From the battlefields of the Somme, Flanders, Gallipoli to Africa, Chairs that Stand Empty tells the never before told story of the lives of the Hulme Hall men who lost their lives in the one of the worst conflicts in history.
After the war it was estimated that 230 current and former students and staff of Hulme Hall had served in the Armed Forces between 1914 and 1919. This figure accounts for over 50% of the total number of students who passed through the Hall since it opened in 1887.The first to be killed from the Hall was Second Lieutenant Wilfred Trevelyan who was hit by shrapnel whilst repairing a support trench near Ypres in May 1915. The last was Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Cunliffe who passed away in the Lake District in March 1919 after contracting an illness at some point whilst serving in Hospitals in Manchester and France. Very few books focus on the life and times of a particular Halls of Residence during the First World War. Piecing together never before published letters, photographs and documents, chairs that stand empty captures the characters and heart-breaking stories behind the names on the Hulme Hall War Memorial. Stories such as those of; Charles Murray Chapman Hamilton whose family posthumously published the children’s book he had painstakingly written and illustrated before the start of the war. Best friends Wilfred Treveylan and James Henderson who went off to war together. Wilfred died in action shortly after arriving in France whilst James went to on win the military cross only days later fighting desperately against wave after wave of German attacks. Robert Bedford wrote vividly of his time in Gallipoli, Sinai and finally France; particularly touching is his record of seeing bodies his friends lying in the Gallipoli heat after failed attacks in August 1915. Harold Swift’s wife discovered the heartbreaking news her husband had died, a month after his death, when reading the casualty lists published in the Australian press. Arthur Lord fought overseas underage. Wounded twice and prompted to Captain by the age of 19, he twice lied about his age on his medical board forms to avoid questions back in England. Kenneth Barry reluctantly gave up his studies to enlist. He was hoping the war would soon be over so he could continue at Hulme Hall. He never returned.