In this section you can learn more about Corpus' experiences during the two World Wars, and view the College's full Rolls of Honour for 1914-18 and 1939-1945.
During the early summer of 1914 few, if any, members of Oxford University had a premonition of the catastrophic war that was about to engulf Europe. Indeed, at the annual Encaenia ceremony in June, three of the six recipients of honorary degrees were distinguished Germans.
But by December of that year the University's academic dress had become khaki, the exam schools had become a base hospital, the parks were full of drilling soldiers, and innocent dog-walkers in Christ Church meadow at night were, according to an observer, ‘in danger of being shot as spies by the Yeomanry quartered on the Broad Walk.'
By then, many Corpus men had enlisted: one tutor, 41 undergraduates and five servants (as we then said) leaving just 26 undergraduates in the College.
If you’re not already familiar with them, I would also encourage you to visit the war memorials in the Chapel on your next visit to the College. To the left of the altar you will see the Roll of Honour for 1914-18. To the right are the names, rather fewer in number but no less poignant, of those Corpus men who fell during the Second World War.
They act as an enduring reminder, to successive generations of students, of the honourable sacrifice made by many Corpuscles of their own age, and of young lives grievously cut short.
Professor Sir Steve Cowley