Chapel and the Chaplain

The Chapel routine According to Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50), ‘On weekdays, the service lasted fifteen minutes, comprising a prayer, psalm (sung), lesson, hymn, and prayer.’ Sundays saw a morning and evening service, the latter including a sermon. Added to this was a voluntary service on Thursday evening and early morning Communion, irreverently referred to as ‘Holy Swipes,’ for those who had been confirmed. House or dormitory life also had a religious component: Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) remembers how ‘House prayers each evening were led by Prefects with the Tutor present,’ while Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-55) recalls “‘Prayers in the passage outside one’s “tish” most evenings, perhaps with a short reading from the New Testament, which I think quite impressed me due to the poetic nature of the King James version.’ Most of our respondents accepted daily Chapel attendance with few complaints; typical comments included “We went every day and that was that,” “normal and perfectly acceptable,” Most respondents accepted daily Chapel attendance with few complaints; typical comments included, ‘We went every day and that was that,’ ‘Normal and perfectly acceptable,’ ‘A necessary part of the curriculum,’ and ‘Just part of one’s daily routine.’ A few were less enthusiastic. One anonymous OW felt the mandatory nature of Chapel ‘did rather sour me for religion for a number of years’, while John Thorneycroft (Benson 1953-58) wrote that ‘the frequency of the services was felt to be a bit much even then!’ Some who went on to strong faith and ordination in later life were among the least enthusiastic about their College experience of religion. Thomas Collett-White (Picton 1950-55) considered compulsory daily Chapel attendance ‘dreary,’ making ‘no impression. Post Well. Coll. I discovered “the real thing,”’ while Richard Harries (Hill 1949-54), later Bishop of Oxford, wrote that: ‘Religion consisted of daily morning prayers. This meant in effect switching off when one went into the Chapel and switching on again on leaving.’ Conversely, some of those indifferent to faith were more positive about the experience. According to Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47), ‘An incentive for attending the Thursday evening service was that one was excused one of the two evening preps. But there were some masters who felt their subjects were the ones that were not excused! Another reason for attending, at least if one was in Talbot House, was just to have some fresh air in relaxed conditions in the evening.’ Perhaps the prevailing view was summarised by Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53), saying ‘I was never really enthusiastic about religion. Nevertheless, the Chapel had a nice design, the seats were not too hard, and the sermons reasonably short.’ Music in Chapel Almost all respondents had good memories of the music and singing they experienced in Chapel, whether as members of the choir or the general congregation. Typical comments included: ‘I enjoyed Chapel because, not having a tuneful voice, I liked singing in company.’ Anonymous ‘The hymn singing was rousing and there were many favourites.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54) ‘We all remember the surge of feeling when the full Chapel sang a rousing hymn at the end of term.’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56) Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) commented that ‘once a week, I think on Thursday mornings, the music master, Mr Allen, put us through the hymns and psalms for the coming week so that we had no excuse for not singing lustily,’ while Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) gave more detail: ‘The then Director of Music, a splendid man called Maurice Allen, used to conduct the whole school in singing practice in the Chapel, which resulted in some marked improvement. However, there were still some boys who used to spend their times in Chapel testing themselves to see how many of the boys they could see they could put a name to!’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) also mentions the latter pastime: ‘I was in the Choir for a bit, as a treble and alto, thereafter retiring back to the House benches high in the centre section of the south side of the Chapel. From there, one could see everyone and everything, and we learned the names of all boys in the College from this perch – now, when a name is mentioned, I normally still pick up on it from this practice.’ Many OWs mentioned favourite pieces of music, for example: ‘We sang some great hymns, including a setting of Tennyson’s Sunset and Evening Star, and Addison’s The Spacious Firmament on High.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57) ‘Wonderful music… Stanford’s Te Deum in B Flat and Jerusalem (are) never forgotten.’ Bobby Baddeley (Picton 1948-52) ‘I still remember Stanford’s Te Deum, which we sang from time to time – and I still very much like it, when I hear it.’ Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48) ‘The most beautiful piece of singing by the choir, which I particularly remember one Christmas, was R L de Pearsall’s setting of In Dulci Jubilo – I’ve always loved it ever since!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blucher 1951-55) ‘It did foster a love of the grander choral works, such as Messiah and Zadok the Priest.’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56) Even more of our respondents singled out ‘the tremendous organ that could make the walls shake,’ with comments such as: ‘I particularly enjoyed staying on after the Sunday morning service to listen to Mr Timberley’s organ voluntary.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) ‘What comes to mind, and the inner ear, is the organ: a fine instrument. It was here I became familiar with Bach preludes and fugues, Widor’s Toccata, and other stalwarts of the repertoire.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57) ‘I enjoyed the playing of Mr Timberley at the organ as we departed Chapel. His rendition of Widor’s Toccata was literally thrilling.’ David Nalder (Orange 1949-53) ‘I loved the music in Chapel, particularly when the organ was given its head; I’m sure I was told by the Director of Music, Maurice Allen, that the instrument was technically slightly too large for the building and it really was exciting when all the stops were out – the air positively throbbed!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blucher 1951-55) ‘That magnificent organ, usually played by Mr Allen, was quite inspirational.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) ‘I remember some very accomplished organ playing, I think by Brian Kenny.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) ‘A Prefect in the Picton had recently won an organ scholarship to Oxford… he invited the two of us into the organ loft to give us a recital of Widor’s Toccata and Fugue on this impressive organ. This was a fantastic experience for me and introduced me to our wonderful College Chapel, from which I received so much “comfort and joy” in the years ahead.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59) ‘I loved listening to the organ music and admired the stained-glass windows which were installed during my time at College.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) Nigel was not the only OW to mention the stained-glass windows; for many boys, they were part of the pleasant sensory experience, along with the music. John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49) even recalls the building having ‘a distinctive, pleasant smell, I suppose of polish.’ Mike Bolton (Hopetoun 1947-53) has another memory about the windows: ‘When the new windows in Chapel were being dedicated, the Bishop of Oxford was sitting on the left of the chancel whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury preached. He stared ahead at the first window which depicts a locomotive called Wellington and an athlete leaping a hurdle apparently in front of the train. At the end of the service, the bishop was heard in the vestry asking if the hurdler got over the track before the train hit him.’ Reading the lesson Reading the lesson, or daily Bible passage, was of course another staple of the Chapel’s services. Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) elaborates: ‘As a member of the “Upper Ten” Prefects, we took it in turns to read the lessons in Chapel. This was daunting at first but then became easier. Only one bad incident I recall was when the reading list, prepared by the Chaplain, the Rev. Dudley Dinnis, said I should read a particularly juicy extract from the Book of Ecclesiasticus. This I duly did, and though many may not have been paying attention, Douglas Young was, and was horrified. He came up to me opposite the entrance to Chapel and said, “I hope you realise you read the wrong lesson this morning!” I apologised but explained that it was as on the Chaplain’s list. Shortly afterwards, a flustered Dudley Dinnis came over to apologise to me and say it was his misprint and it should have read “Ecclesiastes!” He then kindly invited me over for a glass of sherry to make amends!’ Other students found the experience unpleasant: ‘Reading the lesson as a College Prefect was always rather a frightening experience!’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52) ‘My duties as a College Prefect were not too arduous, but it did mean that I was expected to read the lesson in Chapel fairly frequently. That task was a nightmare to me because I have never really been able to read aloud and I did everything I could to avoid it. With hindsight, I was probably dyslexic, though in those days it was not a recognised problem.’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56) Sometimes the lessons were read by teaching staff, one of whom made a particular impression: ‘It was a real joy when Anthony Crawley read the lesson. Such a beautiful speaking voice with a very individual delivery and impeccable phrasing!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blucher 1951-55) Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) experienced this slightly differently: ‘One usher [Anthony Crawley] had the most extreme of old-fashioned Oxford accents and each year he was given to read the lesson where “The wean-ed child shall play upon the hole of the ass.” All College used to wait for this amazing retreat into High Victorian speech and try to contain our giggles.’ Colin Innes (Combermere 1949-54) recalls a different usher’s peculiarity: ‘Somehow, Dudley Dinnis always gave Jack Wort the same Bible reading every time… The reading was John, Chapter 11 and Verse 35, which happen to be the shortest verse in the Bible. Jack Wort finally asked why he was asked to read the same lesson, to which Dudley D replied, “Because I knew you would stumble over Verse 35.” You see Jack Wort had a bit of a lisp and so saying “Jesus wept” sounded more like “Jesus swept” and, at that point, Jack Wort announced his reading as accurately as he could!’ The Chaplain This brings us to that most central of roles: the College Chaplain. For our earlier respondents, this was Owen Chadwick: priest, rugby international, later Regius Professor of History at Cambridge and Master of Selwyn College. Even early in his career, Chadwick made a strong impression. Allen Molesworth (Blucher 1945-48) describes him as ‘an inspiring priest,’ while Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) simply states how ‘he was impressive.’ Others went into more detail: ‘The Reverend Owen Chadwick, the Padre, was the most inspirational man of the cloth whom I have ever met. He had recently replaced the previous, very popular incumbent in a major altercation regarding the conduct of the Chapel services. Owen Chadwick was a thoroughly robust, militant Christian who preached his faith without fear or favour. He had a good sense of humour, which made him a joy to listen to, whether formally in his sermons delivered each Sunday in Chapel, in his Divinity class, or in the informal atmosphere of our Tutor’s sitting room where he instructed us for Confirmation – the latter made more memorable by the biscuits, butter,

Academic Expectations

Academic standards Many Wellingtonians of the 1940s considered that the school held reasonably high academic standards during those years: ‘Educationally, the Wellington Common Entrance was considered the second hardest after Winchester.’ Leslie Bond (Lynedoch 1948-53) ‘Wellington’s Common Entrance examination demanded a reasonable standard of education. Wellington had a higher standard than, say, Eton, and some boys who failed to get into Wellington had to seek for education at lesser schools.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54) ‘Harry House had the admirable policy of hiring staff who were budding academics, but unfit for military service. They joined similar academics appointed by Longden. The result was a flowering of the arts and theatre, and a rather arrogant clique of “intellectuals,” who “used to carry slim volumes of TS Eliot around with them wherever they went.” This was perhaps not what one might expect from a school like Wellington so long ago. Later, some of them had success in the arts. An outsider might have expected the War and its aftermath to have been a dark age for Wellington. It seemed to me to be a golden age. After the War, when the regular teachers came back, I felt that something was lost.’ Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) ‘I was fortunate to arrive at a time when teaching standards were improving with a cadre of dedicated schoolmasters who had returned to teaching after demobilisation. They also brought a creative spirit to the school’s cultural and academic life.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) However, some students from the 1940s and ‘50s felt that standards had not been high, and teaching not particularly good: ‘Wellington academically: pretty low, or I would never have got in! Marlborough was considered much better in those days.’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47) ‘College’s culture of 1950 was muscular (rugger), military (lots of Army sons and recruits for Sandhurst), almost indifferent to matters academic (it felt like that anyway).’ Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53) ‘I am sorry to say, educationally, Wellington was not a good school, but the greatest of fun, and, from that point of view was rather a waste of my father’s money.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) ‘The quality of my teachers, almost without exception, I recall as being poor.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) ‘Teaching was benign, to the point of not pushing enough.’ John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49) ‘I look back with a feeling that most teachers were competent, but few went beyond this.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘(There was) no real attempt to show boys how to learn or why it was important.’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) ‘I learned very little. I liked most of the ushers, but none stimulated in me any sense of curiosity or appreciation of the value of learning. In the classroom, the main goals were fun and mischief. Much more fun than studying and learning was making toast with a candle in the back row of the class, or with pencil and sharpener held aloft asking for permission to go to the lavatory hoping to elicit the answer, “Do it in the waste-paper basket and don’t make a mess.”’ Christopher Capron (Benson 1949-54) ‘Wellington, during my time, was not an academic school. Beautiful buildings and grounds with a great history and tradition, but not academic. My grouse is that I was never taught how to concentrate and study subjects that did not interest me. I was, I think, an average student. I needed to be inspired and motivated. (And) if not inspired, then taught the need to buckle down and learn how to learn. For us, those who did (well) were “swots,” not bullied, but perhaps pitied for not joining us in whatever we were doing.’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56) ‘When I went to Wellington, it was not, I think, regarded as a top public school and was not that well known. When I told people where I was at school, they asked whether it was “the school in Somerset” or “the school for potential Army officers?” It was not well endowed. It attracted mostly children of (the) professional classes and was not academically in the top flight. Nevertheless, it was much respected by those who had connections with it.’ John Thorneycroft (Benson 1953-58) Some respondents took a more nuanced view, commenting on particular educational aspects offered, or on attitudes towards learning: ‘I was very much General Sixth… This suited me as it meant subjects, such as History and Maths, would be taught by the inspirational masters of the time. They opened doors to one’s imagination and there was no forcing the pace to cover a curriculum needed to get into university. I think College opened the minds of those not so destined, as there was time to do so in a less taxing curriculum… There were plenty of role models amongst the staff willing to help if you were prepared to engage with them. Nevertheless we were expected to make the running, which meant those who chose not to could pass through College in a gentle meander, not bothering to get much from it.’ Colin Mattingley (Talbot 1952-56) ‘Wellington was considered a college which encouraged leadership and an ability to fend for one’s self, not especially academic like Winchester College, for example.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54) ‘Wellington was not a school noted for excellent examination results and I never felt pressure to achieve academic miracles… I would describe the school’s objective more as assisting the pupils to make the best of the talents they were given.’ Richard Merritt (Picton 1954-59) I think we were not well-prepared for exams. For instance, I don’t remember sitting “mocks.”’ Christopher Miers (Beresford 1955-59) ‘It is difficult to comment on the standard of teaching overall. Monotonous is the word I would choose. Wellington did well in Classics, History and the Arts. It gained university entrances in these subjects as well as many entrances to Sandhurst.’ Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) ‘Whatever it may have been for the great mass of boys, Wellington in my time, was, presumably for a small minority, an intensely academic school. If you showed an early aptitude for a subject, you would be taken up, carefully nurtured, given highly specialised teaching in a small group in a narrow range of subjects – I was told to abandon all scientific and mathematical efforts beyond basic school certificate maths; all this with the ultimate aim of winning a scholarship at an Oxford or Cambridge college. This was a kind of pedagogy that would not now meet much approval, but it suited me fine.’ Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) ‘No doubt the standard of education for the brighter pupils was excellent. For those of average intellect, like me, I don’t think the system got the best out of them.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58) Several commented, with hindsight, that teaching methods of that era differed from today: ‘All teaching then was blackboard based, with none of the modern and interactive aids available today. So much more of a challenge for teachers to keep their pupils’ interest and attention!’ Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) ‘In retrospect, apart from the blackboard, there were very few visual aids. It would depend on the personality and skills of the teacher.’ Thomas Collett-White (Picton 1950-55) ‘I think, for my generation, there was a menu of subjects that needed to be taught for the exam but there was little attempt to make learning interesting and applicable to life experience.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) ‘My memory is of a traditional teacher-centric style reinforced by a substantial “preparation” workload every evening. The atmosphere in the classroom was always positive and respectful. The learning environment was teacher-centric but we were encouraged to search the literature, be creative, and present our own ideas to be discussed.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) ‘The ushers and their teaching methods varied enormously. Indeed, I never met a more idiosyncratic group of professionals before or since. Some were brilliant, and I consider it a great privilege of my life to have sat at their feet. Some infused their lessons with humour and fun whilst still delivering good, solid teaching; others achieved somewhat lesser results by what can only be described as a rule of terror.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) ‘Challenging, but realistic. Given plenty of “prep” but facilities such as the library were excellent. We were quite diligent and did not fool around “much.”’ John Le Mare (Stanley 1950-55) The War’s influence Several respondents identified the Second World War as having an appreciable effect on their education. The War itself clearly impacted the availability of teachers: ‘The staff at Wellington during the War tended to be a curious mixture of persons exempted from military service for one reason or another.’ Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48) ‘With young men away at the War, we were left with a worthy Second XI of staff too old or incapacitated to fight.’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) Some continued to feel this, even after the War: ‘For the average boy, the standard of teaching was below par. Wellington had not yet benefited from the infusion of younger teachers returning from war service. Many of the teaching staff were too old or infirm to be called up and continued to teach at the College and were still in situ in 1949.’ Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949-53) ‘Those available for teaching included older men and those unfit for service. Some were very good, and I am sure others did their best, but today’s staff are in another category.’ Anonymous (1948-52) ‘In my day, they were a motley crew! The Common Room was still recovering from the War years when many of the best teachers were conscripted or killed.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) ‘The school was picking itself up after the educational restraints and costly derelictions of a long war, including a low point when the master had been killed… Its image had also suffered from a series of local burglaries perpetrated by boys.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) ‘Looking back, I think Wellington, and perhaps other public schools, were in a post-war time-warp. Some masters were good, but none inspirational, with the majority past their sell-by date and living in a pre-war or even Edwardian world.’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56) Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) offers an effective analysis of the 1950s’ teaching staff: ‘Broadly, I would divide the staff into three groups. There were a few older men who were approaching retirement and had served in the First World War. Typical of these was Colonel Roy. There was a middle-aged group who had graduated in the 1920s and ‘30s and gone into teaching as a career. They were too old to serve in the Second World War and had continued teaching. An example was my tutor in the Picton in 1951, Rupert Horsley. The third group were younger, and many of these had seen active service and, as we shall see, bore the consequences of it.’ Many of these younger teachers were respected due to their War service: ‘Many of the staff in our day served during World War Two in the armed services. I don’t suppose any had been through any form of teacher training, but their experience of the world more than compensated.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) ‘When I was there, nearly all the staff had served in the War, in most theatres – Burma, including Chindits, to North-West Europe and the Atlantic convoys. As far as I remember, they were all afforded some degree of respect.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) And due to their effect on the school: ‘There returned from the War an increasing flow of

