St John's School in Wartime

A blog about the history of St John's School Leatherhead in wartime and those Old Johnians who served in the First and Second World Wars.

Lancelot Townshend Driffield (St John’s School 1890-1899 and 1911 – 1917)

Standing second from the left in the back row of the Masters’ Group photograph for Midsummer 1914 (see previous blog post) Driffield was first a pupil and later a teacher at St John’s.  He founded the School OTC in 1913 and was held in high regard. 

Here are some extracts from his obituary in the Johnian Magazine for 1917

In Memoriam

It is with feelings of the deepest sorrow that we have to report the death of Lancelot Townshend Driffield, whose body was found lying just outside his rooms at the School on the evening of Tuesday, October 9th. At the inquest which was held two days afterwards, the doctor, who made the " post-mortem " examination, said in the course of his evidence that he had found a very diseased condition of the heart—and one which was likely to cause a sudden syncope. The jury returned a verdict of "Death from natural causes" and expressed their sympathy with Mr Driffield's mother and the School authorities in the loss of so valuable a master. The funeral took place on Saturday, October 13th…

Lancelot Townshend Driffield, the son of the late Rev G T Driffield, Vicar of Old Northamptonshire, and of Mrs Driffield, of 11, Douglas Avenue, Hythe, Kent, was born on August 10th, 1880, and was a member of the School from September, 1890 till November, 1899. He then proceeded to Cambridge as a classical scholar of St. Catharine's College.  He was given his cricket Blue in 1902, when he made 29 not out in a match which Cambridge won by five wickets, though he was actually chosen for his bowling. He assisted Northamptonshire when they became a first-class county in 1905, and was regarded as the best change bowler in the side, though he only took part in two games…

Returning to the School as a master in September 1911, he at once proved himself to be a most efficient and valuable member of the staff. As cricket master he was energetic and successful, and his old School owes him a debt of gratitude for his coaching and general management…

Holding a Captain's rank in the Special Reserve, he also did a great work in the creation and development of the School OTC., of which he was the Officer in command. The excellent reports that have been received from the War Office after each annual inspection of the Corps testify to the thoroughness of his training and the zeal and enthusiasm of his leadership. It will indeed be difficult adequately to replace him