The NUGEE family – Major NUGEE, Francis John (1891-1966) and Major NUGEE, George Travers (1893-1977) and Lieutenant NUGEE, Andrew Charles (1896-1977)

Francis John Nugee at school
Francis John Nugee at Radley School (from the Radley School archive)

Francis John Nugee was born on 31st May 1891 and baptised by his father at Sneinton on 24th June.  He attended St Peter’s College Radley, where he was the only boy in the history of the college to be Head of the School (senior prefect) for two years.  He enjoyed playing cricket and football.  He went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1910 and was a Cadet Lance Sergeant of the OTC.  War broke out soon after Francis completed his finals in June 1914 and he responded by joining the 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment as second lieutenant on 5th October 1914.  The battalion was stationed at Bishop’s Stortford in November 1914, training and preparing for the Front.  During this time of waiting Francis was promoted lieutenant on 14th April 1915.

On 21st July 1915 Francis landed in France, joining the rest of his battalion in the trenches at Zillebeke Lake two days later, when he was posted to B Company.  That very evening the Germans detonated a nearby mine, causing an enormous explosion that injured 9 men and formed a crater 40 feet wide.  The battalion war diary records that less than a fortnight later, at 3.30pm on 5th August 1915, Francis was wounded in both shoulders by shrapnel from a “whizz-bang.” He was treated at Le Treport, near Dieppe.  The St Martin’s monthly parish magazine records that Francis’s parents travelled to Dieppe to visit their son in hospital.  Francis recovered and was able to return to the Front.  He was promoted temporary Captain on 3rd March 1916, leading C company.

During 1916 Francis wrote a series of articles for St Martin’s magazine, entitled “Billet Life in France.”  He eventually stopped on the advice of the censors.

On 27th February 1917 he led C Company of the 1/4th Leicestershires at the Battle of Gommecourt.  Fellow St Martin’s man Sam Pilkington led D Company.  The war diary describes how they “advanced from our front line by platoons and occupied a line of trenches in Gommecourt…without a casualty…at 8am  C & D Co[mpanie]s again advanced 500 yards and occupied bombing posts…All ranks behaved very well during these operations and the Commanding Officer received the congratulations of the Divisional Commander for the work of the battalion.”  Francis was confirmed as Captain on 16th June 1917.  He was also appointed the battalion Sports Officer on 28th September 1917.  On 1st January 1918 Francis was awarded the Military Cross in the New Year’s honours list for an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy.”  Also in January 1918 Francis was promoted Acting Major whilst acting as second in command.  Soon after it was reported that the 1/4th battalion had collected a total of 1668 francs for St Dunstan’s – no doubt Francis contributed with his brother Andrew in mind.

Francis proceeded to England for six months tour of duty on 22nd February 1918.  He was appointed Instructor with B Company, Officer Cadet Battalion in August 1918, based at Newmarket.

On his demobilisation in August 1919 Francis was appointed to serve with the Radley College OTC Junior Division.  Although permanently based at the school and working as an assistant master/housemaster, Francis received army pay until 1934.  Meanwhile Francis met Lucy Maud Morris (1901-1977), who was born in Cardiff and was the daughter of a coal mining engineer.  They became engaged in October 1923 but the wedding planned for July 1924 was postponed “owing to illness.” It eventually took place at Shangton in January 1930 but again “owing to illness no invitations [were] be sent out.”  Two children were born: Lucy Frances Mary (1932-2006) and Patricia Ruth (1937-).

In 1938 Francis took up an appointment as headmaster of Eastbourne College 1938-56.  Francis, Lucy and the children moved into The Headmaster’s House, where they kept a staff of four including cook.  Soon after the war Francis founded Ascham, a prep school for boys.  In 1943 Francis was admitted as a member of the council of Radley College, remaining until forced by illness to retire from both the council and his position at Eastbourne College in 1956.

Francis Died in Cheltenham on 29th January 1966 after a long illness.  Lucy died in 1977.

George Travers Nugee at school
George Travers Nugee at Radley School (from the Radley School archive)

George Travers Nugee was born on 7th July 1893 and baptised at St Stephen’s, Sneinton a month later on 7th August.  Like his brothers, George attended Radley College and was head prefect.  Upon leaving school, George joined the army.  After training with the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich his first appointment was as 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, from 18th July 1913.  In January 1914 he took part in a football match between British and Dutch officers.  He was appointed lieutenant in the 39th Battalion on 9th June 1915. In January 1916 George was awarded the Military Cross. On 7th October 1916 he was appointed acting Major, reverting to acting Captain in 1917 whilst employed as second in command.  He was confirmed in the rank of Captain on 18th July 1917 and was awarded the DSO on 1st January 1919.

After the war George spent time in India and the Middle East before returning to the UK.  His home was with his parents at Shangton Rectory.  The engagement of Captain George Travers Nugee to his cousin Violet Mary “Mary” Richards (1904-1997), only daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Harold A D Richards, was announced in January 1927.  They were married by George’s father Francis Edward Nugee at the parish church of Godalming (where Violet’s mother lived) on 27th September 1927.  Their first child, Edward George (1928-2015), known as “Ted”, was born a year later in August 1928.   Daughters Margaret Anne and Mary Diana “Bunty” were born in 1931 and 1934 respectively.  Margaret was born at Eastney Lodge, Wilton, near Salisbury and Bunty at Alton in Hampshire.  The marriage did not last – George divorced Mary in 1936 citing adultery.

