In our continuing series on capturing Grenadian heritage we look at – David Hedog-Jones.
By Ric Greaves 18 Oct 2013
David Hedog-Jones (c1875-1942)
Grenadian School Headmaster; WWI Captain; African School Headmaster; and Vicar.
Margaret Edith (née Martin) with her new husband David Hedog-Jones,
Captain in the British West Indian Regiment, on their wedding day 29th of July 1916.
David Hedog-Jones was probably born not far from Hedog in Gwynedd North Wales, close to Aberdaron, sometime in the 1870’s, however his birth and marriage details have currently not been found.
Unfortunately we know almost nothing of his early life and indead exactly how how he came to be in Grenada.
We do know that in 1910 he earned his National Diplomas (B.A., B.Sc.) in Dairying from the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth) and the British Dairy Institute, Reading and must have taken up the post of Headmaster a Grenada Boy’s Secondary School (GBSS) immediately.
The GBSS was founded as a fee-paying school back in 1885 by the Cocoa and Sugar planters of the island for their children and followed the English grammar school style of education. However, the Colonies were looking to develop education throughout the empire and at about this time the school was reorganized and reopened at the renovated premises on Melville Street, Saint George’s as a free government school with between seventy and eighty boys on the 18th of September 1911.
In 1912 David, as Headmaster of GBSS, published his paper on “Agricultural Education in Grenada“. It illustrated the difficulty he and Grenadian schools in general had with the development of vital education in the field of agriculture. The paper dealt with the importance of agricultural education on the island in its various aspects as consideration on the part of authorities in the West Indies, during the previous decade, particularly the work of the Imperial Department of Agriculture. At the time attempts had been made to introduce rural teaching into Grenada elementary schools, the main purpose of the paper was to show how the re-constituted secondary school in that island would be made to bear relationship to the island in general and to the agricultural community in particular. It seams, however, that he failed in attempts to introduce nature study as a useful subject, into Grenada elementary schools. The lack of requisite and sympathetic knowledge on the part of teachers in the schools — a condition due specifically to the fact that lectures given to such teachers in the in the earlier years were not followed up by further courses. The enthusiasm first engendered soon waned, and a few years later it was proposed that grants should be curtailed in the case of schools that did not use their agricultural plots. The matter began to be serious toward 1907, and since that time the agricultural plot were finally literally abandoned.
This was followed by his attendance to the eighth West Indian Agricultural Conference held in Jamaica in January that year and prompted his 71 page paper entitled the same.
Meanwhile his experiences in Grenada promoted his drive to understand the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of the islands people – leading him to attain another M.A. from Jesus College at the University of Oxford in 1914. This led to his next two books “Glimpses of the Caribbees and Elsewhere” and “West Indian Studies” which look into folk lore, religion, magic, agricultural conference, and glimpses of the Caribees.
Unfortunately on the 28th of July of that year, just one month after the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated by the student Gavrilo Princip, the world was thrown into the horrors of our First World War and the estimated casualties of 37 million men which included 8.5 million deaths. A dark cloud is looming over everyone in the British Colonies and would soon reach the Caribbean and Grenada…
In April of 1915 David encourages the GBSS to published a school magazine, “The Caribbean” which outlines the progressive work school and he himself submits an article on agricultural education in Grenada emphasizing the necessity of bringing the teaching of the primary schools into a more direct connexion with that of the secondary school. The following year the magazine contained an interesting collection of folklore and brings out the striking characteristic of West African folklore, namely, the strong personification of animals, particularly the spider and also a list of West Indian proverbs.
David had met Margaret Edith (born in 1876 in Sunderland, Durham, England), she was the daughter of Canon Henry Martin. It wasn’t too long before the couple had a a son, David Henry James who went on also to have gain an M.A., have a military career as Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, receive an M.B.E, and become a Councillor in 1966 and Mayor of Cheltenham (England) by 1974.
With the war looming many young couples felt a more urgent need to make their commitment to each other more permanent and likewise David married Edith on the 29th of July 1916.
However with the heavy rains of October 1916, the looming war began calling more of it’s children to fight and David had to leave the GBSS and join up. His departure was noted as follows:-
“Owing to the departure of Mr. Hedog-Jones, science teaching at the Grenada Boys’ School is in abeyance. This has caused delay in the beginning of work under the new agricultural cadetship scheme”.
On the 29th of November 1916 Captain David Hedog-Jones of the Grenada Volunteer Force takes up his position as Temporary Lieutenant of the Fifth Battalion of the British West Indian Regiment.