CCF: Corps Life

For many, it was a positive experience: ‘I fiddled my age to get into the Corps a term early. I loved it, and, apart from attending each of the summer camps, I went on several holiday attachments to Regular Training Establishments in the area. The majority of boys at Wellington professed to regard the Corps as a joke or were even openly contemptuous of the whole set-up. Nevertheless, the Corps operated with surprising efficiency and good military order.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) ‘Being quite good at its activities, I enjoyed the Corps and attended Corps camp for a couple of years. As one of the five CSMs I enjoyed the smartness of drill, and teaching the ability to take apart and reassemble the Bren gun blindfold to simulate darkness.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) ‘I was 14 years and three months old when I joined and I enjoyed it greatly. I learnt a great deal and became very adept at field craft, map reading and the like. I loved the strategy and planning part of things too.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) ‘Yes, this was fun, and I ended up being RSM of the CCF. As a “new boy” I was amazed to receive on my first day a rifle handed to me to look after for the whole five years. These were stored, under chain and keys, in the Armoury.’ John Le Mare (Stanley 1950-55) ‘Corps was great fun and very useful skills – shooting, knots, first aid etc.’ Robin Lake (Benson 1952-57) ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the Army Section. It was welcome distraction from regular College life and apart from spit-shining boots and blancoing canvas, we all looked forward to those Wednesday afternoons.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) ‘I very much enjoyed Corps and indeed as a result seriously considered going into the Army. I ended up being a CSM, so fairly senior in the rankings. I particularly enjoyed weapons training and shooting the various weapons on the range – in those days 303s, Sten guns and Bren guns. As one became senior you could join what was called “Junior Leaders” and we were put through some quite tough tasks.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58) Almost everyone could remember to which rank they rose, or failed to rise, although few could match this story of how their promotion was achieved: ‘I was a sergeant in the Corps. To gain my promotion, I went on a course in the holidays at the Police Training College in London, fell out of a tree hitting my head on a steel bin, went to the Septic Military Hospital and was put in the syphilitic ward… I was sent to surgery for a septic leg, but luckily it was noted that I wasn’t syphilitic just in time and I was returned to the ward unharmed and did eventually get my forehead drained. Three stripes well earned?’ John de Grey (Blucher 1938-43) Others were less enthusiastic about the Corps and what it entailed: ‘All I remember is long marches with a heavy rifle, and “The first three letters of ‘management’ are ‘man.’”’ Dick Barton (Lynedoch 1938-42) ‘We were issued with a peaked cap, and a uniform with a great many brass buttons which had to be cleaned with Duraglit.’ Peter Bell (Blucher 1943-48) ‘Blanco and Brasso were king, together with the ability to polish boots to a mirror-like finish; not to mention being able to iron the necessary creases on the back of one’s serge blouse or jacket, to the exact regulation lengths – the main difficulty being with the irons. They were not as known today; they were flat-irons, heated on gas-rings at the end of the dormitory, until reaching the required temperature. Judgement of this was dodgy – one spat, and if it sat and sizzled, okay; but if it leapt off, too hot, and even through the ubiquitous brown paper, the serge was in severe danger of scorching, requiring delicate work with a razor-blade to scrape off the burn-marks.’ Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59) ‘As a timid young person who disliked shouting and physical exertions on things like assault courses, which were beyond my capacity, I detested the Corps, although rather to my surprise, as a National Service officer after leaving Wellington, I became easily reconciled to the army.’ Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) ‘Initially I had little enthusiasm for the Corps, with its basic infantry training (“kitten crawl and “bushy-topped tree”) and the hour of drill in “mufti” which took place on South Front each Friday morning. The termly Field Day exercises in an army training area were not taken seriously. But I became more engaged when with sergeant’s stripes I attended one summer camp in tents on Salisbury Plain and also took over the more adventurous Junior Leaders cadre.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) ‘The same disadvantage, growing no taller than 5’2”, presented itself during my time in the Junior Training Corps as the standard 303 Lee-Enfield rifle, apart from its weight, was far too long for me to manage properly, especially on field exercises.’ Anonymous ‘The Corps was a bore. I was a corporal and found it heavy going. It is interesting that our rifles were Lee Enfield 303s made in 1916!’ Bertram Rope (Picton 1949-54) ‘There was rather too much drill and “bulling” of kit for my taste, but again it kept my unruly spirit in some sort of order. I did enjoy the annual Field Day, and have a photograph of myself with rifle accepting the surrender of some of our dastardly foes.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) ‘I did not greatly enjoy it, and it was a sign of the prevailing attitude that when the news came through that we had been beaten at a Field Day by Charterhouse, everyone cheered.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘It was all rather silly really, though we did our best to take it seriously. Many futile hours were spent in polishing toecaps with a product called Heelball, and blancoing our webbing. One not good memory: having to go through a nasty muddy tunnel under a nearby bridge holding our rifles above our heads, and being put on a charge if we got them wet. It was known as “Doing the Sewer.”’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) ‘I thought it was ridiculous to spend the week bulling my boots and then crawling through a sewer on a Wednesday afternoon. To me it was a pointless activity without any meaning.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) Although there were some entertaining moments: ‘… such as when a drill instructor from Sandhurst commented on the oversized uniform of one of the younger members, “If you was in the Women’s Royal Army Corps you would be going on sick leave.” Mine clearance also provided a bit of light entertainment, in that when the dummy mines buried in a sand bed were probed too enthusiastically, a skeleton hanging at the end of the bed danced. Needless to say, the temptation to probe too hard was irresistible.’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56) Whatever Wellingtonians may have felt about the Corps, very few made overt objections to it. We received only these very few accounts of dissent: ‘There was a Corps mutiny resulting in a full Corps parade on South Front, taken by the school RSM Colin Innes. It was not a good move and he soon regretted calling it!’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56) David Ward (Hopetoun 1954-58) was our only recorded conscientious objector, although one longs for more detail in his simple statement: ‘I refused to join the CCF which caused a bit of a kerfuffle.’ We do, at least, have his brother’s point of view on this event: ‘We were all “invited” to join (in theory voluntarily), and most did so without demur until my younger brother declined in 1956, causing something of a stir – I was summoned from Sandhurst and told to persuade him to change his mind – of course I didn’t/couldn’t!’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) Officers and staff The Commanding Officer of the Corps from 1940 until 1946 was Major Macdermott. He was followed by Colonel Roy, who held the position throughout the 1950s. For reasons that were not entirely clear, he was nicknamed ‘Hoch’ or ‘Hosh’ and was widely remembered. He is also discussed on the page about Maths teachers. ‘Colonel Roy was in charge of the Corps and I remember an occasion when, confronted with a particularly idle bunch of cadets, he became exasperated and bellowed “Men that mutiny get shot!”’ Neil Munro (Talbot 1952-56) Several other teachers had roles in the Corps and also sparked memories: ‘I remember learning how to pick up the rifle on South Front. Down I went and rose with the weapon still on the ground. Sandy Entwisle was watching. “Douggie,” he said, “I think you will find it easier if you take your gloves off!”’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘One had to go into the Army Section first – fieldcraft with Ned Catterall, a former Chindit: “Down behind your individual blades of grass, ha, ha, ha.”’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) For many years the Commander of the Naval Section was ‘Dick’ Borradaile, inimitable and respected by all; he ‘had a characteristic way of pronouncing “if” as “eev”,’ according to Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57). Another popular officer in the Naval Section was ‘Charlie’ Kuper, described as ‘a splendid, rumbustious sort of chap who used his influence to organise some wonderful camps and field days for us.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) recorded a memory of one of the Armoury staff: ‘The Armoury was situated beside a soccer pitch and required two proper (or possibly retired) soldiers to look after it. Goodness knows what they did apart from issuing rifles on a Wednesday afternoon and possibly for the parades on Friday mornings. One of these men was called Salmon. He lived in a house about fifty yards from the Armoury. Somehow, and I struggle to think how, I and another boy found our way into Salmon’s house to watch television [still a rarity in the 1950s]. I suppose we were watching Wimbledon or a test match, and I well remember having the cheek to turn up again the following week to seek re-admission. Word got out that this was happening. Perhaps poor Salmon spoke to someone, and there was an announcement that the houses of the Armoury staff were out of bounds to us. I rather guess they always had been. Or it was so obvious that it didn’t need spelling out!’ Drill Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47) recalled that ‘The training was largely practical and worthwhile with (unlike at RMAS later on) comparatively little square-bashing.’ Perhaps for this reason, we received relatively few stories relating to drill, although it obviously made an impression on some: ‘Drill was tedious but led to a presentable standard at the Annual Inspection, which culminated in a march past the Inspecting Officer preceded by the memorable hoarse words from our commander Major Macdermott: “Wellington College Officer Training Corps contingent will march past in column of fours led by A Company followed by B Company followed by C company followed by D company followed by Band – by the right – Quick March!” Try shouting that in one breath!’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) ‘My difficulty was that I had, and still have, some difficulty in determining my LEFT from my RIGHT.’ John Hornibrook (Murray 1942-46) ‘I ended as Regimental Sergeant Major – mainly because I could shout loudly and with authority.’ Sam Osmond (Hill 1946-51) ‘The shambolic drill in our scarecrow denims was a bore. Somehow,

CCF: Specialist Sections

The Army Section Some elected to stay in the Army Section, and did not regret their decision: ‘I joined the Army branch; my rifle number was 171 in the Armoury. We were taught how to use and clean the rifle and the Bren gun, having competitions with other platoons, and then went on a Field Day with Charterhouse or other nearby CCF units which was always exciting. We learnt how to do platoon in the attack, dig trenches and many other things which became very useful in Basic Training when I was called up.’ Anonymous ‘I joined the Army Contingent and was issued with battledress, boots and webbing and we had a certain amount of fun playing in the woods and also having Field Days down on the Aldershot training areas where we used blanks and thunderflashes. On one exercise, we had run out of blanks and when we charged the enemy position, our officer, Captain Comber used to shout “Bullets!” – from then on he was known as “Bullets” Comber! The CCF used to have an annual inspection by some senior visiting officer; on one inspection just as the officer was passing, a cadet called Tim Thompson was suddenly sick all over him – end of inspection – hurray!’ Leslie Bond (Lynedoch 1948-53) Others enjoyed the specialised Artillery section: ‘In my last year, the College obtained a 25-pounder field gun and I was the first cadet sergeant to be in charge of it. The gunnery I learnt was of great benefit to me when I eventually joined the Royal Artillery.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50) ‘We had a thriving Royal Artillery section with our own 25-pounder gun, limber and “Quad” gun tractor. I really enjoyed my time as leader of the CCF Royal Artillery Section. I was soon to be the fourth generation of Royal Artillery Officers in my family, so this was Utopia.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) ‘As it seemed more entertaining, I joined a small Royal Artillery Section, run by the regular Army, who came with a 25-pound mobile gun, towed by a military vehicle. We had great fun being driven into mock action, with me standing with my head through a hole in the vehicle’s roof giving instructions to the driver, and then going through the full drill of targeting and firing the gun.’ Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) Later, the Signals Section was an option: ‘For some reason I ended up in the Signals Section (possibly to avoid having to carry a Bren gun), and had to master the dreaded ‘88’ set radio. This had four channels, two of which were totally forbidden, as they matched the ITV channel, and anything said was broadcast over the local area – in the afternoon, often horse-racing. The temptations were enormous…’ Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59) The Naval Section was generally reputed to offer the best trips, but Army section trips could be interesting too: ‘There was a trip to Bovington, HQ of the Royal Tank Regiment, where we were warmly welcomed by “The Tankies” and given first-hand experience of travelling over the proving grounds in several models of tank! My father served in the 44th Royal Tank Regiment throughout WW2 until he was mortally wounded a month before VE Day; it gave me a stark realisation of the conditions under which he and his brave companions had fought!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blucher 1951-55) ‘…in 1955 to Osnabruck with about 40 others as guests of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, BAOR. I was the most senior cadet… An equivalent visit the previous year had been to the Black Watch who had treated the cadets royally, but our visit was largely uneventful apart from a visit to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp which was then almost as it had been when discovered at the end of the war, with mountainous mass graves etc.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) also remembered this trip: ‘I went to Germany in 1954 with the Corps and we stayed in palatial German barracks which amazed us by having central heating. We learned a lot of swear words from the other ranks of our host regiment The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Infantry (“Beds and Tarts” to us), and we had some enjoyable tourism, notably to Hamelin and Hamburg where we saw Madame Butterfly in a converted cinema because the opera house was still rubble. We also were taken to Belsen concentration camp, liberated only nine years previously. This was very salutary, most of us never really having heard much of the camps. It was nearly dusk as we arrived and it was noticeable that there were no birds in this bleak place. The coach was silent after that visit.’ The Naval Section Many of our respondents chose to join the Naval Section of the CCF, which started in 1948. For some this was because of family tradition, a desire to join the Navy after school, or simply to learn new things: ‘My ambition then was to join the Navy, and when a Navy Section was started, I joined. Looking back, the standard of training was good and many outside visits, to ships, sail training camps in holidays, and other establishments, were arranged. We were enthusiastic about all this and took it seriously.’ Richard Godfrey-Faussett (Anglesey 1946-50) ‘I opted to join the Naval Section and I can safely say that I very much enjoyed the experience. There was quite a bit of drill (square bashing) and Lieutenant Charles Kuper, the master in charge, was a great character. I can recall marching up and down the Kilometre, all of us singing Hearts of Oak at the top of our voices, the idea being that this would be a substitute for a full Royal Marine band!’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56) ‘I chose to move to the Naval Section where there was a certain amount for me to learn that was not familiar, and the opportunities for gaining experience at sea or at land-based Royal Navy establishments were a great attraction to me.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59) ‘My father was in the Royal Navy and so, with the idea of possibly following in his footsteps, I joined the Naval Section. We spent Wednesday afternoons learning such arts as morse, semaphore, rope work, how to rig a whaler, and doing a great deal of drilling in one of the school quads.’ Anthony Goodenough (Stanley 1954-59) William Shine (Hill 1956-60), by contrast, ‘chose the Navy as I liked the uniform.’ Likewise, Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53) ‘valued learning how to maintain the “bluejacket” uniform of the RN Section; washing and ironing the colour running collar, rolling up and pressing old style bellbottoms. But Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58) considered that, ‘to me, the least attractive side of it was the coarse uniform which scratched the skin mercilessly and necessitated the wearing of pyjamas underneath!’ But the greatest attraction of the Naval Section was the opportunities for travel and adventure which it offered, as some respondents explained: ‘After the first year I changed to the Naval Section because it had much better Field Days, namely taking a train to Portsmouth – an opportunity to virtually chain-smoke – followed by a day at sea, generally on a minesweeper, and another smoking journey on return!’ William Young (Anglesey 1954-58) ‘The advantage of the Naval Section was that Field Days consisted not of slogging about on the heath with rifle and blanks in ignorance of the tactical plan being rehearsed, but of visiting Portsmouth by train and seeing HMS Dolphin or Vernon, which were new and interesting.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57) Numerous OWs recounted the various Naval trips they had been on: ‘In the summer of 1949, the summer “camp” was to spend two weeks on board the cruiser HMS Superb at Chatham. To describe that experience would require several pages, but I can say that it provided me with several growing-up experiences. I went home by bus at the end of the fortnight and my mother was horrified at the state of my clothing – we hadn’t done any washing of our clothes throughout the whole fortnight, and I suspect that not only my clothes, but my body required scrubbing!’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950) ‘”Camps” and termly Field Days were visits to HM ships (Duke of York, battleship in Portsmouth; Romola, fleet minesweeper) for a week; and flying in Tiger Moth light aircraft at Royal Naval Air Station, Culham. Inevitable visits to Excellent (Whale Island gunnery school); Vernon (torpedo & anti-submarine), and other Naval establishments around Portsmouth.’ Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53) ‘We flew in naval aircraft from Yeovilton, went out in RAF air-sea rescue boats from Calshot, but the best of all was a 2-week trip during the summer holidays in HMS Trafalgar, a Battle Class destroyer. Leaving from Portsmouth we visited the Orkneys and Shetlands before crossing the North Sea to Bergen in Norway where we stayed for a couple of days before returning home. We stood proper sea watches and worked part-of-ship and this, together with Charlie [Kuper]’s other training initiatives, were of tremendous value to those of us who eventually served in the Royal Navy.’ Anonymous ‘I remember a couple of camps, one to HMS St Vincent, the Navy’s boys’ training establishment, and one on HMS Boxer, then in dry dock in Portsmouth. One memory of the latter is the young Leading Seaman detailed to look after us explaining in vivid (pungent?) lower deck/barrack room language that there was no fresh water on the ship because someone had contaminated the fresh water tank. Afterwards, we all went round repeating his exact words with great glee! Also, the odd Field Day spent on ships in Portsmouth attempting to sleep in hammocks – thuds throughout the night as some unfortunate fell out or his knots undid!’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) ‘On one occasion, virtually the whole Naval Section was transported to Gibraltar from Portsmouth aboard the cruiser HMS Birmingham. In Gibraltar we were looked after by the Governor, who happened to be an Old Wellingtonian, and we were feted right royally. Returning to the UK, we were all split up and came home on various ships. I was drafted to HMS Loch Insh, a frigate. It took us five days to get back to Portsmouth and I can recall that most of that time I had a paintbrush in my hand and was painting everything “Battleship Grey.”’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56) ‘We visited Portsmouth on several occasions, went to Gibraltar in HMS Vigo a destroyer, and went on an exercise in a submarine that was under attack from depth charges. All much more fun than roughing it at Catterick which the Army cadets had to endure.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) ‘Occasionally we were taken down to Portsmouth to fire anti-aircraft guns, including in a “battle trainer” when gallons of water were thrown over us as we loaded and fired. In early 1957 I joined a party of cadets at the naval dockyard of Rosyth on the Forth. We were given what was my first flight, over the Forth Bridge, and also passed beneath it in a small minesweeper.’ Anthony Goodenough (Stanley 1954-59) ‘The best was a week’s summer camp with Charlie Kuper, sailing a Navy cutter from Portsmouth on the Solent, camping each evening on a beach.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) ‘I was delighted to get the opportunity to join a contingent from Wellington who spent a week on board the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, during sea trials off the south coast of England after a major refit in

