In 1914 Dickie was 17 and in what was to be his final year at Downside school. His brother Arthur had turned 21 at Easter, and some of the family celebrations were in Malta.
ETA had decided his youngest son was to work in the family business and to that end Dickie had been studying German (since prep-school) and shorthand as extra subjects, in addition to preparing for the Higher Certificate exams and OTC Camp in July.
As summer term approached, a harassed ETA wrote to headmaster Dom Leander Ramsay at Downside school:
“Dear Fr Ramsay,
I thank you for your sympathy over the trouble to which I was put on account of the boys coming home. I have arranged for Richard and Wilfrid [Denaro] to stay at my house with my daughter-in-law [Maggie Agius] and George to stay at my son’s [Joseph Agius] house so as not to go near each other. I am very sorry for the great worry you must be having through the illness in the school.
I leave tomorrow for Malta to bring home my wife. I wish Dick to complete his education on the continent. He will leave Downside after the summer term. I ask you to accept … deepest gratitude for your kind help in his education.
Source: Ramsay/Agius family transcripts 2017