It was sold by Herefordshire militaria dealer War & Son to Magdalen College School.
Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and Bar, MC (1884-1917) was the most highly decorated British officer of the First World War, and one of only three men to be awarded the VC twice. He and his brother Christopher Maud Chavasse (1884-1962) were pupils at MCS between 1896-1900, before the family moved to Liverpool.
Noel was awarded his first VC for heroics at Guillemont in 1916 where he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire. His second was given posthumously a year later after he died at a first aid post in the early stages of the offensive at Passchendaele. He had rescued wounded men from No Man’s Land despite being hit in the head himself.
Lord Ashcroft bought his medals in 2009 for £1.5m. They have been on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum.
The 209-page ‘scrapbook’ was created over the winter of 1900-01 and is called Snow Flakes. It takes the form of a handwritten magazine, written by Christopher and illustrated with sketches and watercolours by Noel, depicting scenes from their lives in Oxford including the annual May Morning celebrations, scenes from Port Meadow, a poem called My Heart is in Oxford and fantasy scenes of battle and bravery.
Christopher Chavasse was later Bishop of Rochester and founder of St Peter’s Hall, later St Peter’s College, Oxford. The acquisition also includes the Second World War gallantry medals of his son, Major Noel W Chavasse.
Camilla Kinton (nee Chavasse), granddaughter of Christopher, said: “The Chavasse family are absolutely delighted that the scrapbook has gone to Magdalen College School. Christopher and Noel were extremely happy there, cycling to school each day from Wycliffe Hall and particularly enjoying athletics [both men represented Great Britain in the 1908 Olympic Games in the 400m].
“The family moved to Liverpool in 1900 when their father was made bishop, and the twins begged him to be allowed to stay on as boarders; their request was refused. It seems entirely appropriate that the scrapbook will be looked after in a place where they enjoyed life so much.”
Archive available to view
A spokesperson for the school added: “The MCS Archive was recently announced as the first school archive in the UK to achieve Accredited Archive Status.
"The items will go on display alongside an already extensive collection of personal effects belonging to the brothers, including Noel Chavasse’s field cap and death penny. Once added to the archive, the scrapbook will be digitised and available to view online.”
The scrapbook had been priced at £7000 by War & Son. The firm had bought it as part of a collection from an owner who has been unaware of its significance. Steve Nuwar from the dealership told ATG: “The collector visited our shop in Leominster and my father bought his whole collection from him and this was one of his groups.”