Clubs and Social Events

Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) enumerated some of the options on offer: ‘One thing that impressed me, even while at Wellington, was the number of extra-curricular activities and societies available, amounting to some forty in all. I was able to join: the Music Society; mostly devoted to the reading (once or twice a term?) of a paper by a member (boy or staff) on a musical subject of their choice; the Sing Song Society, a light-hearted group led by Bertie Kemp for singing non-classical songs and giving concerts to old people’s homes; the Film Society (Club?), for occasional viewing of less mainstream films from those shown to the whole College; the Bohemian Society, a select group of boys and staff devoted to meeting and listening to a talk by an important or renowned member of public life. One meeting that shines like a beacon in my mind was by Sir Basil Gould, the father of one of the staff, who talked about his expedition to, and experiences in, Tibet in 1936. This meeting left me with a life-long fascination for all things Tibetan.’ Several others also remembered the Bohemian Union: ‘I belonged to a society of would-be intellectuals called the Bohemian Union, where we dressed up in bow ties and listened to outside speakers.’ Sam Osmond (Hill 1946-51) ‘Mr Gould ran the Bohemian Union, which attempted to introduce a spirit of enquiry in its members several evenings a term. I joined, possibly the only pupil on the General Side.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) ‘I was in the Bohemian Union that thrived for a while, meeting on a weekend evening in Dick Gould’s home. He used to get interesting speakers for us, one of whom, a distinguished architect, assured us there would never be New York-style skyscrapers in London because the subsoil was not suitable. We used to go in odd-ball dress until it got out of hand. I remember being rather conservative in my own attire, then I pushed the boat out and looked and felt a complete ass as no-one else seemed to have done anything much.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) A very different, but equally popular club was the Natural History Society: ‘As my family was in Germany, I had plenty of spare time to myself at half term… At such time, I used to explore the six hundred acres of scrub and woodland available then. Most of this land stretched out from behind the lake opposite the driveway to Main Gate. In this area were scores of butterflies, dragonflies, birds, and even grass snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, and all sorts of insects. I loved the peace and quiet of this private paradise and, as a member of the Natural History Society, I was in Heaven.’ Anonymous ‘I was a keen country person, so joined the Natural History Society, as that allowed one to keep a bicycle at College. I went out looking at birds at some of the meres and lakes around (not College’s own lakes), where I spent many hours watching Canada geese and the resident swans, grebes, moorhens, and the occasional mallard.’ Anonymous ‘Periodic dawn climbs over the iron gates with Brian Hudson to find a variety of bird species on nearby heathland.’ Mark Yorke (Combermere 1950-55) ‘Natural History Society “A” members were allowed bicycles. To join, you only had to have an interest, and whilst that did not qualify for a bike, if you passed a test in your specific subject then you became an “A” member and could use your bike to carry out your study. My interest was entomology, specifically butterfly collecting, a common hobby in those days, and a healthy one, though the catching and pinning are now frowned upon. This interest gave me an excuse to use my bike most of the year, either looking for the eggs, then caterpillars, then chrysalids, and finally the butterflies. In today’s world, it is frightening to know that children as young as nine could legally have a “killing jar,” usually a jam jar containing about a 1-inch layer of cyanide under a thin covering of plaster-of-Paris. These jars would be produced by a chemist and only required written parental permission!’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54) ‘The Natural History Society was my main interest and I was its Secretary for some time. College’s grounds were full of interest and we cycled to neighbouring places, including Hawley Lake, to see some of the first Canada geese in England. We kept a pair of orphaned badger cubs in the old laundry one term. Eventually they escaped, which relieved us of the problem of their future. I kept the College hive of bees in the old Master’s Lodge Garden for two years and managed to make rather a good brew of mead, which we kept in old air-raid shelter until it exploded one holiday. Perhaps a good thing! I successfully took a swarm of bees which had settled in Front Quad just before Speech Day, much to the relief of all concerned.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52) Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56), however, remembered that the College bees became rather more unruly once Norman had left: ‘Wellington had its own beehives in the 1950s. They were situated behind the Science laboratories, under the distant care of the Biology master. They had been under the care of many generations of boys, most of whom knew nothing at all about beekeeping. The general policy was a friendly kick at the beehives to get things going, followed by as much smoke as you could generate out of the smoke machines. The result was hives of bees which had gone feral and were totally aggressive. These bees only knew one thing and that was how much they hated Wellingtonians. At the approach of gowned and gloved figures with netted hats, huge swarms would emerge, buzzing in the most intimidating manner. As one they would dive onto the approaching boys, stinging ferociously. The hatred was mutual and any boy who happened to have a knowledge of bees did not have a hope of calming them. Somehow, in spite of the protective clothing, they always got inside and you ended with multiple stings. In the daytime it was wise to keep at least thirty yards away from the beehives to avoid attack.” Another popular group also allowing one to have a bicycle was the Sailing Club: ‘I joined (the) Sailing Club Wellington had, connected to the Henley Sailing Club at Wargrave, and used to cycle there on Sundays. College owned some boats, including ones called Wellingtons, which were by far the slowest sailing boats on the Thames.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) ‘Being brought up in Norfolk, with a grandmother living in a cottage by the River Bure, I had been accustomed to sailing from an early stage. So, I joined the Sailing Club and at weekends would pedal all the way to the Thames for some sailing; latterly I kept my own Enterprise dinghy at the Club, towed there from Norfolk by my parents – but Thames sailing never compared with that on the Broads at home.’ Christopher Birt (Beresford 1955-60) Several other societies also received mentions: ‘In my final year, I was asked by Douglas Young to inaugurate with another boy, John Previté, a College Debating Society, a stimulating feature which had been lacking since the War.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) ‘I was a member of the Art Society, and every summer we were allowed up to London to view the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) ‘I did join the Photographic Society and learnt to develop and print films.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) ‘My Tutor, “Bertie” Kemp, ran the Film Society, membership of which was restricted to more senior boys, and used to select films by good directors. He would draw our attention to points of artistic and technical merit in what we watched.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54) ‘I was a member of the Philatelic Society, which met in Mr Leakey’s classroom.’ Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58) ‘I played a lot of chess with the Chess Club, playing regularly in Great Hall and matches in the Berkshire Schools Championships. One lasting memory was when I was about 16, playing third board against a supposedly “brilliant” 13-year-old Eton boy… I could not believe a move he made, and after a lot of thought I played… and he burst into tears, having made a serious mistake!’ Roger Pinhey (Hopetoun 1952-57) Three respondents mentioned the Polyglots Society, ‘for visits to London to see Moliere or Schiller plays… under the guidance of Mr Storrar, we met to sing French and German folk songs.’ A few mentioned the Railway Club or simply watching trains from the bridge to Derby Field. Several OWs became involved with College’s Mission Church and Club in Walworth, South London. This provided something very different from the prevailing Wellington culture: ‘I went up to the Walworth Clubs several times, and it was an eye-opener: playing games with rough cockney lads, but great fun after my sheltered upbringing! One memorable and sad impression was to see how one or two of my age group from snobbish “upper class” backgrounds were horrified (disgusted?) by the Walworth Clubs’ boys, and only went once.’ Roger Pinhey (Hopetoun 1952-57) ‘In my last year, I was the Prefect, whose duty was to maintain the link between Wellington and the Walworth Club. I organised what might be described as exchange visits with a busload to Wellingtonians going to spend time at the club and then hosting a visit by boys from the club to the school. I enjoyed the experience immensely, apart from the fact that I attempted to sleep under the stars when the Walworth boys were visiting and they slept in tents. Even though the visit was in the latter part of the Summer Term and the days were hot, the nights were surprisingly cold. I can only hope the experience broadened my appreciation of my fellow Britons and that it added to other earlier lessons of the importance of being part of a larger community.’ Richard Merritt (Picton 1954-59) Perhaps the most popular societies were those which, occasionally, provided access to members of the opposite sex. One such society was the Scottish Reel Club, for which the Beresford boys perhaps sowed the seed: ‘Some in my dormitory realised that female partners were not necessary for Scottish country dancing and decided to do something about it. So, they started doing reels and things in the dormitory corridor. Within weeks we were all caught up in a craze for anything that remotely looked like Scottish dancing. We would get together for reels during every spare moment we had: but mainly at the weekends. Our “Jimmy Shand and his Band” records really got a workout for the next month or two. However, eventually we had to stop because the impact of eight or sixteen energetic, heffalump-like, testosterone-driven dancers cracked the ceiling beneath the floor on which we danced.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) Once the club was formed, however, it attracted a few women: ‘The other place we used to meet women and the odd girl was the Reel Club, where the young ushers’ wives gave us female company. I was a keen reeler. My crush on Julia House sadly came to an end because an old friend of mine knew much more about girls than me and took Julia off me.’ Bertram Rope (Picton 1949-54) ‘I was a member of the Scottish Reels Dancing Club, run in the Old Gym

Discipline and Punishments

NOTE: This page records practices and attitudes at Wellington in the 1940s and 1950s. Such practices and attitudes are outdated and in no way condoned by Wellington College today. They are included as part of our commitment to recording our history as faithfully as possible. Non-corporal punishment Some non-corporal methods of punishment are described in other parts of the ‘Decades’ section. For example, Biology teacher Mr Lewis’ notorious ‘Big Stuff,’ a laborious line-writing exercise, and ‘Coventry,’ a tortuous procedure which entailed the whole class sitting absolutely still. Sanctions such as these caused more fear and resentment than beatings, perhaps because they lasted longer or because of their apparent pointlessness. John Thorneycroft (Benson 1953-58) recalls another such practice: ‘One particular nasty punishment in the Benson for a serious breach of house rules was to report to a Prefect every five minutes between 7.00am and 7.30am wearing alternately ordinary clothes and then “change” (sports) clothes. Quite tiring!’ Some recalled other forms of punishment: ‘Petty infringement of dormitory rules resulted in having to write these out a number of times. I recall one offender writing out the full rules on a postage stamp.’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56) ‘Other common punishments included “impos” [impositions] where you were ordered to handwrite something incredibly boring, like fourteen Shakespeare sonnets.’ Anonymous ‘I remember weeding the Combermere Quad as a punishment because I had walked on the grass!’ Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45) ‘… having to run up Finchampstead Ridges and take a rubbing of the brass sundial there! There was a back route to the Ridges, however, which passed the local nudist camp, called “The Heritage!”’ Michael Trevor-Barnston (Anglesey 1957-60) ‘Punishments were for the most part notional, such as brief detention, the copying of “lines,” or cleaning and weeding tasks around the House. In the Talbot there was a system which involved “penny fines.” For a minor misdemeanour, you would be fined one (old) penny, which would go to House Funds.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) This system of penny fines appears universal, as it was mentioned by many. The fines were innocuous in themselves, but added up to have more serious consequences: ‘Four fines in a week and you were tanned [beaten]. The first week at Upcott was forgiven, but, sure as shooting, I got four fines the second week. I’m not sure how the Prefects engineered it, but they kept finding my towel in the bathroom.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) ‘I think I had two canings… The offence, five fines in a month for things like leaving your jam jar on the windowsill outside the dining room or leaving an article of sports clothing on the changing room floor. I still say I was set up on the changing room fines.’ John Armstrong-MacDonnell (Talbot 1952-56) Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) was of the opinion that ‘being tanned for too many “black marks” did encourage you to do better, or become craftier in the future.’ Levels of punishment Fines were imposed for the most minor offences, particularly within the House or Dormitory, but many misdemeanours incurred the prospect of a beating. The system’s ‘hierarchy’ is explained by Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54): ‘I recall there were three levels: Headmaster’s or College beating, Tutor’s beating and Prefect’s beating. The first were few and far between, in fact I can only remember about two during my time. They were for the most serious offences, so knowledge of them went around the school like wildfire and further misdemeanours of similar severity would mean expulsion. These were carried out by either the Master or his deputy, Mr Meikle. Rumour had it that Mr Meikle would draw a chalk line across the offender’s backside for accuracy, hence his nickname, “Chalkie.” ‘Prefect beatings could only be administered by the Head of House/Dormitory and then only with the Tutor’s knowledge and by members of the Upper Ten. College beatings took place in the Master’s study, House Tutors in the Tutor’s study, Form Tutors’ in the classroom, College Prefects’ in the Upper Ten room, and Head of House, in the case of the Hill at least, in the Dormitory bathroom.’ Only one respondent, Rodney Fletcher (Combermere 1949-53), recalled being beaten by the Master, merely commenting that ‘He had a poor aim.’ Several, however, were beaten by teachers, for crimes which were more classroom-based: rubbing a memo off a blackboard, being very late for a lesson, carving your name on a desk, or being disruptive in class. House Tutors also beat those discovered off school grounds without permission. Perhaps most baffling to today’s mind, some teachers also beat boys for not doing prep, handing in poor work, or being bottom of the class. Even at the time, some questioned the point of this: ‘I really don’t think being beaten for bad French results made me any better at French.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) ‘The first beating I had was from my Biology teacher, Mr Lewis. I had failed to grasp some arcane and completely useless principle of biology. What thought process he went through to decide that a beating would help me grasp this incomprehensible biological principle is hard to imagine.’ Richard Wellesley (Benson 1948-53) Two OWs sent in stories of how they avoided, or could have avoided, beatings from teachers: ‘My Tutor Mark Baker heard me whistling on the way to prayers in the evening. He invited me to come to his study after prayers where he said he was going to beat me. At the time I was playing number eight for the Wellington First XV and I certainly was not going to be beaten by him or anyone. I told him that I refused to be beaten and thank goodness for him and probably me, he dropped the case.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54) ‘I was beaten by Charley Kuper for failing to “tick” him when we passed each other in the Quad. I decided to become much enraged by this, and, for a while, refused to look him in the eye or smile during our History lessons. Eventually he called me aside after class and asked me what was wrong. I told him that I had a moral objection to beatings. To my surprise, he replied that he would never have inflicted it had he been aware of my principled viewpoint. I felt an utter hypocrite, as in reality I never had any moral objection to the practice, which was of course universal at the time.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) Most beatings, therefore, were administered by either Dormitory or College Prefects, or by the Head of House. Some were for important matters: three who were at College during the War years recall being beaten for failing to blackout their windows properly, and incidents of smoking (mentioned by very few) or bullying would still be treated seriously today. However, many beatings were for offences we might now consider trivial. Examples given by respondents include running or eating where not permitted; walking on the grass in the Quad or cutting across the corner of ‘Turf’; talking, reading, or listening to the radio after ‘lights out’; contravening regulations regarding dress; or any behaviour that could be lumped under the term ‘squealering.’ One of the more unusual crimes was that confessed by Randal Stewart (Anglesey 1953-56): ‘I was beaten once by my Tutor and twice by Prefects. Another boy and I had ruined one of the Prefects’ saucepans trying to melt the lead out of spent .303 rounds, which we dug out of the old 500-yard range. The other boy was expelled the following term for taking lead from the College roof – we were making musket balls.’ It is difficult to say how frequent beatings were. A handful of respondents claimed they had never been beaten. Most seem to have experienced it between one and three times in their school careers; a hardy minority, more. Most could remember what their crimes had been, but a sizable group could not; suggesting that beating was not always the deterrent it was meant to be. There were checks and balances in the system, intended to prevent the Prefects from abusing their power. Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) wrote that ‘Prefects had to ask Tutors for permission to beat boys,’ while Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) believed that ‘in the Talbot, it had to be authorised by the Head of House.’ Perhaps this was the case for House or Dormitory Prefects; however, College Prefects only had to seek permission after the event. Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58) states, ‘Every time, the Prefect had to write to the Master saying, “I today had occasion to beat X for …,”’ confirmed by Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56): ‘A College Prefect could beat a boy from any house/dormitory and just inform the boy’s House Tutor afterwards!’ The system meant that most beatings by Prefects were administered to significantly younger boys, but one respondent recalled an exception: ‘I was caned in my fourth year, when I must have been close to seventeen, for failing to respect a no-go area on Rockies. I was several inches taller than the Prefect!’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) What was it like? Beatings were something of a ceremony, or in the words of Richard Harries (Hill 1949-54): ‘A terrifying piece of theatre.’ The ritual became well-known to everyone: ‘You were beaten, I think on Friday, at 10pm, in the Tower. Six strikes usually, pyjamas only, the Head of House beat you. He was not allowed to raise the cane above his shoulder height.’ Michael Crumplin (Orange 1956-60) ‘Bit of a ritual. After bedtime, there would be a knock on your door and a voice would say, “The Head of Dormitory would like to see you in the bathroom. Bring a chair.” Bloody frightening!’ William Shine (Hill 1956-60) ‘Beatings were a ritual where the anticipation was almost worse than the actual punishment. They would take place immediately after lights out when the victim’s name would be called, for the whole dormitory to hear, and the unfortunate boy would shuffle down to the scullery on the floor below. They would wear pyjamas only and any attempt to insert newspapers or other paddings would be recognised immediately and result in extra strokes. The beating was administered bending over the back of a chair and clasping the bottom rail.’ Anonymous ‘The hard part was having to endure the wait between the notification of the punishment and the execution, which might be an entire day.’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) ‘One of the rituals in the Hardinge was that, after every lunch, all boys had to brush their teeth and report to the duty Prefect clutching their toothbrush to be ticked off on the attendance sheet. There was one chilling exception to this: the passing down the table from boy to boy at the end of lunch, the dreaded message, “NO TEETH!” This signalled that there was to be a beating in the bathroom. Rather than brush their teeth, all boys slunk silently to their rooms and waited nervously to hear the footsteps of the Prefect going to the room of the victim to tell him the Head of Dormitory wished to see him in the bathroom. Then the unwilling footsteps of the miscreant down the corridor, the four interminably spaced cracks of the tan followed by the rather faster steps back to poor fellow’s room.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) Jock Brazier (Hill 1941-45) remembered: ‘Having to go to the steward to collect a cane which you handed to your Head of Dormitory, and you were beaten during second prep.’ As for


