MC:P107 Letter and Photographs from Edward VIII
This letter, and 19 photographs relating to it, were acquired by the College from a dealer, who had bought them from a private collection, in May 1999, and deposited in the archives as Accession No. 99/128.
King Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, was a Commoner at Magdalen College in 1912–1914. He was a keen amateur photographer, and the photographs in the collection were undoubtedly taken by him. They relate to a camp attended by Edward in the summer of 1914, which he attended with several friends from Magdalen.
The photographs were sent with a letter to John Leslie Johnston, a young Fellow at Magdalen. Johnston had been a Demy at Magdalen in 1904–1908, and then a Fellow from 1909 (having been awarded a First in Mods and Greats and a First in Theology). He joined up during the First World War, but was reported wounded and missing in May 1915.
A brief article about these documents appeared in the Magdalen College Record of 1999.
Catalogued in May 1999.
MC:P107/C1 – CORRESPONDENCE
MC:P107/C1/1 8 Jul 1914
Handwritten and signed letter (address Buckingham Palace) from Edward Prince of Wales to J.L. Johnston (address Magdalen College), although it is addressed to ‘My dear Hugh’. Edward encloses some photographs he had promised him. He also recalls a dinner at which ‘Gunner’ (Gunstone) was present, and discusses army camp, and his plans for the next month.
MC:P107/P1 – PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY EDWARD VIII
These photographs are almost certainly Edward’s work; in his letter above he writes ‘here are the photos I promised you; I’m pleased with the results’. They are all of a summer camp held some time in June or July 1914. There is no mention of which regiment arranged this, but several men are wearing caps of the Oxon. and Bucks. Light Infantry.
Most of the photographs are labelled on the back, almost certainly by H.L. Johnston; the handwriting bears no resemblance to Edward’s, but it is very close to that of Johnston’s own entry in the Matriculation Register.
Names with an asterisk indicate members of Magdalen College. Nine can be identified, and brief biographical notes are supplied to them at the end of this catalogue.
Two photographs of general views of the camp. Johnstone wrote on the back of P1/2 ‘A corner of camp’.
Photograph of two men seen from the back, identified by Johnston as A. Ritchie* and J. Nugee*.
This, and P1/4–11 below, are all take in front of tents in the camp.
Photograph of two men identified by Johnston as Edward Lord Stanley* and Ralph Adams*.
Photograph of two men, identified by Johnston as Stanley* and J. Perssé*.
Two photographs of a man identified by Johnston as John Perssé*.
Photograph of two men, one identified as Houston by Johnston, who could not name the other one.
Photograph of a man, identified by Johnston as Houston.
Photograph of a man cocking a snook at the photographer (i.e. Edward), and inscribed by Johnston on the back ‘John Nugee* (lèse majesté)’.
Photograph of a seated man, identified by Johnston as Henry Ashley*.
Photograph of a man holding a plate of food, inscribed by Johnston on the back ‘Houston Boswall’
This, and P1/13–18 below, are all taken in front of a brick building.
Photograph of two seated men, identified by Johnston as ‘J.J’, and Henry (?) Newbolt.
Photograph of two men, identified by Johnston as ‘Oswald Scott* (breaking egg into pan)’ and ‘Guggers’.
Photograph of a man identified by Johnston as ‘Guggers’.
Two photographs of a man identified by Johnston as Tony Muirhead*.
Photograph of a man lying down, inscribed by Johnston on the back ‘J. Nugee* (old soldier)’.
Photograph of three men seated at table indoors, identified by Johnston as Hugh Pearse*, Ralph Adams* and John Nugee*.
APPENDIX – MAGDALEN MEN MENTIONED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS
1. Ralph Edward Cadwallader Adams (1893–1937); Radley; Commoner 1911–1914. He had a distinguished career in the war, fighting in France and the Middle East, being awarded the MC in 1919. From 1923 he worked as a tea planter in Ceylon.
2. Anthony Henry Evelyn (Harry) Ashley (1894–1921); Harrow; Commoner 1912–1914. He fought in France, and the Magdalen College Register says that he was “wounded and totally disabled”, and did not survive the war long.
3. Anthony John Muirhead (1890–1939); Eton; Commoner 1912–1914. He served in France and Italy, and later entered politics, becoming MP for Somerset in 1929.
4. Francis John Nugee (1891–1966); Radley; Commoner 1910–1914, finishing his Finals in Trinity Term that year. He served in France, being wounded, and was awared the MC in 1918. After the war he returned to Radley to teach there until 1938, when he moved to Sussex to become Headmaster of Eastbourne College.
5. Hugh Armine Woodhouse Pearse (1892–1958); Wellington; Commoner 1911–14. He fought in France and was awarded the MC in 1917. After the war, he taught at his old school.
6. Rodolph Algernon Perssé (1892–1915); Eton; Commoner 1912–1914; he fought in France and was mentioned in dispatches but was killed on 1 Jan 1915.
7. Archibald Thomas Ayres Ritchie (1890–1962); Harrow; Demy 1909–1914; he spent part of the war in French Foreign Legion; MC 1915). He spent his later years in Kenya as a Native Commissioner and then an Administrator of a Big Game Reserve.
8. Sir Oswald Arthur Scott (1893–1960); Eton; Commoner 1912–1914; fought in Salonika, and received the DSO in 1918. He joined the diplomatic service, becoming Ambassador to Peru.
9. Lord Edward Montagu Cavendish Stanley (1894–1938); Eton; Commoner 1912–1914. He fought in France and Italy, and received the Croix de Guerre. After the war, Stanley entered politics , holding various posts under the Conservative and National Governments from 1924 until his death. He was also the eldest son of the 17th Earl of Derby, but predeceased his father. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1934. Stanley is the only one of the group about whom we know Edward’s opinion. Philip Ziegler’s biography notes that the Earl of Derby, Stanley’s father was a courtier of George V, and his decision to send his son to Magdalen helped George send Edward there too. It was rather too obvious that Stanley was intended as an appropriate friend for Edward, who understandably took some time to break down his prejudices.