Warner-Johnson bursary commemorates strong family links with Whitgift

Introducing the new Warner-Johnson bursary

The WA Members’ Newsletter previously provided details of the remarkable links between the Warner-Johnson family and the School and their family saying above. In this edition we provide further details of this extraordinary history in celebration of the 56 anniversary of the Marriage of Major Warner- Johnson and Mrs Warner-Johnson on 22nd April. We are all thinking of you on this happy occasion. Please accept our congratulations and best wishes.

Major J.V. Warner-Johnson is a generous supporter of the Whitgiftian Association Bursary Appeal and has very kindly set up a legacy, specifically a Classics Prize in the name of the Warner-Johnson family who have a remarkable connection to Whitgift School. The Prize is in recognition of six generations of the Warner-Johnson family who have attend the School.

Major Warner Johnson’s sons, Jonathan OW (1978-1983) and Timothy (1979-1985) both attended the School. Major Warner-Johnson’s late father OW (1914-21) attended the School during WW1 and both Major Warner-Johnson and his late father served as committee members for the Whitgift Benevolent Society. Mr ‘Golly’ E.E. Kitchener was Master to both Major Warner-Johnson and his late father and they were both taught Geography by Mr Charlie Fisher.

An extraordinary total of 19 OWs of the Warner-Johnson family were educated at the School including at the previous location of George Street, where Major Warner-Johnson’s three Great-great uncles were educated. Many family members experienced life at Whitgift during WW2 including four of Major Warner-Johnson’s cousins who were at Whitgift during the end of the War at the same time as Major Warner-Johnson. His cousins are Lieutenant Colonel William McWilliam (OW), late The King’s and Parachute Regiments, Dorrid M. Bruce-Johnson (OW), Richard Bruce-Johnson (OW) and Christopher Jeckyll (OW).

Major Warner-Johnson’s Great-grandfather Bruce Halliwell Johnson farmed the Foundations Estate – Woodbury – in Addiscombe and his two sons Jack and Frank were also OWs.

Major Warner-Johnson’s Great-grandfather’s two daughters, Lilian and Maud married Arthur Hinks, CBE. FRS. (OW) and Gerald Warner (OW) respectively.

Gerald Warner’s two younger brothers, Evan Warner (OW) and Archibald Warner (OW) were tragically killed in action 11th December 1914 and 1 July 1916, whilst serving with the London Rifle Brigade in France. Archibald Warner OW, BA. Queens College, 2nd Lient. was his younger brother. He was killed leading his platoon at the attack on Gommecourt, on the Somme, during the morning of 1st July 1916. His bravery and sacrifice is recognised, along with his older brother Evan, at the School’s main entrance.

Major Warner-Johnson’s other Great-uncles were also killed in action in April 1915 and April 1917 but they were not OWs.

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Major Warner-Johnson and his family for support of the Bursary Appeal. The talented boy that benefits from a Whitgift education as a result of the Warner-Johnson prize will learn about the remarkable connection between the family and the School and the sacrifices that were made by OWs during the two World Wars to provide the freedom and opportunities that the boys enjoy today.


Naomi Newstead