OPA Newsletter July 1982

New Series No. 42

July 1982




Sir Robin Haydon, K.C.M.G.


Philip Harding Esq., 6 Monins Road, Dover.


Ian Pascall Esq., 36 Willow Waye, Eythorne, Dover.


K. H. Ruffell Esq., 193 The Gateway,Dover,CTl6 ILL.

Please note that the editor has changed his address. He is always glad to hear your news, for without news there can be no newsletter.


1982 The Annual General Meeting will be held at the School Staff Room on Saturday, 25th September, 1982, at 11 a.m. Coffee will be served from 10.45 a.m.


  1. To read the notice convening the meeting.
  2. Apologies.
  3. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, 1981.
  4. Matters arising.
  5. Treasurer's Report.
  6. Secretary's Report.
  7. Election of Officers and Committee for 1982-83. There are several retiring Committee members.
  8. Any other business.

Philip Harding, Hon. Secretary.

At 2.30 p.m. on the previous Saturday, 18th September, there will be the usual soccer match. Any Old Pharosian wishing to play should write to M. Palmer, 12 Hazeldown Close, River, Dover CT17 ONJ.


25th September. 1982 This year's Reunion Dinner will be held in the School Hall. The bar will open at 6.45 p.m. for sherry and dinner is at 7.30 p.m. Price is £6.50. A choice of wines will be available at the bar. Wives, girl friends are always very welcome and early application is advised. Please send the return slip and your cheque (made payable to Old Pharosians), to Colin Henry, Lachine, Byllan Road. River, Dover (tel. Kearsney 3764) not later than 12th September.

Adrian Boynton, the school's Director of Music, will propose the toast to the Association.

Among the guests will be Mr. W. H. Petty, C.B.E., M.A., B.Sc., Kent County Education Officer, and Mrs. Petty.


for Old Boys' Day, Saturday. 25th September. 1982

following the successful meeting reported in the last newsletter of the "Class of 1941", Lester Borley would like to arrange a lunch in Dover on Old Boys' Day for the "Class of 1942". School records of boys in Wales in war-time do not very clearly identify names of those who joined in 1942.

So the invitation is opened to any who joined the school in Ebbw Vale and returned to Dover in the immediate post-war years.

Any readers who would like to take this idea further should write to Lester Borley 27 Blandy Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon. or write, with their news, to the editor.


first among the good news must be the appointment of Lord Cockfield to a Cabinet post as Trade Secretary.

He is a tax expert who had a business career, mainly with Boots, and has in recent years served the present government in the House of Lords.

He and lady Cockfield were present at last year's Old Pharosian Annual Dinner.

We offer our congratulations and express our share in the general delight at this great honour.

Next, in a summary of the good news, the reader is asked to be tolerant of an editor who has cricket near the top of his mind.

The Kent County Cricket Club issues pen portraits of two of its players in these terms:

Derek George Aslett. Born Dover 1958. Joined the staff 1980, 2nd XI cap 1981, debut 1st XI 1981, scoring 146 not out v Hants. Educated Dover Grammar School, (B.A.(Hons) Leicester University, is working  and coaching in Australia during the 1981/82 winter.

Christopher Penn. Born Dover 1963. Joined the staff 1982. Educated at Dover Grammar School. Is a medium fast right hand bowler who played a number of games for the 2nd XI in 1981.

Both have had their successes in the present season and Old Pharosians will watch their progress with special interest and goodwill.

These two young men may feel it could be easier to get into the Cabinet than into the Kent County cricket team.

The school 1st XI is having a better season than in recent years. At the end of last term the Headmaster called together the parents of boys likely to be in the 1st and 2nd XI's and sought their support in requiring a commitment from their sons.

Before a recent match the captain was giving fielding practice to the team and when the team came out to field they came as a team and not as a herd of cattle might wander out to graze.

The captain, Richard Pepper, made his presence felt and is a splendid batsmen and fielder. He has already played for Kent 2nd XI this season and scores a lot of runs for the Dover Cricket Club.