NOTE: We are aware that the terms ‘fag’ and ‘fagging’ are now considered derogatory or possible homophobic slurs, and that their use may now be offensive. Throughout this website we use the terms as they were used at Wellington College in the past, deriving from ‘fag’ as a slang term for tiring or tedious work, and with no derogatory or homophobic connotations. The fags’ exam A large number of respondents described the fags’ exam, a test of knowledge to which all new boys were subjected around three weeks into their school career: ‘Once in Dormitory, the first three weeks were dedicated to learning the geography of the College, some local traditions and practices, and also some things that were completely useless such as “How many pineapples are there?” (fourteen, I think, but I may be wrong.) During this period you were looked after by a more experienced fag who taught you the ropes and where things were located, such as noticeboards. Once the three weeks were up, you had to take and pass the Fags’ exam.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948–53) ‘Essentials included the names of the Tutors and Heads of all the dormitories and houses and the whereabouts of the various buildings and playing fields. There was quite a lot of less important stuff also: e.g. the height of the Golden Pineapple!’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949–54) ‘The wide range of questions made it quite hard: we had to know where remote buildings were, when Grubbies was open; who was Head of School, Captain and members of the rugger XV; Tutors’ and ushers’ positions, nicknames, special interests and characteristics! It lasted about forty minutes and, astonishingly, some failed.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942–46) The exam itself generally consisted of a verbal questioning by the Prefects on the appointed day. ‘Then the exam with its trick question, “Where does the Path of Duty lead?” To Grubbies, the tuck shop, not “The Way to Glory” as inscribed over the gate.’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944–48) ‘The only question which I can now remember is that one was given a list of all the ushers’ nicknames, which one was expected to know off by heart. My House Tutor was “Nosey” Evans because he had a very prominent nose. (Easy and obvious, that one.) Major Roy, who commanded the Corps, had lost an eye (we never knew, but assumed, during the War) was very unkindly known as “Dead-eye Dick”, or “The Constipated Bulldog”, while, as mentioned previously, Mr. Crawley was “Anthony Sebastian”. Those are the only ones I can now recall – no, one more, Mr. Travers (he was an Australian, and an Australian rugby international, I think only at College for a year or so) was “Jiker” – no, I don’t know, either.’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948–1950) ‘When researching this narrative I dug out my Blue Roll for the Michaelmas Term 1957. On page 4 where the Academic Staff is listed are my pencil annotations giving the nicknames of the majority of the teachers.’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) Several remembered the consequences of failure in the fags exam: ‘This was the first exam you faced within College and was taken very seriously, not just by yourself but also by your Fag Teacher. Failure carried a stigma and could have long term consequences for weeks to come.’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950–54) ‘If you failed, you had to take it again a week later. If you failed a second time, I think there was a risk that you might get beaten.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948–53) ‘If you passed – huge relief for you and your fag teacher. If you failed, you had to stand up on a raised shelf and sing a song (subject to some abuse). You were given a further week to “swot up” and be re-examined. What an ordeal! I was fortunate to pass my own exam first time, but my designated fag failed first time, but after shutting him in an under-eaves cupboard and forcing him to learn all the necessary facts whilst I sat outside and shouted out the Q & As, he, or should I say we, passed the second time!’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954–59) ‘I failed the fags’ exam, which took place a fortnight after one’s first arrival. As a penance, I was compelled to climb onto the bar between the “tishes” on the first floor and sing a song. As I could not remember a single one, a Prefect handed me up a Bible open at the Psalms. Not knowing the tune, I made it up. It was not a pleasing performance.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949–53) ‘The penalty for failure was to stand before the whole dormitory and sing a song whilst being barracked by the audience. Fortunately, I passed but I retain to this day the mental image of some poor boy who had failed crying whilst being mocked as he attempted to sing the song. In my final year when I was a senior boy, we managed to abolish the practice [the punishment, rather than the whole fagging system].’ Richard Merritt (Picton 1954–59) Duties Once the exam was passed, fags were expected to serve for around four terms, although occasionally it could be as many as seven. John Ravenhill (Orange 1953–56) still feels some bitterness about this: ‘I also believe that my achievements could have been greatly improved if I had not been penalised by seven terms as a fag due to my low academic achievements, four terms as head fag whereas my brainy brother only did three terms and was then Prefect at 16. NOT AT ALL FAIR.’ The running fag ‘“Someone!” The call reverberated down the dormitory. First-year boys dropped whatever they were doing and reported to the Prefect making the call. The last past the post got the job. “Anyone!” All including year two had to respond.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947–52) ‘At the bottom of the heap was “the running fag”. Whenever a Prefect wanted something to be done, he would call “Fag”. This forced all the fags to drop whatever they were doing and run like hell to get to the Prefect before anybody else. If you were last, you were likely to get the job. Most of these jobs were not all that onerous, mainly requiring you to carry a message from one place to another or check a noticeboard.’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948–53) ‘I remember one particular group in the Combermere – when they were “squealers” they would try to trip each other up so that the other was the last to arrive and had to do the fag.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953–57) The room fag After a period as running fag, some would then be allocated as ‘room fags’ to a House or dormitory Prefect: ‘Each Prefect had a room fag, whose job was to make the bed, clean the room, polish shoes and Corps boots and make tea, toast and so forth. The Head of Dormitory for some reason had two room fags.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949–54) ‘We had to fag for the Prefects for two years, doing jobs such as cleaning Corps kit, running baths for the Prefects, cleaning shoes, making beds etc.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954–58) ‘One became early-morning tea-maker, boot-polisher, bed-maker, room-tidier, belt-blancoer, toast-maker and general factotum to one of the Dormitory Prefects. My own was Peter Snow of Swingometer fame; a cheerful taskmaster, and I was fortunate – not all were.’ Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59) Some recalled the specific demands made of them: ‘My first stint was to one Cholmeley Messer, who was so tall that folding his trousers involved holding them higher than my head … or so it seemed.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘My first job was to wash the razor of Eddie Arida, a future water-skiing champion.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951–55) ‘I fagged for a chap called Temple; his demands were pretty modest; the only regular task I recall was cleaning some leather sandals (when did he wear those?) with shoe-cream!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951–55) Later, there may have been some restrictions on what a fag should do, as Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) recalled that ‘The only tasks not permitted were cleaning or polishing of CCF equipment.’ One task in particular seems to have passed into College legend, although only one respondent claimed to have experienced it first-hand: ‘Apparently, it had been far worse in the past and I heard that there had been a fag who, one winter had been sent out to sit on a toilet seat to get it warm for a Prefect!’ Chris Heath (Beresford 1948–53) ‘It was alleged that a fag from the Hopetoun or Murray had been sent on a cold winter morning to warm a lavatory seat in what were known as the Murray Heads below that block!’ Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949–53) ‘I did however consider one task requested of me by a Prefect – to warm the loo seat for him on a cold winter’s morning – a step too far …’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948–53) Other duties There were other specific roles too: ‘One could be the chap who got the milk from the Dining Hall and carried it to the dormitory each day, or the toast fag who had to make toast as required for the Prefects.’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953–58) ‘At one point I was the Hopetoun bread fag, which involved collecting a large tin filled with freshly-baked and sliced white bread which we ate for supper.’ David Ward (Hopetoun 1954–58) ‘I was the Sixth Room fag and had to clear up after the Prefects’ tea. They liked to leave broken canes [from beatings] on the floor, which I had to dispose of.’ Vernon Phillips (Murray 1951–54) ‘On a rota two fags were made to wash up the Prefects’ dirty crockery and cutlery after lunch each day. This was leftover detritus from the previous evening feast which they were entitled to brew and enjoy after general lights out for the dormitory. Consequently, the residue was well and truly caked-on and difficult to remove with just tepid water and a tatty rag. The Prefects must have built up a colossal immunity to germs!’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) ‘In my first term, I had to do duty as a “brew fag,” which meant washing up the Prefects’ coffee cups etc. every morning. I think this function was stopped not long afterwards, because a parent complained about it.’ Anonymous Sometimes the role was not quite so official, and therefore more resented: “One group of Prefects thought it a good idea that I made early morning tea for them – one has little idea how nasty one can make a cup of tea if one really sets one’s mind to it.’ John Green (Talbot 1954–58) The time fag Many respondents described the vital early morning role of the time fag: ‘One had to arrive in hall before the deadline – 7.45am for breakfast, when the Hall Usher shut the door firmly, whether one was in or out. Each dormitory had a “time fag” whose job it was to call out the time, probably starting from 7am until 19 minutes to 8, when one had to be out, giving just enough time to get to Hall without undue haste. The final countdown was in minutes, interspersed with “Hurry up!”’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951–55) ‘I was time fag, whose job was to shout out the time at regular intervals to get all boys out of dormitory by 7.45 am to get them to breakfast. Doing this for a

Living Conditions

Many of our respondents used words such as ‘basic’, ‘austere’, or ‘spartan’ to describe life in their Houses and dormitories. One or two went further, describing conditions as ‘verging on squalor’ or claiming to have been ‘appalled’ when they first saw where they were to live. However, such views were in a minority. Most OWs described their accommodation as ‘adequate’ or even ‘comfortable’; at the time they expected nothing more. Hot or cold? Being warm enough is fundamental to human comfort. One of our earlier respondents, Robert Waight (Orange 1942–46), recalled that ‘Surprisingly, despite wartime fuel restrictions, our “tishes” and all but a few classrooms were tolerably warm.’ John Berger (Benson 1949–52) commented that ‘the heating worked in winter’, while Roger Ryall (Picton 1951–56) wrote that ‘there was always plenty of hot water and hot baths were always available, plus the buildings were always warm.’ However, more OWs recalled being cold, especially in winter: ‘The heating pipes had silted up many years before and it was cold, we used to pull our clothes into our beds to warm them before getting up to dress.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945–50) ‘The winter of 1947, when the ink froze in the inkpots, was a testing time for even the most hardy. The Victorian system of cast iron pipes can never have produced much warmth, but with the coke shortage of the war years it was often difficult to tell whether the heating was on or off. Those with money purchased ex-US Air Force kapok-lined flying suits which they wore day and night – alas, I was never sufficiently affluent.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944–48) ‘In winter it was very cold. I put my feet through the arms of my overcoat in order to stay warm.’ Tim Travers (Hopetoun 1952–56) ‘My chief memory of Wellington is of being cold. I had only been in England for two years after growing up in Central Africa and was not used to the cold … I would wear three sweaters under my tweed jacket and still freeze in class. This affected my studies as my grades followed the thermometer. After winning a prize one Summer Term for being top of the class, I received a beating the following winter for dropping to the bottom and “not trying”. When the same thing happened the next year, I was sent to counselling to find out why my grades fluctuated so wildly. My explanation that I was too cold and could not learn while shivering and sitting on my hands to keep warm seemed to be dismissed as nonsense. However, I was not beaten again.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954–57) Several also mentioned that whatever the weather, windows would be left open: ‘My Tutor Hugh Marston made it a rule that all Hardinge boys had to keep their “tish” window open at least six inches at all times. There were nights when I slept wearing a sweater, covered with all my blankets, my dressing gown and my carpet. A couple of times I awoke in the morning to find my bed covered with snow.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954–59) Room, cubicle or ‘tish’? ‘Probably the greatest single factor affecting our lives at Wellington was the “tish” system. As far as I know, no other public school gave its boys a room of their own almost from ‘day one.’ Living, as one did, in a raucous herd, the facility to shut oneself up in the privacy of one’s own space was of enormous importance.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944–48) The vast majority of respondents echoed Hugo’s views, expressing much appreciation for the Wellington system of accommodation. For most, this meant a smallish cubicle, separated from its neighbours by a wooden partition. ‘Partition’ became colloquially shortened to ‘tish’, a term sometimes applied to the cubicles themselves as well as the dividers between them. Many commented on how pleased they were with this, after having been accustomed to communal prep school dormitories: ‘We appreciated having our own private space and each made it as comfortable as was his ability to do so.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘To have one’s own room was a delight.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947–52) ‘This really gave me a feeling of freedom and responsibility.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954–59) ‘Wellington was well ahead of other schools then in providing this degree of privacy, while most other schools still used the open dormitory system.’ Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951–56) The wooden partitions dividing the rooms were six or eight feet high but did not reach to the ceiling of the dormitories. Because of this, they provided, in Thomas Collett-White’s (Picton 1950–55) words, “Visible privacy, yes; audio, no.’ William Young (Anglesey 1954–58) found that ‘The dormitory was surprisingly quiet at night, no sounds of snoring’, but missiles could be exchanged between the cubicles. Robin Lake (Benson 1952–57) recalled that ‘We got very good at judging “three rooms away” or “across the corridor” with ping pong balls or old gym shoes!’ Climbing over the partitions, or ‘tish-popping’ as it was known, was strictly forbidden and punishable by beating. Nevertheless, Robert Waight (Orange 1942–46) recalled that ‘this line of approach was taken by marauding boys interested in attacking their friends using a variety of missiles, often water-filled. Despite howls of laughter on both sides, invaders were often repulsed quite savagely by flailing fists, hockey sticks, and cricket bats!’ Furnishings and fittings The layout and furnishings of the rooms were fairly standard, as described by Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949–54): ‘an iron bed, a desk/table with chair, a window seat with a cushion (“hardarse”) and a small chest of drawers.’ To this inventory, others added possibly ‘hooks for clothes’ and ‘a floor mat or carpet of some sort.’ Robin Ballard (Orange 1955–59) mentioned ‘a bookcase, or fitted bookshelves on the wall behind the door, with a flap-down for food’, while Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) enlarged: ‘Each room had a “birdcage”, situated behind the door and over one end of the bed. This was a wooden cupboard, with three shelves and a wire mesh front, hence the name. This was useful storage for many items, particularly tins of baked beans etc.’ These furnishings were themselves pretty basic. Nigel Gripper (Hopetoun 1945–49) said his had ‘a straw mattress,’ while Martin Kinna (Murray 1953–58) wrote that ‘the old beds were awful, lumpy and made a terrible noise when one turned over.’ However, many students added more comfortable items of their own, the most popular being an easy chair of some sort: ‘I had a very comfortable padded deck chair with arms, that a sailmaker had made for my then sea-going father years before.’ John Green (Talbot 1954–58) ‘a cushion or two, a comfy rattan armchair’ David Nalder (Orange 1949–53) ‘Most of us imported table lamps, wicker chairs etc.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951–55) ‘Namely an armchair, including cushions, and a rectangle of proper carpet, the latter to replace the insanitary hard curled coir mat … The final touches being a coloured lampshade in substitution for the chipped enamel effort provide by College and a more tasteful curtain.’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) And some attempted to rearrange what furniture they had: ‘All cubicles had the same layout, with bed against a long wall and desk opposite; that is until towards the end of my time, when some bright spark experimented with turning the room round, with the bed just fitting along the outer wall next to the window shelf with the long hardarse and triangular hardarse. This worked very well, and was copied by a large number of the boys in our corridor. The new arrangement seemed to give more space, and was open-mindedly permitted by our Tutor, Mr Marston.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘At the start of every term I would rearrange the furniture within the very limited scope available. The head of the bed would be repositioned to the opposite end. This allowed me to have, on the provided table, my own bedside lamp, height increased by placing the obligatory copy of Shakespeare underneath. I think that that was the only use to which said mandatory volume was ever put.’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) ‘As well as decorating our “tishes” to our personal taste, we rebelled against the conformity they imposed by rearranging them from time to time. Given the tiny area available, this practice, while stretching our imagination and back muscles, achieved little. A “tish” remained a “tish”.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942–46) Technical improvements Many also demonstrated ingenious uses of technology in their rooms: ‘I ran a system of strings round the room so that I could open and close the curtains without getting out of bed.’ Vernon Phillips (Murray 1951–54) ‘There were personal attachments to the lighting systems allowing you to put them on and off when you wanted.’ Hardy Stroud (Combermere 1950–55) ‘This involved stringing up some very dicey wiring to set up lights in different locations. Nobody objected to this amateur wiring, but they should have! It was downright dangerous.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954–57) ‘For some reason when the Bishop of Portsmouth visited College, my room was chosen to give him an idea of our living quarters. I had rigged up a lighting system in the room which he wanted to try out. He was too enthusiastic in pulling the cord and the whole lot fell down on him!’ Alan Saunders (Orange 1957–60) ‘When I was 15 or 16 I was appointed Dormitory Electrician with no training or instruction. I frequently mended fuses and did well to avoid electrocution!’ Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953–58) Not to mention the cat’s-whisker or crystal radio sets possessed by some, despite being forbidden: ‘I used to make one valve radios and sell them, and we used the bed springs as aerials.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945–50) ‘I tried out a crystal radio set with earphones for a while to hear the news, but there was such poor reception, I gave that up.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954–59) ‘I had a crystal set which enabled me to tune in to some stations and listen in my room with headphones. Unfortunately one night I went to sleep with my headphones on and was found out by the Prefect doing “callover”. This resulted in me getting beaten by Head of Dorm David Mordaunt, who was subsequently a very good friend!’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953–57) ‘Tish rags’ and other decorations The wooden partitions separating the cubicles were of no great beauty, being old and often in poor condition. Those in the Beresford were painted a shade described by one respondent as ‘eau de nil’ and by his contemporary, rather less attractively, as ‘puke green.’ To cheer them up, and further personalise their living space, Wellingtonians decorated them with a wide variety of colourful cloths known as ‘tish rags’, and with pictures from home, the variety of which demonstrates the range of interests at the time: ‘Nearly all of us draped our walls with swathes and swags of material, the gaudier the better. These “tish rags” probably originated in the souks, bazaars and markets of Asia and Africa, in which our parents had haggled during their service to King and Empire.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942–46) ‘Pictures were usually the centrefold of Eagle comic.’ William Shine (Hill 1956–60) ‘I used the coloured covers from The Field plus the odd picture of a film star (they usually wore more clothes in those days!). Most attempted to create a more sophisticated atmosphere using darker shades for one’s table lamp, although the effect was often more that of a courtesan’s boudoir than that of a sophisticated

