S V P Weston

Brigadier General SVP Weston

Brigadier Spencer Vaughan Percy Weston DSO** MC was the Founding Father of the Lodge, the last surviving founder, and the longest serving member in our history.

He was born in 1883, and went to Wellington in 1896. He was in the Hill, a college prefect, in the Rackets pair (see below) and the XI, where he is remembered as a fine batsman.

He was in the same year as the Auk (Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck) and eight fellow brethren of the Lodge, all of whom served in the Army, making it, along with 1890, the largest contributing year to the Lodge.

The ‘1896 Eight’ included Lt Col Corbett, Cpl Currie RF and Lt Stephenson SG who would all give their lives in service. Lt Col Dr Claude Douglas RAMC, Lt Col Thomas Eggar RFC, Capt Lionel Green SWB, Maj Charles Huggins Gordons and Maj Charles Micklem RA were luckier. The 1896 Eight make an interesting list of service for 8 boys arriving at school together in 1896. And thats before one starts to think about the Auk.

Weston joined the Royal Berkshires and served on the Western Front from 1915 to 1918 winning an MC in 1916 and the DSO a year later, before adding not one but two bars to the DSO the following year. He briefly commanded a battalion of the Royal Berkshires in 1916 before commanding the 17th Battalion Royal Fusiliers in 1917-18. He became a Brigadier General and served as GOC 122 Brigade, part of the 41st Division.

In 1933 Weston and S R Chichester (who was not a member of the Lodge) raised the funds to put electric lighting into the rackets court at College.

The Second World War saw him return to the colours as a half colonel, commanding troops on transport ships, most notably on the Queen Mary, before being made Inspector of Transports. He survived the sinking of the Empress of Canada by the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci, off Sierra Leone, West Africa in 1943, en route from Durban to Takoradi carrying Italian prisoners of war along with Polish and Greek refugees. Of the 1800 people on board, 392 died. Nearly half of the fatalities reported were Italian prisoners.

Despite enough service to satisfy the most demanding of career soldiers, Weston was in fact a stockbroker by profession, serving only when called upon. He was initiated into the Stock Exchange lodge, Verity Lodge No 2739, in 1905 before becoming a founder of the OW Lodge four years later. His 64 years in the Lodge were exceeded only by the 68 years he served his mother lodge. He became the ‘Founding Father of the Lodge’, the last surviving and longest serving founder on the death of Charles Parkinson in 1955, and remained so for almost two decades.

He died in 1973.

In one of those strange coincidences, lists of British Generals of the Great War place Weston next to his fellow OW and Lodge Brother, Brigadier Percy Westmorland.

Courtesy of Wellington College Archive