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Ralph Payton

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Ralph Stuart "the Baby" Payton (1894 - 22 July 1916) was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien and a member of the T.C.B.S., along with his older brother Wilfrid. A few years minor of the core members, Payton (and Sidney Barrowclough) continued the T.C.B.S. after the "Great Four" left King Edward's School.

Payton was born in 1894 in France and like most of the Barrovians, went to the University of Cambridge. He did not stay long; convinced by the military lectures, he joined the 1st Birmingham Batallion, the same unit as Tea Cake Barnsley, in late 1914. Payton fought in the Battle of the Somme, and were engaged south-east of La Boiselle. On 22 July 1916, he was killed in action.[1] His body was never identified, and his name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial.[2]


  1. John Garth (2003), Tolkien and the Great War, passim.
  2. Martin Gilbert, What Tolkien Taught Me about the Battle of the Somme, The Cutting Edge, accessed 23 July, 2011