Major Sports

For many, this emphasis was a good thing: ‘I loved sport at Wellington.’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51) ‘Sport was the highlight of my days at Wellington.’ ‘I loved the sports and played everything available!’ William Young (Anglesey 1954-58) ‘A major benefit of being at College was the large number of major and minor sports one could undertake.’ Jerry Yeoman (Anglesey 1955-59) But of course, others felt differently: ‘I disliked all forms of sport and did all in my power to avoid taking part. Cricket was top of my antipathies; it took up far too much of our spare time, and to me was a total bore.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) ‘We all had to participate in everything, which was a trial for a rather unathletic small boy.’ John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49) ‘I deeply loathed all games – all those white lines and rules and being confined to a tiny field. I wanted to take off into the countryside.’ David Ward (Hopetoun 1954-58) ‘Wellington can fairly claim to have put me off organised team sport for the remainder of my life.’ Many commented on the social status and prestige which came with being good at games: ‘If one played games at a top level, undoubtedly you got noticed and had a better time, and as a result I much enjoyed the last two years at Wellington, the first three having been quite tough.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58) ‘It didn’t take me long to realise that life in the Benson would be dominated by sports of all sorts, and that the best way to establish one’s identity would be by accepting this and showing appropriate enthusiasm and, if possible, some ability… Luckily I enjoyed most sports, which seemed more important than academic studies.’ Christopher Capron (Benson 1949-54) ‘Sport was my saviour! With my morale being at a low ebb at the very bottom of the school, I did well in the Yearlings cricket team in the summer of 1949. Subsequently, I worked my way up the cricket, rugger and hockey age group teams to end as a triple Colour. My academic inadequacy was ignored as I basked in the limelight!’ This special status was summarised by Peter Cullinan (Benson 1948-52), who recalled ‘swaggering proudly to Grubbies wearing my First XV cap, which enabled me to jump the queue.’ John Watson (Benson 1946-51) reflected on the other side of the divide: ‘In my era, sport was perhaps regarded with too much importance. I felt genuinely sorry for those boys who were not athletic by nature and were sometimes given a very rough time.’ Charles Enderby (Picton 1953-57) considered that ‘sport was well run for all abilities’, but Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) felt ‘there was no serious coaching unless you were good.’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) agreed: ‘In retrospect, I feel there might have been more supervision, and attempts to show hopeless cases like me how to play and use the stick or bat or whatever.’ And a few non-sporty boys still found a role through which they could be involved: ‘I was not sporty, rather a “swot,” which brought me trouble, but I remember kindness from David Scholey. I became a touch-judge for rugby, and so enjoyed it more. I became scorer for the school’s First XI cricket team, which I enjoyed, and I think I also went with them on away matches.’ Anonymous ‘I didn’t enjoy cricket but liked scoring (out of the rain or sun), and scoring let one travel to matches too.’ Life as a supporter House and Dormitory sport was taken very seriously in the 1950s. One was expected to turn out and support one’s team, the cheers often being led by the Dormitory Tutor: ‘Hardinge was rather good at sports, guided by “Gaffer” Reese who stood on the touch line and shouted, “Sodom and Gomorrah boy, tackle him!” We won many cups.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50) ‘The one time I remember getting really excited as a spectator was a match in which Hardinge came from behind to win the game at the last moment.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) ‘Dormitory rugby was more demanding, since Hugh Marston insisted that the Hardinge should play mercilessly and win everything!’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) “Philip Letts took over the Anglesey from “Hus-Gus” about halfway through my time at College. A terrific enthusiast, his memorable rallying cry when coaching rugby was “go split-arse for the corner flag!”’ Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949-53) All students were also expected to support the school First teams at home matches, and in fact, failing to do so was a beatable offence. Again, some enjoyed this more than others. Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) wrote ‘I quite liked watching the First XI cricket on Turf, but would only stand on the touchline at Bigside under compulsion.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) told us how he and his contemporaries made these hours more entertaining: ‘As juniors we were required to watch the College cricket matches on Saturdays. Those of us not enthralled by the game would construct miniature obstacle courses in the soil around the edge of the field for the much more exciting snail racing competitions. ‘While watching inter-school rugby matches in winter, a popular practice was to warm up a half-pint bottle of milk to be pocketed as a warm drink. To avoid detection, the drink delivery system was composed of a length of rubber insulation stripped from electrical wiring. The tube could be threaded from the bottle through one’s clothing and retained with a small bulldog clip to the collar of your jacket. Body heat kept the drink warm throughout the match. By this means a sip could be taken without anyone observing this crime! If in the heat of the moment the clip failed, warm milk would be siphoned through one’s clothes with embarrassing consequences.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) There was a definite hierarchy of sports at Wellington, the ‘major’ sports being compulsory, as summed up by Nigel Gripper (Hopetoun 1945-49): ‘We were all obliged to play rugby in the autumn, field hockey in the spring and cricket in the summer.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) likewise recalled ‘rugger, hockey, and athletics standards in summer. There was little choice beyond these.’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54) enlarged: ‘Rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics were major College sports providing teams through all age groups from Junior Colts, Colts and then College teams competing against other schools. As I recall, swimming, tennis, racquets, squash, fives and fencing were minor sports.’ Rugby Rugby, or rugger, was perhaps the most important sport at Wellington in the 1950s, and everyone participated at some level. Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56) got off to a good start: ‘My first term, starting in September was a “rugger term” and the fact that I had already played the game, whereas most of the other new boys had not, stood me in good stead and I played in the College Yearlings 1st XV as fly half.’ Richard Harries (Hill 1949-54) sadly could not fulfil his ambitions: ‘Any early promise I had as a rugby player at prep school rapidly disappeared when I grew lanky as a teenager, not heavy enough for the scrum and not quick enough to be the good three-quarter I aspired to be.’ Others also felt that their size or build disadvantaged them: ‘I was small for my age and the major team games like rugby were not to my liking. I was usually placed as a hooker, with the result that I was always in fear of breaking my back in the middle of the scrum!’ ‘I hated rugby (not heavy enough for the scrum, nor fast enough for the wings), but had to play it. When I left, I thought, “Thank goodness that is the last rugby game I ever will have to play,” only to go straight into the army for National Service, to be told “We see you were at Wellington so we have put you down for the rugby game.” They dropped me after three games.’ Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48) Some enjoyed the game despite the difficulties: ‘Rugby was my favourite sport, but it was usually too cold to enjoy it. I remember how much my frozen ears hurt in the scrum.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) ‘Rugger I hated until, (how, I never quite understood), I found myself selected for the First XV team, at which point I thought I had better put myself wholeheartedly into it, and I began to enjoy it. I also developed a talent for place-kicking, the stiff-soled boots of the time allowing for the straight-on direction of the kick, not the sideways approach now dictated by the softer boots.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51) found rugby ‘a nasty, dangerous game’ compared to both hockey and cricket, and for many, real or imagined injuries were never far away: ‘I was a hooker and my back was compressed in large parts as I entered the First XV too soon. I scored from hooker for the 1st XV against Radley, but was replaced by Apthorp, who was even smaller, next match. Yes, I thought I had been cheated, but it saved my back.’ John de Grey (Blücher 1938-43) ‘Although I was not a thug or big, I was Thirds’ hooker. Often the Firsts’ hooker was crocked, so I played five times for Firsts and three times for Thirds, and I was the Dormitory hooker from the age of fifteen. My nose was broken three times and the last time knocked it straight!’ ‘Rugger XV… being kicked in the head at Harrow and badly concussed. Ditto at Marlborough.’ Michael Campbell (Hill 1954-59) Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) appreciated the way inter-Dormitory rugby competitions afforded ‘an opportunity to play against members of the school First XV,’ but Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61) found this less attractive: ‘Schools were still allowed to field Dormitory teams comprised of boys of all ages. This resulted in small 13-year-old boys being in a scrum with heavyweight 18-year-old seniors. I can still vividly recall during my first term, as a short lightweight being played as hooker, thinking that my spine was going to snap every time there was a scrum.’ George Nicholson (Hardinge 1949-54) never came to terms with the sport: ‘One was expected to enthuse about rugger as a player or spectator. I loathed the game. I was always put in the second row in the scrum.’ The most unusual recollection about rugby comes from Bob Terry (Hopetoun 1954-57): ‘One memory which stands out for me was, as a new boy, standing on the touchline at a practice match between the rugby First and Second XVs in the mid-1950s. College had, as part of an exchange, accepted a student from the USA, an American college footballer. He was playing for the Second XV in a rugby match for the first time in his life. His knowledge of rugby was clearly limited, with particular reference to the offside rules. However, his ball handling and throwing skills were absolutely amazing and enthralled us young spectators, including one-handed throws covering the length and breadth of the field of play. It confused the pattern of the game but was wonderful to watch. I have never forgotten that event.’ Hockey For a long time something of a ‘poor relation’ at Wellington, by the 1950s hockey was the established sport for the Lent term. Many respondents enjoyed it: ‘Hockey was my favourite game. I was in the First XI for three years and Captain in 1958. In those pre-artificial pitch days, matches were

Minor Sports

Tennis, squash, racquets and fives  Individual ball sports such as tennis, squash and their cousins do not appear to have been taken very seriously at 1950s Wellington. Many enjoyed them as social sports, removed from the pressure to do well which accompanied the major games, but some regretted that they were not encouraged more.   ‘Although one could play tennis in one’s spare time, I always regretted that it was not pursued as an official sport.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51)  ‘Eton fives was a popular game in wet weather. Tennis was an option, but it was regarded as a sissy’s game.’ ‘…tennis, which was sadly very neglected, with appalling courts.’ William Young (Anglesey 1954-58)  ‘My best game was tennis – but, as with golf, not encouraged because it was insufficiently “team”.’ Thomas Collett-White (Picton 1950-55)  ‘I played quite a bit of tennis, being in the College’s 1st VI for my last two years. On that front, I played at Wimbledon in the Public Schools Championship, the Youll Cup, though if the truth be told, my partner and I fell at the first fence in the first round! Back at College, there were occasions when I and others in the tennis team were invited by the Master, Harry House, to play tennis with his sons and his daughter, Julia, on the grass court in the garden of the Master’s Lodge – a surface something of an improvement on the College courts, which consisted of rather worn-out tarmac!’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56)  ‘I was Head of Squash, Fives and Tennis. I am sad now to learn that the fives courts have been knocked down. It is a magnificent game with historic origins and taught you to use both arms with equal dexterity.’ John Watson (Benson 1946-51)   ‘The escape from sport was fives.’ Racquets was more competitive, and may have been considered a major sport.   ‘I played a lot of squash, and later took up racquets, the game which I grew to love the most, under the tuition of our “old-school” professional Ronnie Hawes. I managed to get into the Racquets VIII, but never into the pair since we had two outstanding players at the time, Bolton and Mesquita. I often wondered whether I could have got nearer their standard if I had been allowed to start the game at 13, as my father wanted me to do. However, my stuffy old Tutor, Claude Hughes-Games, refused to allow any of his charges to play rackets until they were 16, as he felt loose morals down at the racquets court might endanger anyone younger!’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51)  ‘Because I was in the 1st racquets pair for four years (and I believe the only person ever to be so), my main sporting life was around racquets. Ronnie Hawes, the professional, was a most determined person and ruled like a rod of iron. We had to practise and train regularly, and in my final year we were totally unbeaten, then just before the Queens Championship I got mumps and could not play, so D G Scholey took my place and they did not win. Ronnie did not speak to me for three years, he was so disappointed. I loved playing racquets and it altered the course of my life.’ Mike Bolton (Hopetoun 1947-53)  ‘I became Captain of Racquets, Squash and Tennis – mainly because, by chance, I was the most senior boy to participate regularly in these, rather than because of superior skill.’ ‘Squash was a social sport for me, and was helpful in strengthening my right wrist after it was broken in a collapsed rugby scrum in 1958, followed by further damage to it when I had a bicycle accident outside the Picton.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59)  ‘I also played Eton fives, partnered by Richard Persse, who was undoubtedly the best all-round sportsman in College at the time. We won the Fives Shield, and we also beat the pair from Eton, which gave us particular pleasure. I also played squash, and enjoyed watching the professional Jim Deare playing racquets.’ Robin Ballard (Orange 1955-59)  ‘I developed a preference for squash and fives. These were only available infrequently when courts had been booked and one was not conscripted for a dormitory team.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) wrote a long account of his involvement with racquets, slightly abridged here:   ‘My number one sport was racquets, but I have carried throughout life a competitive urge not matched by natural talent. It was my misfortune to represent Wellington at a time when other major schools were exceptionally strong… A couple of years earlier David Dundas, the best player, received a ball to the back of the head that was close to life-threatening. He returned a year later and bravely resumed with Paddy Shillington as his partner just ahead of myself. Temperamentally, Paddy was better suited to the overall role, which involved keeping out of the way while David took the other side on single-handedly.  In my final year I should have been partnered by Ian Ritchie, an engaging rake from the Talbot. He was a left-hander, younger than me but a better player. It was a shattering blow when Ian lost an eye to a shot played by, of all people, Sandy Entwisle. I recall to this day breezing into the racquets court building unaware of what had happened while everyone else assumed I knew.  The game had struggled at College since the halcyon days of the de Mesquita brothers and Mike Bolton. It correctly had an image of being expensive – it cost my parents about £12 extra every term – and these accidents branded it dangerous. Losing heavily to every other major school did not help.  Clive Picton became my partner. Essentially a squash player, he was no more up to it than I was. I won the individual cup. For the final, Jack Wort arranged for most of the Talbot to cheer for Clive. I think I won more easily than expected, but my memory is much sharper of my semi-final. This was against Jonathan Edwardes, a Colt at the time but one to whom I had awarded colours as a member of the Rackets VIII, hoping thereby to encourage more young boys to take up the game. I led by a game and about 11-1. Oh dear, I thought, he is not justifying my faith in him. I let him have a few points. That was all he needed – I lost that game and was now in a rare battle. It got to 10-all in the fifth. “Who’s going to win?” someone asked Bob Giles. “I’ve no idea!” he replied. I got the serve back and five aces later, I had won. A few weeks later I stepped onto the court for the last time, at Queen’s, and we were trounced, probably by Charterhouse but I cannot remember.  Shane Chichester, who had been in the pair around the turn of the century, was still going strong in the 1950s and was a regular spectator at our school matches. He was still full of views, taking me onto the court to demonstrate his special undercut service. He also invited the first pair, possibly the second as well, to lunch at his home. After lunch, Shane showed us the (cricket) bowling machine he had designed and made. Such devices are now commonplace, but not then! Another of Chichester’s contributions to College was the gift of a heavyweight contraption that had apparently been used in earlier life to straighten out the wings of aircraft. It had been converted to press racquets balls into shape, extending their life at a time when we had no idea where replacements might come from.  I played a fair amount of squash and one or two games of fives, once representing College against an Old Westminster pair. I was partnered with Simon Clarke, who could play any game from roof cricket to ping pong. We soon got into the lead, and one of our opponents passed favourable comment on Simon’s play. These old boys had been playing for decades, so it was rather tactless of me to tell them that Simon had played for the first time the previous week.’  Gymnastics Most Wellingtonians of the 1950s experienced the gymnasium, fondly known as the ‘PT Palace.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) was not an enthusiast:   ‘One quite pointless subject that remained on the curriculum throughout my time at College was PT… I recall some deep breathing and swinging one’s arms around to no obvious purpose ,with an occasional sortie onto the wall bars.’  But others enjoyed it:   ‘The one exception to [my dislike of sport] was a love of gymnastics. Each Dormitory and House took part in a gymnastics competition each summer. I was a member of this team. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and I seem to remember we did well.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48)  ‘Under the excellent tutelage of the PT master, Mr Meikle, I was fortunate enough to win the top award for gymnastics every year I was at Wellington. I believe this record has never been repeated.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) ‘Being a keen gymnast, I felt gymnastics at Wellington was poorly regarded and poorly taught. This lasted until my final year, when a vibrant, no-nonsense Army officer named Penfold replaced Gowie as the instructor. For some reason, I was made Head of the Gym, a misnomer involving no more than allocating space in the gym building.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51)  Other respondents also remembered Colonel Penfold:  ‘He had the fruitiest voice on the staff, with the possible exception of Crawley. Away from the gym, he looked a lost soul. In the gym he was never fit, for ever apologising for his inability to demonstrate some exercise. “My bee-ack!” was always his excuse. Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56)  ‘Colonel Penfold was the delightful gym teacher, a jolly, blustery old fellow with a bald head. In one class, he was demonstrating how to hang upside down on the climbing bars when the bar he was clutching broke, and he fell a couple of feet directly onto the top of his shiny pate. We watched in dread, but he quickly arose with a bright red face, shook his head and bellowed, “I’m all right! I’m all right!” Years later, I encountered Colonel Penfold on the beach at Lyme Regis where he was the much-loved deckchair man.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59)  Douglas Miller recalled: ‘Penfold was assisted by a man named Chapman, and I quake as I recall how little respect we paid him. Unsavoury class distinction was rife throughout society, and Chapman came from the other side of the divide. He was entitled to be addressed as “Sir,” and reasonably enough he expected this, but there was an unruly element, a minority determined to deny him the pleasure. His most favoured phrase was not far wide of the mark: “It’s just low mentality.”‘  An anonymous OW had better memories:   ‘I enjoyed boxing under the splendid Sergeant Chapman, an ex-Army PTI who had taken us for PT and boxing at our prep school. When we got boisterous, which I am sorry to say was rather frequently, Chapman would always say: “Gentlemen, gentlemen, never let your enthusiasm override your personal control.” The dear man could never recognise the difference between enthusiasm and devilment. He had the word “Sally” tattooed on his forearm, and tried to tell us it meant “sally forth” and not a girl’s name!’  Boxing  In the 1950s the tradition of the ‘New Men’s

