Image of Jesus College war memorial

William Stobart, Lieutenant Durham Light Infantry, attached to the Royal Flying Corps

William Stobart matriculated in 1912 after attending Rugby School. For some unknown reason his nickname was “Buff”.

Born: Winnipeg, Canada on 16 January 1895

Fell in action: 24 August 1916

W. StobartFirst boat oarsman

He was a member of Jesus College Boat Club and rowed at bow in the first boat of the Lent Races in 1913 and 1914, going to Head of the River in the latter. In 1914 he also rowed at Henley Regatta in the Thames Cup, losing in the final by ¾ of length to Caius.

Little else is known about his time in College aside from a few lines from “The Song of Hiawatha” by H. W. Longfellow, which is quoted to him on the last page of the Easter Term 1914 Chanticlere, in a section entitled “Answers to Correspondents”:

Buff: “Never heard he an adventureBut himself had met a greater, Never any marvellous story, But himself could tell a stranger”

(Chanticlere, Easter Term 1914, p39).

Returned from Canada for war service

According to a newspaper clipping he was in Canada when war broke out so returned immediately and joined the Durham Light Infantry.

The Jesus College Society Annual Report 1917 obituary for him says that after having been slightly wounded twice he was then appointed to the Royal Flying Corps. He gained his wings within two months and joined his squadron abroad.

The obituary ends by saying” Since the loss of this son his father, an old Jesus oarsman, has lost a son-in-law, also an old Jesus man and son of an old Jesus man” (Annual Report 1917, p37).

You can email us on, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War.

Hear from our students