The Venerable Kenneth Newing (1931-40) has been appointed Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth and was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey on 2nd February.

During the war he was commissioned in the RAOC. In 1949 he entered St. Augustine's College at Canterbury and then went to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a B.A. in Theology. He was ordained in 1955 and since that time has served in the Plymouth area.

The Commemorative Book "Fifty Years On"

When the February Newsletter went to press the publication of "Fifty Years On" was still in doubt. But the response, mainly from Old Pharosians, continued to flow strongly until two hundred and forty copies had been ordered.

A sub-committee discussed policy and the general nature of the book and then handed over direction to the two joint editors.

To some extent the editor of this newsletter dealt with the printed word, while Denis Weaver was responsible for illustrations, printing and publishing.

All subscription orders have now been despatched. A few copies are still available at the School at £5 plus 60p for postage and packing.

School music continues to achieve astonishingly high standards. During the Easter vacation the choir sang services in Ely and Peterborough cathedrals.

They are to sing at some future date not yet known in Westminster Abbey. No doubt many Old Pharosians will leave the office early and travel home via Westminster.

The production of "My Fair Lady" won universal praise.

There is good news for readers of this newsletter who left school a year ago. Your first subscription was generously paid by Barclays Bank: and if you act now, before August 15th, you can pay a year's subscription of £1 or become a life member for £10.

After August 15th, a year's subscription becomes £2 and life membership £15.

During the first year of membership you have now received three newsletters. The Association sends out about six hundred newsletters twice a year at a total cost of £800. This link with the school can only be continued to those who help meet the cost.

The Treasurer's name and address appear at the head of this newsletter.

The Old Pharosians' committee has long felt that an Old Pharosian should represent old boys on the governing body. This wish has been rewarded by no less than four Old Pharosians being appointed as governors.

They are Sir Robin Haydon, our President; John Bushell, a former Mayor of Dover; Colin Abbott, a Dover District Councillor; and Denis Weaver who has been vice-chairman for several years.

For the first time there are now separate governing bodies for the Girls' and the Boys' Grammar Schools.

School Archivist

Sidney Wenborn has recently retired and is spending time at school as its archivist.

He and the Head went through a lot of material left by Miss Rookwood. If any Old Pharosians have any items that could add to the records of the school's history, such items would be gladly received. Sidney's work as archivist will be noted and confirmed at the Annual General Meeting.

Philip Ewer has been awarded the Imperial Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. He has spent his working life in the Civil Service, apart from the war years when he was a lieutenant in the Navy.


Mrs. Kitty Codd (nee Thompson) died on May 27th. When, in the early years of this school's history, the County vetoed Mr. Whitehouse's plan for a co-educational sixth form, two girls were allowed to stay in the school to continue their courses of study. Kitty Thompson was one of them and she recently contributed her memories of the school at that time. About a year ago she asked if she could become a Life Member of the Association and she contributed very generously to Association funds.

W.M.C. Gosby, an Old Pharosian Life member of long standing, died as a result of an accident.

Bernard Gray (1935-42) died in May. His widow wrote "Bernard remembered his school days with affection. I well remember how pleased he was to take up links again with his old school". He leaves two sons and two daughters, all of whom are following their father in academic careers.

Ron Harvie (1926-30) died in May. His widow wrote "My husband and I made an annual nostalgic visit to his beloved home town, Dover, where we wandered round familiar places".

Douglas Victor Jago (1912-14) died on 8th April, 1982. He held a commission in the Navy and was also a Master Mariner. He eventually retired from service in the Post Office.

Captain Gerry Willis, M.N. died suddenly as a result of an accident, aged sixty-five years. He was the son of Mr. S. F. Willis who taught music and history at the school for many years.

Douglas Wren (1919-23) died last March in Queen Mary's Hospital. He was at one time among the best cricketers in the Dover area and when he moved to work in hospital administration at Bexley he became a force with Dartford Cricket Club and was regarded as near to county standard.

There is one item of downright bad news

the Old Pharosians' Association has been challenged to a SKITTLES MATCH in some hostelry of the Dover area by the Old Girls' Association of the Dover Grammar School for Girls.