Meals and mealtimes

The mealtime routine The daily routine of mealtimes changed very little for Wellingtonians throughout the 1940s and 1950s. The majority – all those who lived in the central dormitories – ate their three daily meals in the main Dining Hall, presided over by the Hall Usher, who kept order. During the Second World War this was Monsieur Noblet, ‘a great character’, wearing his Legion d’honneur in his lapel; later, several teachers took turns for the duty. The Hall Usher, or sometimes the Chaplain, would begin the meal with a Latin grace: ‘“Benedictus Benedicat per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum,” we all crowed “ARRRRMEN” and then the chatting immediately started. I never knew what grace actually was until I looked it up recently!’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘“MumblemumbleperJesumChristumDominumNostrum.” And we all sat down on those hard benches.’ ‘I recall the Chaplain (the Rev Dudley Dinnis) saying grace: “We praise the Lord for this fine dish and thank the Lord it isn’t fish… benedictus benedicat!”’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947–52) Many described the dining system in Hall, for example this OW from the early 1950s: ‘We sat at long tables, each for a dormitory, with dormitory Prefects at the head and then declining in seniority to the “squealers” at the bottom. The food was served at the foot of the table by the dormitory servant, the faithful “jally”, and the plates then passed up each side.’ Nigel Gripper (Hopetoun 1945–49) commented that ‘I don’t recall much abuse of the plates of food as they were passed up by about twelve pupils each side!’ However Peter Rickards (Murray 1947–52) recalled that ‘by this means creative additions, such as toilet tissue with the chocolate pudding, would sometimes appear on the way.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949–54) added more detail: ‘Extra vegetables were on plates in the middle of the table. If a Prefect wanted more the cry would be “potatoes up” and nobody could take any on the way!’ This system was not without disadvantages. Peter Davison (Beresford 1948–52) commented that ‘The empty plates were returned, often before the juniors at the other end had received their helping,’ while Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957–61) laid out the difficulties at some length: ‘Firstly, there was insufficient space, we sat on benches with those at the foot cramped together. Secondly, those at the foot received their meals last as all the plates were passed up the length of the table, hand to hand. The results were that it was often cold, with frequently short rations and importantly there was often insufficient time to finish what was available. Those at the foot had often only just received their plate before it was cleared away and when you were on clearing duty you had to start when those at the head of the table had finished. This lack of time, and hence food, was compounded for the very junior at the foot as he had the additional duty of going to the kitchens to replenish such items as water jugs, etc or occasionally to “fetch a cloth!”’ On the other hand, Hugo White (Hardinge 1944–48) found some benefit: Sitting at the bottom of the table had its advantage, as we were well placed to scrape and devour any morsels of food left on the plates of our seniors as they were passed down for stacking.’ ‘Seconds’ were by no means frequent. ‘The elder boys did seem to be privileged to get first go at second helpings and I did feel a little guilty about this when I became ‘elder’’ John Le Mare (Stanley 1950–55) Several remarked that mealtimes were a rush. Jerry Yeoman (Anglesey 1955–59) recalled ‘the desperate need to get to Hall before the gong and grace was said. Such a failing would incur a beating and it was no good just not attending, for your absence from your place at the dormitory table would be very obvious.’ And there was an equal urgency at the end of the meal, with Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) recalling ‘an open-ended finish only at teatime’ and John Alexander (Talbot 1954–58) commenting ‘I do remember that the meals were very brief. The regime/timetable did not allow much spare time.’ The impact of rationing Many foods were rationed in the UK from January 1940 until July 1954. Unsurprisingly, this had a major impact on the diets of a generation of Wellingtonians. Most were accustomed to rationing before they even came to College, from their homes and prep schools, and so the limitations were nothing unusual to them. Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949–53) summed up the situation: ‘my generation, who were at prep school through most of the War, were under-nourished and always ravenous’, while Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949–53) commented ‘my time at Wellington was characterised (in common with the rest of the country) by dreadful food, and very little of it. When my children occasionally complained of what I regarded as their pretty luxurious fare, I would show them a photograph of my supper in the Stanley. I still have it, and it shows a plate entirely empty save for a small puddle of tinned spaghetti in the centre.’ Nevertheless, most felt that Wellington’s caterers had done their best under the circumstances. Remarkably, the number of respondents claiming that they had been ‘never hungry’ at Wellington was exactly the same as those who claimed to have been ‘always’ or ‘often’ hungry! Moreover, this did not change from the 1940s to the 1950s. Clearly hunger must, to some extent, have been subjective. Many recalled the specific arrangements around rationing, most of which centred around butter and jam: ‘The ration of butter was two ounces a week and we had our own personal butter ration on a dish in front of us. It had to last a week and one could spread it very thinly, though hardly tasting it, or enjoy it all in a few delicious sessions! I can still estimate a two-ounce chunk of butter. This butter ration was sacrosanct, and no one tried to take anyone else’s.’ David Trafford-Roberts (Anglesey 1943–45) ‘We had our own labelled margarine dishes and sugar jars. These were respected by all, and I do not recall any pilfering. Bread was usually white and rationed at two slices for breakfast.’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943–47) ‘Butter was rationed and still scarce, and we were allowed only one small pat of it at each teatime. This being the one thing that I felt seriously deprived of during those years, I developed a keen eye for spotting an unfinished pat of it at great distance.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘We were given 1 lb of sugar each month and I tried to make marmalade – a disaster!’ ‘A lot of our concern at table was centred on our own jam pots – the House cook took charge of our ration books for the basic rations, but we had control of our own “points” for things like jam, and our personal jam jars were always our own responsibility.’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948–1950) ‘Butter must have been in short supply, as were marmalade, honey and jam, for one sequestered any part of a pat that was left over in the lid of one’s personal jar.’ David Nalder (Orange 1949–53) ‘We would receive a weekly ration of both butter and margarine, the latter being more generous. Those of us who were happy enough to eat margarine would sometimes exchange our smaller amount of butter for someone else’s margarine.’ Neil Munro (Talbot 1952–56) Even when all rationing had ended, butter was still at a premium: ‘I once asked why we couldn’t have proper butter and was told that we’d been given the choice between limited butter or unlimited marge.’ William Shine (Hill 1956–60) Everyone found their own way of coping with the shortages: ‘When parents came or relations came to take us out over the few weekends that we were allowed out, we used to go to the Wellington Hotel and stuff ourselves with good food.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950–54) ‘I supplemented the rations by eating other boys’ sausage skins, a habit they found disgusting.’ And one incident passed into legend: ‘There was rationing but we were not really hungry like our predecessors who were said to have roasted squirrels over dormitory gas rings.’ Tim Reeder (Picton 1949–53) ‘I was part of a gang from the Hill which killed a grey squirrel with a catapult and cooked it on the brew ring and ate it, more out of bravado than hunger but it was rather delicious. It got into the Sunday papers as proof of how starving we were, but we got away with a mild ticking-off.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947–52) Although the story became somewhat confused: ‘One occasion of note was when, after we had been served with a meat stew, the Sunday papers announced that the boys of Wellington College had been fed “squirrel stew” earlier in the week. As far as we were aware, no one issued a denial!’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951–56) Good food or bad? A minority of our respondents were disparaging about the fare served to them at Wellington, describing it as ‘rather poor’, ‘awful’, or even ‘a disaster’! However, most felt that it had been ‘adequate’ or even ‘pretty good’, although somewhat stodgy and lacking in variety. The good … ‘My favourite meal was baked beans, bacon and fried bread. Oh they did cook the fried bread so well.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954–58) ‘The food served in the main Dining Hall was healthy and varied, though perhaps with less meat than in these days.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947–52) ‘Given that certain foods were still restricted, the food we received in House was surprisingly good. I even recall enjoying a piece of whale steak.’ John Watson (Benson 1946–51) ‘I thought the food was good, even the de-hydrated powdered egg and potatoes! The high point of the week was fish on Friday, the smell of which, wafting through the colonnades, was for me a comforting experience, marking the week drawing to a close.’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956–60) The bad … ‘“Frogspawn” comes to mind and steamed date pudding – ugh!’ Anonymous ‘For the Sunday evening meal, it was usually cold pilchards in tomato sauce – yuk!’ Anonymous ‘I was personally not keen on “fish eyes” (tapioca) or whale meat, both of which appeared rather frequently!’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943–47) ‘At breakfast, coffee and tea were provided but both tasted the same, one could only tell by the shape of the pots.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945–50) ‘One incident did cause some amusement. The kitchen decided to serve mutton (whether roast, casseroled or stewed I don’t recall) anyway hardly any of it was eaten, which induced the Master, Harry House, in his wisdom, to address us on the subject of mutton!! It was good for us, he said; health giving, he said – and delicious as well! (Maybe he had the one edible portion!!!!)’ Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951–55) ‘At breakfast, coffee and tea were provided but both tasted the same, one could only tell by the shape of the pots.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945–50) ‘One incident did cause some amusement. The kitchen decided to serve mutton (whether roast, casseroled or stewed I don’t recall) anyway hardly any of it was eaten, which induced the Master, Harry House, in his wisdom, to address us on the subject of mutton!! It was good for us, he said; health giving, he said – and delicious as well! (Maybe he had the one edible portion!!!!)’ Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951–55) ‘Food

The Master

R P Longden  The oldest of our respondents, John de Grey, now Lord Walsingham (Blücher 1938-43) remembers Wellington’s sixth Master, ‘Bobby’ Longden. Appointed in 1937, Longden was relatively young, charismatic and seen as a moderniser. Walsingham’s one personal encounter with him, although brief, was clearly memorable:  ‘We processed in nominal roll order into the Chapel and out again every day, and Bobby Longden sat facing the column of boys with the roll in front of him, turning the pages discreetly as we passed. By the end of his first term he knew every boy by name – there were 650 of them. At the very beginning of his second term, I was returning from the tuck shop when I was alerted to his approach. Whenever a boy passed an usher, he had to “tick” him. It was the first time he had come across me, so I gave him my very best performance. Believe it or not, so did he, remarking as he passed and looking me straight in the eye, “Good afternoon, de Grey.” You did admire the Master, and if he actually knew who you were it made your day.’  H W House  Longden’s death in an air raid in October 1940 was a huge shock to the school. Several respondents mentioned the difficult circumstances in which his successor, H W House, took over:   ‘H W House, one of the “old school” who took over shortly after the younger and much more progressive Longden…’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47)  ‘Longden had been enormously popular… Harry House therefore had a hard time making his mark among a large number of boys who worshipped his predecessor. We certainly judged him most unfairly on the grounds that he appeared to lack confidence when speaking in public. We used to count the number of times he said “um” in an address.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48)  ‘Mr House was the Master in all my time. There was very much a feeling that he had taken over after the tragic death of Mr Longden in 1940 and had saved College.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52)  A remote figure  The head of a school such as Wellington is perhaps always somewhat removed from the daily life of the students. In the 1940s and 1950s this was certainly the case, as mentioned by most respondents:   ‘Wilfred (known as Harry) House was a somewhat remote figure in my early years at College. I remember him chiefly for taking prayers every Wednesday in Old Hall, when he used the occasion to make announcements.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54)  ‘Apart from seeing Major House at Chapel, and once a week when he would address the whole school in Old Hall, I only saw him walking about, head bowed. He never spoke to me once during my time at College except to say “Goodbye and good luck” on the day I left.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55)  ‘He seemed to be forever walking College corridors carrying books on Classics.  Otherwise he appeared to play no part in the school curriculum.’ Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52)  ‘I probably spoke to him three or four times. A remote figure. Great pity as he seemed a nice man. He never visited our dormitory or met parents.’ George Nicholson (Hardinge 1949-54)  ‘I saw him once or twice a year but never talked him or knew what he did. A dapper ghost.’ ‘I met the Master, Harry House, rarely, and more as a result of tennis in the holidays than any College reason.’ Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53)  ‘Harry House had little effect on my life that I remember.’ Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45)  ‘Neither Harry House nor Graham Stainforth ever spoke to me in my three and a half years, something I have never forgotten!’ Tim Shoosmith (Blücher 1953-57)  ‘Mr House would not have known of my existence.’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58)  Respected  For some, this sense of remoteness bred respect. Mike Bolton (Hopetoun 1947-53) commented ‘We held H W House in awe,’ while John Ravenhill (Orange 1953-56) called him ‘A great leader of us boys.’  Charles Enderby (Picton 1953-57) remembered him as ‘an immensely respected figure, quiet and dignified,’ even though ‘we never knew of his great courage in the First World War.’ On the other hand, one anonymous respondent felt that this history definitely helped House’s reputation:  ‘In a society which tended to judge every man by his military record, he enjoyed our total respect and regard. “Wilfred” as he was known behind his back, had been awarded a DSO and MC in the First World War and was as excellent a headmaster as he had been a soldier. Like so many strong men, he was gentle, courteous and softly spoken.’  Ridiculed  Others, however, felt differently. Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) described House as ‘ineffectual,’ while Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) wrote ‘Mr House was uninspiring and always seemed to most of us as a rather silly little man.’  One mannerism in particular was often ridiculed by the boys:   ‘Sadly he was prone to “umming” and “erring” when addressing us boys in Old Hall every Wednesday, and this provoked imitation in private.’ David Nalder (Orange 1949-53)  ‘He was known for his speech impediment, and the boys used count his “ahs.” The record was 140 in ten minutes.’ ‘He was a rather shy man without huge presence. He was hesitant in public speaking with “ehs” and “ahs” punctuating every sentence. This made him easy to mimic and probably reduced his authority.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56)  Character  Undoubtedly, House’s personality did not make it easy for the students to get to know him. Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) described him as ‘shy and hesitant,’ while Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) considered him ‘rather self-effacing.’ However, all those who had the opportunity to know him better remembered him with a great deal of warmth:   ‘I had a great respect for him as a sincere and fair man. Probably his personality was not ideal for a headmaster as he did not enjoy the limelight, but he performed well for Wellington.’ John Watson (Benson 1946-51)  ‘Harry House was friendly, open and visited boys in their Houses and Dormitories –I recall well two such visits.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58)  ‘I liked Wilfred House a lot, because he was kind.’ ‘Mr House – a real gentleman.’ Michael Campbell (Hill 1954-59)  Some knew him as a teacher:   ‘I had History with him one year and he was a very thorough and entertaining teacher.’ ‘In the term at the end of which I took School Certificate, I was taught French by the Master, Harry House. He was a good teacher. I liked him and did well in his class.’ Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50)  ‘I was in his French set for a term or two, and thought he taught very relaxedly and with a kindly manner.’ Michael Hedgecoe (Combermere 1951-54)  Others grew to know him by being Prefects, or through family or sporting connections:   ‘Harry House was a kind man, whom I got to know a little through my friendship with his daughter (tennis on his private court on summer Sunday afternoons).’ Christopher Capron (Benson 1949-54)  ‘When I was fourteen, I played golf in the third (and last) couple for the Boys v The Common Room. Harry House was one of the opponents. He had learned the game at Dornoch where he went for summer holidays when a boy. He said he had gained a handicap of 4 and I believe him, for his swing was good. Alas he now never played, and on the first tee, up came his august head with the ball barely travelling twenty yards. My partner and I won by the indecent margin of 6/5 but he never held this against me!  A thoroughly good man!’ David Nalder (Orange 1949-53)  ‘Harry House was in my opinion an excellent leader and was, I believe, much respected by both staff and pupils. I got to know him quite well, as he and his family were friends of my grandparents. In my last year I spent quite a bit of time, together with the Head of College, talking to him about the goings-on within the school and how it was operating – he was a very good listener as well as being a good, if somewhat low-key, speaker.’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56)  ‘I think that in many ways in the histories of Wellington that have been written so far, he is the most unfairly underrated Master the school has had.  It was as a Prefect that I really came to appreciate some of the challenges that he had faced when he first arrived at Wellington… among other things, the infamous case of boys raiding various shops in Crowthorne and storing the proceeds in the Orange Tower!  That inevitably led to the expulsion of the boys concerned. On my leaving Wellington, House and his family became lifelong friends, up to the deaths of him and his wife and beyond with his children.’ Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56)  Although occasionally, these associations gave rise to embarrassing situations:   ‘Harry House became a very good friend. I fancied his daughter and took her out two years after leaving. I took her somewhere quite smart in town in my Dad’s old Land Rover. I think that I must have overplayed my hand as we did not go out again…’ Anonymous  ‘On one occasion, House took me in his car to watch an away rugger match. On the journey I felt very car-sick. Rather than pollute the Master’s car, and too embarrassed to ask him to stop, I was sick into a brand new pair of sheepskin gloves which my parents had given me for my birthday. They were never the same again!’ Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58)  Personal interest  Several respondents were impressed by the personal knowledge House had of his students, and his interest in them:   ‘Mr House was a very decent person, seemingly always quietly in the background, who had the rare gift of being able to remember the names of most of the boys.’ ‘He had the remarkable gift of seeming to know all boys’ names. He knew mine!’ Anonymous  ‘He was quick at learning names. This was epitomised for me when my eldest brother’s name was put up in Chapel, when he had been killed in the RAF. I was walking through the Lower Combermere Quad when the Master, coming towards me, stopped me and said how sorry he was to hear the news as he had taught him at Oxford. I was very touched that he had picked me out – at a sad time, it was very helpful.’ David Simonds (Orange 1941-46)  ‘When I was invalided out of the Army while at Sandhurst, my father took me to see him in order to obtain advice as to what I might do next. Major House took a touching concern in my welfare, which both impressed and encouraged me. I retain the impression of a kind and considerate gentleman.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53)  ‘When I was made a member of the Upper Ten and subsequently Head of College, I saw quite a lot of him and grew to like him very much.  Sitting next to him at lunch in Hall, he would surprise me by showing that he knew the names of most of the boys sitting at dormitory tables in front of us.  He also knew a lot about them and showed compassion about those with problems.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54)  Spiritual  Some were struck by House’s spiritual side:   ‘He read the Bible

