Saturday, March 19, 2011

J. E. Raphael Memorial

Lieutenant John Edward Raphael (born 1882) was the only child of Albert and Harriette Raphael, of 5 Wild Hatch. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and St John's College, Oxford, became a member of Lincoln's Inn and was called to the bar in 1908. He had some ideas of a political career; but his debut as Liberal candidate for Croydon in 1909 was not successful.

Jack Raphael was a keen sportsman. He won 14 blues at Oxford: four for Rugby, three for cricket, three for swimming, and four for water polo. He won nine Rugby International Caps for England, and captained Surrey at both rugby and cricket.

At the outbreak of the First World War he joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps raised by his cousin, Sir Herbert Raphael, M.P. for West Derby. He died of wounds – received on June 7th at the battle of Messines – on June 11th, 1917. An officer who was with him when he was wounded writes: " I have seen gallant men in many parts of the world, under all sorts of conditions, but never in my experience have I been so impressed by such a magnificent display of sheer pluck and unselfishness as was shown by Lieut. J. E. Raphael."

A memorial service was held at St Jude's on June 24, 1917.

The monument (on the north wall of the church near the organ) by the sculptor Charles Sykes (the designer of the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' mascot for Rolls Royce cars), was paid for by Jack's mother in recognition of his close friendship with the vicar, Basil Bourchier, who had been a contemporary at Merchant Taylors'. It was unveiled on 26th October 1919 by Dr Nairn, the Head Master.

Interestingly Mrs Raphael was not a worshipper at St Jude’s, and only an occasional visitor to the Free Church. In a memorial note in the St Jude’s Parish Paper (January 1931) she is described as “not intimately associated with the teaching of either [church], but she was an earnest and eager enquirer into the Unseen, and always welcomed fresh angles of vision”. In fact she was a Theosophist and a contributor to the fund for the building of the new Theosophical Society headquarters in Tavistock Square which was designed by Lutyens. Lutyens’s wife Emily was a Theosophist and is said to have spent much of her husband’s income on promoting the movement.

Mrs Raphael bequeathed 5 Wild Hatch to St Jude's with the condition that it should not be not sold but used as a clergy house or rented to produce income for the work of the parish. The St Jude's Gazette for July 1938 records the sale of the house for £1850 (today about £93,000). "This sum will be invested for the Clergy Income Fund, and will thus be of great help to us in perpetuity. The house was always a considerable expense to us and to any priest who lived there, so we feel that its sale has fulfilled the purpose of its gift to the Church as a benefaction on behalf of the clergy."
The grave of J. E. Raphael in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Belgium.

The motto on both monuments is from Harriette Raphael's forward to her son's book Modern Rugby Football (1919): "If character be Destiny then his is assured".
We are grateful to Paul Wapshott of Derwen College, Oswestry for material in this post.

Read Lesley Bellew's Daily Express article about Harriette and John Raphael