World Events

Aware or unaware?   Many OWs reported that they had not been particularly aware of world events during their Wellington years:   ‘During my earlier years we did not pay too much attention to current affairs – too busy just surviving all the pressures put upon us.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50)  ‘I think we were rather insulated from outside events.’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52)  ‘At that time my focus was entirely domestic: survival, food, and College life.’ Anonymous  ‘I wasn’t aware of any world events. I was very uncritical and accepted everything without concern.’  Michael Hedgecoe (Combermere 1951-54)  ‘World events meant nothing to me.’ ‘I cannot really remember being impinged by world affairs, which is a sad reflection upon me and, to some extent, College.’ Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61)  Some did recall certain events which made an impact, but said that these had still felt rather distant:   ‘Despite the tensions of Cold War confrontation, we were somewhat insulated from world affairs. We took it for granted that Britain still had a significant part to play in world security and a colonial empire to defend; large areas of the globes in our geography lessons were, after all, coloured red. There was little interest in the countries of continental Europe, still picking themselves up from the War.’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53)  ‘I have few memories of major world events while I was there. The ‘space race’ was just starting, with exciting photographs and diagrams, but I don’t remember having any current affairs lessons or lectures. Films in the theatre, newspapers in the common room, but we seemed strangely distant from the real world outside. Perhaps typical of public schools at that time.’ Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56)  Others reported more awareness and interest in the outside world:  ‘We were aware of the socialist government. In my later years there was much more teaching about current affairs and the international situation. As I neared the time when I would join the Army for National Service, I became very interested in the Korean War.’ John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50)  ‘In the main, the world outside had little direct impact on our lives, but family business and military connections and the international perspectives of our school population ensured that we maintained a keen interest in world affairs.’  Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52)  ‘We were all very involved with current events, and read the daily newspapers avidly.’ ‘I was very interested in national and world events, and was reprimanded for speaking out in favour of the Royal Air Force and air power in an “Army school.”’ Hardy Stroud (Combermere 1950-55)  ‘I always followed current affairs on the radio and in newspapers. On them I was very knowledgeable.’ Tim Shoosmith (Blucher 1953-57)  ‘I always kept well informed. In the World Affairs paper in my selection for Sandhurst, I got 95%. The Brigadier was horrified. I got it all from the Daily Express and he thought I was taking the piss out of him.’ Michael Campbell (Hill 1954-59)  What media? The main ways of keeping up with the news during the 1940s and 1950s were newspapers and the radio, and these were mentioned by many. Some could recall when or what they read:  ‘There was a House subscription to a few papers, including the Telegraph, Daily Sketch and also the Spectator.’   ‘We had some of the broadsheets every day in House, but no tabloids as I recall. We always had a copy of the Illustrated London News, and there was great excitement when Wellington College featured in one edition, together with a (posed) photo of us Talbot boys studiously reading the daily papers.’ Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61)  ‘I used to read the newspapers whilst everyone was in Chapel (as a Roman Catholic I did not attend the daily service).’ Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60)  Television was just starting to have an impact, but was still a novelty:   ‘There were the Olympic Games in London in 1948, but despite my interest in athletics, they didn’t impinge much on my consciousness – things were much quieter in a world without TV. In fact, during the summer holiday, I saw TV for the first time – some of my parents’ friends had a set, and invited all their neighbours to come and watch some of the Olympic events as they happened.’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950)  ‘We were rather cocooned from world news due to lack of TV. On special occasions we were allowed to watch the TV in James Wort’s drawing room, flickering black-and-white.’ ‘We bought a television. Only one programme, the BBC, and that twice a day, midday and evening. Before we had it, I occasionally watched that of a friend and recall that the National Anthem was always played at the end of each session. My friend’s father would insist we stood up when it was played.’ Nick Harding (Combermere) 1951-1955  The Second World War  Those at College during the Second World War could not escape its impact, as described elsewhere within this project. For some, this meant taking an interest in news reports:   ‘We followed the progress of the War avidly in the newspapers and on the wireless.’ ‘We plotted the progress of the War on a map, but it was a bit remote for smaller boys unless they had a relative fighting.’ John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49)  But sometimes the events came much closer:   ‘I was there at school for Dunkirk and was very concerned. We saw loads of evacuees coming through Crowthorne station, as the railway line ran through the school grounds.’ Stephen Goodall (Hardinge 1936-40)  ‘A memory of the “phoney war” of late 1939 was a talk by two Polish officers about their experiences in the Polish campaign which brought us into the War. They were horsed cavalrymen, and one of their more hair-raising, and pathetic, stories was of charging German tanks on their horses.  A sadder moment occurred on the night in May 1940 when France surrendered. I was coming back to the Combermere through the Quad in the evening darkness, and as I approached the door to the ushers’ Common Room, a rather pathetic figure lurched out alone. It was Monseiur Alfred Noblet, dressed in his French Reserve officer’s uniform of blue tunic and trousers with red stripe and kepi. He was I think drunk and certainly in tears, so distressed and ashamed was he of France’s predicament. The episode impressed me at the time and remains a sad memory.’ Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43)    One event in particular made an impression on many:   ‘I do recall seeing the air armada flying over College to France on D-Day.’ John Hornibrook (Murray 1942-46)  ‘The most memorable day, without doubt, was D-Day, when we stood on South Front and saw hundreds of troop-carrying planes flying overhead. The feeling that the War was at last coming to an end was palpable.’ ‘I remember seeing the RAF planes going overhead on D-Day, with the white and black stripes on their wings.’ Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48)  ‘The most notable thing I remember on D-Day morning is the mass of spirals of aircraft rising into the air that one saw in almost every direction. Until then I had taken the comparatively small numbers of both hostile and friendly aircraft for granted and had not realised quite how many airfields there were nearby. It was a really amazing sight that has always stuck in my mind.’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47)  On the other hand, Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48) seems to speak for the majority when he writes:  ‘I don’t remember anything about VE Day. I suppose we were given a half-holiday, but I don’t remember anything.’ The Korean War and others  Although not on the scale of the Second World War, the Korean War still had a considerable impact at Wellington, as many pupils had relatives involved and faced the prospect of fighting there themselves.   ‘There was considerable interest in the UK’s military role in the Korean War, in particular a savage battle with Chinese forces involving the “Glorious Gloucesters.”’ Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53)  ‘The only world event which really affected me was the Korean War, in which I had two much-liked cousins killed with the Argylls early in that conflict.’ ‘I remember the outbreak of the Korean War well, and being firmly hostile to Bolshevism, was much concerned with our relations towards the Soviet Union and Communist China.’ Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53)  ‘The Korean War had little impact on my age group, although I do recall a visit by a former Dormitory member who had lost a leg there. The Mau Mau uprising also had little impact, although one Dormitory contemporary had parents in Kenya.’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56)  ‘The Korean War was in full swing… Many of us who had chosen a military career realized that we might have to take part in this conflict. Previous OWs were already in action.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52)  ‘With National Service in full swing, we all knew that soon after leaving College we would be called up and could be required to serve in an active service area. It was particularly on my mind as my elder brother was serving in Malaya.’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54)  ‘At that time the Korean War was in progress, and I remember thinking that what I learnt in the Corps might be of more practical value than what I learnt in the classroom!’ Some were aware of other conflicts:   ‘A number of us had relatives fighting in troublesome spots around the world. My uncle, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Lancashire Fusiliers, was on the front of the Daily Mail for quelling a riot of Egyptian police and disarming them in Ismailia. He was quite short and was described as “diminutive but dynamic.”’ Anonymous  ‘Our relationship with the USA was soured over the lack of progress in the formation of a two-state solution to the “Palestine question”. We were shocked by activities of the Israeli terrorist gangs Irgun, Hagannah and the Stern Gang. They were blowing up British military installations and terrorizing the Palestinians.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52 The Suez Crisis  The next event to make a strong impression on most Wellingtonians was the Suez crisis of 1956. An attempt to preserve British interests in the Middle East, the ultimate failure of this venture was later seen as a significant point in the decline of Britain’s global power.   ‘I remember Suez, and a friend whose father was a senior Foreign Office worker told us how serious it was.’ ‘There was certainly a great hoo-ha around Suez and some very opinionated comments from various ‘ushers’, which I now realize were rather prejudiced, although of their time.’ David Ward (Hopetoun 1954-58)  ‘We took little interest in outside events. Suez was the main exception: I seem to remember most of us were in favour of British and French intervention and rather proud, in a jingoistic sort of way, of its initial success.’ Anthony Goodenough (Stanley 1954-59)  Some remembered that the event influenced Corps activity:  ‘I remember Suez because we were well briefed for the CCF, and in my case the Naval Section, and I followed the crisis closely.’ Roger Pinhey (Hopetoun 1952-57)  ‘During the Suez crisis the Corps was marched into the Duke of Wellington Barracks to replace some of the regulars who had been sent to the Middle East. Was this to confuse possible spies?’ Randal Stewart (Anglesey 1953-56)  The Canal was very important for the transport of oil. John Berkley-Matthews (Combermere 1954-58) recalled that ‘before Suez, there was an oil shortage and baths were