Music, Theatre and Art

Peter Rickards (Murray 1947–52) told us ‘We all participated in theatre and music. Dormitory and school plays and choral competitions were as constant a commitment as games and sports.’ For some this might be a walk-on part in a dormitory play, for others, strong involvement in the musical activities on offer. Music teachers Music played a part in the curriculum, but individual music lessons were extra-curricular, as were the various orchestras and choirs. Several respondents felt that music had been one of the most important aspects of their lives at Wellington. Inevitably, music teachers had a strong influence on this, and were largely remembered fondly. ‘The teacher who stands out as a beacon in my memory was my piano teacher Mr Timberley. He was a rotund little man and a brilliant pianist, even with hands markedly smaller than my own. He had a varied method of teaching, sometimes playing through the repertoire of the next Subscription Concert, pointing out passages to look out for; sometimes getting me to play pieces while trying to distract me by asking questions, by jumping up and down and by pretending to slam the keyboard lid down on my hands. He was an excellent teacher and I loved him dearly – I still do.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) ‘The person who was best was the assistant Music master, Mr Angus.’ Michael Moore (Lynedoch 1955–60) ‘Alan Angus was a young musician who taught the piano and helped out by learning to play the viola so as to join in the string quartet we formed. We played Haydn’s Emperor Quartet. Alan Angus went for bicycle rides on a tandem with his young wife. When the composer Gerald Finzi died, Alan Angus and I rode on his tandem to a nearby railway station and travelled to London by train, to attend the memorial service for him.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952–57) The teacher remembered more than any other was the Director of Music, Maurice Allen. Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946–51) considered him ‘adequate but rather limited in his scope. For instance, once while we were chatting, he noticed a boy entering the Music School carrying a guitar case, and his greeting was “That’s not a proper instrument.” How wrong he was!’ For those who enjoyed classical music, though, Mr Allen was inspirational: ‘The person who had a lasting influence, and whom I often think about, was Maurice Allen. He was a wise, tolerant, and civilised teacher and the nearest among the teachers to being a friend despite the large gap in our ages. Michael Howard OM, who died last year, told me of the civilising influence that Maurice Allen brought to the school. Allen directed plays and Gilbert and Sullivan operas. I had the good fortune to win a music scholarship. I have a letter from Maurice Allen announcing this award and making clear that it was awarded on promise rather than performance. After a term or two with the sweet and kind Mr Timberley and then the diminutive Tommy Evans I graduated to Maurice Allen himself as teacher. He encouraged me to play Brahms, Beethoven, Grieg lyric pieces, Debussy (Girl with Flaxen Hair, The Sunken Cathedral). The stiffness of my hands and wrists drove him to melancholy, but he seemed to recognise that there was nothing to be done. Music extended beyond the piano and violin lessons into singing, where a whole world opened up through Vaughan Williams (Toward the Unknown Region), Stanford (The Revenge), even Edward German, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ German Requiem, Bach’s Matthew Passion, and of course Gilbert and Sullivan.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952–57) ‘It was impossible to escape the very remarkable Director of Music, Maurice Allen. In the face of all indications in my case to the contrary, he would not give up on the assumption that every boy must have some talent, either to sing or to play an instrument. He sat me in the second violins, largely clueless as to what was going on. He must, however, have inspired an appreciation of music in hundreds of young people, however poor their performances might have been, as he did for me.’ Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947–51) ‘Wellington was not a musical school in my day, but Maurice Allen, the Music Director, did amazing work under the circumstances of poor encouragement from above.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954–59) ‘Maurice Allen was my tutor, piano and singing teacher. He was a brilliant and gifted musician, quite inspirational, a bit of a hero of mine. He had a gift given to very few: he could sit in front of a full orchestral score of an opera and do a piano reduction at sight; the only other two people I know of who could do this were the composer Benjamin Britten, and the late Kenneth Mobbs. Thanks to Maurice Allen, I was able to pass A Level Music, notwithstanding having only three terms to do the necessary study.’ Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951–55) ‘I never played an instrument but the very inspiring Music master, Maurice Allen, taught musical appreciation in occasional classes, which has proved of lasting benefit.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949–54) ‘Thanks to my membership of the choir and to Maurice Allen, I acquired a lasting appreciation of classical music.’ George Nicholson (Hardinge 1949–54) Music lessons Some had memories of their individual music tuition. Two respondents, encouraged by their teachers, were able to get places in the National Youth Orchestra: ‘Our violin teacher was an itinerant, Jack McDougal, who came to College for one or two days each week. He was an excellent instrumentalist and a nice man, who crouched in the freezing rehearsal room with the gas fire turned up to maximum strength to reduce the shivering he suffered as a result of wartime malaria. He never got me to play a true staccato.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952–57) ‘The next “moment of truth” was my decision to give up the piano. Expecting my father’s wrath – he was a good pianist himself – I was surprised when he asked what I intended to take up instead. Without thinking, I blurted out that I would play the horn. The first whiff of stale tobacco and old Brasso given off by the battered old school instrument captivated me and I have been a horn player ever since.’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954–59) But those with a more modest ambition also got something out of it: ‘I’d learnt the piano for a few terms at prep school … I started piano again at Wellington, under Maurice Allen. I told the Music Master that what I really wanted was to sit down casually at a piano and astound anyone listening with my playing. He advised me to choose a few pieces and he’d help me learn them by heart. I did manage this … after which I would get up and say “That’s all for today, folks!”’ William Shine (Hill 1956–60) Orchestra ‘Every Monday evening, when others were doing prep, we had orchestral practice in the Music School. The orchestra consisted of all and any pupils who played an instrument, and some of the ushers and their wives. Jack Wort played violin or viola, I seem to remember. Mrs Potter was a fine pianist who performed a Mozart concerto at the Speech Day concert.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952–57) ‘Music was my great consolation. The College orchestra practice every Monday evening under Maurice Allen’s baton was the high point of my week. Even my academic work began to improve.’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954–59) ‘I particularly liked the clarinet which some jazz chaps played so well on the radio … but I never practised enough. I was put into the School Orchestra sometimes, and distinctly remember losing my place in the music, in which case I would blow out my cheeks and waggle my fingers in time with the other players. No one ever knew.’ William Shine (Hill 1956–60) The Choirs ‘I never played an instrument, but was roped into College Choir, and thoroughly enjoyed singing in The Creation without ever learning to read music.’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947–51) ‘I joined the choral society as a bass at the age of 13 under the baton of the inspirational Maurice Allen; from my point of view it was a life enhancing experience and something that has stood me in extremely good stead for the rest of my life. I recall performances of Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, Towards the Unknown Region by Vaughan Williams and The Revenge by Stanford; lots of other works too!’ Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951–55) ‘I was Prefect of the Choir, of which I was a very keen member. With two others in the Small Choir, as a special treat, I was taken to a concert of The Dream of Gerontius; I broke the rules during this Reading visit by buying my first ever pint of beer in a pub (for one shilling and ninepence in old money, I recall!).’ Christopher Birt (Beresford 1955–60) ’I was delighted to be picked as a treble in Tommy Evans’ Small Choir, which introduced me to choral singing of an altogether higher standard. Looking back, I’m sure that this was the start of my musical education. Even now I can’t listen to the St Matthew Passion without a nervous jolt. The choir performed it during my second year and Tommy Evans approached me on the morning of the performance with the unwelcome news that the treble briefed to sing a short solo had gone down with flu. I was so shattered to be given the job that I never mentioned it to anyone – even my parents, who were in the audience that evening.’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954–59) ‘A memory that has lasted is that of being auditioned for the choir by Maurice Allen. I had just got my mouth open when he said, “That’s enough – next!” So the world missed another Pavarotti.’ Allen Molesworth (Blücher 1945–48) ‘I took care not to be involved in any choirs.’ Rufus Heald (Stanley 1939–42) Listening to records Listening to great music was an important part of the musical journey for many, and the Music School afforded an opportunity for this: ‘Music was the best part of my life at Wellington and is most strongly associated with a particular place: the gramophone room on the first floor of the Music School. Here, as sixth formers, my friend and I spent most of our free hours exploring the repertory, Sibelius symphonies, Elgar violin concerto, Vaughan Williams’ Job: A Masque for Dancing. The years at Wellington were the foundation of my musical knowledge.’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952–57) ‘I used to sneak into the Music School and listen to music – a wind up record player with fibre needles and a great enormous horn. I was very keen on the Beethoven symphonies and used to follow in the scores.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945–50) ‘I made use of the Music School’s record library (mainly 78 rpm in those days), and I recall the wonder of playing bits of Die Meistersinger on these records.’ Christopher Birt (Beresford 1955–60) Some also remembered music heard in their dormitory: ‘There was a gramophone in the Anglesey, with a good supply of vinyl records, including Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Liszt’s Les Preludes, Phil Harris’ Woodman Spare that Tree, and the Ink Spots’ I Like Coffee, I Like Tea.’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947–51) ‘Thanks to a dormitory companion who seemed to have a mission to teach classical music, I was introduced to Beethoven. I am eternally grateful to him.’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956–60)

Snacks, Treats & Grubbies

‘Swipes’, brew-ups and tuck boxes ‘Swipes’ is a peculiarly Wellingtonian phrase, and one known to generations. Originating as a supper of bread, cheese and small beer, it takes its name from a 19th century term for poor-quality or stale beer. By the 1940s, ‘swipes’ was firmly established as a daily ration of bread, margarine and jam, which was collected from the kitchens and taken back to the dormitories, there to be toasted by means of various ingenious contraptions. ‘We had “swipes” (bread and marge) to take back to the dormitory, to fill any gaps, providing there was enough bread to toast for prefects at breakfast!’ Anonymous (1951-56) “I remember “swipes” being brought up to the dorm at 9 o’clock each evening – sliced bread with some sort of spread, and milk which I would use to make chicken noodle soup from a packet… there was a gas ring outside the dorm on the stairwell. Salubrious?’ Vernon Phillips (Murray 1951-54) ‘The toast fag made toast over crossed wires in an old biscuit tin over a single gas ring.’ ‘”Swipes” (a bin of bread, margarine and jam) would be delivered to the end of the dormitory corridor each evening, but in the early years there was little chance of getting one’s teeth into any of it. My mother claimed that a PS to my weekly letter home once read “Please send some bread, however stale.”’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954-59) And one anonymous student (1950-54) remembered an additional ration: ‘In the evenings, before bedtime, a fag could be sent to the kitchens to collect a lidded pail of thick, brown soup which was always exactly the same and which was nice and warming on a cold evening.’ Most students received from home, or were able to buy, simple tinned foods with which they supplemented their ‘swipes’ and elevated them to the level of a ‘brew-up’ by means of the dormitory’s solitary gas ring. Baked beans, powdered eggs, and sometimes Spam seem to have been favourites here. ‘The gas brew-ring was popular for preparing extra rations and must have heated up many tins of baked beans per term.’ John Watson (Benson 1946-51) ‘We also used to brew up omelettes made from powdered egg on a gas-ring just outside the dormitory.’ Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) ‘On a Sunday afternoon, we were allowed to use a gas ring, and in my case I made porridge and ate it with black treacle.’ John Ormrod (Stanley 1946-50) ‘Hall meals were supplemented with tins of baked beans brought from home and toasted “swipes” bread, thanks to the dormitory brew ring. One budding chef wanted to see what would happen if the tin were not punched as per the instructions. The resulting explosion was most satisfactory, but there was an awful lot of cleaning up!’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56) ‘Each dormitory had a solitary gas ring outside its doors, at the head of its staircase. Black with the congealed fat of ages, it was a temperamental as well as unhygienic device, but it served to brew watery, powdered-milk cocoa and occasionally a powdered egg scramble, sometimes with beans in brine on the side. Fags were employed to scrape out the burnt saucepans which our culinary efforts usually produced.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) ‘The custom was to “brew” with friends on Saturday evenings on a small gas ring in a brew room downstairs. Baked beans, spaghetti, fried eggs, sausages and fried bread were the main staples.’ ‘Baked beans and Spam became a favourite of mine.’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59) ‘Cheese toasties cooked in a clamp over a gas ring were a regular snack between meals and there were experiments with ginger beer, which eventually blew up despite strict supervision.’ Adrian Stephenson (Talbot 1957-61) ‘I used to have Bird’s custard to cook or a haggis sent from Scotland. Some cooked condensed milk to make a sort of fudge as a sweet.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54) ‘Food OK, but not enough, so a couple of us regularly bought a sack of oats from the kitchen which we ate in the evening.’ Tim Travers (Hopetoun 1952-56) Some even foraged to supplement their diet. Charles Enderby (Picton 1953-57) wrote: ‘In summer, I would collect moorhens’ eggs from the Blackwater and eat them hardboiled.’ Sometimes the cooking initiatives were carried outside the dormitory: ‘I do remember one exceptionally cold winter when oil-fired stoves were set up in the laboratory where we were learning Physics. A couple of us brought tins of baked beans into class and heated them up on the stoves. We then managed to consume them while our teacher had turned round to write on the blackboard.’ Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56) As mentioned, many relied on foodstuffs sent from home for the ingredients for their brew-ups. Most had a lockable tuck box, which would be brought to College full at the beginning of each term. All too soon, its contents would be finished. How frequently they might be topped up by parcels from home depended on the generosity and, in some cases, the financial status of each boy’s parents, not to mention availability due to rationing. However, little luxuries were often shared with those less fortunate. ‘My salvation was the tuck box which my mother filled for me at the start of a term. That kept me going for half a term – thereafter I bought snacks from Grubbies.’ John Hornibrook (Murray 1942-46) “I used to be sent back with a 48 pack of Penguin or something similar that might last three weeks.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘My mother also sent me by post a weekly sponge cake that was ordered from a supplier as I was always hungry.’ ‘I mentioned to my parents about always being hungry, so my mother arranged with her butcher to send me packages of bacon every week, which I could fry up on the gas ring in dormitory. This worked well until one summer I opened the package to find a wriggling mass of maggots. My bacon subscription was cancelled for the rest of that term.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) ‘I received a weekly parcel from the Army and Navy Stores in London; a packet of bacon, butter, sausages, and savoury biscuits. This made me very popular!’ William Young (Anglesey 1954-58) ‘Most tuck boxes were empty after the first week, and any subsequent replenishment was welcomed as much by friends as by the recipient since, by custom, he was bound to share it. Some boys returned to school with tins of orange marmalade, peanut butter, and even Spam.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) ‘We shared occasional luxuries (I recall my grandmother once sending me a parcel of Bath buns!) One high point was the occasional arrival of a food parcel sent by a sister school in New Zealand. Lots were drawn across the house for the contents, one could be lucky enough to win a tin of meat or even butter.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) Grubbies A Wellington institution, Grubbies was fondly remembered by almost all our respondents as a rare source of edible treats, as well as a congenial place to relax with friends. Only a handful stated that they seldom or rarely visited. Those at College in the 40s remember how sweet rationing was handled: “We had coupons for 12 oz of sweets a month, 4 oz one week and only 2oz the next.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50) ‘Initially, it was a matter of going there to use our sweet coupons, and thanks to our parents there was money in our accounts there, so that cash was not needed. I remember well when rationing ended, sometime in 1953, I think, and we could buy extra sweets – no doubt boosting tooth decay in the young population!’ Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) ‘In February 1953, sweets came off the ration. For the previous 10 years, the allowance had been 12 oz per person per month, which at Wellington we claimed with coupons, which were highly negotiable currency, and were issued at the beginning of each term. When rationing ended, Grubbies was overwhelmed.’ Anonymous Most boys seemed to have visited Grubbies around once a week – more if they could afford it, but most could not. As Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) commented ‘It was usually our pockets, not rationing, that limited our custom at Grubbies.’ He explained that pocket money was deposited with Tutors at the beginning of each term, and ‘only on his authority could it be withdrawn. For this purpose, we concocted fanciful and barely plausible needs. A few were believed.’ ‘I was on short pocket money as my dad knew I would just spend it, and I applied the same for my son forty years later.’ Not surprisingly, many OWs could recall the exact amount of their pocket money, and how far it went: ‘Even a few years after the war, ice-creams were a luxury and our weekly pocket money was one shilling! Not much even in those days. My father used to give us ten shillings and that would last a term.’ Bertram Rope (Picton 1949-54) ‘Our one shilling a week pocket money barely covered a single ice-cream. Still, that was a treat. The pocket money limit was rigorously enforced, and with hindsight I feel this was an excellent rule. I had no idea about the financial background of any of my friends and others…’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) ‘My parents gave me £20 each term that was deposited at Grubbies, and each time I purchased something a chit was raised to cover payment against my account. £20 on top of the school fees was significant in those days, but I still had to ask my parents for a top up each term.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) ‘I ate mainly ice-cream, pink ones most of the time. I think they cost 4d each. I know my money didn’t stretch as far as I would have wished, and how grateful I was for a ten bob note to swell resources in my first term. My great aunt used to take me out and once gave me half a crown. This was real money, seven ice-creams!’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘My passion was McVities chocolate digestive biscuits – and they still are!! In those days I found it difficult to avoid eating a whole packet in one sitting! Those biscuits were quite expensive – 12½ old pence a pack. As proof of my regularity at Grubbies, I feature in the London Illustrated News article on Wellington in 1958!’ John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58) ‘For sixpence, you could get a pie and a coke. But the weekly pocket money was only sixpence, so it was a rare but wonderful experience.’ Because of the perceived expense, Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52) recalled that ‘there was a custom that you paid for what you ate and did not expect to be treated by a friend.’ Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52) remembered ‘Once, on an unexpectedly hot day, Mr Allen gave the boys 2/6d to buy extra ice-cream.’ The bill of fare At different times, Grubbies seems to have sold a remarkable variety of foodstuffs, but some were mentioned again and again. During the war, hungry boys bought bread to fill them up: ‘Grubbies kept us going on bread rolls.’ David Simonds (Orange 1941-46) ‘In particular I remember the newly-baked rolls with a Spam filling. Loaves of bread were also available (bread was not rationed till after the war). We used to buy a complete loaf and eat it as we made our way back