In 1930 George took written examinations to achieve promotion from the rank of Captain in the Royal Artillery.  He was successful and promoted Major on 1st July 1932. George enjoyed sports -in 1935 he took part in an Old Radleian Golfing Society tournament, Jeffrey’s Challenge Cup, and he also played tennis. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, CD and AA branch on 15th June 1939.  George, his widowed mother Edith and the children moved to The Wilderness, Sherborne in Dorset.  George commanded the 8th Anti Aircraft Militia Depot at Yeovil, which was responsible for training men, for a short time before leaving from France. He served throughout the second world war and was mentioned in dispatches on 20th December 1946 for his role in France, 1940.  He retired from the army in 1947, settling at Trobridge, Broad Road, Heathfield and later at Tenterden.  George died on 29th March 1977 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, aged 83.

Andrew Charles Nugee at school
Andrew Charles Nugee at Radley School (from the Radley School archive)

Andrew Charles Nugee was born on 28th October 1895. He was educated at Radley College, where he was Senior Prefect.  He was studying for the civil service when war broke out and took a commission in the Rifle Brigade.  Andrew was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Service Battalion Rifle Brigade in November 1914 and promoted Lieutenant in March 1915.

Andrew was seriously wounded in the head, arm and leg at the Battle of Hooge on 30th July 1915.  He lost his sight – which was never good – first of all losing one eye, then becoming almost completely blind in the other.  This day at Hooge saw the first use of flamethrowers – known as “liquid fire” at the time – by the Germans, but Andrew was wounded by shrapnel which damaged his face, broke his leg and wounded his arm.  Andrew’s parents travelled from Leicester to visit him at Le Touquet where he was cared for at the Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital.  He was invalided out of the Rifle Bridge with a Silver War Badge.  He went to St Dunstan’s, living at The Blind Officers’ Home at 21 Portland Place, London, and was assisted to return to Oxford and take his BA degree in 1919.  During his time at St Dunstan’s he knew and later remembered a woman who helped him there, a Miss Goole “Goolie”, writing in St Dunstan’s Review in 1977 just before his death “She was a self-effacing figure, always in the background, never pushing herself forward, but always there, watching, waiting, remembering….[she] grew to know us and our little – and not so little – idiosyncrasies; waiting for any opportunity which opened up before her to extend a helping hand.”

On 9th November 1918 The Times printed the following: The engagement is announced between Mr Andrew Charles Nugee, late 9th (Service) Battalion, the Rifle Brigade, youngest son of Canon and Mrs Nugee, Shangton Rectory, Leicester, and Frances Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the late Rev R A Walls and Mrs Walls.  The wedding took place on Wednesday January 14th 1920 at St Martin’s Church, Welton-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire.  Andrew’s father Francis Edward Nugee conducted the service, assisted by the Rector of the parish.  Frances’s home was nearby Boothby Hall, Burgh.  Frances Elizabeth Walls, known as “Elizabeth”, was born in 1894 and died in 1963.  They had no children.

Andrew was ordained deacon in 1921 and priest in 1922.  From 1921 until 1926 he was Curate at St Thomas’s, Winchester, then Curate of Holy Trinity, Bramley, Guildford, from 1926 until 1930 when he became Vicar of Little Houghton Cum Brafield in Northamptonshire.  From 1933 he was also Rural Dean of Preston First Deanery and served on the board of the local school.  In 1938 he was appointed Rector of Eckington-with-Renishaw in the diocese of Derby.  In November 1942 he resigned and was appointed the first Blind Chaplain to St Dunstan’s Training Centre and Hospital for war-blinded men and women at Church Stretton.  Andrew read the lessons in Braille.  During his appointment as Chaplain to St Dunstan’s he worked with student-patients fresh from the battlefields of the Middle East.  The Times Special Correspondent reported on St Dunstan’s in April 1944 and said that Andrew “told me that the men had said to him that they did not realize that they were blind when they were in St Dunstan’s, but when they got outside amongst sighted people it was different.  Very few of the latter realized that the secret of helping these men was to treat them as normal and not by exhibiting marked sympathy to imply to their consciousness that they are a class apart.  St Dunstan’s is doing a grand job.” St Dunstan’s Review of 1977 also described Andrew’s time at St Dunstan’s during the war: “He and his wife gave invaluable personal service through their example, friendship and kindness to the new St Dunstaners in training, and he was also specially involved in academic studies.”

In October 1946 Andrew was appointed vicar of Crowthorne.  In 1960 appointed Rector of Kencot, in the same diocese of Oxford.  His beloved wife Elizabeth died on 17th April 1963 in a nursing home, following an illness of some months. Their address was then The Cottage, Broadwell, Lechlade, Gloucestershire.  The funeral took place at Broadwell Church on 22nd April and was attended by representatives from St Dunstan’s.  On 19th August 1963 it was announced that the marriage would take place between Andrew and Mrs Zeala Maisey Wimperis (1906-1999), a widow of eight years (1906-1999), on 16 September at Kencot.

Andrew died on 22nd October 1977.  The announcement in The Times read “Peacefully, at home, the Reverend Andrew Charles Nugee, widower of Elizabeth, dear husband and good companion of Zeala for 14 years, beloved by his many relations and friends.  Funeral Service to take place Lechlade Church, on Thursday October 27th, at 2.30pm, followed by private cremation.  No flowers, please.”  Zeala died on 16th October 1999.

The stories of Francis, George and Andrew can also be read at http://www.bottesfordhistory.org.uk, including extracts from Andrew’s memoirs.

 

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