For one reason or another we are bound to lose. The editor would be glad to hear from anyone who would like to take part and lose with whatever honours can be salvaged. Early in September is the intended date.


The school now produces a well illustrated Prospectus and a fully informative book of welcome to the school for new boys and their parents.


This year's Ball went according to the familiar, completely successful pattern.

The meal was extremely pleasantly prepared and served. The Pete Brown Sound encouraged dancing but did not destroy the possibility of conversation. There are some Old Pharosians who come every year; and always one or two who happen to be able to come because they are in the district at the right time. Decorations made by the school's art department vary in theme from year to year but are always admired. The event even makes a profit, divided equally between school, old boys' and parents' associations. Some of the money coming to the O.P. Association will be given to the Head to help meet the cost of a farewell party for school leavers.


24th to 27th March, 1982 The dramatic and musical arts were admirably displayed in this production that was clearly giving immense pleasure to all on stage and to the capacity audiences out front.

The orchestra was magnificent. There must have been at least sixteen players including boys, a couple from the teaching staff, an old boy and the visiting music teachers who train the many instrumentalists in the school. This orchestra had assembled for the first time on the previous Sunday afternoon when they were put through the music for three hours of hard labour, followed at once by a further three hours of dress rehearsal. Adrian Boynton assembles the orchestra and directs it so successfully that everyone involved must share the sheer joy of doing something so well.

"My Fair Lady" demands successful performances from Professor Higgins and Elize Doolittle. Both performers will remember, and be given confidence by, the experience for the rest of their lives. Bridget Fox, from the Girls' Grammar School, was not distinct as the cockney flower girl but became convincing during the long process of change and was a total triumph throughout the latter half of the performance. Henry Higgins was played by David Willoughby in the traditional Rex Harrison mode. He was confident and stylish, sophisticated and relaxed. Colonel Pickering, a foil to the wayward turmoil of Higgins, was given the handicap of totally unsuitable clothing, though Stephen Appleton's excellent diction and characterisation helped to limit the handicap. Costumes demanded by "My Fair Lady" can present enormous problems, mainly of cost. Most of the leading ladies were supremely beautifully dressed. The scene at the opening Ascot day, a composition in black and white, deserved instant applause. The hair styles were, where appropriate, magnificent.

Dustman Doolittle is a marvellous part, played with gusto by Stephen Yarrow. His two main drinking companions gave him wonderful support and were so obviously enjoying themselves.

The crowds, whether cockneys at Covent Garden or lords and ladies at the Embassy Ball, sang and moved well.

Sometimes a lesser character catches the eye: and I thought that housekeeper Mrs. Pearce, played by Susan Smith of Astor School, often had to act without any lines of note but by calm composure and by gesture, contributed much to the background while Higgins and Eliza were wearing out the carpet at front of stage.

Paul Taylor, producer and Adrian Boynton, musical director bore the main burden of rehearsal through many weeks. They were supported by about fifty actors and fifty helpers behind the scenes. Everyone in the company can feel that they shared in a joyous experience that will be difficult to follow.



Dover Boys' Grammar School pupils deserved all the praise they got from headmaster Mr. Reg Colman at their final assembly of the spring term—over Lent they raised an impressive £1,400 for cancer research.

One lad who really entered into the fund-raising spirit was fourth year Sean Smith.

It was his idea to organise a sponsored bed push that alone raised £350 and he added another £119 from his own efforts.

And with other pupils selling cakes, running competitions and getting sponsors for just about anything the money soon poured in.

The school under 15 soccer XI beat Deal Secondary School 3-1 in a local schools cup final.


consisting of Purcell's "Ode on St. Cecilia's Day" and Rossini's "Stabat Mater" was given in Sandwich and Dover during May.

The soloists were well known local singers, including two members of the school staff who are in the Canterbury Cathedral choir.

The orchestra was formed of members and friends of the school and the school choir, as is customary, included some old boys and parents. The conductor was Adrian Boynton.