The War and its Legacy

Preparing for war Our oldest respondents remembered the preparations for the War, when air raid shelters were constructed:   ‘We dug out the Blücher air raid shelter, as a biweekly “change,” for months…’ John de Grey (Blücher 1938-43)  ‘One memory of my first term is of the whole dormitory turning out to dig the vast pit for the Combermere’s air raid shelter. The Munich crisis had only recently passed and precautions were being taken. We dug the hole – at a guess 60 x 40 x 10 feet deep. It was hard yellow sand, pick-and-shovel work. This was just on the north side of what were then the ushers’ garages, off to the left from the road to the gym. Once dug, we forgot about it for a year or so.’ Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43)  Other measures were also put in place:  ‘Glass ceilings (e.g. in lavatories) were painted blue, and light bulbs red, which satisfied blackout requirements. Blackout curtains in our cubicles were checked every evening and taken very seriously.’ Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47)  ‘Respirators or gas masks had to be carried at all times away from the College buildings. ARP (Air Raid Precautions) and the Home Guard affected many of the senior boys.’ Jock Brazier (Hill 1941-45)  ‘A watch was kept in one of the towers when air raids were forecast. I do remember that lonely vigil.’ ‘At night, the Armoury held a posse of boys from the JTC (Junior Training Corps), with rifles but no ammunition, at immediate readiness to dash out and confront any German parachutists spotted in the area. One boy at a time was also stationed at the top of the ornamental turret above the Blücher dormitory, made accessible by means of a wooden ladder. The ornamental white acorn-lidded blister at the top was just big enough to hold a seat with a small shelf in front, with a panorama of the surrounding territory with place names on stalks, painted by the Art Master. It was very well done, and must have taken quite a bit of his valuable time. The field telephone in the turret was connected to the Armoury, where the gallant JTC reinforcements were closeted, and you reported a successful change of observers when you got up there (2 hours on duty) after shouting up to call the previous guard down. Comically, the field telephone line laid above ground survived when the underground one from the ARP Headquarters to the Armoury was blown up. It had gone round the other side of the brick gatepost.’ John de Grey (Blücher 1938-43)  ‘I found myself in charge of the ARP Section. We inhabited a shelter under one of the Science blocks, the entrance to which led out onto the short drive running from the kitchens down to the Kilometre. We were equipped with dark blue boiler suits (I had yellow sergeant’s stripes) and blue tin hats, and did fire and first aid drill.’ Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43)  ‘I was asked to join the Auxiliary Fire Service and operate a trailer pump. This was marvellous, because members of the team had to have a bicycle so that they could quickly man the pump.’ Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45)  Life in the shelters  From the summer of 1940 onwards, the air raid shelters were in regular use:   ‘Whenever the air raid sirens blew, we had to traipse off to air raid shelters dotted across College, and spend the night on lilos.’ Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48)   ‘In an orderly fashion and thick sweaters, we trooped down, clasping our blankets and inflatable lilos, and remained on our wooden slatted bunks till dawn.’    These lilos and their shortcomings were mentioned by many OWs. Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43) explained:   ‘The shelters had been fitted out with bunks, each with a lilo for us to sleep on. Unfortunately, the carpentry had obviously been done in a hurry and none of the wood had been planed. Lilos and un-planed wood did not go well together, and the hiss of escaping air when punctured by splinters was frequent!’  ‘We were handed a lilo each… unfortunately I was the last in the queue and mine had a puncture, so my first night I slept on a flat lilo on duck boards!’ Jock Brazier (Hill 1941-45)  ‘I well remember the sound of the hiss of air, followed by a stream of abuse as some poor soul’s lilo deflated.’   John de Grey (Blücher 1938-43) recalled the humorous side of shelter life:   ‘A retired Chemistry master had been rounded up to sleep there and maintain discipline. He must have been over sixty-five, which to us boys was impossibly old. His voice had lost some of its vigour, so his nickname was soon “Rusty Balls.” I don’t think he ever found out. We were quite good at preserving our confidentialities, but every night every boy was enjoying the joke each time he spoke.   Boys needing to relieve themselves during the night (most of them) would go out to the edge of the wood, so we planned to pick a single tree and see if we could kill it with salt. And we could. I think it took about six months.’  The bombing of College Several OWs remembered the fateful night of 8 October 1940, when bombs dropped on College.  ‘I was in the Upcott air raid shelter when the bomb fell which killed Bobby Longden, and can whistle the very noise it made as it fell.’ ‘On the night that the bombs actually fell, I remember a boy member of the ARP Unit poking his nose into our shelter and asking whether the Master was with us; the answer was of course “No.” We heard no more that night, but the next morning the school was addressed by Mr Gould and given the sad news of the Master’s death at the Lodge.’ Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43)  ‘When the bombs fell, the ARP HQ rang their fellow nighthawks in the Armoury, probably for reassurance that someone was left alive – and could get no answer. They decided to send a boy out on his bicycle to re-establish communication with the Armoury… He had a torch, but did not switch it on as he cycled along, for fear of giving his position away to the enemy! As he cycled through Combermere Quad, all the busts of generals had been sucked out their niches by the blast and were scattered around the quad. When he rode into one, he switched on and thought it was a body, and in the dim light there appeared to be many. Dauntless, he rode on, and found the JTC contingent in good spirits and enjoying an extra mug of Bovril each, to steady them.’ John de Grey (Blücher 1938-43)     ‘We were in the shelter one night when we heard the bomb explode. In the morning we were told that our headmaster had been killed. This was a horrid killing. Mr Longden was so young and respected. The bomb damage was evident on the surrounding walls and boys could be seen collecting bits of metal. It was a sombre moment at College but life went on.’ Anonymous  After the Master’s death, the boys spent every night in the air raid shelter for the next year, whether or not the siren had sounded. Robert Longmore (Combermere 1938-43) remembered ‘an obligatory cold bath every morning. If this was meant to clean us after a night in the shelter, I cannot believe that it did so, as we all fifty-odd of us went in and out of the same two baths without a change of water!’  By October 1941 the threat of bombing had receded, and boys only went to the shelters when the alarm sounded. Nevertheless, this could still result in disruption, especially when the V1 and V2 rockets came into use. Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48) wrote home in October 1943:   ‘We are having lots more air raids recently. On Thursday night we had an awful time. At about 9 o’clock we were just starting second prep when the College siren sounded, so we collected our blankets and bundled down to the shelter outside. There we blew up our lilos, made up the best beds that we could under the circumstances, and we were just getting to sleep when the “all clear” went. So we got up again, it was now about 10 o’clock, and tramped back to College. There we made up our beds again and were just feeling nice and cosy, and that after all it was worthwhile having come up from the shelter, when what should we hear outside but the siren again! So once more we went down to the shelter, made our beds, and the end of it was that we spent a thoroughly cold and uncomfortable night there. ‘   Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) also recalled ‘getting little sleep. This was particularly irksome during the doodlebug (V1 rocket) offensive in 1944 as they did not come over in regular waves.’ Eventually the threat receded, and John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49) wrote: ‘I recall going to the shelters only once.’  Cultural impact What impact did the War have on the mindset of Wellington students? Although it was little talked about, all must have been aware that theirs and others’ lives could be cut short.   Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47) came to this realisation in a striking way:   ‘My journey out to Canada had involved the sinking of our accompanying ship, the Arandora Star, and on the return journey I learned a lot from the British merchant seamen who had been rescued by the ship on which I was travelling. This, in addition to having seen for myself the tremendous damage caused by torpedoes when a British cruiser with much of its stern missing limped into Ponta Delgada in the Azores, followed by a destroyer with a dangerously steep list and a huge gaping hole in its port bow. It was a very sobering sight… Only a few days later, shortly after returning to England, I was shaken to hear that the well-known actor Leslie Howard had died, because I could have been on the same flight as him.’  Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) wrote that ‘Our fathers and elder brothers were all in uniform, mostly serving as officers in the fighting arms. News of deaths was not uncommon,’ and yet, ‘the most remarkable thing about our wartime experiences is how we accepted them as being quite normal.’ Likewise David Simonds (Orange 1941-46) had two elder brothers, Guy and Pat, serving during his time at College. Guy was killed while flying with the RAF in 1943. Nevertheless, David wrote, ‘We did what we could, and did not complain.’  Even after the War, students were aware of this legacy of sacrifice, largely due to the physical reminders present:   ‘The Chapel had plain windows on the South side where the bomb had landed, killing the Master in his Lodge.’ Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54)  ‘The aftermath of war, even though it had ended five years previously, was always in our minds… The Longden Memorial Gate was a constant reminder of tragedies and horrors.’ ‘When I arrived at College, the new boys that term (around sixty) were taken round the Chapel by the Chaplain who, pausing before the memorial to those killed in the Wars, informed us that these amounted to about one in six of the former pupils. Inevitably I could not help wondering which ten of us would join their numbers.’ William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56)  Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52)

