• Conor Reeves

Teachers and temporary warriors.

What an image this is! It shows two of the masters at Sandbach School who left their posts to serve in the Great War. On the left of the photo is Mr Matthew Hall, who served as a mechanic with Royal Flying Corps (which became the RAF April 1 1918). On the right of the photo is Mr Charles James, who served as an officer with King's Liverpool Regiment. Mr James was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Fortunately, both survived the War and returned to the school. This photo was probably taken 1926, during the official opening of the School's cricket pavilion war memorial.

Even though he read English at university, one of Matthew Hall's specialist subjects was history. During the war, Hall took time out of his schedule to respond to a letter from the school requesting his "characters of the team" reviews for the individual players of Sandbach School's 1st XI, whilst on active service. He obliged, but he wrote about how much had changed since he was last stood on the sideline. He said that he could no longer easily recall the faces of those young men whom he'd taught. Apart from a couple of months teaching in Uttoxeter in 1919, he taught at Sandbach from 1911-1942, when he retired on his pension.

Matthew Hall and Charles James.

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