Old Pharoslans: Third London Reunion 6-8 p.m., 16th June, 1982, at the "Dover Castle". Those who attended: Reg Colman, Headmaster; Ken Ruffell, Editor, Newsletter' (1931-79); Lester Borley, (1942-49) Henleyon-Thames; Peter Burville, (1946-51) Tunbridge Wells; Robert Cain, Aldershot; William Fittall,(1964-72) London SW18; Denis Gibb, (1932-31) Chessington; James Halsey, (1946-52) Camberley; Andrew Hayden, (1932-40) Tonbridge; Sir Robin Haydon, (1928-31) Putney; J.V.Horn, (1921-21) Wembley; Ken Lott, (1945-53) Woodley, Reading; Michael Marsh, (1945-53) Uxbridge; R. Mercer, (1935-38) Broxbourne; Reg Payne, (1950-80) Blackheath; Gerald Plater, (1945-50) Thundersley; G.N.Plews, (1922-30) Croydon; Bert Stone, (1921-32) Sidcup; H.R.W. Watkins, (1931-38) Sevenoaks; A.W.S. Webber, (1942-50) Morden; Ivor Weeks, (1944-48) Maidstone.

This London Reunion was tremendously enjoyable. The President and Headmaster spoke about current events in the Association and the School. Everyone joined in thanking Lester Borley for organising the evening.

PHAROS LODGE. 6967 (Province of East Kent)

The Old Boys' Lodge was consecrated on 29th April, 1950 at the School and warmly welcomes enquiries by any Old Boy looking for another opportunity to meet other Old Boys, both local and those residing all over Kent and the country. This year's Master is David Slater, B.Sc. and the Wardens are Brian Stanley and John Mount. Any further information may be obtained from David Gunn, secretary, at Barnwell, Front Street, Ringwould, Deal. (Telephone number Deal 3633) who would be pleased to answer your enquiries.



All the world's a stage

And all the men and woman merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts

His Acts being seven ages......

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school........

Lest scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Shakespeare, As You Like It.


from former masters, Frank Kendall, Reg Payne, John Marriott and Ernie Large.


The boys who welcomed H.R.H. Prince George on December 9th 1931 were born between 1913 and 1921. Throughout their schooldays this country faced the tremendous task of recovering from World War I. There was great uncertainty and much unrest; and the Wall Street collapse in 1929 led to economic depression and indeed 1931 was a difficult year. Yet these boys were characterised by good humour, toleration and a sense of fair play.

Their subsequent achievements have been outstanding. Following World War II there has been no deterioration in the quality of the pupils. My conclusion is that Great Britain is not in an irreversible decline into oblivion. The exhaustion of material possessions is unpleasant but it is possible for them to be regained quite speedily. Fortunately, it is widely recognised that the blemishes on our present day society, caused by violence and contempt for law and order, are derived from spiritual exhaustion and this will be remedied. The outlook for the future is promising. The events of December 9th 1981, brought great encouragement to one man in the decline of years.


A couple of years ago, when the list of OP's and their school records was being revised, the question began to be asked (so Bernard Denham told me): what was this 'UNICORN CLUB' to which so many boys claimed erstwhile allegiance! Could it be a mythological addition to their genuine out-of-school activities? On a par, perhaps, with the elusive existence at one time of a pupil called GREENGAGE, a fiction so well sustained by the class who invented him that he was virtually on the roll and took home letters to his parent or guardian. The story is unfounded, by the way, that he got a good grade for R.E.

Bernard has a much better memory for detail than I have and could certainly provide a more reliable reminiscence, but one spectacular event sticks in my mind, and I'll just add a word about it.

As a special effort for charity the Unicorn Club held a Pets' Display in the Physics Lab. throughout one lunchtime. Various animals were brought—from mice and rabbits to hamsters and budgies nothing too exotic and all kept safely apart. When on show all the pets, supervised by their owners, behaved well, despite a tremendous crush of spectators. There were not quite enough actual pets to fill the benches, so we displayed a few spoof ones (there was no Trade Description Act before 1961). Paying customers found among the birds and beasts a number of inanimate objects: a bat, a kite, a Painted Crane and a dark brown hair. There was also, I must admit, a man eating fish (actually a notable footballer, Ian Leiper, having sardines for lunch).