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

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

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

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

Contributors 1940s and 1950s

David Alexander (Orange 1954-59)John Alexander (Talbot 1954-58)John Armstrong-MacDonnell (Talbot 1952-56)Robert ‘Bobby’ Baddeley (Picton 1948-52)Robin Ballard (Orange 1955-59)Dick Barton (Lynedoch 1938-42)Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47)John Beckwith (Blücher 1947-51)Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48)John Berger (Benson 1949-52)John Berkley-Matthews (Combermere 1954-58)Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949-53)Christopher Birt (Beresford 1955-60)Mike Bolton (Hopetoun 1947-53)Leslie Bond (Lynedoch 1948-53)Peter ‘Jock’ Brazier (Hill 1941-45)Anthony Bruce (Benson 1951-56)Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45)Michael Campbell (Hill 1954-59)Christopher (at Wellington known as George) Capron (Benson 1949-54)Robin Carr (Blücher 1955-60)John Clarke (Benson 1949-54)Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58)Thomas Collett-White (Picton 1950-55)David Cooke (Hopetoun 1955-59)Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59)Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54)Michael Crumplin (Orange 1956-60)Peter Cullinan (Benson 1948-52)Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52)Andrew Dewar-Durie (Talbot 1953-56)Stuart Dowding (Talbot 1957-61)Charles Enderby (Picton 1953-57)William Field (Lynedoch 1952-56)Peter Firth (Hardinge 1941-46)Rodney Fletcher (Combermere 1949-53)John Flinn (Combermere 1944-49)Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51)Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51)Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59)Richard Godfrey-Faussett (Anglesey 1946-50)Stephen Goodall (Hardinge 1936-40)Anthony Goodenough (Stanley 1954-59)John Green (Talbot 1954-58)Nigel Gripper (Hopetoun 1945-49)Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55)Nick Harding (Combermere) 1951-1955Richard Harries (Baron Harries of Pentregarth) (Hill 1949-54)Rufus Heald (Stanley 1939-42)Chris Heath (Beresford 1948-53)Michael Hedgecoe (Combermere 1951-54)Robert Hirst (Picton 1955-59)John Hoblyn (Hardinge 1945-50)John Hornibrook (Murray 1942-46)Colin Innes (Combermere 1949-54)William King (Beresford 1956-61)Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58)Robin Lake (Benson 1952-57)John Le Mare (Stanley 1950-55)Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57)Colin Mackinnon (Hardinge 1951-56)Ross Mallock (Murray 1954-59)Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51)Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) Colin Mattingley (Talbot 1952-56)Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61)Richard Merritt (Picton 1954-59)Christopher Miers (Beresford 1955-59)Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56)Allen Molesworth (Blücher 1945-48)Michael Moore (Lynedoch 1955-60)Alan Munro (Talbot 1948-53)Neil Munro (Talbot 1952-56)David Nalder (Orange 1949-53)Christopher Napper (Lynedoch 1955-60)Ian Nason (Orange 1950-54)George Nicholson (Hardinge 1949-54)John Ormrod (Stanley 1946-50)Sam Osmond (Hill 1946-51)Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59)Vernon Phillips (Murray 1951-54)Roger Pinhey (Hopetoun 1952-57)John Ravenhill (Orange 1953-56)Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53)Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52)Bertram Rope (Picton 1949-54)Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56)Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48)Alan Saunders (Orange 1957-60)Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57)William Shine (Hill 1956-60)Tim Shoosmith (Blücher 1953-57)David Simonds (Orange 1941-46)Michael Southwell (Orange 1955-60)Ambrose Spong (Stanley 1950-51)Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48)Adrian Stephenson (Talbot 1957-61)Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54)Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57)Bryan Stevens (Blücher 1948-52)Randal Stewart (Anglesey 1953-56)John Stitt (Murray 1940-45)Hardy Stroud (Combermere 1950-55)Bob Terry (Hopetoun 1954-57)Tim Thompson (Lynedoch 1950-54)John Thorneycroft (Benson 1953-58)Count Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (Stanley 1949-53)David Trafford-Roberts (Anglesey 1943-45)Tim Travers (Hopetoun 1952-56)Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48)Michael Trevor-Barnston (Anglesey 1957-60)Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52)Charles Wade (Lynedoch 1947-50)Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46)John de Grey, Lord Walsingham (Blücher 1938-43)Charles (at Wellington known as Christopher) Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55)David Ward (Hopetoun 1954-58)Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951-55)John Watson (Benson 1946-51)Richard Wellesley (Benson 1948-53)Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48)Robert Wilkinson (Anglesey 1947-50)Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950)Jerry Yeoman (Anglesey 1955-59)Mark Yorke (Combermere 1950-55)William Young (Anglesey 1954-58)

Tutors and Dormitory Life

The holding houses Many students began their Wellington experience with one or more terms in a ‘holding house’ such as Upcott or Douro, while they waited for a space to become available in their allotted Dormitory. For most, this allowed a gentler introduction to College life, which they found welcome: ‘With the other “new men”, I went for my first term to Upcott House which gave us a slightly more gentle introduction to College life. Our Tutor was Mr Leakey, a kind and gentle man ideally suited for the job. We had one Prefect from the main college, a senior boy of 17 who, as he looked just like a master, we automatically called “Sir” until we were told that it was surnames only between boys.’ Anonymous ‘For my first 2-3 terms I was in Douro, a “starters” house for Beresford and Orange Dormitories. The Tutor there was Mr Strachan, a physics teacher, who was a really lovely man.’ Christopher Birt (Beresford 1955-60) In retrospect, some identified other benefits too: ‘”New men” were able to find their feet among boys of their own age. Boys destined for one of the other four Houses which stood outside College went straight to them on arrival. They were therefore immediately thrown, often on their own, into the College’s strictly hierarchical and largely unsympathetic and inward-looking society. We Dormitory boys, temporarily held in Upcott, made many lasting friendships with boys destined for other dormitories, so we had a raft of supportive contemporaries across College who we would meet in classrooms and on sports fields over the years.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) ‘During my time, boys were forbidden to enter any other Dormitory or House without good reason. This rule severely restricted a boy’s social contact to those in his own Dormitory or House. One could not mix at meals either. Residence in a holding house provided a boy with companionship from his contemporaries within the other Dormitories whose new boys were lodged there.’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61) Although there were disadvantages: ‘For my first term or two I was housed in the Upcott, from which we had to trudge every day to the main College buildings. I found this irksome and was pleased to be able to get into the main Dormitory.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) ‘I started at Heathcote and remember trudging the half a mile or so to College through the snow of one of the coldest winters on record.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) ‘I can certainly recall having to make the journey, along Back Drive and then cutting through the wood at the edge of New Ground, in snow on many occasions and regularly in rain. This would result in boys arriving at the start of a working day in a condition that was anything from damp to drenched! There being no change of clothing available, one just steamed gently through breakfast and completed the procedure when sandwiched like sardines into the overcrowded chapel!’ Richard May-Hill (Hopetoun 1957-61) Richard also recalled the specifics arrangements for the holding houses: ‘Upcott boys had a Day Room in College as they spent the whole day there. Boys in Douro, located next door along the Sandhurst Road, went back to it for lunch, hence they had no in-College room. The Upcott Day Room was situated at the point where the long colonnade from the Combermere Quads met the junction with Front Quad, near the Queen Victoria foundation stone.’ Thomas Courtenay-Clack (Hardinge 1954-59) recounted a specific aspect of Upcott: ‘The Tutor, Mr Leakey, was famous for his little sex talk, a requirement for all new boys. In groups of four, we sat in his drawing room and tried not to giggle as he began his tried-and-true monologue which had the same opening we had all been told about in advance: “Now you know that part of the body known as the balls…”’ Dormitory atmosphere, initiation and bullying Once in their main Dormitory or House, ‘new men’ were subjected to its customs and prevailing attitudes, whether good or bad. Initiation ceremonies do not seem to have been common in this period, although a couple of respondents mentioned them: ‘Living conditions were reasonably comfortable once all the initiation ceremonies for “squealers” passed (e.g. being squashed by the main doors).’ Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52) ‘There was a good team spirit in the House which I enjoyed after I survived the rigours of my initiation as a new boy – singing Molly Malone on the mantelpiece in the common room while being pelted with cushions by the Prefects.’ Adrian Stephenson (Talbot 1957-61) The reception from boys immediately senior to the newcomers could be more brutal: ‘I do remember that the boys who had come one or two terms earlier took great exception if we were at all familiar in the way we addressed them!’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘We were fairly set upon by the boys from the term before us, a practice that I hesitate to say we continued with our successors of the next term.’ Robert Hirst (Picton 1955-59)  Our respondents were not specifically asked to comment on bullying and most did not. Some were explicit about its absence: ‘There was no bullying in the Hardinge, although we were not so sure about the dormitories in the main block, which we considered a bit rough!’ Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) ‘There was a great sense of pride in the Dormitory and, with the mix of ages, care for the younger boys (“squealers”).’ Norman Tyler (Hill 1947-52) But others described an uncomfortable atmosphere or, at times, particularly unpleasant incidents or individuals: ‘In the Combermere in your first term or so, some had to sleep in a dormitory and share during the day with the owner of a “tish”. Not a pleasant experience for me as he was rather a bully.’ Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) ‘There was quite a lot of bullying of which the Tutor seemed unaware.’ Michael Trevor-Barnston (Anglesey 1957-60) ‘As to bullying, there was, disgracefully, some, mainly where there were weak Tutors and Prefects.’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) ‘Often, during evenings, I hid away to avoid some bullying escapades in the Dormitory perpetuated by irresponsible and often dominant senior boys.’ Michael Crumplin (Orange 1956-60) ‘Life in the 1950s was, to me, mostly a matter of survival. A couple of boys from the year above me made life insufferable from time to time but in those days, bullying was part of school life…’ Ross Mallock (Murray 1954-59) ‘There was some nasty bullying, not, I think, by senior boys of their juniors, but by groups of boys who picked on selected victims for very unpleasant humiliations.’ Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) Dormitory games Moving on to happier subjects, generations of Wellingtonians will remember some particular and traditional Dormitory games. Although these might sound rough to modern ears, most of our respondents seem to have enjoyed them: ‘Under my oval window was an upholstered window-seat with a hard-stuffed, apparently indestructible headrest. Agonising when used as a pillow, it proved entirely suitable as the ball for many of our Dormitory games.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) ‘The table for “swipes” was only removed when we played “fug rugby.” There were few rules. It was played with one of the triangular-ended cushions from our window seats, the aim being to wrestle it down to the opponents’ end of the corridor.’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54) ‘“Fug rugger” was fairly physical, but not over painful, unless one was hurled against one of the many protruding doorknobs.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) ‘We grew up in a robust physical world in which the main indoor recreation was “fug rugger”, a game played up and down the Dormitory passage, in which there were no rules and no limit to the number of participants. When not engaged in fug rugger, we tested our nerve by swinging precariously on a primitive trapeze erected at the far end of the Dormitory passage. I can’t imagine why nobody was seriously injured.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) ‘Membership of the First XV was all. In my first few days I was amazed that these god-like figures would actually join us squits on a Saturday evening to play “fug rugger”.’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) ‘I also used to enjoy fug rugger, fug hockey and fug cricket that were all played in the corridor between the two rows of “tishes.” Batting in the poor light was quite a challenge.’ Graham Stephenson (Combermere 1953-57) Those in the Picton had their own speciality, played in the underground tunnel which connected the Picton to the main College: ‘We used to play “tunnel hockey” along its length – that proved interesting, as the ball whipped off the tiled concrete surface at high speed, deflected by the bend halfway down which was the point at which it first became visible. It was rather like blind racquets with a much larger ball. I recall being struck on the bridge of my nose on the last day of term, breaking it and causing a massive bruise in the middle of a tightly swollen face. To make it even more interesting, we sometimes used flaming balls of newspaper instead.’ Anonymous ‘This game was played with ideally three players on each side, an ancient ice hockey puck which was kept in the Picton common room, and some old hockey sticks. It was quick, rough and exhausting. There was a lot of running and body checking and bouncing off the walls, and it was huge fun. A few bumps and bruises were easily put right by a hot shower afterwards. Interestingly, there were hardly any real injuries, due to the narrowness of the tunnel, which limited the amount of kinetic energy a body could generate. Teams could be drawn from the Picton or against other houses or dormitories. I do not believe the existence of tunnel hockey was known to the staff.’ Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) House and Dormitory Tutors Each House or Dormitory was under the charge of a Tutor, or Housemaster as he would now be called. Although day-to-day organisation and discipline were usually left to the Prefects, the Tutor nevertheless had a strong influence on the atmosphere and character of the House, as our contributors attested. Some Tutors were of the ‘old school’, particularly in the years just after the War. This was not surprising, since many had been teachers at Wellington since the 1920s: ‘I was in the Anglesey under the quiet gentlemanly Mr Hughes-Games, who one hardly ever encountered.’ David Trafford-Roberts (Anglesey 1943-45) ‘My Dormitory Tutor in the Anglesey was Mr Hughes-Games, a very gallant gentleman who had won two Military Crosses in the First World War. He must have been in his mid-50s; far too old and out of touch.’ Henry Beverley (Anglesey 1949-53) ‘Herbert Wright, my House Tutor, was always kind to me, but I think he was probably a bit too old for the job. If he ever had been willing to get deeply involved with young people, those days were long gone by the time I knew him. He and his wife promoted plays, in some of which I played quite prominent parts, although I now recall them only with embarrassment. That was the limit of his cultural endeavours for us. As was, I suppose, then customary, he left a great deal, almost certainly far too much, to the House Prefects.’ Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) ‘Our Tutor was Mr Kemp who seemed to run the Dormitory through his Prefects, which seemed to work well. Occasionally he would have half

Teachers: Maths and Sciences

Mathematics Sadly, Wellington Maths teachers of the 1940s seem to have been remembered more for their weaknesses or peculiarities than their teaching ability. The first of these, Mr Morris, had almost certainly been brought out of retirement to teach during the War, and his students naturally took full advantage: ‘Mr Morris for Maths in “Siberia.” He was small, pink, silver-haired, balding, neat, semi-blind, old and frightened. It seems he also lacked the sense of feeling. Approaching his desk from a flank, we would seek his interpretation of some piece of algebra contained in our text books. While he gave us his guidance, we would place small pieces of foolscap on his thinning pate. He felt nothing and eventually, when his crown was complete, we were so convulsed with laughter that he had to dismiss us.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) After the war another teacher, Major Roy, still felt its effects: ‘He had a glass eye. And the trick, when being taught by him, was to sit on the side of the classroom that was virtually invisible to him.’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51) ‘I studied Maths under Major “Hosh” Roy, who also ran the CCF. Sadly he had lost an eye, I believe in WW2, but he did not have his glass eye in. As is well known, schoolboys can be very unkind. We found that if the sun was shining from the right direction, one could use a protractor to flash it on his blind eye socket, which would then tickle him. However, if you were too slow when he moved his head and he saw what you were doing, it would inevitably lead to detention at the very least.’ Richard Craven (Hill 1950-54) Nick Harding (Combermere 1951-1955) recalled another unusual teacher: ‘One lesson a week for at least one year, was memorable. I forget what it was meant to be about but all that happened was that the usher, a Mr Lewis, read us a book, usually about the Sahara which he was interested in. We were not required to listen but were permitted to sleep. Curiously, we weren’t allowed to read though one did, covertly.’ A little research suggests that this was R H Lewis, a Maths teacher who went on to spend most of his career as an educator in Nigeria. However, most of those at Wellington in the 1950s had good memories of their Maths teachers, men who the students felt had worked hard and communicated their subjects well: ‘Gethin Hewan rendered calculus and trigonometry facile so that even a not very mathematically minded chap like me could comprehend. He was charismatic, hugely good looking, an incredible ball player and, I am sure, a captivating leader.’ David Nalder (Orange 1949-53) ‘Favourite subject by far: Maths, with “Bloss” Parkes.’ Roger Pinhey (Hopetoun 1952-57) ‘Another master I appreciated was A Potter, whose method of teaching me Maths really clicked and turned Maths from a mystery to a cinch for me.’ Graeme Shelford (Hardinge 1954-57) ‘Mr Borradaile laboured mightily to get me through O Level Maths, geometry, etc.’ Tim Travers (Hopetoun 1952-56) Several teachers received multiple plaudits, for example Mr Buckley: ‘Mr Buckley, who taught senior Maths, was a real father figure, a really lovely man. His strongest form of disapproval, and one that we tried hard to avoid, was to put the miscreant’s name on the side of his blackboard under the title “P P of D”, short for “Perishing Path of Defaulters”, where it would stay until redeemed.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) ‘Buckley kindled my interest in Mathematics, as he did for many of my fellow students, with a gentle and humorous way of telling us we had the wrong answers; correct answers entered your name on the left-hand side of the blackboard as one of those on “The Primrose Path of Duty”- wrong ones went on the other side of the board only if they were really seriously wrong. Combined with simple and lucid explanations of the difficult bits, I can’t remember any of my fellow students who didn’t enjoy his classes and also hold him in high regard as a person.’ John Berger (Benson 1949-52) ‘For one brief lesson, I think, I was taken for Maths by Buckley. I could understand why he had a reputation as a brilliant teacher. I think he died shortly afterwards.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) Mr Evans’ perseverance with struggling students was remembered by several: ‘The outstanding teacher for me was “Nosey” Evans who got me through O Level Maths.’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) ‘Somehow Evans got me through O Level Maths by one mark. I am still hopeless at it.’ Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) ‘Maths was a weak subject of mine and for a term or two I was moved to the “B side” for the subject. Mr Evans somehow managed to turn my worst subject into one in which to the surprise of many, not least myself, I even scraped an O-Level pass in something called Additional Maths.’ Neil Munro (Talbot 1952-56) Although at the end of his career he could appear somewhat distant: ‘Mr R G Evans, Senior Assistant Master and nearing the end of a long career at College, was noting down the results of a Maths test in his book. One boy announced a particularly poor score, and this was duly recorded. Mr Evans showed no emotion but began to turn back the pages of his book. Eventually he found what he was looking for and directed his gaze at the offending pupil. “Your father wasn’t very good at Maths either,” he said, and without further ado carried on recording the test results.’ Anonymous (1957-60) Likewise, Mr Macdermott was remembered for an idiosyncracy as well as his teaching ability: ‘I do remember my Maths teacher Macdermott who, while introducing us to the intricacies of calculus, was an expert shot with a piece of chalk to wake up any slackers.’ Robert Hirst (Picton 1955-59) ‘For Maths, dear old Mr Macdermott was without doubt a first class teacher who, in retrospect, had a very deep understanding of teenage boys and how to get the best out them. It was of note that the only A Level I achieved was that in Pure Mathematics.’ Jerry Yeoman (Anglesey 1955-59) ‘One valuable piece of advice I received from Mr Macdermott was “THINK BEFORE YOU WRITE!” I still have to say this to myself quite regularly!’ Tony Glyn-Jones (Picton 1954-59) And the Maths teacher who received most praise was James Wort: ‘My favourite subject was Maths, taught by James Wort who I thought was a good teacher.’ Anonymous (1951-56) ‘Jack Wort taught me Maths and I got 98% at O Level. I don’t know who was more surprised.’ Bertram Rope (Picton 1949-54) ‘I admired Jack Wort greatly for he succeeded in coaching a very thick young Scottish boy into being able to pass the Army exam and join his father’s and grandfather’s regiment The Black Watch. I was extremely slow and often had an extra ten minutes with him of “private tue.” As the Army exam approached, he told our class, “Bearing in mind the examiner will be marking many papers in the day, try to interest him a bit with your paper. I will give you a tip, if asked for a diagram in algebra, geometry or even Maths, see if you can get out a red crayon or even other colours and illustrate your theory in colour – I bet it will cheer him up and you might get the benefit of the doubt in some cases!”’ Colin Innes (Combermere 1949-54) ‘James Wort stands out as the best of the few Maths teachers I had. He had a philosophy that whatever one was doing it was best to get it done quickly, because life had so much else to offer to which you could then devote your attention.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) Physics Like the Mathematics teachers, many in the Physics Department also seemed to have been affected by their war service – in some cases, the First World War: ‘My earliest form teacher was Mr Tancock, nicknamed Tin John owing (reputedly) to his buttocks having been shot off during the Great War and replaced by a Bakelite prosthesis. This was backed up by the claim that if you put a drawing pin on his seat he would not feel it. This claim was never put to the test. His teaching was forgettable, except for one morning when he brewed us mate tea.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) In fairness, the ownership of a ‘Bakelite bottom’ was attributed to a succession of Wellington teachers over the years, including German teacher Mr Braunholz, and later, Peter Comber. Perhaps we shall never know the truth. Another teacher affected by the war was Mr Strachan, who may well have been the Physics teacher described by Royer Ryall in the Academic Expectations section. John Green (Talbot 1954-58) wrote about ‘Rexie Strachan, whose nerves had been shattered by war, whom we would, meanly, shock by dropping books from height in his Physics class.’ Nevertheless, Michael Southwell (Orange 1955-60) recollected that ‘Mr Strachan (Physics and Maths) was very good.’ By contrast, Robert Moss was obviously accorded respect for his recent and interesting war service, and also for his teaching: ‘Bobby Moss for science and his talks about the sinking of the Bismarck when he was in a shadowing cruiser’s Ops Room.’ Tim Reeder (Picton 1949-53) ‘Another highly respected usher was Mr Moss, a Physicist and Tutor of the Orange, who had been in the navy during the war and, it was said, as a radar whizz kid, had been the officer who located the Bismark after she had sunk HMS Hood.’ Anonymous Robert Moss, a holder of the Polar Medal and Royal Navy officer. He became my Tutor, mentor, and saviour.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) Chemistry Two Chemistry teachers stood out within our responses, both generating a large number of recollections. The first of these was B C L ‘Bertie’ Kemp: ‘Chemistry – B C L “Bertie’ Kemp – “Kempistry.” Experiments – clouds of smoke – “Hmmm…” from somewhere in the smoke cloud – reputed to have a strong right arm if one incurred his wrath sufficiently to merit a beating (I managed to avoid doing so).’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) ‘Bertie Kemp succeeded in all of us looking forward to his classes because he was adept at making chemicals spectacular – not least on Guy Fawkes Day. The most memorable November 5th for me (and my peers) was the one when he combined two very small amounts of chemical in a test tube while he explained that the reaction between them would take, as I remember it, some eight seconds and would be fairly violent, so he proposed to count to five and throw the test tube out of the door. He did – and it was. So violent indeed that it blew in most of the windows in our laboratory and some of those in several others.’ John Berger (Benson 1949-52) ‘B C L Kemp wrote Chemistry for Schools, the Chemistry text for the national high school curriculum. We were fortunate to have him as our Chemistry master.’ Peter Rickards (Murray 1947-52) ‘In one of his lessons where we had his Chemistry book as our text book, I recall he was describing some details when one boy put up his hand and said, referring to his book, “Sir, it says here…” He got no further; Mr Kemp came up to him, grabbed him by

Teachers: English and History

Some of these polymaths were definitely larger than life, for example John ‘Jim’ Crow, remembered vividly by those who were here in the 1940s: ‘There was also Jim Crow, who taught us History, and was so extremely corpulent that he needed a special outsize bicycle saddle to accommodate his posterior. Sometimes he sat at his desk with a halo chalked on the blackboard behind him, leaning back in his big chair so that the halo exactly fitted him. He had a fearsome instrument, a kind of pick helve, which he kept by him and crashed down on the desk beside any inattentive pupil, shouting “You boy!”’ Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48) ‘…the outrageous Mr Crow, a round figure dressed in shirts that we thought were made from café tablecloths.’ Pat Stacpoole (Combermere 1944-48) ‘Jim Crow, supposedly the greatest authority on Christopher Marlowe. He had a habit of sending postcards to his academic and literary friends containing acerbic comments on contemporary celebrities. I even remember one: Where are you going, you little mouse?I’m off to church to worship Rowse [A L Rowse, a rather publicity-hunting historian]Don’t be silly, you little elf,He’s taken on the job himself.’Richard Sarson (Hardinge 1943-48) Christopher Beeton (Talbot 1943-47) remembered a rather less high-brow poem, presented to an unidentified English teacher: ‘On one occasion, I did one prep but completely forgot about the other one. It was only when the prep – which turned out to be writing a poem – was being collected at the end of a lesson two days later that I realised my ghastly mistake. The English master expected his preps to be completed with absolutely no excuses – I was terrified and hurriedly scribbled the first thing that came into my head, which was: What means this gory mess?‘Tis Fido more or less,While crossing the roadIn chase of a toad,A car ran over his corpus. You can imagine how surprised and greatly relieved I was when at the next English lesson, the master read my poem out as one of the three he liked best!’ Some were also respected for their skill as Form Masters. One such was Fergus Russell, described thus in his leaving tribute in the 1968 Year Book: ‘During all his years at College, it was his lot — and he with characteristic modesty regarded it as a privilege — to teach the form which once was known as the Lower Fourth. Generations of boys — not, on their arrival at Wellington, the most forward with their studies — found in him the same sympathy and patience, the same good humour and kindness, the same well-stored mind. For Fergus Russell was the archetypal Form Master, a genus which at one time seemed doomed to extinction, though now set for a new lease of life. He taught English, History, French and, for a time, Latin.’ He was similarly remembered by our respondents: ‘Fergie Russell was a classic schoolmaster, down to earth and positive.’ Tim Shoosmith (Blücher 1953-57) ‘I began my career in the Upper Fourth, with Fergie Russell as my Form Master. Fergie was fun, a good teacher, and with the habit of hunching himself down in his gown that I shall never forget.’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) English English was a subject studied by all Wellingtonians. Depending on the skill of the teacher, and the interest of the pupil, English lessons could be either a trial to be endured, or the inspiration for a life-long love of literature. One of our older respondents, Richard Buckley (Combermere 1941-45), considered that ‘Robin Gordon Walker was an inspirational teacher of English literature in the run-up to the School Certificate,’ and John Stitt (Murray 1940-45) also considered him ‘very special.’ However, his near contemporary, Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46), found lessons with another teacher memorable for a different reason: ‘To Mr Manby for English. We had frequently brought to his attention the presence of a large (mythical) rat that often appeared from a hole by the radiator. He showed no interest, so we planned a punitive action. At an agreed moment during a class, “the rat” was seen and at my command, “Eh, there ‘e is, the bugger,” most of us threw our books at the corner where so cheekily sat the rodent. Of course, we failed to produce a corpse, and indeed the sincerity of our endeavour was brought into question when three boys cast their literary missiles into different corners of the room.’ One teacher remembered by a great many OWs was the ‘delightful eccentric,’ Anthony Sebastian Crawley, known to all by his full name. He was well-known for ‘possibly the most beautiful speaking voice of anyone personally known to me; to hear him read the lesson in Chapel was an absolute joy!’ according to Jeremy Watkins (Blücher 1951-55). Martin Kinna (Murray 1953-58) described this as: ‘the most extreme of old-fashioned Oxford accents. “Anthony Sebastian Crawley.” Try saying that whilst yawning and trying to take chewing gum off your teeth with your tongue at the same time and you will probably get quite close.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) describes Crawley as ‘A tall, languid figure, a bachelor, had a vintage Rolls-Royce. Taught English, kept me interested.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) outlines a few more of his eccentricities: ‘Time in the First Block brought me under the wing of Anthony Sebastian Crawley, one of those who got by without going the extra mile. He had an obsession about how to treat books, taking care not to break the spine. He was also the man who first made me aware of looking to see the date on which a book was published and whether one was reading the first or the umpteenth edition. Most publishers provide this information, but there was one who never fulfilled their obligations to the satisfaction of ASC. I can see him now dismissing a whole book because of what it said about itself in the introductory pages. “Cassells again!” he said, snapping the book shut, his unforgiving verdict on the publisher confirmed. One was required to ‘tick’ all staff on passing them in the quads. Some always acknowledged, some never, but with Crawley one always had the prospect of hearing him say “Heigh ho!”’ Nigel Hamley (Hill 1952-55) reported ‘I had no time for, or empathy with, Anthony Sebastian Crawley and must have been the only boy who failed English Literature.’ Others, however, had better memories: ‘Anthony Sebastian Crawley, unforgettably, took me through O Level English Literature with the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales: “Wan that Aprile with his showres soote…”’ John Green (Talbot 1954-58) ‘Mr Crawley (“Anthony Sebastian,” spoken very drawlingly), introduced us to grown-up English, through the medium of The Spectator. For English Literature in the School Cert we had ‘done’ Paradise Lost and Hamlet. Well, Hamlet is not exactly modern, and Paradise Lost certainly isn’t, and while I’d read a bit of Arthur Bryant for history, my modern reading was virtually non-existent, though I was starting to read grown-up novels. So The Spectator got our minds starting to tick over – both in language and politics.’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950) Other teachers were also remembered for incorporating literature beyond the scope of the syllabus:‘In Upper 3A I flourished a little under “Tubby” Aglen, who introduced me to HH Munroe’s Saki stories. Although about twelve years ago I found in a file 100 lines written out in my fairy hand of James Ch 3 v 8 “but the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil…” etc., which fitted on two lines of foolscap and was standard punishment meted out by Tubby for talking in a lesson. I must have had a good four or five of these and obviously did not hand this lot in, on the basis I would probably get another one again.’ Anonymous ‘My favourite subject was English Lit, very well taught especially by “Dip” Pearce, who not only got us interested in the set texts but expanded our interests way beyond them. We read Hay Fever in class while studying Julius Caesar!’ John Armstrong-MacDonnell (Talbot 1952-56) Several OWs remembered learning poetry by heart: ‘Dougie Young taught me English and French; I can still recite Adelstrop.’ Bryan Stevens (Blücher 1948-52) ‘In the Third Form, the master offered half a crown (or five shillings, I forget which) to any boy who could learn Robert Browning’s 140-line Hervé Riel poem by heart, and I was the only one who got the money.’ Hugh Trevor (Hopetoun 1943-48) Michael Mathew (Murray 1956-60) enjoyed a different aspect of the subject: ‘I enjoyed English Literature, especially Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Middle English had an appeal in that you could get just enough of an idea to be lured into learning Middle English terms to complete one’s understanding of the text. The tales were also intriguing. I think it was well taught.’ One popular teacher was Peter Comber, described by Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) as ‘a typical example of a Wellington teacher who had served in the War. He had been a Chindit and served under Orde Wingate in Burma, fighting behind the lines and harassing the Japanese. He must have experienced an unbelievably savage war, but never spoke of it. He sought solace in Christianity. He was a kind man and popular with the boys.’ Neil Munro (Talbot 1952-56) also remembered him: ‘Peter Comber, an unassuming man who devoted much of a term in English to those two splendid Milton poems, L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, favourites ever since. I am something of a Hamlet freak, often taking a pocket edition with me wherever I go. This I attribute to a term with “Dog” Baker, not widely seen as particularly inspirational, but who by dint of making us act out the play in class, unlocked its extraordinary universality for me.’ These Milton poems must have been a staple of the syllabus, as others had less fond memories of them: ‘I recall the dullest lessons of my five years involved Philip Letts taking most of a term to drag us through Il Penseroso and L’Allegro… He managed to quash any lingering love of English poetry by dissecting them to a depth that I feel sure Milton never intended, before finding he barely had time for Lycidas. How far he was from leaving me with a yearning to read more.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) However, Peter Marshall (Stanley 1947-51) had a better opinion of Mr Letts: ‘I have vivid memories of being taught Hamlet and Paradise Lost in a brisk and wholly realistic way by Philip Letts for School Certificate English. These books were beyond our capacity to comprehend and no doubt beyond his to expound to any depth, but he made us learn passages by heart in a jolly non-coercive way, helped us at least to follow the plot of Hamlet and to understand Milton’s cosmology by drawing maps of heaven and hell to illustrate the passage of the rebel angels, who fell “thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks of Vallombrosa.” At a more sophisticated level, I do remember some wonderful classes about poetry taught by, I think, Alan Ker, who later taught Classics at Cambridge. These fired in me an adolescent passion for Keats and Tennyson.’ One popular teacher was Mr Annand: ‘The best course I took was Romantic poetry from Mr. Annand.’ Tim Travers (Hopetoun 1952-56) ‘Annand was a nice man, who tried to teach me Ancient History and who once wrote memorably of one of my efforts: “This is more like a bird’s nest than an

Teachers: Classics and Languages

Like most other subjects, Latin was taught in a very traditional way, which in retrospect, some of our respondents felt had been unhelpful: ‘While we boys were turning to stone under a blizzard of datives and ablatives and the dreaded ablative absolute, poor old Caesar endlessly pitched camp having marched ten miles. We learnt nothing of the importance of Rome or the significance of Roman history to the present day, just grammar. I am distinguished by a Latin report which reads: “Ryall, Latin. This boy is an unclassical ass!” You hit the nail on the head, Mr Wright.’ Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) ‘The usher tried hard to teach us, tapping us on the head with a broken billiard cue when declining Latin verbs.’ Peter Davison (Beresford 1948-52) In the 40s and early 50s, the senior Classics teacher at Wellington was Herbert ‘Titch’ Wright, a man who made a strong impression on many: ‘He ruled with the proverbial rod of iron and woe betide any boy who hadn’t done his prep or made some stupid mistake. A teacher of the old school, dealing in fear and not going out of his way to be liked.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘He was a master of grammar and syntax and made sure you learnt them.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54) ‘Titch was very tall and somewhat daunting, and his great cry was “Parse,” which was the cause of tears occasionally for those who failed.’ ‘Bobby’ Baddeley (Picton 1948-52) ‘In my first lesson with the 6 ft 2 in “Titch” Wright, he got down the register for the class, looked up to see who Berger was and said “Ah – I beat your father on his first day – I hope I don’t have to do the same to you.” I managed “So do I, Sir” in a very small voice and it seemed to pass muster.’ John Berger (Benson 1949-52) ‘Mr Wright made the fatal mistake of not explaining to me why we should all use the continental pronunciation of Latin instead of the (now clearly ridiculous) English pronunciation that I had grown up with, and for which he mocked and castigated me.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) Some had better memories, as Mr Wright introduced them to a lighter side of the Classics: ‘He delighted us with silly classical puns and risqué homophones … in the pronunciation we were taught, “At least having heard” in Greek sounded just like “He kissed a cow’s arse.”’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51) ‘H S Wright was taking us as a stand-in – he certainly wasn’t our regular teacher – and he introduced us to a piece of macaronic verse – the Bankolidaiad, which even then I thought very funny, and still do today; I now appreciate not only how funny it is, but how clever it is, both in the content and in its Latin versification (I can, in fact, recite most of it from memory still)’ Alastair Wilson (Talbot 1948-1950) Other Classics teachers included ‘Archie’ Seaton, ‘with a talent for acting in revue’, and according to Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) ‘a strange cove… he always asked for marks to be given to him in Latin. “Mihi numeros date,” he would say. It was the same when we were being taught Greek – the request still came in Latin.’ And subsequent 8th Master of Wellington, ‘Gus’ Stainforth: ‘I hated the subject, could arouse no love for the Romans and had no wish to learn their language… Gus Stainforth ruled his classes with a somewhat dry insistence on accuracy and dedication to his beloved Latin tongue. There was little if any humour in his style of teaching. Most of us were frightened to various extents by the threat of having to stand up and show our ignorance in front of the class. I don’t think that Stainforth set out to humiliate boys, he just had very high standards which he was determined should not be sullied by sloppy work.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) Alan Ker, by contrast, seemed much more popular: ‘During my whole school career, I hated all my Latin teachers except for the very first at my prep school and the very last, Mr Ker at Wellington, who, with private tuition after my fourth failure to pass the School Certificate exam, managed to achieve success with me at the fifth attempt.’ Peter Gardner (Hardinge 1946-51) ‘Alan Ker taught the Classical Sixth. He was a don rather than a schoolmaster… His teaching of Horace and Vergil gave me a real love of their poetry. Also, in the summer, he would sometimes take us down to the garden of his house on Back Drive and we would read Homer under the cherry tree. We would also enact impromptu scenes from Greek plays on Rockies. He was a great English teacher too, and introduced us to some of his favourite authors, among them A E Housman, E M Forster and the South African poet Roy Campbell.’ Christopher Stephenson (Hill 1949-54) ‘Alan Ker, an ex-Brasenose don, was an inspiring teacher. Once a week, he would take a group of us for extra tuition in his house down Back Drive, sometimes including some really disgusting Martial epigrams … huge fun. His wife brought us cocoa; I don’t think she realised what we were up to.’ Murray Glover (Anglesey 1947-51) ‘My principal Classics teacher in the Lower Sixth was Alan Ker, the most donnish of those on the staff at Wellington. He seemed incapable of believing that those he was teaching could make mistakes that might be classified as howlers. Instead, he searched his mind for what the pupil might have been trying to say. It could be a flattering way out after a crass error.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) Not as intellectual, but equally liked, was Mr Aglen: ‘‘Fatty’ Aglen attempted to teach me Latin – remarkably patient with my lazy and uninterested approach to the subject.’ Charles Ward (Hopetoun 1951-55) ‘Most of the teachers were critical of my effort and scathing of my ability, with the exception of Mr Aglen, who alone made the subject (Latin) interesting to me. No-one else inspired or encouraged me…’ Anthony Collett (Combermere 1953-58) ‘Tubby Aglen, who taught me Latin, and one of whose lessons followed PE, from which we were always let out late. This regularly resulted in 100 lines – ‘Better late than never, better never late!’ I arrived late for one of his lessons, and handed over my previously-prepared lines the instant the words passed his lips. I always thought that the resultant multiplication of lines was rather unjust.’ Michael Peck (Anglesey 1954-59) ‘Aglen strove to keep control of his classes and just about succeeded… I well recall the time when the school was subjected to an inspection. Aglen was instantly transformed into a nervous mumbling schoolboy who had not really done his prep. We were studying some verse by Horace or Ovid – whichever of the two it was, Aglen muddled them up. “So what Horace is trying to say here…?” he intoned, as we all knew he should have been saying Ovid. So far from tipping him the wink, we let him plough on getting ever deeper into the mire. Years later, I recalled the moment with dear Aglen who remembered it vividly and said, “And you all sat there with no-one helping me out!” Very true!’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) In the later 1950s, some encountered George Macmillan, ‘blessed with a perfect memory which enabled him to teach and correct translations without being able to read owing to a congenital eye condition. George took me on my first and memorable visit to Greece in 1957…’ Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Orange 1952-57) ‘When uncertain of anything, Sandy Entwisle would say he would consult the oracle. That meant the much more brilliant George Macmillan.’ Douglas Miller (Benson 1951-56) French and German As with Latin, some Wellingtonians felt that the teaching of Modern Languages was rather dry: ‘Language teaching dwelt relentlessly on grammar: the present tense, the past tense, the future tense, the pluperfect and the dreaded subjunctive, and at the end of all this we were unable to speal a word of it.’ Roger Ryall (Picton 1951-56) Those at Wellington in the 1940s did have the advantage of being taught by native speakers, but may not have really appreciated it: ‘M. Noblet was a Frenchman who taught us his native language. He struck us as a sad old gentleman. He had left his wife in occupied France, and suffered from shellshock from his service in the Great War. Perhaps to alleviate these troubles, he almost certainly drank too much. We, insensible rabble, played on his shortcomings, adding to his miseries. Nevertheless, he taught French well. He had written a book of French vocabulary, which consisted of each page given to words connected to some specific place or action – for instance, the kitchen, the drawing room, the railway station, the shop, etc. Our prep was usually to learn the words on a single page. By this means, I found that I acquired quite a good working vocabulary, so then with a basic knowledge of French grammar, I was able to carry out a conversation.’ Hugo White (Hardinge 1944-48) ‘Monsieur Albert Noblet, Legion d’Honneur, our French master, a Laureate of the Academie Francaise, who was wont to drown his sorrows in whisky after school at The Wellington Arms. The boys invented a game as to how far away they could smell his approach, and sometimes locked him out of the form room. One of his favourite expressions in class was “You are a lounge lizard – lean off that wall!”’ Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48) ‘Our German master, Mr Braunholz, was a pleasant elderly, but vulnerable, man whose nickname was “Bakelite Bottom” on the grounds that he could and would sit on upturned drawing pins with no apparent discomfort or even realisation of their presence. Very unkindly, we would resort to other annoying activity. One concerned the spring door-shutting device, the strength of which was adjustable. Slowly, day by day, we made it very slightly harder for him to open until finally he had to put his shoulder to it. At that point we turned it off altogether and he came bursting in knocking his desk over on the other side of the room. It was his nature not to ask who was responsible.’ Anonymous ‘On one memorable occasion the boys put tin-tacks on Mr Braunholz’s chair. He came in and sat down quite unconcerned. When the boys began giggling, he told them that it was quite all right as his backside had been blown off in the Great War and he had a tin one… This may well have been true, as he joined the staff at Wellington in 1918.’ Peter Bell (Blücher 1943-48) ‘To Mr Braunholz’s French class. Entry proved impossible. Yet again, his key could not unlock the door. We waited about, joshing. Arrived a carpenter from the Works Department, removing the blockage, normally chewed paper or gum, inserted by one of us in strict rotation the night before, he threw open the door and we filed in for the few remaining minutes of our lesson.’ Robert Waight (Orange 1942-46) ‘Our teacher in German, Mr Braunholz… We once dressed up as College workmen and removed all his furniture while he was in the middle of a lesson. However, he must have been of some good, because I went on to become an unofficial interpreter to my Colonel in my regiment in Germany.’ Richard Godfrey-Faussett

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)

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

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: 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

Wellington Through The Decades

We began with our oldest cohort of Old Wellingtonians, those who were at College in the 1940s and 1950s. We drafted a questionnaire, designed to spark memories of many aspects of College life, and sent it to over 700 individuals. We are incredibly grateful to the 130 who took the time and trouble to respond. All submissions, long or short, are appreciated; all have been read, collated and distilled to form the material here. We also want to thank those who sent in wonderful original material such as photographs, school reports and play programmes. Together with material from the College archives, they make up the wealth of illustrations on the following pages. This website will be the first and fullest outcome of the project. We hope that browsing it will prove an enjoyable trip down memory lane for those who remember the decades in question, and a vivid insight into a different time for those who do not. In time, some of the material may be published in physical form. All submissions to the project will be preserved in full in the Wellington College Archives, providing an invaluable resource for future historians. One of our aims is to show life at Wellington in the broader context of national and international history and culture. For this reason, we asked our respondents for their memories of world events, to see how much these, along with the popular culture of the time, made an impact at Wellington. We hope that you will enjoy reading their Wellington memories in the context of the political and social changes of the later twentieth century. Once all the material from the 1940s and 1950s has been added to the website, we hope to repeat the process with the next cohort – those at College during the 1960s – and in due course to cover the rest of the 20th century. To explore the Decades pages, please hover your mouse over the ‘Decades Project’ title at the top of the page, and a menu will appear from the left. When you select a decade from this menu, the full list of topics available in that decade will appear. You can also browse through the pages from one to the next, using the links at the top and bottom of each page.Some of our participants from the 1950s can be seen in conversation with College Archivist Caroline Jones, here. Several archive films from the 1950s can also be found in the ‘Films’ section of this website. Please send any comments or questions about the project to Decades@wellingtoncollege.org.uk or to the address on the Contacts page. Click here to go to the 1940s and 1950s. NOTE: Opinions expressed in the ‘Wellington Through The Decades’ pages are those of the individual contributors and not of Wellington College. Some practices and attitudes acceptable at Wellington in the past, recorded in these pages, are unacceptable by today’s standards and are in no way condoned by the College.