York, Frederick Augustus, duke of

York, Frederick Augustus, duke of

York, Frederick Augustus, duke of, 1763-1827, second son of George III of England. In the French Revolutionary Wars he commanded (1793-95) the unsuccessful English forces in Flanders. Despite his incompetence in the field, he became a field marshal (1795) and commander in chief of the army (1798) and set about reforming army abuses at home. He led another disastrous expedition to the Netherlands in 1799. He resigned his command in 1809 after he was accused of selling army commissions through his mistress, Mary Anne Clarke. He was cleared and reappointed in 1811.
The Duke of York’s Royal Military School was founded in 1803 by Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The school was originally named the Royal Military Asylum and located at Chelsea, London. In 1892 the RMA was renamed The Duke of York's Royal Military School and, in 1909, moved to new premises constructed on the cliffs of Dover, Kent, United Kingdom. The RMA was founded as an establishment to deal with many orphans of the armed forces during the years 1793-1815 from during conflict between Britain and Revolutionary France. The RMA was modeled on the Royal Hibernian Military School (1769-1924) and based on a monitorial system of education. Today the Duke of York’s Royal Military School provides co-educational admission to pupils whose parents are serving or have served in any branch of the armed services at any rank. The school is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence.

Pupils are well provided for, and the school has a strong sporting culture. The 150 acres (607,000 m²) of land provides more than enough room for, among others, a full size athletics track, astroturf, swimming pool, indoor squash courts, gymnasium and dozens of full size grass pitches for rugby union and cricket.

The school is currently divided into nine Houses. Until the school became coeducational in 1994, only eight boarding houses existed and these were subdivided into two junior (Haig and Kitchener) and six senior (Roberts, Wolseley, Wellington, Clive, Wolfe and Marlborough) houses.

(Haig and Kitchener) houses were re-modelled in the 1960s to hold 4 dorms instead of the traditional and usual 3, the extra room being built onto the end of the house past the bootroom and toilets. These extensions included a laundry room, the dorm itself, a shower area, the Deputy Housemaster's room and a second multi-use room. The long, open dormitories were remodelled in the mid 1980s with more private cubicles and the multi-use room was modified to contain 3 extra cubicles.

As part of the preparation for coeducational status, the former sanatorium was converted into a ninth boarding house, Alanbrooke. This was initially a mixed-age house housing all of the school's female pupils. As additional girls arrived over successive years, Marlborough was converted to a senior girls house. The male incumbents were moved into Kitchener which then became a senior boys house. The intake of male junior school pupils was, of necessity, reduced at this time due to the limited space available to convert into additional bedspaces in Haig.

Wolfe and Clive houses have also since been converted to female houses for the Senior School girls, Alanbrooke being used exclusively for the Junior School girls.

The pupils are well known for their high school spirit which continues well after school through a strong Old Boys (and now Girls also) network. It is common for pupils generations apart to socialise with each other as if they had grown up together. This can be particularly useful when travelling as the school's unique background has resulted in a wide spread of ex pupils across the globe. There are particularly high concentrations in Australia and Hong Kong.

The School recently celebrated its Bi-Centenary in 2001/02. It held a commemorative service at Christmas in 2001 as well as a special Parade at the end of 2002. Select pupils of the then years 7+8 were involved in the re-enactment of the founding of the Royal Asylum at Chelsea.

Until 1999 the School's headmasters were all serving military officers. Since then there have been two civilian headmasters. The school also has a Regimental Sergeant Major among its staff whose primary role is to enforce military standards and discipline, which includes ceremonial duties.

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