By the May of the following year he is made Temporary Captain in the Oversea Contingent of the BWIR. Like all staff officers he was in the classification FF which denoted gradings for War Office posts for pay and allowances of up to £400 per annum. Finally by in August of 1919 Captain C. H. Burke relinquished his rank, David was obliged to take up the position of Temporary Major. During the end of 1917 their second child, daughter Edith is born in Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire (England).
We haven’t, as yet, found the records of his war career but we do know that when in February of 1920 David was in Haifa, Palestine on the staff of the Department of Agriculture at a time when the first of two large political demonstrations took place proceeding the events of Easter weekend David was very much there and wrote:-
“…in the absence of both police and soldiers, the breaking open of shops in the New Bazaar, and looting was absolutely unrestrained“.
The war over, officially David relinquished his rank of Temporary Major two years later in October of 1920. At about this time he became a member of the Palestine Oriental Society and Society of Cymmrodorion.
As with many soldiers of that period it is evident that the war had a profound effect on David. Most certainly with the influence and support of Margaret Edith he turned to religion and became a Vicar and in 1923 the family are living at the Kelloe Vicarage in Coxhoe, Durham (England).
At some point in 1923 David was invited by Hugh Clifford to take up a post as the Organiser of Practical Education to control the Trade Schools in Accra on the Gold Coast and he and Margaret travelled by ship to Ghana, Africa. He was there to aid with the development of education in Accra as Headmaster and member of the ‘European’ (as apposed to African) staff of the four JUNIOR TRADE SCHOOLS, which consisted of three other headmasters Lieut.-Col. E. St. J. Christophers (deceased by 14 Feb 1924), D.S.O., Captain H. G. Ardron, Captain A. Drake. Brockman, and one relief headmaster). The African staff were four each of Woodwork, Metalwork, Masonry, Agricultural and Literary instructors.
Although he took five months leave in the second half of that first year he spent the whole of the next two years there teaching and developing the schools. He wrote a short report on the four Junior Trade Schools on the 17 Aug 1925. They were all, at the time, in temporary buildings one for the Eastern Province (Kibi with 72 pupils), the Central and Western Provinces (Assuantsi, 60 pupils),Northern Territories (Yendi, 90 pupils), and one for the Ashanti (Mampong, 60 pupils. This later school was originally ministered by Elizabeth W Telfer as headmistress in charge of the Province until, April 12th when she left and David then took charge, and he was required to combine the duties of Acting Provincial Inspector of Schools and Headmaster of the Junior Trade School, Mampong. until she returned on October 1st.
Rev. David and Margaret Edith returned to England some time before 1929 when the family moved to the Brookthorpe Vicarage, near Gloucester (England) where they remain for some ten years. Then in March of 1932 he was the Incumbent of the Benefice of Brookthorpe with Whaddon where he was on the Toddington Parish Council with Margaret Edith.
The former educator of the Grenada Boy’s Secondary School passed away whilst at home in Ewesham Road, Toddington near Cheltenham (England) on Tuesday 24th of March 1942.
Ten years later David’s son married a member of the Grimsby family of Lincolnshire (England) and county tennis player, Miss Susan Anningston Tickler, daughter of the late Mr Harry Tickler, at St James’ Church on the 7th of July 1952. And Margaret Edith lives almost another two decade and died as a widow aged 84 on the 24th of November 1960 in the family home.
- D. Hedog-Jones, “Agricultural Education in Grenada, with Special Reference to the Secondary School for Boys”, West Indian Bulletin, vol. 12-13, 1912, p.221
- D. Hedog-Jones, “A West Indian Agricultural Conference”, 1912, pp.71
- D. Hedog-Jones, “Glimpses of the Caribbees and Elsewhere”, 1914, pp.97
- The Agricultural News, vol. 14, no. 338, 1915, p.124
- The Agricultural News, vol. 15, no. 358, 1916, p.44
- D. Hedog-Jones, “West Indian Studies”, 1916, pp.97
- Ed., D. Hedog-Jones, “The Caribbean”, vol. 1, 8vo., 1916
- The London Gazette, Issues 30295 to 32127
- Palin report, British National Archives (FO 371/5121)
- Gloucestershire Echo, 1942, p.4
- Cheltenham Chronicle, 1942, p.6
- C. L. Joseph, “The British West Indies Regiment 1914–1918″, Journal of Caribbean History, vol. II, May 1971, pp. 94–124