Spare time

How much spare time? Many OWs felt that they had not had much spare time at Wellington, explaining that most time outside the classroom was taken up by sport, runs, choir practice, prep, land-work and so on. John Le Mare (Stanley 1950-55) commented that ‘I think our daily life was intentionally organized so we did not have too much free time,’ and Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61) considered ‘Each day was undoubtedly organised to make this a scarce commodity, except at weekends. As Saturday games were compulsory, only Sunday provided available free time. Even this was regulated.’ Several others enlarged on this latter point. Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47) wrote that ‘On Sunday afternoons, we had to be out of the House for a couple of hours, unless it was raining really hard,’ and John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50) agreed: ‘On Saturday, and Sunday afternoons we had to be out of the College buildings and took lots of walks and long bicycle rides.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) summed it up best: ‘There was very little spare time during the week, but after Saturday lunchtime there was almost too much of it. Crowthorne was a dull little hamlet, and we were forbidden to visit any town within a certain radius of the College. At the time I was frequently bored, particularly on Sunday.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53) agreed: ‘Shopping centres were the WH Smith bookshop and the Post Office in Lower Crowthorne, and the occasional walk up to Upper Crow for supplies, but there was little to attract in what was an out-of-the-way village on the verge of Windsor Forest. Local pubs, like the Waterloo opposite the Talbot, were firmly closed to us. It was an age when we were thrown on our own resources for entertainment.’ Overall, many felt that this balanced out to give ‘adequate’ free time, or as Thomas Collett-White (Picton 1950-55) put it, ‘spare time in spasms.’ George Nicholson (Hardinge 1949-54) considered that there had been ‘too much spare time,’, while an anonymous OW enlarged ‘rather too much spare time, I think, or more specifically not enough guidance on how to use it.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) remembered being ‘very bored a lot of the time.’ Simple pastimes At some stage, all Wellingtonians indulged in simple pastimes, such as reading: ‘If I wasn’t doing schoolwork, then I read – I was a voracious reader – I used to go down to the WH Smith’s shop near the railway station, and during my time in college I bought several of P G Wodehouse’s novels – I still have them: Jill the Reckless and Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, to name but two. They cost five shillings for a hardback (other than Penguins, there were no paperbacks then: they started to come in generally in about 1952-3). And I used the College Library on South Front… What I did there was to work my way through the complete run of bound volumes of Punch, from 1841 to 1948; and also the Illustrated London News and the Graphic – so I learned quite a lot of Victorian social and imperial history, and the same for the first half of the 20th century.’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950) Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52) also considered the Library ‘a place of refuge,’ and Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) wrote ‘I spent unforgettable hours in the fine Library, and can list a score or more books from its shelves which made a lasting impression on me. I also spent many a Sunday afternoon in bad weather browsing through the huge set of leather-bound copies of the Illustrated London News housed in Great School.’ ‘I very much enjoyed going to Great School, which was centrally heated in Winter, and reading the magnificent leather-bound copies of Illustrated London News.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) ‘I read novels, not of the first rank. I don’t remember the opening of Great School, but once it was opened, I regularly went there to read the newspapers.’ Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50) ‘I read almost anything, as long as it was not connected to schoolwork.’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) Other indoor hobbies included making model boats or planes, or stamp-collecting, and Dick Barton (Lynedoch 1938-42) recalled an ‘odd phase of knitting.’ However, many preferred to spend their free time outdoors. Tim Shoosmith (Blücher 1953-57) considered that ‘the best time!’ was ‘walking, chatting to my close friends,’ and many others mentioned walking within the College grounds, or further afield: ‘On Saturday evenings in the winter months, I sometimes went for a walk with a friend outside College; this was not allowed and we were lucky not to have been caught.’ Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50) Older boys and those with special responsibilities were allowed bicycles, which opened up the possibility of longer journeys: ‘When in the General Sixth (successor to the old Army Sixth – referred to by some as the “Bicycle Sixth” as Sixth Formers had the same bicycle privileges as Dormitory Prefects), I used to spend quite a lot of time cycling round Berkshire or visiting Camberley – with one’s Tutor’s permission of course – sometimes with a friend, sometimes on my own.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) ‘Marston [Tutor] also allowed me to keep a bike as I was not C of E and attended Sunday School in Camberley, which gave me some sense of freedom at weekends. I chafed a bit at Wellington’s confining rules of not being allowed off the College grounds and longed to escape them. I was reading a lot about WW2 at the time and imagined being in a POW camp.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) A lucky few had parents or other relatives who lived close enough to be visited by bicycle at weekends, which provided a welcome change from the atmosphere of College. Fishing, shooting and other outdoor interests Several enjoyed the traditional outdoor pursuit of fishing: ‘Spare time was often spent walking, cycling or coarse fishing on the College Lake. I actually used a bamboo, piece of cast and a proper hook which I borrowed from Father; I caught some nice perch up to a pound but put them back.’ Leslie Bond (Lynedoch 1948-53)‘James Wort, our Tutor, allowed two of us to go fishing in local streams in the summer between morning and evening Chapel. We ranged as far as the River Hart.’ Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45) ‘A happier moment in those early days was turning out to watch my friend Nigell D`Oyly, a fine fisherman, casting a fly on to a handkerchief forty yards away.’ Peter Cullinan (Benson 1948-52) While a few were able to indulge in shooting: ‘What is interesting to note is that there was the possibility for two boys to have shotguns in order to keep the squirrel population under control. My friend, Bill Robertson, and I were used to rough shooting together during the holidays on farms and game shooting. R G Evans was the Tutor whose responsibility it was to approve us as being safe to wander the grounds with our guns in the early mornings before breakfast. We shot many squirrels, and we were able to claim two shillings and six pence per squirrel tail if they were sent to the pest office as proof.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) ‘The College gun was a 12-bore shotgun and was kept in the office of the Head Porter, Mr Price, at the main gate. There were boys at Wellington who had grown up on farms or estates, or overseas, who had been familiar with the use of guns from an early age. There was some sort of registration system, and boys had to be approved to use the gun. On light summer mornings, loud bangs could be heard in the grounds as various denizens met their ends.’ Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) And William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56) remembered that ‘As a member of the Beagling Society, on Saturday afternoons during the season, when meets were within bicycling range, I used to go out with the Farley Hill Beagles.’ Some of those in the Houses had the opportunity to take up gardening: ‘During our last summer in 1953, my contemporaries and I took up the tarmac of the little yard behind the Stanley, where we constructed a fine garden, with lawn, flowerbeds, trellis and pond. We called it “Toll” garden – I fancy the House seniors were known as “Toll” for some forgotten reason. Titch Wright strongly approved of this operation, believing correctly that it kept us out of mischief.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53) ‘Mr Horsley encouraged some of us to try gardening in part of his garden, where we were allotted a small area of ground. I found this to be a pleasant pastime, which probably accounts for my love of gardening, especially if the product is edible!’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59) Sports Some sport at Wellington was of course compulsory, but enthusiasts spent much of their free time training or playing sport with friends: ‘Much of my spare time was spent in the nets or on the squash, fives or tennis courts.’ John Watson (Benson 1946-51) ‘We played soccer, House yard hockey, swam in the outdoor pool, fencing.’ John Ormrod (Stanley 1946-50) ‘I used much of my spare time for extra sport. After the obligatory afternoon games, such as rugby, hockey etc., I opted to do athletics training, including weight training in the gym for shotput and discus conditioning, or would play a game of Eton or Rugby fives with friends.’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) ‘Shooting was my favourite pastime as not only did it get me away from school (Bisley, Sandhurst etc.) but I was also allowed a bicycle to reach these venues.’ Michael Trevor-Barnston (Anglesey 1957-60) The Talbot had its own special sport. John Green (Talbot 1954-58) explained ‘we had a gravelled quadrangle, where “Quad Hockey” could be played, a tennis court and, in the summer, we played bowls on the House Tutor’s lawn.’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56) likewise mentioned ‘dangerous games of hockey on the gravel court.’ The Talbot’s proximity to the lake was also significant, as both recalled the ’exciting ice hockey on the lake.’ Another Talbot denizen, Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61) wrote: ‘In January and February, we would often skate on the lake, which froze enough to allow fifty or so boys on at once. No Health and Safety rules, and if we fell through we just got cold and wet. Skates in my case were skates screwed on to my Corps boots.’ While in the summer, there was swimming: ‘A great asset was the substantially sized [outdoor] swimming pool. This started pretty cold but gradually warmed up as the season progressed. We could not avoid being invigorated by the initial plunge into sub-zero water. However, in the warmth of the summer months it came into its own with inter-House competitions. My average swimming skill was enhanced by a skill I found I unknowingly had for picking up plates which, for some reason, I was able to come up with the complete set without bursting my lungs.’ Colin Mattingley (Talbot 1952-56) ‘Other pastimes included a love of swimming, but the English climate sorely tested this. I remember getting so hypothermic that it would take me several hours to stop shivering.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) Journalism Some took advantage of the plethora of dormitory magazines to develop skills of writing, drawing or editing: ‘I contributed to a dormitory magazine. Not one of your typed and photocopied productions – the typewriter had not yet reached our age group – and all contributions were

Health and the ‘Sanny’

Medical facilities  Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) described the function of the Sanatorium:  ‘a combined doctor’s office, first aid station and mini-hospital. It was in a separate building, reasonably well located, being close to most dormitories as well as to the ‘war zones,’ alias the rugby grounds and hockey pitches.’  Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61) listed the facilities:   ‘The College doctor, C F G Hawkins, was full-time, as were the nursing staff, consisting of the Sister in Charge, Miss Attenborough, and three qualified nurses. The doctor held a daily surgery. There was also a dentist’s surgery for the part-time visiting practitioner. There was a waiting room and a dispensary… Downstairs there was a very well-equipped day room, with a good selection of novels and more erudite editions as well as jigsaw puzzles.’  The scope and efficiency of the medical care at Wellington was praised by many. Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) felt that ‘It was comforting to know that a fully professional medical team was always on hand.’  Injuries and illnesses  The reasons given by our respondents for visiting the Sanatorium were many and varied. Several spoke of injuries such as sprains, cuts and bruises, and in some cases broken bones. Often these injuries were the result of sport:   ‘…winter rugby, which seemed to produce regular visits to the Sanatorium.’ Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59)   ‘I broke my arm playing rugger on Derby Field and had to walk back to the Sanatorium, from whence I was taken to Rowley Bristow Hospital where I was operated on.’ Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58)  ‘…pulling a muscle running against Pangbourne.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52)   ‘I was in a dark room in the Sanatorium for a week as a result of a freak accident when a squash ball hit my eyeball.’ John Ravenhill (Orange 1953-56)  ‘…due to boxing: I had nearly bitten through my cheek and needed a couple of stitches (no headguards then).’ ‘A broken nose from boxing (I won!), and spikes through the top of my foot during the 100 yards sprint (I lost, but the blood caused a lot of interest: “Hey Lake, did you know your shoe’s all red?”)’ Robin Lake (Benson 1952-57)  ‘I spent eleven days in the Sanatorium after fracturing a patella while running the 220 yards. I passed the standard but then the pain kicked in and I was carted off to St Thomas’s in London.’ David Nalder (Orange 1949-53)  On one occasion, the sport was only indirectly to blame:   ‘I had a day in the San on Sports Day, when I got food poisoning from an opened tin of pineapple given to me by my main opponent in the 440 yards race. Sad, ‘cos I expected to win!’ But Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56) considered that sport improved his health:   ‘I was in the Sanatorium on a number of occasions, particularly in my early years. I had suffered from asthma and was subject to bronchitis in the winter and spring, until my determined cross country running finally cured me of it!’  Many also spent time in the ‘Sanny’ due to ailments such as earache, sinusitis, tonsilitis and sore throats, or more serious illnesses such as mumps, jaundice and glandular fever. Pneumonia also affected several, some very badly. Hardy Stroud (Combermere 1950-55) wrote of ‘double pneumonia when my life was in the balance.’   A few suffered recurrent ill-health:   ‘I was in the Sanatorium on occasions with stomach troubles, never understood or diagnosed until I was sixty, when it turned out I was a coeliac. I doubt if anyone had heard of such a complaint in the ‘50s.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58)  ‘I was in the San quite regularly, mainly with ear trouble, sinus problems and general malaise. During my time at College I grew from 5’6” to 6’3’’ in 3 years, and this growth rate was most debilitating and went unrecognised as a cause of my poor health. Dr Hawkins and Sister Hall and her staff did their best, but I found it difficult to cope with the rigours of the school, particularly in winter.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55)  Epidemics  Waves of contagious diseases swept regularly through Wellington during the 1940s and 1950s. They were usually labelled ‘epidemics’, even if only at the school, rather than at national level.   Dick Barton (Lynedoch 1938-42) remembered one of the most serious of these, before the Second World War:   ‘During the polio scare we were moved to different dormitories and at one time I was almost the only boy left in College – very empty!’  Measles was another disease which tended to affect many boys at once, and was sometimes serious:   ‘I recall a serious epidemic of measles one winter, when the Talbot was turned into an isolation infirmary and its boys were scattered elsewhere; I was decanted into the Benson for a month.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53)  ‘When I was sixteen or so, I succumbed to a wave of measles which affected Wellington. I think I must have been quite ill; not only could I not go home for a couple of days after the end of term, but I have a clear memory of Dr Hawkins, when doing his rounds, telling another boy to be quiet, as “there is a boy in here who is very ill indeed.” I realised he was talking about me, and quickly got better.’ Neil Munro (Talbot 1952-56)    The most common of these ‘epidemics’ was flu, which affected many boys at once, often meaning that additional buildings, usually ‘out’ Houses, were used for nursing. This phenomenon was mentioned both by the invalids, and those who were moved to accommodate them:   ‘In two Lent terms we had flu epidemics. On both occasions I was a victim and as the Sani was full, it meant being accommodated. On one occasion I was put into the Stanley as it was used to temporarily house the sick.’ Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50)  ‘I remember spending a few nights in the Talbot, which was being used as an overflow during a flu epidemic.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54)    ‘I recall being uprooted in a flu epidemic, and spending some time in a very comfortable room in the Hopetoun Annexe, the Talbot being used as an extension to the Sanatorium.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58)  ‘…during an epidemic when the Benson was taken over as an extra San, having to be relocated in the Beresford. Horrors!’ John Thorneycroft (Benson 1953-58)  ‘In a major epidemic, I was transferred to the Combermere, where there was a kind message from the owner of the room, beginning “Dear Sanny Weed” (a term of the time). I think he had left something of interest or value for me. His name was Innes.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56)  Almost everyone at Wellington in 1957 remembered the ‘Asian flu,’ a true epidemic which swept the world at that time:  ‘I was at Wellington during the Asian flu epidemic in 1957 and spent two weeks or so in the Sanatorium.’ David Cooke (Hopetoun 1955-59)  ‘The biggest medical event in my time was the 1957 Asian flu epidemic. Several Houses were converted to overflow sick quarters. I spent a few days in the Benson, feeling fairly ill.’ ‘The 1957 Asian flu epidemic flattened most of the population and I spent a week in the Talbot, which had been converted into a sanatorium.’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954-59)  ‘I was in the Sanny with Asian flu, and my mother was drafted in as a nurse (she trained at Tommy’s before the War).’ Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61)  Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) was particularly badly affected:   ‘I caught it very badly, and was found thrashing about in bed in my “tish” by an agency nurse. Dr Hawkins was summoned, carried me to his car, and got me to bed in the Sani. I remember waking from a deep sleep to find three nurses by my bed. I asked what time it was and they said, “You mean what day is it? You have been unconscious for over forty-eight hours, you sweated through your mattress and we had to change it!” They had quite literally helped to save my life.’  Treatment  When it came to the treatment on offer, one procedure seemed to be remembered the most:   ‘Whatever the ailment, the cure always seemed to be a painful penicillin jab in the bottom. Remarkable that none of us became immune to the effects of penicillin’. Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56)  ‘…the discomfort of daily jabs with penicillin (still a new-fangled medication) into one’s posterior.’ Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61) commented ‘I later learnt that the College doctor, Dr Hawkins, was an early advocate of mass flu vaccination, which speaks a lot for pioneering WC staff.’ The effects of this were also remembered:  ‘Once there was a mass vaccination, I cannot remember why but many of us had a bad reaction and had to spend 24 hours in bed.’ Randal Stewart (Anglesey 1953-56)  ‘When flu injections were introduced at College, one found one’s arm swelling up and it was quite painful and unpleasant. The jab which my doctor insists I have each year is less than a midge bite by comparison.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58)   While Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53) experienced unexpected effects from medication:   ‘My thumb had got infected by a splinter under the nail. Under a local anaesthetic the doctor extracted the splinter with no trouble. As I left, I was given two pills and was told if the thumb hurt that night, I should take one. I rejoined my group for a Chemistry lesson, and my thumb started to hurt. Assuming that the pill was to reduce the pain, I took a pill. The pain may have gone all right, but I almost fell asleep too. It was a sleeping pill, not a painkilling one!’  Tinea cruris  But there was one aspect of health care which made by far the greatest impression on our respondents – the termly inspection for tinea cruris or tinea corporis, otherwise known as ringworm:  ‘A bizarre ritual that took place at the beginning of each term… Every boy had to line up in front of Matron and lower his trousers and pants, while she sat there with torch and stony face and inspected his nether lands. This was, we understood, for the detection of tinea’. Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51)  ‘Each term the doctor carried out the TC inspection when every boy was inspected, both toes and crotch, the doctor with his torch saying, “Lift ‘em up, boy!”’ ‘This was oftentimes an occasion for mirth, mainly to cover embarrassment.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52)  ‘Each boy had to put his feet on a stool and hold open the little toe to reveal whether or not he had athlete’s foot. That was all right, but part two of this procedure was that you had to open your    dressing gown (nothing to be worn underneath) so he could inspect your genitals, and, with a spatula, push one’s meat-and-two-veg from side to side to see if there was any infection. He would then sigh “Next” in his bored tone and one could step away, knowing that ordeal was over for another few months! What was even worse was that the Head of Dormitory had to stand beside him, so one could not help revealing one’s most private self to one’s peers, “from whom no secrets are hid.”’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58)  ‘We lined up in the dormitory corridor in shirt tails and bare feet, to be checked for a skin or parasitic disease called TC, which could affect feet and groins. If one