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Remembrance Day 2022: Stories Behind the Names

At this year’s Remembrance Day service passages from the Roll of Honour books held in the University Archives will be read. These books record the names of Queen Mary students who died in military service during World War 1 and World War 2. The stories of three students will be read this year and we have used other student records in the archives to fill in details of the lives beyond their military service. 

Part of student card of Arthur John Lissaman showing subjects taken, date of entry, birth and addresses

Arthur John Lissaman's student card, Queen Mary University Archives

Arthur John Lissaman (1894-1917): an Engineering student at East London College 

Arthur John Lissaman was born on 22 August 1894 in Cardiff. His father, also called Arthur Lissaman, was a builder and his mother was called Emily. He had an older sister Edith who worked as a teacher. They lived throughout South London during the younger Arthur’s childhood. He lived at home while studying and by this time his family lived in Tooting.

Lissaman went to Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) which at the time offered technical training to boys older than thirteen. His occupation in 1911 is listed as a student of architecture so this was likely his focus.

In September 1913 Lissaman started at East London College (one of the former names of Queen Mary University of London). In his first year he studied Maths, Advanced Practical Maths, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Drawing and Physics. He took some classes at Finchley College too and was being trained by Mr C J Jenkin, an engineer and surveyor with Finchley District Council. He also joined the Officer Training Corps of the University of London which recruited students to train for leadership roles in the army.

Lissaman signed up for the 1914-15 year at East London College, but “revision” is the only thing listed in his studies for the year. World War 1 had begun the summer before his second year. An additional note that he “accepted commission” explains that through his Officer Training Corp activities he had now been offered an officer position in the military. The “date of leaving” was never filled in as this was likely considered a pause not an end of his studies.

Lissaman left the country for active service in February 1916. He started out as a 2nd Lieutenant and was promoted in May 1916 to Lieutenant in 23rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers City of London Regiment. He fought in the battle of Delville Wood, France, on the Western Front August 1916. This was a significant battle as the territory was continually taken and retaken with many casualties on all sides. The site of this battle is now a memorial.

Lissaman was then made Adjutant, a role that assists the commanding officer with unit administration, mostly the management of human resources in an army unit. He was offered Captaincy in February 1917 but turned it down to remain Adjutant. His Lieutenant Colonel wrote:

He was a most excellent Adjutant and his work was so thorough and good that he saved a great deal of trouble…he was of course constantly with me and he was a very great personal friend.

Lissaman died age twenty-two in a shell attack at Roclincourt, France on 13 April 1917. He is commemorated at the Arras Memorial France and remembered in East London College’s Roll of Honour.

Clifford Edward Vincent (1922-1942): a Science student at Queen Mary College

Clifford Edward Vincent was born 28 January 1922 in West Ham, Essex to Edgar Vincent, an accountant, and Annie Muriel Wall. He attended Central Foundation Boys School, Cowpur Street in East London. He lived at 57 Goodmayes Lane, Illford, Essex before he attended university and worked as a Railway Clerk of tickets.

Vincent received his Higher School Certificate in June 1939 and was awarded the Essex Major Scholarship, a full scholarship for three years of university study. He started at Queen Mary College 3 October 1939 aged seventeen.

When Vincent joined Queen Mary College it’s staff, teaching and students were in the first year of evacuation to Cambridge. Male students like Vincent were taught in King’s College. He lived with a Mrs Attwood at 10 Windsor Road Cambridge for his first terms and was staying in Kings College halls during his second year.

Photograph of Clifford Edward Vincent, black and white in profile, from his student card also showing annotation He was a Sciences student and studied Special Honours Mathematics. He attended classes run by Queen Mary College and classes at the Cambridge College Gonville and Caius. He would likely have also been taught by members of other University of London colleges evacuated to Cambridge as they pooled teaching resources during this period. He was a member of the Maths Society and the Table Tennis club.


Close up of Clifford Edward Vincent's student card, Queen Mary University Archives

Vincent finished his Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics with Special Honours in just two years. He received first class honours in June 1941 as well as the highest marks in the University of London for Mathematics in 1941 at age nineteen.

He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was made “acting Pilot Officer on probation (emergency)” in the Technical Branch 31 October 1941. He worked in the Telecommunications Research Establishment based at RAF Deffort, Worcestershire. This unit focused on research and development of radio navigation, radar and infra-red detection for heat seeking missiles.

On 7 June 1942 he joined a flight testing the RAF’s top-secret prototype for H2S a ground mapping radar system. They took off from RAF Defford, Worcestershire, in an aircraft called Halifax. Vincent was one of two Telecommunications Pilot Officers in a flight that included the chief designer of the prototype Alan Blumlein, three other radar experts, a wireless operator and five other RAF pilots. A fire broke out in one of the engines, quickly spreading and resulting in a crash at Lower Lydbrook, Herefordshire. All eleven occupants of the aircraft died.

Vincent died aged twenty. He was buried in Fairpark Cemetery, Newquay and is remembered in Queen Mary College’s Roll of Honour.

William Francis Ward: an Arts student at East London College

William “Bill” Francis Ward was born 16 April 1892. His father was a minister and the family lived in “The Manse” Sydney, Gloucestershire. He attended Ebbw Vale County School, Wales before university.

Student card of William Francis Ward showing classes taken, date of birth and date of entry, address and notes about military service

Ward started at East London College (one of the former names of Queen Mary University of London) on 20 Oct 1911 aged nineteen. He was an Arts student and studied Latin, French, English and History. He lived in Bow, East London while he studied.

Arthur John Lissaman's student card, Queen Mary University Archives

Whilst he was at the college, he joined the University of London Officer Training Corps which recruited students to train for leadership roles in the army. He was a Cadet in the OTC 20 Nov 1911-1 Oct 1913.  

Ward achieved an Intermediate of Arts in Latin and French in June 1912 and left the college. This was a qualification offered by University of London in this period which was university level but below a Bachelor of Arts.

Ward joined active military service with the North Lancashire Regiment during World War 1 and rose to the rank of Captain. He stayed in the military 1914-1923.

During World War 2, now aged 47, he joined the Royal Air Force initially as a Pilot Officer with the Air Gunners. He accepted a commission in 1940 as a Pilot Officer with the Air Observers. He was a Flight Lieutenant.

He was reported missing in the Times 11 Sep 1941, and he was remembered as “very dearly loved husband of Doris.” He was missing presumed dead aged 49 and is remembered in the Queen Mary College Roll of Honour.

How to find out more

Interested in finding out more about another student? Start with the below sources which are either online or available to view by appointment in the Archives Reading Room:

Queen Mary College Student Index Cards c1910-1960s, Queen Mary University Archives

East London College Roll of Honour 1914-1919, Queen Mary University Archives

Queen Mary College Roll of Honour 1939-1945, Queen Mary University Archives

Meanings of Service website, digitised material relating to the First World War held at the Queen Mary University of London, Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital archives.

University of London Students 1836-1939, digitised copies of lists of students and University of London graduates, 1836-1939 made available through Senate House Library



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