Worsley: Scholar and soldier (1895 – 1974)

Colonel S.J Worsley

Portrait of Sidney John Worsley (1895 – 1974)

The portrait of John Worsley that hangs in the Worsley meeting room on the 2nd floor of Horizon’s is distinctive in its depiction of the two sides of the subject’s life: the academic and the military.

John Worlsey had an impoverished upbringing, but extra lessons and hard work won him a scholarship to a private school. He then earned a scholarship for teacher training, alongside which he enlisted in the Territorial Force as a gunner in 1911.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, Worsley was commissioned, and he went on to serve for the duration of the war. By the time he was 23 years old, he had been awarded three Military Crosses and a Distinguished Service Order for “gallantry and devotion to duty” in brutal circumstances.

After the war, Worsley spent a year in India, then earned an undergraduate degree in History at King’s College London, before working at the University of London while serving in the O.T.C.

During the Second World War, Colonel Worsley served on the General Staff as Inspector of Training Corps and Cadets, and was awarded an Honorary M.A. by Oxford University.

In 1945, Worsley was appointed Principal of the College of Estate Management, a post which he held for ten years. Principal Worlsey led the College as it rebuilt itself after the war. He moved the College into a new permanent home, expanded its premises, and reorganised the teaching structure of the College.

It has been said that John Worsley was never sure whether he was happiest as an academic or a soldier, hence the reason for his unusual portrait which includes both aspects of his life.  It is worth noting, however, that the military uniform is in the foreground.

Extract from article ‘Sidney John Worsley, 1895-1974’, Dr Terry Buckingham, The Staffordshire Knot, pages 28-29, date unknown.