wright and Norah Wright of Mayfield, Sussex.


Married to Helen Marion Wright (nee Smith) (daughter of Nowell Charles Smith) of Winchester, Hampshire.


Attended The Old Malthouse School, Langton Matravers, Dorset.


Attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) September 1920-July 1925; 6th form; School Prefect; Head of House; Marson Greek prize, 1925; 1st XI cricket (1923, 1924, 1925); 1st XV rugby football (1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, Captain 1924-1925); School Gym Colours (1923, 1924, 1925); Senior Class Leader with Badge; Sergeant in the OTC; member of The Duffers society.


New College, Oxford.


Assistant Master, Winchester College.


WW2, Lieutenant, HMS Neptune, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Killed in action on HMS Neptune off Tripoli, Mediterranean 19 December 1941, aged 35.


Commemorated at:

Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, Panel 61, Column 2.


Old Malthouse School War Memorial


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


Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', December 1942: 'Lieutenant Frank Humphrey Wright, R.N.V.R. (b 1920-25), elder son of the late A.G. Wright, of Fir Toll, Mayfield, Sussex, was serving in H.M.S. "Neptune," when she was sunk by enemy mines in the Mediterranean on December 19th 1941. The cruiser sank in a few minutes, and very few of the crew were picked up. Wright was reported missing until June 10th, 1942, when his loss was formally presumed by the Admiralty. He left a wife and three children.' The Headmaster, Nowell Charles Smith wrote: 'Of the many boys and men of sterling worth and delightful manner with whom it has been my privilege to become familiar during eighteen years at Sherborne, there was not one whom I admired and loved more than Humphrey Wright; and I consider it one of my greatest blessings that immediately after a distinguished career at Sherborne and New College, Oxford, he became - certainly through no design but his own - my son-in-law. At his preparatory school, the Old Malt House, Langton Matravers, at Sherborne, and at New College, his all-round achievement was remarkable. Here besides winning the "Marson" Greek Prize and being, by G.M. Carey's testimony, the best Head of his House, he was for two years in the XV and for three in the XI. At Oxford he was not only in the New College XV and XI, but only just missed his blue for rugger, and played cricket frequently for the 'Varsity. Incidentally, he once scored a century for the Young Amateurs of Surrey at the Oval. He was an ideal Steward of Junior Common Room, and found time to help run a boys' club in one of the poorest parts of the town. He was richly endowed with intellectual, artistic and athletic gifts, outshone only by the brightest particular stars in separate accomplishments; in character and leadership he was surpassed by none. He never compromised on a point of duty, but was no prig nor kill-joy, and had a merry and on appropriate occasions an astringent wit. He was one of the rare tribe of selfless men, and depreciated no merit but his own. As a master for ten years at Winchester he had won a sure place in the esteem and friendship of colleagues and pupils; and on H.M.S. "Neptune" he earned not only high official commendation of his work as meteorological and instructional officer, but also the warmest regard of the Captain and ship's company for his all-round readiness to lend a hand. Family affection was a great part of the very fabric of his character. Long may schools receive such sons from such parents and foster their growth into such men!'


Old Shirburnian Society Annual Report, October 1942:

'Lieutenant F.H. Wright, RNVR. C.E.R. writes to the Times: "Humphrey Wright - presumed lost with HMS Neptune in December last - was educated at the Old Malt House, Langton Matravers, at Sherborne (he later married the headmaster's daughter, Helen Nowell Smith), and then at New College, Oxford, from which he passed to be for 10 years a master at Winchester. He was an all-round man, playing for the School XV in 1923, 1924, and for the XI in 1923, 1924 and 1925; also playing cricket on occasion for university teams and narrowly missing his Rugby Blue, gaining a second class in Classical Moderations and Greats, a student of German and of Germany, which he frequently visited, a worker in boys' clubs and a scoutmaster in the Winchester troop, the proud possessor of a small sailing boat, a lover of music and the arts, and above all a devoted teacher and keen educationist. Intellectually far abler than he himself realized or would admit, he was quick to seize a point and apt in expressing one, often with an astringent humour. Liberal in outlook, with a far-sighted grasp of political and social ideas, he was the reverse of academic, seeking eagerly for opportunities of action and service. For years he was a most energetic branch secretary of the League of Nations Union. In 1937 he spent a year at Bottisham, Cambridge, doing pioneer work in a new model Village College in which elementary and adult education were combined. Much as he hated war, he gave himself to it whole-heartedly, joining the RNVR in the spring of 1939 and subsequently serving as meteorological officer first at Simonstown and then (since he was characteristically impatient at being kept on a shore job) aboard ship in the Mediterranean. The dangers and discomforts and close companionships of naval life made a strong appeal to his vigorous temperament. For he was never happier than in the performance of some exacting task. The high standard that he set himself he expected of others, and here lay his strength as a schoolmaster. His character was a blend of the uncompromising and the diffident. For his strong sense of duty left him constantly dissatisfied with his own achievement. But he left a greater mark than he knew. His warmly affectionate nature won him many intimate friends; and few who came in touch with him could fail to recognize his fine idealism and - to quote another's phrase - "his unbreakable integrity." '


For further information visit the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve webpage:

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Taken on August 1, 2013