OPA Newsletter February 1979

New Series No. 35

February 1979




G. L. WATT, Esq., M.A.(Cantab), M.I.Biol.


C. J. Henry, Esq., Lachine, Byllan Road, River, Dover. (Kearsney 3764 - Code 03047)


Rev. W. F. Kemp, The Rectory, Denton, Canterbury.


E. H. Baker, Esq., 24 Downs Road, Maidstone.


This Autumn I have attended two Old Boys' dinners—one at Dover, as an old pupil of the School, the other in London, as an ex-teacher of Holloway School. Both were pleasant occasions, an opportunity to meet old friends. Both, however, had the same undercurrent of anxiety—where were the new faces who would keep the Association going? As President of the Old Pharosians, I wish I had a magic wand to wave which would make Old Boys all wish to become Old Pharosians. One problem, I believe, is that our society is more mobile than it was and a higher proportion of ex-pupils live and work a long way from their home town than they used to do. Another is that most Old Boys' Associations have little to offer besides sports activities (fine for those who partake), and the occasional function; their raison d'etre is not clear.

Perhaps it is precisely at a time of rapid change that all those who feel that a particular institution has been important in their lives should wish to associate together so that, whatever changes may take place, the spirit of the old place may imbue the new.

Also, this autumn term, I have attended two prize days - a splendid guest evening at Dover, beautiful music, a tour de force speech from the Headmaster delivered without a note, some wise words from one of our great Old Boys, Sir James Menter—my own prize days at Tollington Park School, rather brief, formal occasions for the 2/3 year and 4/5 year, with two visitors, the Education Attaché of the Cyprus High Commission and the Senior Staff Manager of Marks & Spencer respectively—very different occasions reflecting, as they should, the different ambiences of the two schools and yet both schools believing that, despite the enormous amount of work entailed, there should be formal occasions at which there should be some beauty, some wise words, some public thanks to those who have helped the school in the past year, and the paying of public honour to those who have excelled in academic excellence or effort and in other fields of school activity.

A sad feature of the past year was the death of O.M.R. I saw her a few months before the end—very cheerful, ready to meet her Maker. "I've had a good innings Louis" she said, "Now I can't leave my bed on my own, reading is very difficult, it's time". As I left her bedside, the handshake was firm as ever. The memorial service at her Buckland Church was, as she would have wished it, a simple and uplifting occasion. Alas she was not to receive the good wishes sent her from the Old Pharosians meeting in London at the Dover Castle on 28th June, at which two dozen of us met and renewed friendships going back to before the war in many cases.

Unlike Arch Coulson, I shall be something of an absentee President, but I hope that, in one way or another, I shall be able to contribute to the Old Pharosians during my year of office. I would be very happy to present a suitable prize to the Old Pharosian producing, in some 250 words, the most convincing arguments for membership of the Old Pharosians.

Louis Watt.

(Headmaster 1937-59)

The death of Mr. Booth on 24th December 1978 broke one more link with the School. We extend our sympathy to Mrs. Booth, John and Richard for in recent years they have borne a heavy burden.

He will always be remembered as a kindly man and a gentleman. To take over the leadership of the School from Mr. Whitehouse must have been awe-inspiring; to say that the changeover was hardly noticeable is a tribute to Mr. Booth's adaptability. In 1940 he was confronted with the greatest problem in the life of the School—the evacuation to Wales. It was accomplished in his quiet and efficient manner.

From the day of his appointment to the School in 1937 from Faversham Grammar School, he dedicated his entire life to the welfare of boys and Staff. A keen historian and a conscientious churchman, he was also an active sportsman and a member of the O.P's Cricket team. He never missed an O.P's function until failing health curtailed his activities. He was our President in 1965 and the large gathering at our Dinner in the School Hall showed the esteem in which he was held by all Old Boys.

A steadfast supporter of the Methodist Church, he was also keenly interested in Toe. H.

We will long respect and remember him.


