Bedales 1898-1902, RHA

Lionel Mundy came to Bedales in January 1898, in the very early days when it was still based in Sussex and girls had not yet been admitted. He left in the summer of 1902, two years after the school had moved to Steep.

Lionel is mentioned in the Record mostly for sporting achievements – becoming Hockey captain - and for boxing and fencing. After Bedales he spent six months at school in Switzerland and then worked with a private tutor preparing for an entry exam for the Royal Military Academy.

He began his military training in January 1905, and was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery in December 1906. His career progressed normally, becoming a full Lieutenant in December 1909. and serving as Adjutant for the 23rd Brigade for six months from November 1911. In June 1912 he was transferred to H & L Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery.

On 18th August 1914, as part of the British Expeditionary Force, the RHA embarked for France and later that month were heavily involved in the Battle of Mons.  On the retreat, at Néry on 1st September, “L” Battery was the target of an unexpected German attack.  Two officers and 20 NCOs and men were killed and three officers (including Lionel), 29 NCOs and men were wounded: 150 horses were killed.  Lionel was taken to hospital at Le Château Baron where, on 3rd September, he died of his wounds: for his bravery in retrieving one of the battery’s three guns (now on display at the Imperial War Museum) he was mentioned in despatches.

Lionel is buried at Baron Community Cemetery. His parents gave a chair to the Memorial Library, probably when it was opened in 1921. The chair bears a silver plaque showing the date of his death wrongly as 1 September.

In the Bedales Record 1914-15 Mr Badley wrote a slightly exaggerated account:

LFH Mundy was at Bedales from 1898 to 1902, then at Sandhurst, and became Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery.  He went to France as Lieutenant with H Battery, and took part in the retreat from Mons.. Near Compiegne, during a very severe attack, the other officers in charge were killed, and the guns would have been lost had not Mundy and the men with him in the rear gone up and succeeded in bringing them back under a heavy fire.  While doing this Mundy was wounded five times, and so severely that though he was taken to a hospital near Paris he died there on September 3, 1914.

For his gallant action in saving the guns he was mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatch, and was recommended, had he lived, for further reward.  “Many gallant deeds,” wrote a fellow officer, “have been done in this war, but none more heroic than the death of your son.  His name will not be forgotten in the RHA.”