Duke of York's School

by A. W. Cockerill

This site provides Dukies and ex-Dukies with historical facts, figures, data, records and reports about their alma mater, the Duke of York's Royal Military School. It is a potpourri, a collection of odds and ends having to do with the school's history including the early history of the institution that was once known as the Royal Military Asylum.

The Duke of York's Royal Military School was founded in 1801 and opened its doors in August 1803 as a haven to the orphaned children of soldiers who had fallen in the Great War with France that began in 1793 and ended with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Its first intake came from a privately run orphanage for military children on the Isle of Wight – the present-day site of Parkhurst Prison – organised and managed by General George Hewett. Twenty-seven children from General Hewett's orphanage made the four-day journey to their new home in Chelsea, escorted by General Hewett, a sergeant, and Nurse Bold who helped the General run the IOW orphanage in a rented farm house, which is believed to be a place known as Noke (or Noake Farm), which still exists.

The RMA, as the Asylum was then known, was based on its existing sister institution the Royal Hibernian Military School (1760-1924), Dublin. What is known of the history of the RHMS is dealt with in another part of this site. Anyone interested in what we have been able to discover of the RHMS is invited to follow the link to the Royal Hibernian pages.

These history pages of the Duke of York's school are rich with facts, photographs and images of the school's past. We know, for instance, that the phrase 'sons of the brave' originated in Boston in 1765, that Philip R. Morris popularized the epithet with his famous painting Sons of the Brave, that Thomas Bidgood, composed the march of the same name, that words for the song were written in Sydney, Australia, and that Peter Dawson, the famous Australian bass baritone recorded this stirring song for HMV records in 1932. This site describes how these and other little known facts about the school came into existence. They also dispel some of the myths connected with the school.

Visitors to the site can find their way from one article of information to the next via the navigation block provided at the bottom of each page. The block has links to all the pages on the site. Other links will take you to the main web page.

Most images are thumbnail with links to a larger format; click on the thumbnail picture and a larger version pops up in a window for you to see. Close the new window by clicking on the picture or clicking the box off.

Table of Contents - Duke of York's Royal Military School