OPA Newsletter June 1987

New Series No. 52

June 1987




Dr. P. J. Burville.


Philip Harding, Esq., 6 Monins Road, Dover. CT17 9NX


Ian Pascall, Esq., 45a Bewsbury Cross Lane, Whitfield CT16 3EZ


K. H. Ruffell, Esq., 193 The Gateway, Dover CT16 1LL


As Newsletter editor I have been producing two issues a year since February 1980. A set pattern had developed and the time seemed ripe for a new idea. Over the years I have been interested in evaporating the mists of time that enshrouded the school's beginning and early growth. I gathered notes and anecdotes, printable and unprintable, until the Pharos of 1908 first shone some light on the subject.

In the bitter cold of last January I stayed indoors and wrote the story which your committee supported for publication. This is the age of the supplement and the pleasant idea was launched that every member should have a copy to accompany the present summer Newsletter.

I hope it will be a "good read" for those who were boys in the Whitehouse era, as well as for those after 1931 who have been in the school that Mr. Whitehouse created on the slopes of Whinless Down above Astor Avenue, the school known today and hopefully for many years to come as the Dover Grammar School for Boys.

K. H. Ruffell.

OLD BOYS' DAY, Saturday, 19th September


Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held at the School on Saturday, 19th September, 1981, commencing at 11.00 a.m. Coffee will be served from 10.30 a.m.

  1. To read the notice convening the meeting.
  2. Apologies for absence.
  3. Minutes of the 1986 A.G.M.
  4. Matters arising.
  5. Treasurer's Report.
  6. Secretary's Report.
  7. Election of Officers and Committee. The Committee will propose that Professor George Curry, Vice-President, 1986-81, be elected President for 1981-88, that Mr. Maurice Smith be elected Vice-President for 1981-88, and that Mr. Terry Sutton and Mr. Alfred Gunn, retiring members of the Committee, be re-elected for a further period of three years.
  8. Charitable Status and Covenanting.
  9. Any Other Business.

Philip Harding, Hon. Secretary.


The Annual Soccer Match against the School 1st XI will also be held on 19th September, kick-off 2.30 p.m. Any Old Pharosian wishing to play should contact Mick Palmer, 12 Hazeldown Close, River, Dover CT16 ONJ. Members living away from Dover will be particularly welcome.


This year's Dinner will be held in the Great Hall at the School on the evening of Saturday, 19th September. The bar will open at 6.45 p.m. and the Dinner will be at 1.30 p.m. The enclosed invitation gives details of menu and price. Wives/girl-friends are always most welcome and early application is advised.

The only speakers will be the incoming President and the Headmaster. This will leave more time for people to circulate and meet friends.

Members of staff and representatives of the Prefects' Room and Parents' Association are also being invited.

You would be helping us enormously by indicating your intention to come to the Dinner as soon as possible. Caterer sets limits to the number he can serve and preference will naturally be given to Old Pharosians and their ladies. Tickets will be sent in response to your replies.


Fellow Old Pharosians, By the time you receive this Newsletter the school year will be drawing to a close, as will my year as President. For me the increased contacts with the school have been most enjoyable.

The response by Old Pharosians to the invitation to join the Lux Line and give career advice to the boys has been quite splendid. One responder (CLT) most generously sent in a contribution to help fund it.

The Careers Master now has well over a hundred contacts on the Lux Line. As a clearer picture is gained of the boys' interests we will be able to see if there are any particular careers for which we need more help. At that time I hope to publish those areas of interest in the Newsletter and canvass for your help. However, in the meantime, if you would like to join, please write to me.

Advice on low-tech (or even no-tech) topics is needed as well as for the glamorous hi-tech careers.

There is another way in which some help has been given to the boys. A group of Old Pharosians and friends of the school spent an enjoyable (for them at least) afternoon at the school giving boys practice job interviews. If anyone would like to help in this way next year, please let me know.

Finally I should like to say what a pleasure it has been to serve as your President and, on behalf of all of you, may I thank the committee members for the hard work they put into running the Association throughout their years of service.

Peter Burville,

Sea Gate, Goodwin Road, St. Margaret's Bay, Dover CT15 6ED.


Committee Meeting, 24th March, 1987

The committee appreciated that George Curry, Vice-President had crossed the Atlantic to be present.

Treasurer reported that our Bank Account stood at £290, our Building Society Account at £3,428, on which interest was due this month.

President Peter Burville reported his pleasure and appreciation at the co-operation of members in his Lux Line initiative. Over 150 names, with career interests, had been passed to the school careers master.

Peter and Headmaster were arranging for boys to have some practice in interviews relating to careers. If any Old Pharosian with experience in conducting such interviews would offer help this would be appreciated.

The committee decided to have the History of the School, 1905 to 1931, printed as a booklet and sent to members in July.

Committee Meeting, 8th May, 1987

  1. Good progress was reported with the publication of the booklet "'History of the Dover County School, 1905-31". It was agreed to increase the number of booklets from 750 to 1000 and make them available in the school bookshop at £1 each, receipts to go into O.P. Association funds.
  2. Charitable status was briefly discussed, the matter being deferred to the A.G.M.
  3. Preparations for the Annual Dinner were discussed and some matters were left for decision by correspondence with the incoming President, George Curry.
  4. President reported on the favourable reception given to his Lux Line.
  5. The next committee meeting is to be on Thursday, 19th November, at 7.00 p.m.