One retires with a fund of memories, ranging from great pleasure to utter misery, from joyful achievement to abject failure, but one's main impression of D.G.S.B. is that of the great friendliness of both staff and boys. This friendly atmosphere was what struck our French visitors, especially senior boys who had been used to the rigid discipline of the lycée and the aloof intellectualism of French professeurs. Another thing that always pleased me was the good impression which, on the whole, our boys created when away from school. We had many tributes from French and Belgian hoteliers, couriers and others which made one proud of our pupils.

Talking of visits abroad, some Old Pharosians may remember a journey to Douai, round about 1960. Delayed by rough seas, we missed our connection in Calais and had a two hours' wait at Calais town station, a depressing spot. I allowed the boys to explore the nearby streets. All came back on time, but some had found a "joke" shop and enlivened the rest of the journey with their purchases. We caught a very slow train to Lille, and eventually arrived in Douai in the late evening. My French colleague's first question was: why were we so late? He had had to cancel his little reception party; there were no buses to outlying villages at this hour, and he had had to organise transport for parents who had no cars, etc., etc. However, all were finally sent to their various homes and I was able to hand over to my French host a little girl of about nine, from London, a private guest of his who had been an additional responsibility (he was full of ideas of this kind) fortunately she was a sensible little girl. The next day he went off on holiday with his family, leaving me to look after his house and to deal with any problems which might arise. (When he brought his boys to Dover, he spent ten days of the fortnight in London. He trusted me, he said, to deal with any difficulties. He had complete confidence in me, he said).


Sailing round the coast from Essex to Weymouth in 1941 we called in at Dover for mail and I found that my application for a post as Handicraft Teacher at Dover Grammar School had been successful and that I was called for interview the following day.

Panic! The yacht was small and lay at anchor in the bay, rolling her gunwales under in the notorious Dover swell. Everything aboard was damp and mildewed and my only 'best clothes' were musty blue serge seaman's trousers and a sea stained reefer jacket. In the dim light of the cabin oil lamp the crew worked late into the night brushing the ropes-and-fluff from the clothes and removing the verdigris from the once bright buttons. All to no avail.

Rowing ashore in the dinghy in the morning a sea broke over the transom and I paddled up the beach wet to the knees to squelch miserably through the town and up the school hill to the Headmaster's study. I feared that the interview would be short and dismissive but that was before I knew of J.C.B's calm kindness and understanding.

I got the job but have wondered ever since whether he actually saw the little puddle on his study carpet beneath my chair, and if he did see it have ever since wondered what he thought. A second arrival at the school should have been decorous, but we drove from London at the end of the holidays in an elderly sports car with a tattered hood and it rained and blew a gale all the way. We soon attained our customary sodden, dirty state and, frightened by the number of trees blown down across the road, stayed the night in Maidstone to battle on the next morning, still damp and some eighteen hours late for my appointment. Conditioned by the wartime years in industries rife with departmental strife, union and political intervention, invective and recrimination we anticipated nothing less than a severe reprimand and secretly wondered whether I could be sacked before ever the post was taken up. J.C. was in the drive, trying to count up how many tiles had been blown off the roof during the night. If he was aware of our late arrival and grubby condition it was not evident in the quiet warmth of his greeting and in his sympathetic attention to our tale of woe. Our first meetings with J.C. impressed us deeply and we knew that we had found a Head who would always listen, understand and sympathise. Later we were to learn that he had assembled a staff of likeminded men of sympathy, understanding and helpfulness to ease the novitiates' entry to the teaching profession. Such a Head, such a Staff, such a School, I, for one, never wished to leave.


Mitchell Neil Harvey obtained an Upper Second degree of Bachelor of Education in July 1981 at the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education.

