Donald Gyles, Stroud Green School war hero - 100 years ago this Thursday

This Thursday night (20th-21st April) will be the 100th anniversary of the Second Battle of Dover Strait, World War I, 1917. This was a naval battle in the English-French channel and the hero of the night was nineteen-year-old Donald Gyles (1897-1979) - a former pupil of Stroud Green School (from 1905-1910).

Gyles's ship (HMS Broke - pronounced "Brook") was one of two British ships that came under fire from six German ships. The captain of Gyles's ship on that night was Commander Edward Evans - a member of Scott's team to the Antarctic in 1912. Gyles's ship was badly damaged but managed to ram one of the German ships right down the middle. The two ships then became locked together and Gyles's ship came under further attack. Despite shrapnel injuries to his eye, arm and leg, Gyles kept the ship's gun firing and then fought-off men who had climbed aboard from the rammed German ship. Two of the German ships were eventually sunk.

Gyles became a national hero, was in all the papers - national and international - and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the King.

Gyles visited Stroud Green School later in July, after recovering from his injuries, and donated a prize fund of £25 (about £1500 in today's money). The Mayor of Hornsey unveiled a colour portrait of Gyles and the children were allowed a half-day off!

See the links below, there are a few more links I can post if people are interested: (Marlborough Express [New Zealand], 26 July 1917, p6) - mentions Stroud Green School

Securing the Narrow Sea: The Dover Patrol 1914 - 1918 (Steve R Dunn, 2017) - mentions Stroud Green School"securing+the+narrow+sea"+"stroud+green"&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwja_cX3qq7TAhVFIlAKHZLwAhUQ6AEIJDAA

Diary of a Night Bomber Pilot in World War One (Clive Semple, 2008) - mentions Stroud Green School in newspaper cutting"night+bomber+pilot"+donald+gyles&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-jfKFq67TAhUJL1AKHeU7DVwQ6AEIJDAA (Imperial War Museum, 1917 photo of Gyles - probably returning home from hospital) (The Illustrated London News, 5 May 1917, p7) - includes photo of Gyles


  • Dear Will. Very interesting. Could we feature this in our community magazine? Drop me a line at thanks
  • If you know where he lived, I could try adding it to my eventual Stroud Green Map
  • RajSahota:
    Sent you an email earlier this morning.

    Gyles is in Hornsey on the 1901 and 1911 censuses, but I don't have access to the full records ( etc.). Ancestry have a free trial if you want to check, but I am not eligible.

    In 1917, the Gyles family were living at Linkville, Muswell Avenue. (Hendon & Finchley Times, 18 May 1917, p3)

Sign In or Register to comment.