Mr. Booth died on Christmas Eve, aged eighty-four, after a long illness throughout which he was sustained devotedly by his wife and family. At the funeral service on the 29th December in London Road Methodist Church, the Rev. John Makey (1945-52) outlined Mr. Booth's Midland origins in terms of Methodism, education and sport. At Oxford Mr. Booth took his degree in History after actual service in France during the first world war.

He commenced teaching at Wolverhampton Grammar School, and then became Headmaster at Faversham before taking the Headship of our School in 1937. He at once won the respect and affection of staff and boys by his unfailing sincerity and kindness. The years of the second world war, when the School lived in the South Wales valleys, made constant demands on his qualities and resources. Then followed the post-war period of reconstruction and expansion until he retired in 1959.

The funeral service was in quiet harmony with the character of the man. Hymns, prayers, reading from Scripture by Ken Ruffell, and the address reflected his tastes and his virtues. The congregation was drawn from Methodism and the School to which he gave his life's work. The School was represented by the Headmaster and Mrs. Colman, Mrs. Sandiford, many past and present masters and the Head Prefect. Old Boys, led by their President, included some who could look back to the early years of the School. All came to assure Mrs. Booth and her family that they stood alongside them in their bereavement, and that memories of the man will never be lost as long as the School survives to tell his story.

The coffin left the Church to the melody of "Forty Years On". The years between 1937 and 1978 gave rise to his felicitous farewell from the organist, another Old Pharosian adding his tribute to the general fond parting. Afterwards at Barham, another Past President, Rev. W. Kemp, assisted in the committal service.



The news of the peaceful passing of "Rookie" in Haine Hospital on the 28th June 1978 at the age of 92 years was heard with regret by all Old Pharosians. Trained at Bishop Otter College, Chichester, she joined D.C.S. for Boys on 3rd May 1917 and retired on 31st August 1946, teaching the rudiments of the English language to hundreds of small boys. In the First War years the Connaught Park was the School playing-field where she umpired and refereed games. During the 20s she was Form Mistress of "Prep" at Ladywell and producer for the Junior Dramatic Society for whom she often wrote plays. When the School moved to Astor Avenue in 1931 she also took charge of the Tuckshop and raised considerable sums for the School.

During the Second War she was evacuated with the School in 1940 to Ebbw Vale and then returned to teach for a while at Maidstone and Faversham before returning to D.G.S. until her retirement, when she was able to spend more time writing children's books.

A life-long Church woman she devoted much of her energy to St. Andrew's Buckland. For many years she was Editor of "Bush Leaves" for the Diocese of Rockhampton, Australia.

In recent years following a fall she had been restricted in her movements and failing sight had proved a handicap, but through it all her love for D.G.S. and the multitude of Old Boys who still corresponded with her or visited the Hospital provided "Rook" with "Happy Memories". Her memory will long be an inspiration to' all who were privileged to have known her. "God gave his children memory, so that in Life's Garden there might be June roses in December".


Miss Rookwood came to D.G.S. in 1917 as an "appointment for the duration" and stayed until the next War to become a legendary figure as a teacher and a personality.

In her old age she received frequent visits from Old Boys who had carved very successful careers from the initial tuition they received in her "Prep" Form. They were saying "Thank You" for the sure foundation she laid.

She was a powerful Christian, gave great service to Buckland Church, and practised most of the Christian virtues:—devotion, upright steadfastness, energy, love, charity, duty and discipline. Her body failed but her judgments remained keenly perceptive. We shall not see her like again.


A congregation very representative of School and Church gathered at Buckland on 2nd August 1978 to remember "Rookie". The Rector officiated, we sang three hymns and a psalm, our President read the lesson, Canon Ingram Hill delivered a nostalgic sermon and her ashes were interred in the Garden of Remembrance in sunshine. Attending were our President, representatives of our first two Headmasters, the Headmaster. former members of the Staff (A. A. Coveney, F. L. Kendall, W. G. King) our Vice-President, and many Old Boys who attended the School during the years 1908-56.



The legacy of £50 left to the School by Miss Rookwood is to be used to maintain the Rookwood Drama Prize in perpetuity. The money has been invested in 9½% British Savings Bonds.


OLD BOYS' DAY 15th September 1979

It is proposed that in 1979 the same format shall be followed as in 1978. The A.G.M. will be held at the School at 11.30 a.m. and Coffee will be served from 11 to 11.30.

The Annual Re-Union Dinner will be at 7.30 p.m. at the School. Wives/girl friends are always very welcome. The Annual Soccer Match with the School will be at 2.30 p.m, on the Lower Playing-field.

BOOK the date now. SATURDAY 15th SEPTEMBER 1979.

Further details in our July issue.



A recent check on the Association's finances showed that approximately 40% of the non-life members are at least two years in arrears with their subscriptions. If you are a defaulter please send your remittance to the Hon. Treasurer or Hon. Secretary now, otherwise this may be the last Newsletter you will receive and Association does not wish to lose contact with you.

Why not pay your sub by Banker's Order? Better still become a Life Member.

Present subscription rates are £1 annually or £10 for Life membership. Your Officers give their services voluntarily.

Please help to lighten their work.

Postage charges prevent the sending of frequent reminders.


JOHN S. DARBY (1920-29)

Our former President (1958-9) John died on the 15th August 1978 aged 66 years at Preston. He retired early from a banking career due to a kidney illness. Very like his father (W. H. Darby, a former Geography Master) he was for some years our Hon. Treasurer. To his widow, son, daughter and sisters we convey our sincere sympathy.



This annual event will be held at the School on SATURDAY 19th MAY 1979. Sherry will be served at 7 p.m. in the Hall, followed by Dinner at 7.30 p.m. sharp in the Dining hall, after which we return upstairs for dancing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dress is optional and the Pete Brown Band will provide music.

Tickets are £4 each, inclusive of sherry, and for those who do not wish to have the dinner the price is £2.

Bookings open on 24th April and your applications, with remittance, should be addressed to Ken Ruffell at the School.

Tables for your party can be reserved beside the dance floor and in the dining-room.

The Ball is organised jointly by School. Parents and Old Boys. Only 200 tickets are printed, so early application is recommended.



We learnt with regret of the death of our former Latin Master, Mr. E. G. SMITH (1946-66) in August 1978. His dry wit made him a much liked member of Staff. During his retirement he enjoyed watching cricket, particularly at Selated. Death was a merciful release from a painful illness.

On 30th September twelve boys from the School gave dramatic presentations of the Crucifixion at Resurrection in Canterbury Cathedral.

Christopher PENN played for the English Schools Cricket 1st XI.

The Rt. Rev. Bishop of Exeter (E. A. J. MERCER 1929-36) took his seat in the House of Lords in June 1978.

The School Choir performed the "Messiah" at Dover Town Hall in October. Geoffrey HORTON (1966-71) was tenor soloist. He is studying for B. Of Educ. degree at Canterbury.

Life per K.H.R. Watching Cosmos at Nonington a lad who has knocked about America and the Netherlands said "Remember me. You took us on a geography field trip to Bourton on the Water. Every time I come back to this country I collect a new girl friend and take her to Bourton".

The Cricket match on 15th July resulted in the usual honourable draw. Old Boys 173 - 6 dec. School 133 - 3. Old Boys:—D. Towe, D. Hudson, R. Hastie, J. Kremer, N. Hopkinson, D. Wellard, R. Herrett, K. Raine, M. Grant, R. Winter, K. Ruffell. Umpires—W. Kemp and P. Harding.

There was a very pleasant meeting of about 20 Old Pharosians at the "Dover Castle" London on 28th June. The years 1922 to 1972 were represented. The President and Headmaster spoke. Lester Borley deserves thanks for his initiative and endeavour in organising the event which we hope will be repeated.

Members should note that it is not possible to send reminders for subscriptions due, £1 per annum or £10 Life. We do not wish to lose touch so make sure you renew promptly.

For the Soccer Match on 16th September the Old Boys only mustered ten men (seven Old Boys, one master and two schoolboys) and were lucky to escape with a 3—2 defeat.

Awards obtained by Old Boys in 1978:—

Simon CORK (1968-74) B.A.Hons. 2nd Class, Bath Academy of Art..

David BURTON (1968-75) 1st Class Hons. Chemistry, East Anglia.

C. HERBERT 1st Class Hons. Biochemistry, Southampton.

P. J. HARDING (1967-75) 2nd Class Hons. Geog. Oxford.

A. KENDRICK Upper 2nd Psychology, London Hosp. Med. School.

R. POLLARD (1960-7) Ph. D. Brunel.

K. PARFITT (1973-5) 2nd Class Hon. Archaeology, Cardiff.

The Jubilee Trust Fund now stands at £925.

We wish Mr. H. Seeds, Head of the Lower School and Maths Master, a long and happy retirement.

Your support is requested for the Spring Fair at the School on Saturday 5th May 1979.

Mr. M. J. Styles (Tech. Studies) and Mr. R. W. Welch (History) have left the School Staff for other pastures. We wish them well.

The Annual Cricket match with the School will be played on Saturday 14th July 1979, and the Soccer match on Saturday 15th September 1979 commencing 2.30 p.m. We would like to field complete XI's of Old Boys. If you wish to play in either match, please contact Ken Ruffell at the School as soon as possible.

Copies of the "Pharos" dated September 1978, may be purchased from the School for 30p inclusive of postage.

School Sports Day will be held on the Upper playing-field on 14th July 1979.

The School Dramatic and Musical Societies are presenting "Oliver" at the School at 7 p.m. on 8th. 9th and 10th February 1979. Tickets at £1 and 60p may be obtained from the School Secretary.

We regret to record the passing of William E. Busbridge (1918-21) from a heart attack on 30th September 1978 at St. Leonards. Known to many as "Buzz" he was a Clerical Officer with British Rail, a keen collector of moths and butterflies and observer of bird life, and a prominent member of Sevenoaks and the St. Leonards Chess Clubs. He had no near relatives and latterly lived in an Hotel.

It is hoped that there will be a good response to the final paragraph of the President's letter.

The attendance at the School Leavers Social on 15th December was a disappointment. We felt sorry for Colin and his band of helpers after all the effort they made to make the evening a success.

We heard with regret of the death of Richard Marshall (1965-70) on 7th December 1978 in an aircraft accident on Malta. He joined the R.A.F. in 1976 and in 1978 was promoted to Flying Officer.

The Carol Service on 20th December at Charlton Church fully maintained the standards established in past years:—The service was on traditional lines and must have given great pleasure to the large congregation. The Rev. William Kemp read a lesson as representative of the Old Pharosians.


Adrian COOK (1963-70) called at the School. He is Assistant Officer at the Stour Recreation Centre, Ashford.

M. G. LEWIS (196-7) teaches Modern Languages at a Chesterfield Comp. School.

Andrew SIMS (1970-7) reading Geology at Worcester College, Oxford, came top of the lists published at the end of his first year and was awarded a Scholarship.

Brian MASON (1951-8) is Editor of the local paper at Telford.

R. J. BAKER (1962-9) is an Inspector in the Kent Police, Maidstone. He came to the School as Police representative for Careers. evening.

D. J. SUTER (1931-6) retired from the Army as Lt.Col. and now lives at 19 Rushmead Close, Canterbury.

Mike HARVEY (1960-8) graduated in 1971 and recently completed his Master's degree in Administrative Sciences. He is employed in the Marketing Dept. British Rail Western Region.

Roger CORK (1958-63) lives at Newhaven. His son Andrew was born on 10th June last.

George SMITH (1926-31) 25 Low Cross Street. Chapel Street. Knottingley, W. Yorks. is Industrial Editor, Rockware Glass Ltd.

Jonathan PARRY (1968-75) was awarded a double starred first class honours degree in History at Cambridge. This involved a unanimous decision by all the examining historians and is only the twelfth award in the last 40 years.

John D. COX (1953-61) 8 Chestnut Grove, Hurstpierpoint is a training manager in industry and still playing cricket.

Charles A. H. ABBOTT (1938-42) is an architect in Australia with an office in Bahrain. He recently paid a flying visit to his mother in Dover.

Bill MOORE (1921-6) is a member of Debenham Pariah Council and Chairman of the Village cricket team. He has recently written a pantomime for the local players.

Peter PIDDOCK (1953-60) taught computer science at D.G.S. and then moved to the West Country. He has now started a two year project at Birmingham University on the teaching of computer science in schools.

John R. TAYLOR (1947-53) is Professor of Cinema at the University of S. California, Los Angeles. He is film critic for the Times and a judge at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Gilbert SAUNDERS (1946-9) is a Captain with Townsend Ferries, lives at Whitfield and was elected to Dover District Council in November 1978.

Brian ROBB (1943-8) writes that his book of poetry is selling well. He remembers A. B. Constable saying when he arrived at his name on the register "Boy you will never make it" (The B.A.) but he was recently elected a member of the Inst. of Factory Management.

H. C. BLACKFORD (1923-32) called at the School whilst on a sailing trip. He had been driven into Dover Harbour by unseasonable summer weather.

Ray GOLDSACK (1945-7) with his wife, Josie. has opened up a restaurant "The Captain's Table" at Kingsdown.

Graham BARRACLOUGH (1968-72) has passed the five-part Inst. of Cost and Management Accountants course. He is married, lives at Sutton Cold field, and is accountant for a Birmingham firm.

Patrick SMITH (1963-70) and his brother, David (1966-73) have both qualified as veterinary surgeons and joined forces in a local practice.

Robert HEARN (1945-8) has completed 25 years with the A.A. and is a senior Port Officer at the Eastern Docks.

P. D. JULL (1969-76) Langdon House. Mongeham, recently passed Part I Exam of the Inst. of Bankers.

C. GROOMBRIDGE (1968-75) read Chemistry at University of E. Anglia and obtained a 2nd Class degree Upper Division.

Derek ASLETT (1969-76) scored two centuries for Kent 2nd XI and also played for Kent League against Middlesex at Lords.

George CURRY (1925-36) on holiday from U.S.A. visited the School and regrets he did not find Messrs. Kendall and Coulson at home. He is still Secretary at the University of S. Carolina, Columbia.

David BURTON (1968-75) read Chemistry at E. Anglia and obtained a 1st class degree. He is reading for Ph.D.

Edward FRANCIS (1940-3) served in R.A.F, and worked in Insurance before Ordination in 1961. Vicar of Rochester 1973-8, he is now Archdeacon of Bromley. He is a member of Kent Industrial Chaplaincy.


The meeting commenced with the paying of respects to Miss Rookwood. There were 18 present and in the absence of the President, Maurice Sayers took the Chair. The Treasurer's reported some improvement in the balances, due to the response from Life members, The Chairman spoke of the London meeting and of the great effort by Lester Borley to make it a success. The Headmaster asked Old Boys to co-operate in the raising £7000 for new floor in the Workshops. Louis Watt was elected President and Terry Sutton as Vice-President.


An enjoyable evening was spent by 38 members, wives and girl friends. There was an opportunity for informal chats between friends of long standing both before and after the dinner. The President spoke of his early school days and his family connections with the School. Many O.P's were pleased that the Dinner could be held at the School in the room they remembered as the Library.



This Friday evening still remains the high spot of the School Year. The renderings by Choir and Orchestra seem to out-do the outstanding performances of previous years and were received with sustained applause. Adrian Boynton ably reveals the talents of the performers and the diversity of musical ability in the School. The Headmaster was generous in his appreciation of Governors, friends of the School and Staff. particularly Ken Ruffell, the Deputy Head. He also spoke of Miss Rookwood and her legacy to the School. Sir James Menter, despite the handicap of a broken ankle, mounted the stage and spoke in nostalgic mood of "Forty Years On", Lady Menter graciously presented the awards and found time to say a few words to every recipient. The dress of the boys was a credit to Parents and Staff. We can be proud of our School of 760 boys and 47 Staff.