Paul Wood is with Shell in Serewek, Meleysie end recently beceme a Life Member of the Association. Business took him to Boston where he met Alwyn Seeds who works for Lincoln Laboratories at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Paul had five years as en engineer at sea and, having obtained necessary qualifications, changed to employment with a French oil company in the Middle East. His present operations, additional to normal oil operations, include pirates and typhoons.

John McHugh and Mike Robbins join forces to run a training course in Freight Forwarding, a business offering much employment in Dover.

Mike Palmer was voted player of the year in the Dover Sunday Football League. Mike sits on the Old Pharosian committee and gathers the O.P. soccer XI to play the school team.

Nick Stevens (1969-16) is Sealink Press Officer in London. He is the third generation in his family to be with the Rail Sealink organisation.

David Thomas, engaged in geographical research in Southern Africa, is to read a 'paper at the Commonwealth Geographers' Conference in Lusaka. He is now in Zimbabwe and will be moving around to other parts, including Swaziland, until October.

Roland Robertson, A.R.C.O. (1975-80), before taking up his choral scholarship at King's College, Cambridge, is filling in time as an Organ scholar at Wells Cathedral. With a group of friends he gave a concert in Dover recently before departing on a European tour.

Ross Stafford (1965-73) graduated at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in English and History. He did not enjoy teaching so he studied librarianship at Aberystwyth and is now a librarian at the Hammersmith and West London College.

Duncan Stafford went through Hendon Police College and is now attached to Ilford Police Station.

Mark Stafford works in Dover Customs.

A. G. Gooding wrote a long letter in response to the article on the School's Earliest Years. He certainly added to the existing store of knowledge and on eight sides of paper, illuminated by reference to the literature of five languages, showed that scholarship started at the school's birth has enriched a varied and much-travelled life, now in its ninety-second year. When he wrote he was departing to the annual dinner of his local rugby club. We now know who is the school's oldest old boy who is alive and well in South Croydon and we wish him well on his way to his century.


9th October. Mrs. Runcie, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, gives a piano recital in the school hall and the school choir will sing. Proceeds go to the Kent Hospice.

11th November, 7.30 p.m. O.P. Committee meets.

19th November. School Guest Evening.

15th December. 7 p.m. School Carol Service at Charlton Church. Don't miss this if you are within reasonable distance.

Events promoted by Friends of Music at D.B.G.S.

Saturday, 21st August. Barn Dance at Hammill, near Eastry. The editor has tickets. Phone Dover 202172.

Saturday, 13th November. Concert in St. Mary's Parish Centre by the Snowdown Male Voice Choir with the school choir and instrumentalists.

Saturday, 4th December, at school, 7.30 p.m. Betteshanger Colliery Band and school musicians with a programme of Christmas flavour.


Previous Newsletters have reported the high standard of school music and the sad state of the school organ which, after daily use throughout fifty years, urgently requires extensive restoration at a total cost of about £9,000.

Work will be put in hand during this coming summer vacation and to make this possible the Old Pharosians Jubilee Trust Fund is giving £1,000.

Our President, Sir Robin Haydon, wrote to Mr. Petty, the County Education Officer, and obtained the offer of a £3,000 interest free loan. This will be accepted and will create obligations that will be shared by school, parents and old boys.

Some old boys may feel that they received a musical education at school; others may wish to support all that is being done for boys now at school; almost everyone will appreciate the value of the organ to daily assemblies.

The detachable form below may be used by any old boy who is moved in one way or another to be helpful.

The Friends of Music at D.B.G.S. are well wishers who raise funds and in other ways give support to musical education in the school.



Address .............................................................


Tel.No. ..........

To the Director of Music, Dover Grammar School for Boys, Astor Avenue, Dover, CT17 ODQ.

I wish to become a Friend of Music at DBGS and enclose my first donation of ......................................... £     :

or I enclose £    :     as a gift to help school music

or I am sending £    :     as a contribution toward restoration of

the organ.

Signed .....................

Cheques should be made payable to Friends of Dover Grammar School for Boys Music.

All donations will be gratefully acknowledged though there may be a delay in acknowledging those received during school holidays.