The Chingford War Memorial twice displays the name of one family well known locally in the early twentieth century. MELANIE ATTLESEY looks at how the head of the Allpass family played an important role in the history of education in Walthamstow, while two of his sons made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Great War.

Monoux Grammar School had been closed for seven years when Henry Allpass took on the role of headmaster to relaunch the school.

Just 25 years old at the time, oversaw the school's move from West Avenue in Walthamstow to High Street in 1901.

He went on to be twice elected as the vice chairman of the Walthamstow School Board and was also rector of St John's Church in Brookscroft Road.

Allpass's eldest son, also named Henry, was born in Walthamstow in 1893.
He went on to attend Exeter College, Oxford, where has was friends with JR Tolkein, author of Lord of the Rings.

Henry was also an enthusiastic member of the left-wing Fabian Society, Britain's oldest political think tank. He was also regarded as a gifted poet.

Graduating with first call honours in modern languages, Henry took up the post of senior language master at St Bees, a prestigious grammar school in Cumbria as war broke out in 1914.

A year later he transferred from the St Bees Officer Training Corp to the Essex Regiment and volunteered for active service in June 1916.

Henry's younger brother, Esmond, had signed up in 1914 and was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment.

He was killed in action, aged just 21, at Suvla Bay in the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli in August 1915.

A year later, Henry led a bombing raid on German trenches during the battle of the Somme.

He was badly wounded, unable to move and stretcher bearers couldn't reach him, but there was initial hope that he was alive and taken prisoner.

However, in July 1917, the Bees School Magazine reported the following:  "It is with the deepest sorrow that we at St Bees realise our loss...Many letters from fellow officers and others tall the same tale of extra-ordinary bravery and 'unfailing cheerfulness even in torrents of rain and shells'."

Following his death a group of his friends published a small book containing his letters from the front, verse and prose.

A dedication to Henry said: "The verse and prose contained in this volume...have been collected and compiled with reverent love, and in memory of him who lies sleeping in France; whose watchword was duty; whose desire was to serve his generation; whose life was achievement; whose death sacrifice."

At the time of Henry's death his family were living in Endlebury Road, Chingford, and his father also died in 1916, leaving his wife, Alice, to endure the loss of two sons in the space of one year. 

Information provided by Bill Bayliss of the Chingford Historical Society