Ernest Walter Winton 15 December 1917

Ernest Walter Winton was a Londoner and one of two Oundle pupils who changed his German surname because of the war. In June 1915, a year after leaving Oundle, he and his parents changed their name to Winton, having “formally and absolutely renounced, relinquished and abandoned the use of the said surname of Weintraud”. He also seems to have swapped his middle name Hans, for the more English sounding Walter.

He joined Grafton in September 1911 at 13 as Ernest Hans Weintraud and was clearly a boy of much promise. He won a Form prize in 1913 and was an excellent violinist. In 1914, the Laxtonian declared: “Weintraud will be much missed in the musical life of the School.” He was similarly commended for his acting ability in Molière’s play Les Fourberies de Scapin, where he played the deceitful valet Scapin himself.

On leaving school aged just 16, he went to University College, London and then, in October 1915 up to Clare College, Cambridge, his father’s old college. There he studied economics and also devoted considerable time to music. After two terms at Cambridge, having reached the age of 18, he went to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, and was gazetted to the Royal Garrison Artillery in June 1917. He reached France in November of 1917 and was killed within weeks of arrival on 15th December. Almost certainly, he was hit by a shell while taking ammunition up to the front line, near Ypres.

Aged 19, it was his first day in action.

Ernest’s elder brother Frank was a talented scientist and cellist, who went on to become Professor of Physiology at Cambridge. His parents endowed the Weintraud Prize for Chemistry at the School, first awarded in July 1913, to their son Frank.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow