OPA Newsletter June 1945
Well, Old Pharosians, here is the last issue of your own war-time special. It has been a labour of love compiling it: my reward has been your obvious appreciation shown by letters from all over the world. I have done my best to answer them all, but if I had to continue the task I set myself, I should need a private secretary! When you
do get home, come and see us – from next Monday we shall be back at the School on the Hill, after five years in other people’s buildings. This term sees the completion of thirty years at D.C.S. by W.E.P.” J .S. and
Yours very sincerely,
Dear Old Pharosians,
In sending you the warmest greetings from the School, I must salute you by that familiar name whatever the future title of the School may be. In the memory of all of us it will, no doubt, always be the D.C.S., the Alma Mater of the Old Pharosians. To each O.P., then, may I, in the name of the School express its hopes for your well-being wherever you are and whatever you are doing in the Navy, the Army or the Airforce, in workshop, college or on the land, and its pride in your sacrifices and achievements?
I feel honoured in having been asked by the Editor to write this, letter, but very humble when I consider that so many of you have done so much while we at School can but regret or admire as we receive news of the ultimate sacrifice by some, or of the wonderful deeds of others. Most sincerely, I say that we want to hear from you, or, better still, to see you at School. As you see from the above address, we are back home again, and it has been one of our greatest joys to shake hands and to chat with so many of you who have found an hour or two to spare from your leave to call in. We remember in honour those who will never call again, we sympathetically admire those who have been wounded, and we rejoice with those who have returned fit and well.
We are home again. By the time this letter is in print we shall be at the old School. “Ou sont les neiges d’antan?” Tuck-shop, Cadet Camp, Houses, Choral Society, Orchestra, Dramatic Society” Athletic and Gymnastic Competitions and, of course, Homework and Examinations. What a community you developed! Will home be what it was? Only a few at present with us have any knowledge of the old School on the Hill. We expect boys to lose themselves as you did. (“Please, Sir, I can’t find my Form Room.”) It will be like old times, for boys of one generation much resemble those of another. If this generation follows the example set by you who have preceded it, those who have pride in and loyalty to the School need have no fear of the future.
We are home again. But we do not forget that five years of our School history were made in Ebbw Vale, whose hospitality enabled us to remain a School unit under one authority and one head. We left Dover in 1940 a large School; we return, in 1945, a large School, retaining the spirit and tradition created by you in the years before 1939. How easily these might have been lost to us, first, if they had not been firmly established and second, if our friends at Ebbw Vale had not made it possible for us to remain a compact and united body.
I’m afraid I have been allowing my rambling thoughts to guide my pen and you will be wondering when I am going to give you some news. Of your friends you will find news in the following pages.
Of the School I can say that the Cadet Corps is still as active as ever, that the School Squadron of the A.T.C. is still vigorous and that many of our boys are members of the S.C.C. The cricket season has opened with successful matches against Canterbury Technical School; the House Competitions are to restart this term. This is made possible by our groundsman, Mr. Pritchard, who is making great efforts to restore the pitches so that we can arrange home fixtures. I was asked the other day whether it was possible to revive the old fixture School v Old Boys. Well, what do you think of the suggestion?
As most of you know, we are returning without Mr. Watt and Mr. Allin, whose work for the School is a perpetual memorial, not of stone. Mr. Langley retired in September last to take up Holy Orders, while Mr. Darby, after willingly extending his help to us at Ebbw Vale, left us at Midsummer. You, with us, will wish them a long and happy retirement. We have welcomed to the staff Mr. K. V. Hall who is continuing the work of Mr. Langley, Mr. J. C. Andrew, who, we hear, has played some first class football, and Mrs. M. A. McCracken whom some of you will have met at past Re-unions. Mr. Evans, Miss Leary and Mrs. McKay-Taylor have gone to other parts of the country, but we hope to hear of them from time to time. You, I am sure, would wish me to join your felicitations with ours to Mr. and Mrs. Kendall whose marriage took place in August and to Mr. and Mrs. Archer (our Miss Sullivan) who were married in Dover at Easter.
No other news, I think, except that the Fifth and Sixth Forms are about to face the annual enemy as you did. So we at the School wish you Godspeed in your duties or your work and a quick, safe, and joyous return to your families and to us.
Yours very sincerely,
This is Saturday, 26th May, 1945. I have just returned from the first School match on our own Playing Fields for five years. You can guess what that means to us, and how excited the Second Eleven were when they sat down to tea in our own School buildings. For most of them that was their introduction to the buildings. It will be some time before we can enter on the full programme of events in the normal School Calendar but, by the time you get this, we should be properly installed. That will mean introducing nearly 300 boys to their own buildings, and then they will feel that they are really “back home.”
While many of you have gone abroad-or much farther abroad since our last News Letter, others have come home again, some after long captivity. Already we have had the pleasure of numerous small-scale and informal re-unions though, under present conditions, our visitors have had to set out on a tour of three buildings here in the middle of Dover in order to find their old friends on the Staff.
It is re-assuring – for you and for us – that there are so many of your old friends still in the staff room. True, the ravages of war have inevitably left their mark, and we have further changes to report. Last summer, in spite of much evidence to the contrary, Mr. Darby insisted that he had reached retiring age, and Mr. Langley who had been known to so many of you over a period of 20 years, decided to take Holy Orders and to continue his service to the Church in a fulltime capacity. Even so, there still remains a nucleus in the Staff Room with well-known initials and familiar faces to take up the work of re-building the School in peace-time. Recently they have been re-inforced, you will be glad to hear, by the return of Miss Rockwood.
In our task we are much encouraged by the knowledge that the School means so much to you – as your letters constantly testify. Many of you who were with us at Ebbw Vale have joined with Parents in a most generous response to the appeal we made last Autumn. The amount contributed reached over £107. As a result we have endowed an Annual Prize at the Ebbw Vale County School and are arranging for a Plaque, designed by Mr. Rowlands, with an appropriate inscription, to be presented to the Ebbw Vale Urban District Council Chamber. A printed copy of this will be sent to all Foster-parents.
For many of you, talk of peace is premature. I should like, therefore, to send a special greeting to the ever increasing contingent of Old Pharosians in the Far East. We know you will give a good account of yourselves and we shall look forward to welcoming you home again.
We do not forget those who will not return. We shall honour their memory and treasure their association with us as long as there is a “School on the Hill.”
4. 6. 44 – to Ruth (née Simonis) wife of F. A. Cockfield, a daughter.
3. 6. 44 – to Joan (née Toye) wife of Frederick J. Mayer, a daughter.
22. 5. 44 – to Myrl (née Algar) wife of L.A.C. G. A. Maxted, a daughter.
27. 5. 44 – to Emily (née Kinch) wife of Sergt. L. I. Pay, R.A., a daughter.
8. 6. 44 – to Freda (née Pudney) wife of Paymaster Lieut. Commander S. J. Sharpe, a son.
26. 6. 44 – to Daisy, wife of R. G. Stroud, R.A.F. (V.R.), a daughter.
7. 7. 44 – to Gracie, wife of L.A.C. Thompson, R.A.F. (V.R.), a daughter.
15. 7. 44 – to Violet, wife of C.P.O. E. J. Covell, R.N., a daughter.
4. 9. 44 – to Peggie (née Betts) wife of Gordon L. J. Bailey, a son.
14. 10. 44 – to Ruby (née Wood) wife of Eric Butt, a daughter.
30. 12. 44 – to Brindi (née Haylock) wife of Stuart Allerton, M.N., a son.
1. 2. 45 – to Dorothy, wife of Lieut. W. S. Borthwick, a daughter.
2. 2. 45 – to Peggy (née Hillis) wife of Pilot Off. Gilbert Curtis, R.A.F. (missing), a son.
4. 4. 45 – to Marjorie, wife of Hubert G. Hopkins, a son.
5. 4. 45 – to Molly (née Thomas) wife of G. John Fuller, a daughter.
6. 6. 44 – Michael Paxton, R.N .V.R., to Rosalie Fencl, at Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.
8. 7. 44. F./Off. Claud R. Wilson, D.F.C., to Muriel Joyce McGhie of Dover.
9. 8. 44. F./Off. F. M. Dunn to Betty Newson of Guarlford Rectory, Malvern.
21. 9. 44. Arthur Ernest Pate man to Joyce Marie Quine of Douglas, I.O.M.
8. 1. 45. Cpl. Robert Humphrey,. Royal Signals, to Megan Hellyer of Ebbw Vale.
5. 1. 45. At the “Little Church around the Corner” 29th Street and 5th Avenue, New York, Kenneth R. Hart to Mary Elizabeth Hanratty of Cleveland, Ohio.
29. 1. 45. Captain Charles J. Goodman, M.B., B.S., (R.A.M.C.) to Enid Monson, M.B., Ch.B. of Rickmansworth.
14. 2. 45. Armourer Staff Sergeant Derek Suter, R.E.M.E., to Edna D. Willis, L.A.C.W., W.A.A.F. of Morden.
29. 1. 45. W./Off. G. W. Barling, R.A.F. to Betty Rawson.
6. 3. 45. Major Alan Bruce Hurrell, R.A., to Beryl Mary Francis of Southend-oil-Sea.
31. 3. 45. W./Off. Cyril B. Cleverly, R.A.F., to Mavis Staley of Sheffield.
2. 4. 45. Edward Charles Mantle, B.Sc., to Joan May Badby of Rugby.
24. 3. 45. Major Francis George West Oram, R.A.S.C., to Lucy Mary Dobbins, 2, A.I.M.N.S. at Cornilla, S.E.A.C.
2. 6. 45. Stanley Gale, to Mary Bromley of Hougham.
F./Off. John James Walsh, missing in August from operations over Warsaw.
P./Off. R. Matson, R.A.F., missing believed killed.
P./Off. (Navigator) George E. Pleasance.
F./Sgt. Jack Mirians.
P. /Off. Alfred H. A. Treadwell.
William Cornwell is missing from the Alert.
Captain B. (Pat) Elworthy, The Scinde Horse, Indian Armoured Corps.
Died on active service in the Middle East 22/6/43.
W.O./A.G. Norman F. Axford, R.A.F.
Killed in a raid on Hamburg, 27/7/42, and buried in the Fresian Islands.
Sub.-Lieutenant (A) John Austin Grant, R.N.V.R.
Reported missing, believed killed while on an operational flight. May, 1944.
William L. Goldfinch.
Killed on active service on N.W. Europe, July, 1944.
P.O. Harry Bernard Sheppard (Telegraphist).
Missing presumed killed in the sinking of H.M.S. Penelope off the Anzio Beachhead, 18/2/44.
Guardsman William Stanley Neill, Coldstream Guards.
Killed in action, N.W. Europe, 31/10/44.
Lieut. Harvey George de Carteret, R.A.
Died from wounds received on the Western Front, January, 1945.
Fl./Sergeant Leonard Lawrence, R.A.F. (Coastal Command)
Missing presumed killed on operations.
Fl. Sergeant Gilbert Curtis, R.A.F.
Missing presumed killed on operations.
Major C. I. M. Watson, Indian Army.
Killed in action in Burma, January, 1945.
Lieut. P. C. E. Brooker (Eric), Royal Welch Fusiliers.
Killed in action in the Reich wald Forest, aged 19.
The Rev. E. C. Tan ton.
Killed, with his wife and son, by a V bomb in Southern England.
Warrant Officer G. W. Barling, R.A.F.
Killed on active service, 17/2/45.
Armourer Craftsman Ivor John Brewster, 1st Airborne Division.
Died of wounds at Apeldoorn, Holland.
P./Off. R. Matson, R.A.F.
Missing believed killed on operations.
Sergt. Observer Louis John Langham, R.A.F. (V .R.)
Killed over Germany 26/2/43
Pilot Officer Stanley Mornington West, R.A.F.
Killed on active service, January 13th, 1940.
Sub-Lieutenant (A) Henry Morris, R.N.
Killed on active service, February, 1940.
Robert Killick, R.A.O.C.
Died at sea from enemy action, May, 1940.
Cecil Charles Cox, R.A.S.C.
Died at sea from enemy action, June, 1940.
Sergeant John J. Myers, R.A.
Killed in action near Amiens, June 11th, 1940.
Hubert Harold Tomlin, A.F.S.
Killed by enemy action in Bristol, January, 1941.
Lieutenant P. T. Rothwell, R.A.C.
Killed in action in the M. East May, 1941.
Q.M.S. Norman W. E. Jenkins.
Killed in action in the M. East, May, 1941.
Frank Mc Toldridge, R.C.S. (attached to R.A.C.)
Killed in action, M. East November, 1941.
Wing Commander James Owen Willis, D.F.C., R.A.F.
Killed in action over Sidi Omar, November, 1941.
Ronald Victor Castle, Engineer Officer, M.N.
Drowned at sea.
L/Bombardier Harold Williams, R.A.
Died of wounds in a M. East Hospital.
L.A.C. Peter Ernest Coles, R.A.F.
Killed whilst training as Observer.
Fl/Officer C. Ronald Archibald, R.A.F. (Coastal Command).
Died of exposure at sea.
Sergt. Pilot David Ian Kirton, R.A.F.
Killed in action..
P/Officer Keith R. Gillman, R.A.F.
Killed in action off Dover.
Reginald F. Kirby, R.A.F.
Died of pneumonia after evacuation from Dunkirk.
Acting Lieut. Commander (E) Lewis Robert Kennedy, R.N.
Killed in action.
G. Noel Plews, R.A.O.C.
Killed in action in Malaya.
F. L. Garlinge, R.T.R.
Drowned at sea.
Sergt. Observer Maurice W. Buckley, R.A.F.
Killed in action in Libya.
Peter Noel Howarth, R.A.F.
Killed in action, Middle East, August, 1942.
Sergeant Pilot Roy John Sutton, R.A.F.
Killed on active service, November, 1942.
John Dermott, M.N.
Lost at sea, January, 1943.
Sergt. Observer Kenneth William Peverley, R.A.F. (V.R.)
Killed on active service, March, 1943.
Captain Cecil W. Teasdale, R.A.
Killed in action in N. Africa, March, 1943.
Sergeant Observer Wilfred John Pelham, R.A.F.
Killed on active service, May, 1943.
Sydney Sharp, R.A.S.C.
Died of pneumonia in N. Africa, May, 1943.
Fl/Officer Richard Harrison, Coastal Command.
Killed in action.
Sgt. P. B. E. Woodham, R.A.F.
Died on active service.
E. R. A. Roland Douglas Board, R.N.
Killed in collision.
Sergeant Observer Gibbard Selkirk Standring, R.A.F. (V.R.)
Killed on operations over Germany, 23/6/42.
Sergeant W.O./A.G. Jack Vosper, R.A.F. (Costal Command).
Killed on operations, 13/2/42.
Sergeant Observer Allan Williams, R.A.F.
Frederick J ames Frame, 1st Class E.R.A., R.N.
Lost in H.M. Submarine Upholder.
Ian Robert Weir, Sergeant Surveyor, Kent Yeomanry (97th Field Regt., R.A.)
Drowned whilst P.G.W., 13/11/42.
Flying Officer John E. Wilson.
Killed on operations in the East.
Flight Sergeant Navigator Sydney Charles Fermor.
Killed in action near Paris, May 17th, 1943.
Pilot Officer J. F. L. .Wise, R.A.F. (V.R.)
Killed on operations, 1943.
Sub-Lieutenant Robert Charles Reeder.
Killed on active service, January, 1944.
Sergeant Navigator Frederick Edward Asbman, R.A.F.
Killed on action over Berlin in November, 1943.
Pilot Officer Leslie Merricks.
Missing from a raid over Germany in November, 1943, now presumed killed.
Squadron Leader James Kirton.
Killed on active service, January, 1944.
Captain Alan George Paddock, Beds and Herts. Regt., attached to Indian Army.
Killed in action in Burma, January, 1944.
Guardsman A. C. Chell, Grenadier Guards.
Killed in action in Italy, March, 1944.
Major Eric C. Sharp, R.E.C.C.E. Corps.
Killed in action in Italy, April, 1944.
Stanley George Kingsmill, R.A.F.
Killed on active service, April, 1944.
(From June 1944 to June 1945)
Sergt. Alec John Kappler, R.A.F. (V.R.), has been awarded the D.F.M. for “great skill and determination in completing his mission regardless of opposition or adverse weather.” Most of his service has been in the Far East.
Lieut. (E.) D. E. A. Coombs, R.N.V.R. has been mentioned in despatches for “courage and devotion to duty during the Anzio landing.”
Lieut. Coombs is chief engineer of a “L.S.T.” and has been in the Sicily, Salerno Anzio and Normandy landings.
Captain R. F. (Dick) Jolley, of a Punjab Regiment has been awarded the M.C. At Kohima, “he displayed courage and leadership of the highest order” “His personal, disregard for danger was an inspiration to his men.”
F./Off. Ronald Edmond, D.F.C., R.A.F. (V.R.) has now been awarded the Air Force Cross.
Lieut. Edmund Crush has been awarded the M.C. while serving with the B.L.A.
The London Gazette, 23/6/43, announced that Squadron Leader J. H. Kirton, had been mentioned in despatches.
Captain Dick Arnold, R.E., has been mentioned in despatches “for distinguished service.”
P./Off. Wallace Sidney Washington was mentioned in despatches 11/6/42.
Captain George Curry (Intelligence) has been mentioned in despatches for distinguished service in Italy.
F./Lieut. Vivian Frederick Ray Kenward, D.F.C., has been awarded a bar to his D.F.C.
W./Off. Cyril B. Cleverly, Fl./Engineer, R.A.F.C.C. has been mentioned in despatches for distinguished service with Coastal Command.
Lieut. F. P. Davis, B.L.A., has been mentioned in despatches.
The Rev. L. C. Sparham, R.A. Chaplains’ Dept. has been mentioned in despatches for distinguished service.
Lieut. G.. Willis, R.N.V.R., has been mentioned in despatches for distinguished service.
Major R. A. Crofts, Special Mention in Orders for Meritorious Service (1944)
Rudy Metzger is now Lieut. R.E.M.E., now Randolph Mercer.
Bomfrey is Chief Clerk (civil) in a R.N. Air Station.
Dennis Roberts is Sergeant R.A. in Egypt with AA. H.Q.
Raymond H. Jenkins is a Craftsman in R.E.M.E.
Captain Victor Ravensdale on S.E.A.C. Staff has been promoted to Major.
S. J. Sharpe is now Paymaster Lieutenant Commander.
Bombardier Leonard Castle, R.E. is in Normandy, his name is the first to come to us from France. Later reported wounded.
John Shewring is P./Off. Bomb-Aimer and here in E.V. prior to joining an operational squadron.
R. W. Forfar has for the last 14 years been engaged on ship salvage on the South Coast chiefly: he has met J. Minnihane who is a Captain in the Army Salvage Corps.
Mrs. Ravensdale informs me that Harry Paynter after a thin time in Italian P.O.W. Camps is now in Germany: she forwards the welcome news that Chief E.R.A. William Hood who went down with the Sikh and was reported drowned was afterwards repatriated with other wounded prisoners!
Norman Sutton, who had 50 copies of our Newsletter, sent a wire today, reading: “Send reinforcements, being continually bombarded.” In a letter he informs me that Capt. Eric Wilde, M.C., has been in Guys for some time past, suffering from concussion and shell-shock.
John Ravensdale is now stationed in Gosport, cursing the banned area because he cannot see his wife. Philpott is in hospital, with chicken pox, Goldsmith is travelling along the N. African coast between Algiers and Bone.
A long letter from Sgt. L. A. Lawrence, R.A.F., W.O./A.G. Has met “Weller of Buckland House in the same wireless training school and “Monkey Norris of Country” on another course. He mentions McCulloch at De Havilands, sitting for Final A.F.R. Ac. S., John Walsh, P.D. (Nav.), R.A.F., in the M.E., where Lawrence had been. Has met the youngest of the Walter brothers, Sgt. Pilot P. Delahaye, piloting a Spitfire, just married; F. Forward, R.A.; Frank Gale, R.C. of S.; Claude Wilson, F./Off. D.F.C. (who got married early this month, in Dover, and instead of going to the wedding breakfast, the party had to spend several hours in the shelters!); Jack Lavery, Corporal R.A.F.; Geoffrey Field, 4th Eng. Off. P. & 0; Leslie Webster, W./Op. R.A.F. and Norman Webster in the R. N . Lawrence was in the Corporation Offices with Alan Paddock before the war. Many thanks for the information, a few more letters like this and my work would be easy.
Letter from F./Off. R. A. Howard, mentions Norman Bainbridge invalided out of the Army and says he meets A. Makey regularly.
D. K. Bomfrey writes from an R.N. Air Station in the Isle of Man saying he expects shortly to be leaving for abroad again.
Squadron Leader Leslie Ovenden writes from Scotland in appreciation of the Newsletter.
Charles H. Godden has been commissioned, in India in the Royal Corps of Signals.
Raymond F. Muston is F./O. R.A.F. and acting as Interpreter in Archangel.
Received to-day 15/7/44, first letter from the Normandy Front, Cpl. Humphrey, R.C. of S., has been there since “D”-Day, but has had few opportunities of speaking French. He tells me that K. A. Wise is now 3rd Officer in the Merchant Navy; that J. Lord, is L.A.C., R.A.F.
Pte. W. Gosby, A.O.D., in writing for a Newsletter asks for its speedy delivery as he would like to read it on the boat!
Raymond F. Axford (Axford ii) is 4th Engineer aboard the Shepperton Ferry.
A long and interesting letter from 12 Marine Parade, Herne Bay, Auckland, New Zealand, E. J. Leeds asking for a Pharos, and for news of Hover and Crush. He is now Chief Officer on one of the Union Steamship Company’s ships, having passed his Foreign Going Master’s Certificate. His ship had the doubtful honour of striking the first Jap mine, which did not explode! Has twice since been chased by enemy raiders. Is married and has one small daughter. He has met C.P.O. Spiddell of the N.Z. R.N. who is working with “D.E.N.S.”, whatever that means. Spiddell left D.C.S. about 1914.
The Dover Express of August 11th announces that Lieut. Edmund Crush, R.E., has been wounded in Normandy, he writes to say that his wounds are not serious.
The Dover Express of August 18th, has a letter from Sidney W. Booth, Sgt. in the Opihi Battalion H.G. Tumuka, New Zealand to his opposite number in the Dover H.G.
Received my first article for the projected “Booke of Ye Pharos,” from C.P.O. (W.) Graeme, an account of the Battle of Matapan.
Letter from Corporal Harry Hopkins to say that, despite his injury he is still in the Army, is now Pay Corporal in the R.E. somewhere in Sussex.
Alan Tucker is now 2/Lieut. R.E. He left the Boro’ Engineers Dept. in Dover and became Junior Engineer Assistant to the Wilts. County Council and had passed his “Testamur” of the I.M. & C.E.
A long letter from Cpl. R. Humphrey, Royal Corps of Signals, promising an article for “our” book. At present relearning French in Normandy.
Captain H. R. Watkins writes to Mr. Pearce from Normandy with news of the Wild brothers and of Rudy Metzger (I mean Randolph Mercer!)
Now that Neill, Brabham I, and Coveney have left Cambridge, Stephen Bradley will be our sole representative there next year.
Captain “Bob” Grimer, D.S.C., M.N., is now Captain of H.M. Hospital Ship Maine, a senior command in H.M Navy.
Letter from F./Lt. F. L. Frow, somewhere in Italy, now C.O. of his unit, has got together “quite a good cricket team, playing in a well known stadium.”
Letter from F. H. Webb, last reported as “on research Chemistry work in Cardiganshire,” has extended his researches evidently since he announces his marriage four months ago. Has taken up Welsh and is deep in the mysteries of Cynghanedd.
Cpl. V. A. Puttick, R.A.F., writes from Normandy: has now served 4 years and 10 months.
Captain Philip Pearce recently spent four days with Major Jack Ewell somewhere in India, the latter had recently met George Magub, I.C.S. “who it appears frequently broadcasts violin solos on the Indian Broadcasting Service and is reported to be considering making this his profession!
Letters are coming in frequently now expressing appreciation of the idea of a “Book of the Pharos.”
Captain G. L. Watt, King’s Africa Rifles, writes from Kenya: he is expecting shortly to take some of his Askaris into Burma and to find his “festering jungle sores being tended by Maj or Jack Ewell, R.A.M.C., Has nothing more exciting yet to relate than “Sunrise on the Congo” or “Sunset on Kilimanjaro!”
Bruce Bilby writes of his experiences with the Admiralty, travelling between Devon and the Highlands in a lorry at a strict 20 m.p.h. lest his radio-graphical apparatus be damaged.
C.P.O. (W.) G. V. Graeme sends a contribution “Memories of a Desert Camp”, some details of life near Alexandria.
P./Off. Philip Delahaye writes from an R.A.F. camp in Wales: he gives new of Denys Hopper as “a strong Sub./Lt.” of his brother now in Italy and “Austin, of Country House, now CpL. R.A.F.”
Sgt. L. A. Lawrence, R.A.F. writes again: has met Frank Gale on embarkation leave. The latter’s brother Stanley is hoping to leave Malta for home, after trekking with the 8th Army from El Alamein. He reports that John James Walsh is missing from operations in the Middle East. He had just been made F/Officer and is believed to have been brought down whilst dropping supplies over Warsaw. He concludes on a personal note – “last night I did someone’s French H.W.!” I wonder now many” – 2s”!?
Trooper A. J. Hayden writes from H.Q. Squadron, King’s Dragoon Guards, somewhere in Italy. Claims to be going a Cooks Tour of the country! Has already toured N. Africa. For the moment has his legs well under the table of a congenial Italian family. His brother (R.A.F.) too, is somewhere in Italy but so far they have not met.
On Saturday, September 30th, Doctor R. A. Pelham gave a talk in “The World Goes By” on shooting the rapids on a river in Russia.
2/Lieut. Alan Wilde, Special Force, C.M.F. found himself in hospital in the next bed to Lieut.-Col. W. M. E. White.
Paymaster Lieut. G. S. Taylor, R.N.V.R. has been appointed Paymaster Lieut. Commander on proceeding to a further period of duty overseas.
R. Neill is now at the Pre-O.C.T.U. camp in Wrotham. B. A. Rigden who informs me of this, announces that he will shortly be leaving for India, and an O.T.S. there.
Kenneth Thompson, after being Chief Censor of Trinidad (B.W.I.) and Assistant Controller of the Imperial Censorship Dept. was transferred to London in November, 1943 to take up the post of Joint Assistant Secretary of Postal and Telegraph Censorship.
A letter from Gunner Keith Forward, Maritime R.A., to say that E. Josey is in France as an N.C.O., K. Smith is in R.C.S. in India, D. J. Richards is in the R.A.F. He mentions too, that P. Prescott, who has always been a keen A.R.P. worker, has been of great assistance during the recent trouble in Dover. Forward himself is just back from a trip along the West African coast.
Lieut. G. Willis, R.N.R. now in command of his own ship finds the Chief E.R.A. aboard to be C.P.O. Gregory of D.S.C.
A pleasant surprise to-day a letter from L/Cpl. Moorcroft of R.E.M.E.
now in France, and written entirely in French, an admirable effort, though it does show that the restrictive influence of minus twos over a period of 24 years has been absent.
Thanks again to Norman Sutton for invaluable collaboration (a word that seems not quite so admirable these days!) He has already disposed of nearly 150 copies of the Newsletter and provided me with much information. He encloses to-day a letter from Capt. Robin Haydon, c/o Lloyds Bank, Darjeeling; so far he has met only one O.P., Captain F. G. West-Oram. Sutton mentions that he has had requests for copies from Steven Waring, R. Grove (R.A.F.), Ellen and Corporal A. J. Took, R.A.F. now returned from Rhodesia though he has left Mrs. Took and Gerald there. He informs me that Victor Pilcher is Sergeant-Flight Engineer in the R.A.F. in India: John Hall is now Sub.-Lieut. R.N.V.R. and going out to Burma on a motor-launch: Harold Burt is now Squadron Leader, R.A.F. and is instructing in Scotland: H. L. Leach is a Sergeant in the Infantry Brigade Signals Section attached to S.E.A.C.
2/Lieut. R. W. Winter, R.W. Kent Regiment is engaged to Sylvia Chant of Beaufort, Mon. When we say thc.t Beaufort is a Ward of Ebbw Vale – – – .
Peter Hill, R.A.F. after N. Africa and Italy is now in Cairo and asking for a Pharos. Tony Blunt is L.A.C. (Wireless) in Canada, Malcolm Blunt is Corporal R.A.F. and in Western Europe, he was just able to see his son before leaving.
Captain Douglas West, R.A. writes from Italy. Has met Stewart at Salerno and was sipping a cup of tea in Taranto when he was greeted by Curry and McQueen. He writes nostalgically of Cadet Camps, of the Mendy rag and dyke duckings.
Humphrey is now in Holland, writes apologising that he could not call on friends of mine in Paris, he went through too quickly!
I now hear that Leonard Castle, wounded in Normandy, is in a Bradford Hospital, suffering from shrapnel wounds in arms and legs.
F/Officer R. A. Howard called on us recently, he is Bombing Officer often on special duties. He reports Norman Bainbridge discharged from the Army suffering from shell-shock after a shell burst inside his tank.
Sedgwick is Sergeant (S.) R.A.F. Middle East.
Jack Brigham, last heard of in Malta, is now P.G.W. in Germany, captured on an Aegean island – Leros.
L.A.C. Edgar Young, R.A.F. is on the ground staff in S. Africa: has got married there.
Sgt. (S.) Eckhoff, R.A.F. was here the other day, he gained his half wing in Canada.
News has been received that Rifleman Gordon Clayson, of Eythorne, missing since June 14th in Normandy, was found in a Belgian hospital over-run by our troops. He had been seriously wounded and now lies in a North Country Hospital.
A batch of air mail letters received to-day from O.P’s in India and Burma who have just received their Newsletter. Lieut. Bertram S. Jell, I.O.C. writes in nostalgic vein of the delights of Ebbw Vale(!) and more immediately of a concoction called “Fixed Bayonets.”
Major Victor Ravensdale writes from New Delhi of the experience of being flown out to S.E.A.C. H.Q. He disclaims any idea of developing a Poona complex or a bushy moustache and hopes to remain recognisable until the end of the party. His worst experience to date has been half an hour’s talk in French over a ‘phone manned by Hindustani half-wits: he suggests a course of Hindustani for VI Arts. We might do this with the co-operation of Maj or Jack Ewell: bitten by the language bug, he is now on the Board of Examiners in Urdu: he finds a reminiscent pleasure in marking, “entirely without vindictiveness” (a hit at me, I wonder?) serious mistakes with – 2 in red ink! Maj or Ewell was flown into Imphal, when it was beseiged. He was the only M.O. there.
A letter from Marino Capelli, regretting his long silence. He is on hush-hush work in Radar. He just escaped from France via Bordeaux in 1940. He later flew to New York in connection with his research work there.
Norman Webster, whose Scholarship to the Royal College of Art was noted last year, has offered to do some illustrations for our O.P. record when (and if) this is taken in hand.
R. D. Pilcher is doing his training as Pilot, in Rhodesia.
K. P. Datlen, S. Mason and E. T. Fry have just taken their final examination in the Engineering Cadet Course at Brighton.
Eric Butt (you may remember he figured in our In Memoriam list and turned up later after extraordinary experiences in Newfoundland) has been unable to carry on in the wireless factory to which he went after his discharge. He is now the Twentieth Century Radio and Electro-Acoustic Service.” He hopes to open 28 London Road as his shop when repairs can be effected. This is the second shop he has taken and both have been shelled. Good Luck!
E. E. Pullee, at present Principal of the Portsmouth College of Art, has been appointed Principal of the Leeds College of Art.
Fl./Lieut. V. F. R. Kenward received his D.F.C. at a recent Investiture.
He is now with a Lancaster Squadron (Pathfinders).
Leslie Beaufoy was recently in Dover in connection with the Town Planning scheme.
Carpenter, who was in the same form as Roy Sutton, is now Pilot Officer.
Captain Colin Paddock, M.C., R.T.R. is in the news again. He was attached for a time to the 3rd Canadian Division for special duties. He was in Calais and at Cap Gris-Nez helping to secure the liberation of Dover. “There’s lucky he was!”
Flight Lieut. H. G. Richards sent an airgraph conveying his greetings to the school in exile and wishing us a speedy return home.
In the same force as Major V. J. Ravensdale at S.E.A.C. H.Q. is “L. W. Lee, who left D.C.S. in 1921,” the only details Ravensdale gives. Lee was pleasantly surprised to see the Pharos in its battledress.
W. W. Robson who obtained First Class Honours in English at Oxford last June, has been appointed Lecturer in English at King’s College, London.
Allan Tucker, Lieut. R.E. is stationed in Brussels, married a Welsh girl from Mountain Ash, just before embarkation.
Christmas 1944. Back home once more. Have received many letters from O.P’s all over the world. Robin Haydon writes from India asking for news of old boys and staff: he informs me that he has “married a red-head” and sees the consequences in the tinge of colour in his daughter’s hair. After service in Burma and many bouts of malaria he has been transferred to Intelligence. Major Ian Watson writes too for news of the school. He has had quite an exciting time in India. He informs me that Bobby Igglesden is going out to India in the W.A.A.F. and that they are to be married there. Our best wishes to them both. Since leaving Sandhurst in 1937 he has spent most of his time in India. On a frontier warfare course at Kukul he met Mr. S. A. Coase now an instructor in the R.I.A. S.C. school there. Watson and Ginger Haydon were in hospital together a year ago, both down with malaria. He has spent some of his leaves climbing, If “or rather scrambling” as he puts it, a mere 16,000 ft.! Tirick Mir and Nanga Parabat amongst others. Like so many other O.P’s he has got on better with Urdu than French, at least that is what they all hasten to inform me!
Captain G. A. Stourton, R.E., writes from India too. He has “met Harrison, newly commissioned” in Delhi. On his way out, Stourton was “torpedoed, though not sunk,” bombed and then a three day journey unescorted and rudderless, followed by a fortnight’s stay in the Azores for repairs. Then to Gibraltar where he met Vincent Clarke, P/O. R.A.F. A fortnight’s Camp in W. Africa where he met W. T. Smithen (first news of him for a long time!) then round the Cape to Bombay.
F./Lieut. L. F. Frow writes from C.M.F. He has travelled half way round the world, met White at Habbanija in 1942, also Hurrell and was for a time near Rex Emery, now Squadron Leader in Africa, Sicily and Italy. He asks for news of Frank Brett, Joe Davis, McNama and Harry Leader. Frow is C/O of his unit but his work is not to be mentioned.
Two letters from Captain Dick Arnold, Port Construction and Repair Company R.E. – plenty of work for him, I should imagine. He at least is using his “D.C.S. French” to the full! He has been on this job all the way up Italy and now along the Channel coast. With a little luck he will soon be looking across the Channel at his own town! During the last few weeks I have met many old boys: F./Lieut. Pay, who left in 1920, now lecturing to the R.A.F. on Meteorology. With him was Dargan, who left in ’21, neither of us knew the other, we were both so “thin on top!” Dargan is on the municipal staff at Purley and has had quite enough to do with Doodle Bugs!
Eric Olby is now invalided out of the R.A.F. and back at the shop, he thinks soldiering, as he found it, much over rated. Met Stearn, also invalided out and back here to work with a building contractor, he too will find enough work here in Dover!
Met Humphreys i, Artificer R.N., on leave with Gale i. Mr. Geddes informs me that Douglas has been appointed Chief Collector of Taxes at Eastbourne; he is the youngest of his rank in the country.
L/Cpl. Newing writes from Holland: he has been with the R.A.C. in France, etc. since “D”-Day.
Brian Rigden has now reached Mhow in India, he expects to be through the O.T.S. there in a few months’ time. Hard on his heels, through Waste, Octu, via Catterick, Wrotham, etc., travels Bruce Brabham who should already be in India about a month behind Rigden.
E. D. Hoskins, married to the sister of Dick Arnold, is P.O. (Wireless) R.N.V.R., has been in the Malta and Russian convoys, air-strikes off Norway and landings in N. Africa, Sicily, Italy and the South of France, a varied enough career for anyone!
Stanley Price is now “a great big hairy Corporal” in the Claims and Hirings in Normandy, finding that “this business of becoming really fluent takes longer” than he thought. He has much to say about the state of things in that part of France! His brother Roy Price has the doubtful honour of being the first old boy to be unlucky in the ballot: he is now “training in Doncaster in the gentle art of getting coal”
Eric Brooker, ex Coldstreams, was commissioned to the Royal Fusiliers in July 1944.
Jabez W. White is Lieut. R.A.C. has been through Africa, Sicily and Italy: he reports Captain Frank Martin as severely wounded and now in hospital in Rome. His brothers, B. and K. are farming at Guston.
Ron Begbie, last heard of in the Buffs, has been invalided out, having lost the sight of one eye.
Hills, left in 1939, met Humphrey in France. Hills is in R.C. of S.
J. Lord (married) is L.A.C. and serving in N. Africa.
Leslie Ovenden is now Squadron Leader R.A.F. and engaged to Pat Williams, sister of Jack Williams now at Guys.
Robert Humphrey visited me with his wife the other day: the last time I saw them, Humphrey was too bashful to introduce me, it was in Ebbw Vale, so now he makes up! He appears to have won the race to tie the first knot permanently joining Ebbw Vale and Dover.
Sgt.-Pilot Alan Catlow has gained his wings in S. Africa.
D. C. W. T. Sharp is L.A.C., R.A.F. serving in Ceylon.
Major Ronald Bowles is now on the staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten with S.E.A.C.; until lately he was with the W. African Force in Burma. He should meet Major V. Ravensdale who is also on the staff there.
Sgt. H. L. Leach writes from S.E. Asia – has just discovered in his unit “Goodman of Capel.” Leach has been in the East since 1940 and is now awaiting repatriation. He has been in Nairobi – after the East African campaign – Tanyanika and Uganda. Then Ceylon and jungle training, then “trying to catch up with the Japs on their way out of India and Burma. Finished up in Kalewa and came back by plane, taking just 60 minutes to return” the same distance that had taken us nearly six months going in!”
“Sammy” Mason, Eng. Cadet at Brighton, passed out first of his year and is now a Midshipman, R.N.V.R.
C. F. Lamidey is in the R.A.F.
H. J. Smith, B.Sc. has been appointed lecturer in mechanical engineering at the Technical College, Brighton.
Ron Peyton is a pilot for British Airways.
Stuart Allerton, second mate on the Blue Funnel line, has been over on sick leave. He has been all over the world and has many stories to tell. His brother Derek is P.O. (E.R.A.) aboard H.M.S. Eskimo and was in action on “D”-Day
The Sherred Family: W. is Second Officer on the Twickenham Ferry. H. was on leave in January to take his Master’s ticket, he is now with the S.R. fleet. C. is a P.O. in a Naval Commando unit and P. is a Navigator, R.A.F. training in Canada.
The brothers Graeme came to visit us. Graeme i who for two years after his service in the Middle East as C.P.O. (W.) R.N. was in the Admiral’s office in Dover, is now in Chatham. Graeme ii (R.J.V.) is a Captain R.A.S.C. and sports the African ribbon with the coveted 8 on it, he is now commanding an Artillery Platoon in Italy and was one of the lucky ones in the leave ballot. On his way home his ship picked up Alcock ii, L/Cpl. in the army in Gibraltar. Doing the same work as Graeme ii in Italy is Captain Ian Robson (Town House) he and Graeme have been together a long time now.
R. S. Spencer is Lieut. R.E., M.E. Forces.
Joe Licence is now Major in the Intelligence.
Humphrey Harman is Lieut. in the Ghurkas.
Bernard Gibbs is Chief Motor Mechanic, R.N. in the “Little Ships.”
Wallace Sidney Washington is a Pilot Officer, R.A.F. He is Master of a M.S.L. of the Air Sea Rescue Service serving at the moment in Aden.
Midshipman J. L. Pain has sent me an account of his experiences during the fall of Singapore, they will make interesting reading some day.
I leave untouched the note I made last month about Ian Watson. His tragic death became known here two hours after Bobby Igglesden had left preparatory to sailing for India. Fortunately her posting was then cancelled.
Met George Coulter, now W.O. (Nav.) on leave after a tour of operations on Mosquitos, he knew the geography of Germany much better these days. John the twin, is in the Navy, a little bored with W.T.
Allan Hurrell called at school on leave, has his majority now and is to command his company in Burma.
C. J. G. Leeder is an Air Gunner.
A. W. Hewes is on leave from Italy after nearly four years as Bombadier, R.A.
Claude Reed is Captain R.F.A., Percy Reed is a Staff Sergeant Major and Andrew a Lieutenant in the M.E.
Allan and Eric Wilde have been here together on leave. Allan who had flown over from Italy to go to the B.L.A. and Eric now fortunately recovered from his wounds has succeeded in persuading the authorities that he is Grade I again and so can rejoin his unit! Later: wounded again near Bremen, and now recovered!
Arthur Makey who had one term with us in Ebbw Vale has just gained his M.B. and B.S. (London) with distinction in Medicine and in Surgery: he is “Proxime Accessit” of his year. Congratulations!
F./Off T. E. Jones is home on leave. He did his operational tour as Navigator in a Bomber and for the last two and a half years has been instructing in Rhodesia: many Old Pharosians have passed through his hands. With the closing of his school he is back here and awaiting instructions.
P. H. Donoghue who has been a Naval Storesman since leaving us in Ebbw Vale is leaving shortly for Australia on similar duties.
D. A. Carter is F./Sergeant R.A.F. Met him on leave: he has been through Africa and Italy and is now in Holland.
Mr. T. B. Wheeler who was Modern Languages Master from 1913-15 has been appointed Secretary to the Middlesex Education Committee.
Congratulations to Mr. Langley who was ordained by the Bishop of Dover for the Archbishop of Canterbury on Saturday, February 24th in Canterbury Cathedral. He is licensed, as Deacon, to Temple Ewell and River with Guston.
S. A. Meadows is serving with the XIVth Army as photographer in Burma. He was rescued by plane when cut off from his unit by the Japanese recently. Part of his job is to process and print the films brought back by pilots after flights over the Japanese lines.
Met R. Seymour, Sergeant R.A.P.C. home on leave from India after service in Africa: he had met Gimbert who was also a Sergeant in the R.A.P.C. and had had a narrow escape at Singapore.
E. Pearson of Buckland House is C.P.O. in the navy, sailing to the Far East, escaped from Burma in the early days.
P./O. John Shewring and all his crew have been passed out as an “A” Crew and will go “en bloc” on Pathfinder operations.
Sub.-Lieutenant Kenneth O’Brien, R.N.V.R. has been on the “little ships” and is now Naval Intelligence in London and shortly going East.
G. A. Maxted, Country House Champion sprinter, has had five years in the R.A.F. Is now married. Has volunteered as a paratrooper; told me this whilst hundreds of gliders were overhead on their way to the Rhine!
R. G. Standen is Sergeant R.A.F. on coding and deciphering: on leave from Holland.
Major Pip Pearce has been sent here on sick leave after commanding one of the few construction units of the R.E. for the last two years.
Met Clifford Pateman in the train on 48 hour leave to Ashford where he and his wife now live. He is Sergeant-Major R.E.M.E. and was at Nantes in the early days, later at Pembroke and now in Surrey. His brother Arthur is Sergeant in Security and is now in Calais. He told me that Smalley was commissioned and is now in Iraq.
Ken Hart came to see us: he is now Engineer Officer aboard the Biarritz but is leaving her for deep sea experience.
Vernon Puttick is Corporal R.A.F. now in Holland. I saw a letter from some friends he had made in France – ” D.C.S. French “seems to have been fairly useful!
P. C. T. Jones came to see us: he is at work on bacteriological research connected with the roads in Burma: is working at Rothamstead and is preparing a thesis for his Ph. D.
H. Bond was over on a visit: he has had quite a varied experience with B.T.H. including a fair amount of travel. He tells me E. C. Mantle is preparing a thesis for his M.Sc. that S. C. Hambley and H. J. Smith (as well as Bond) have their B.Sc. (Eng.) Smith is now a lecturer in Brighton.
Dennis Hopper is Lieut. R.N.V.R. and Anthony Hopper, his cousin, is Staff Sergeant B.L.A.
Cameron Bradbeer, found himself in India for his 19th birthday. He is now Bombardier Instructor there.
Old Pharosians of the youngest generation are leaving their mark on Goldsmith’s College this year: Garwood is President of the Union, Prescott of the Geographical Society (or the “Geog. Soc.!”). Ernest Bayly has carried on with the idea that germinated in Cwm and is President of the Swing Society, which has the largest membership, incidentally! whilst R. Slater is Captain of the cross-country team which recently won the London University Championship at Roehampton, not too bad for a single year!
Both D. J. and G. B. Donald are now Lieut.-Colonels, the former R.A. and the latter in the Airborne Forces, he is even now only 25!
Had a letter from a friend in Bradford. At a football match recently he sat next to a soldier in hospital blue, it was Leonard Castle, wounded on “D”-Day + 1. My friend says that rehabilitation exercises will probably restore the use of the wounded right hand and that Castle was in excellent spirits.
Corporal Stanley Price is still in Normandy – Claims and Hirings, complains that the summer weather makes the presence of dead bodies in some of the ruined towns much more obvious.
In a letter from India Lieut. B. S. Jell, who appears to be in Burma now, had just met a contemporary, Lieut. D. Davies late of VI Commerce and says that a letter from Sergt. Bax had followed him through 14 depots to catch up with him at a spot only twenty miles from Bax.
R. Harman and S. Cody arrived home after their long captivity in Germany. So far, I have only heard Harman’s story “but his description of a 700 mile march is enough for the strongest stomach! We hope some day to publish a bowdlerised version of his epic tramp and subsequent rescue by the Americans. Even now he weighs only seven stone – and for Harman that speaks volumes.
From the Dover Express, 27/4/45: Mr. and Mrs. F. Evans of 142 Cornwallis Avenue, Aylesham, on Monday received a telegram from their son, W.O. F. J. (Taffy) Evans, that he had been released from Stalag 357, near Hanover. He was shot down while taking photographs over Holland on February 10th, 1943, and was captured by the Gestapo at Austerlitz Station, Paris, on April 15th, 1943. In a letter from an agent of the French Underground Movement some time ago Mr. Evans was told with what tenacity and coolness his son had struggled to escape from the Germans. He had opened his parachute at the last moment so that he would not be caught on reaching the ground and afterwards walked from Holland to the environs of Paris with the intention of getting to the Pyrenees, in spite of his great fatigue.
H. W. G. Stock is a Corporal in the Herts. Regiment in Palestine.
F./Off. (Obs.) John Shewring has started operations over Holland and Germany with his original crew and was in the raid on Berchtesgaden.
Corporal Harry Hopkins, despite the loss of an eye, is now with the B.L.A. and writes very cheerfully, and asks for news of the school.
Major Fred Landrey, R.E., B.L.A., is to be seconded for administrative work in the Far East.
Moseling ii has returned from a P.O.W. camp.
Barton Manning has qualified as a dentist and is joining the Dental Corps for service in the Far East.
A letter from Brabham i (Bruce) now in a Technical O.T.S. at Mhow, in India, relates his experiences under a regime of bearers, their own mess and other creature comforts. He has met Rigden i (Brian) who has now only a few weeks to go before being commissioned.
Latest News: – One of the greatest joys of these hectic days following “V.-E. Day” has been the meeting of so many returned prisoners of war. It gives you an unaccustomed lump in your throat to see great four-engined bombers coming low over the town from the Channel and to know that inside them eager faces are peering out for their first view of Home for years. We have had visits from Brigham, D. Waters, Venus, Goodson, Evans, Eaton and Paynter, as well as others mentioned above and have heard of the return of Cray and Moseling. Some, alas, who have been posted as “missing” have not yet returned: Treadwell and George Pleasance for instance. We pray for their safe return.
Commander Kirby, R.N. has been promoted to Captain-, R.N.
Eric Crofts is commissioned in the Cheshires.
J. G. Knight is in the Recce Corps.
Keith Crush has become a surveyor to Lloyds and is stationed in Sheffield.
R. A. Collins is P.O. (Radio) abroad a frigate.
Terdrey is on Wireless in Iraq.
F/Off. Goodson, who figured so prominently in our issue two years ago is back from his Oflag (Luft.) – with good words for the Luftwaffe surgeons, whose plastic surgery has removed all traces of burns from his face.
Donald Dewar is with Lefevres in Gillingham.
Billy Dewar has taken his B.Sc. and is training as a doctor.
C. E. Oliver saw Twist, L.A.C., R.A.F. at Downham in ’44. Oliver is Sergt. (Met.) R.A.F. on the North Pole job.
S. F. Broadwood was saved when H.M.S. Salvor was torpedoed.
Staff Serge E. H. Baker, R.A.O.C., is now in India – writes a cheerful letter with a nostalgic note in it.
Martin McCracken is Lieut. Colonel R.A.O.C. in Burma.
Mrs. Ravensdale has sent several interesting items at different times: John is Sergt. (Airfield Control) R.A.F. near Kings Lynn, whilst Major Victor Ravensdale is now in Ceylon having covered most of the Far East by ‘plane. Has met Bowles, Lee and Floyd.
F/Oft. Blackman, is Instructor, Far East.
Corporal Eaton, R.E., returned P.G.W., was taken at Tobruk.
Edgar Simpson has started on the long trek to an Indian commission, is now at Wrotham.
Capt. Ruffell, Instructor R.A.C., met Gascoigne, now Midshipman, R.N.
R. Potts is at a paper mill in Scotland.
R. J. Powell writes from Alexandria where he is Telegraphist aboard H.M.S. – – doing English, Maths and French!
N. T. Paynter, returned P.O.W., Gunner R.A., was taken at El Darba in ’42 – three years in Italy and later in Germany: found by the Americans on Friday – home in Deal on Sunday!
G. C. Bushell – discharged on medical grounds from the Pioneer Corps:
is making a collection of news-reels: collection extends to Queen Victoria’s reign; is now a cinema operator and will we hope one day give us a series of shows of “News during five reigns.”
J. C. Bushell is Private, R.A.M.C. and D.C.B. is Midshipman R.N.
Stephen Cody, back from P.O.W. Camp is Lieut. in the Horse Guards.
R. W. Forfar writes from Southampton has met Leslie Rigden who is in charge of all the machine tools in a big aircraft plant: he and Forfar are going to sail the latter’s cabin cruiser to Dover: meets Minihane, Captain in a Salvage Corps.
Captain George Curry writes from Florence where he is in Intelligence. When next you visit School, ask the Librarian to show you the historical papers Curry has so kindly sent: more about them later.
Max Fliess is now Max Fleet and in the Glasgow Highlanders, B.L.A.
Edward Lewis (Ted., the acrobatic footballer!) is commissioned in the R.A.F. and is in India.
D. G. Eagles is Leading Writer R.N., and has now completed two years service abroad in H.M.S. Hamilcar.
The Rev. Bernard Sewell of whose escape from Burma with his wife and children I wrote last year, was transferred to S. Africa, and was torpedoed on his way there!
P. Lester is L.A.C., R.A.F., and with No. 3 Signals in the Middle East.
Sydney E. A. Holmes is F/Off. (Nav.) R.A.F. and Arthur F. Holmes is A.C.1., R.A.F. (Wireless) in the Azores.
John Atwood was in the Corvette Butttercup on D-Day. Then N. Atlantic Patrol and is now in a Fleet Destroyer in Australian waters. David Atwood was Under Officer in charge of the J.T.C. at Cotham School, Redcar. John, by the way, is a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry, but service conditions have forced his deferment for a year
P. E. Philpott is now Lieutenant (S.) R.N.V.R. and is stationed at Plymouth.
Eric Silby is now W.O.I., R.A.O.C., in Calcutta, whilst John Silby has now full recovered from his operation.
Francis Eversfield, Sgt. Navigator, R.A.F.
C. Baldwin, R.A.C., now O.C.T.U. at Sandhurst.
J. W. Menter has a story to tell some day of the ups and downs of anti-submarine warfare, but it will be a long time before he will be allowed to tell it!
Major R. A. Crofts (Intelligence) at Shaef, B.L,A. has been on a special mission to the British Minister in Switzerland.
THE LAST FORTNIGHT IN EBBW VALE.
Throughout the whole term, rumour had followed rumour as to the date of our return home. But preparations had been going on which showed that that day was drawing ever closer. A collection was made among parents for some suitable gift for our untiring foster-parents. The headmaster was besieged by a host of questions. As the term drew to an end it became evident that we should not return to Wales after the Christmas holidays and therefore though no official announcement had been made we started to say goodbye.
Saying goodbye was by far the hardest job. There were so many friends and well-wishers; so many people among whom we had grown up and with whom for so long we had found a home. From Ebbw Vale had gone forth many of our boys, three of them, Neill, Peverley and Brooker, never to return. In the junior forms were boys who hardly remember Dover and who had exchanged a Kent accent for that of Wales.
A week before we left we played our last Rugby match with the Ebbw Vale County School – with the customary result! Next there came a farewell party given to the Corps. by the local A.C.F. unit, when amid cheers by our hosts, Captain Bore presented the Corps. with a Welsh flag which was subsequently flown at school on St. David’s Day. On the Friday before we left, our very good friend, Mr. Holden, entertained the whole school to a cinema show appropriately enough, “A Canterbury Tale.”
In the afternoon, in the presence of the senior sections of the E.V.C.S. and the D.C.S. speeches were made by members of the council and the respective headmasters and a cheque was presented by Watts to the Ebbw Vale head boy who produced a surprise in the form of a sports trophy for us.
By now the official news of our return home had come and on Monday and Tuesday meetings of foster parents took place at Cwm and Ebbw Vale when the shield for which Dover parents had subscribed was presented to the Chairman of the Council.
The school was in a state of complete chaos with packing during the last week but on Thursday morning nobody was late for the train. The station was crowded with foster parents and the members of the E.V.C.S.
So we left Ebbw Vale to the sound of exploding fog-signals. We shall return; not however as evacuees to escape future threats of invasion but as men to revisit the scenes of the majority of our school days and to recapture the echoes of “Forty Years On” which we left among the mountains.
E.F.F., VI Arts.