MEMBERS' ADDRESSES—now not known

C. F. Askie, R. G. Borthwick, F. Goldsmith, R. R. Hadnell, A. J. Knott, G. R. Perry, S. J. Pratt.

The editor would be grateful for the required information. Our mailing list is now in excess of 600 so keeping the list up-to-date is a tremendous task. Through the efforts of Mac McNeil, Maurice Smith and other officers and members, considerable success has been achieved but every helpful message will be appreciated.

A fifth form boy named Stephen Fisher has done a marvellous job in putting our mailing list on a computer file. Amendments can now be more easily made if members will advise us of changes.


The Old Pharosians v. School cricket match is at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday, 11th July. Anyone wishing to play should contact Jack Kremer at 36 Old Park Hill, Dover CT16 2AW (Dover 205569).

Ian Betts (1970-77) and some friends are planning to hold a reunion for those who joined the school in September 1970. It is planned to hold the reunion in Dover during the summer. Ian would be pleased to hear from any of his contemporaries interested in attending; he can be contacted at 21 Clarendon Road, Dover. Phone 211457.


Ebbw Vale

The editor received a phone call in February from a lady teacher, the deputy head of the school which was the Ebbw Vale County School and is now a comprehensive school.

She wished to remind the editor that for a couple of months in the summer of 1940 he was billeted in a house beside the coal-mine in Cwm: and to say that the son of that household is now the headmaster of the school.

The editor can recall being in charge of the school's detachment of "Dad's Army" in Cwm with the extremely dangerous duty of demanding to see the identity cards of miners going home at pub-closing time on Saturday nights. There was also an occasion when "Halt, who goes there" failed to have any effect and a mountain pony escaped with a flesh wound.

R.A.F. Cadets

On Friday afternoon, 30th January, the R.A.F. Section of the C.C.F was visited by a Puma helicopter, which gave flights from "the Upper Field" to boys, some of whom are looking for careers in the armed services."

Final Assembly at the end of the Spring Term

It was announced that the 1st XV had played eight matches, winning four and losing four. The game against the Old Boys had been a splendid game in every way.

There was the traditional award of colours badges, ties and trophies, followed by more modern awards to those who played leading parts in "West Side Story". There is now a tie awarded for distinction in music and drama.

Even more up-to-the-minute was the award of "Certificates of Merit" to those who had taken part in American football. Our American Major Hoeren, who coaches American football and baseball, announced that players should "come up and get their certificates right now".

Headmaster spoke of the strong sympathy and compassion he had felt throughout the school for those killed and those bereaved in the Ferry Disaster. Over £1,000 had been sent from the school to the Disaster Fund.
At a brief ceremony afterwards in the Staff Room Dr. Burville presented Old Pharosian ties to Mr. I. W. Bird, Mr. K. H. Carter, Mr. D. C. Page and Mr. M. H. Smith who have all served the school for a quarter of a century and so become honorary Life Members of the Association.

Two retirements

Mr. IAN BIRD left school in North Lancashire just before the last war and went into the army where he became a parachutist in the S.A.S. After the war he went to Durham University for four years and qualified as a teacher of modern languages. He then taught in a couple of preparatory schools and came to Dover in 1957.

He has mainly taught French and has been head of the modern languages department. He has always been active outside the classroom, particularly with the Cadet Corps which he commanded for many years. He has helped with athletics and in some years has organised the school sports day.

In more recent years he has been a Senior Master, sharing in the school's administration and keeping the school on course during recent years of some difficulty.

He and his wife Ruth intend to move to Norfolk and our very best wishes and thanks go with them.

Because of his long service in the school Ian has been made an honorary Life Member of the Association so links will not be severed.

Mr. JOHN ELLIS is a Life Member of the Association, having been a boy in the school's post-war recovery years from 1947 to 1955. Before he left he was a house captain, captain of cricket, vice-captain of soccer and a member of the school's rugby and athletic teams. Boys of today may be interested to know that John was once the winner of the 100 yards sprint.

He was at Exeter University for four years before leaving with a degree in geography and a colours cap for cricket. He taught at Astor School and Harvey Grammar School before returning to us in 1974.

He has been head of the geography department since 1979, developing his special interest in meteorology, particularly the statistical side of the subject.

He can now tend his garden with one eye on the weather and we wish him a very happy retirement.

Satellite Pictures

Mr. Kevin Raine and the physics department now have a dish and aerial array that receives photographic and infra-red transmissions from satellites giving weather patterns and other information of the earth's surface. Computers are used in the operations, particularly for storing the images received.

The laboratory technician has been of immense assistance in the development of this project. He is Mr. Alan Rogers who was a boy in the school from 1950 to 1955.


19th February—The School Concert

By very proper tradition this concert starts each time with a few very small boys who each give their first public performance on the piano. A few make a false start, say "Sorry" and begin again.

The rest of the evening is a display of instrumental prowess of great variety on horn, guitar, recorder, the organ, flute, percussion (deafening but interesting), clarinet and trombone. There are also choirs, ensembles, a quintet and a final fling by the Jazz Group, now consisting of at least a dozen instrumentalists, who are beginning to give public performances outside the school.

1st to 4th April—'West Side Story',

This was an ambitious and successful production.

The orchestra, under the school's director of music, was quite magnificent with twenty-four players, most of them the best boy instrumentalists in the school, while others included three girls, some visiting teachers of music and one or two local stalwarts who appear on state occasions as "friends of the school". The Bernstein music is acknowledged to be very difficult, notably in the tumultuous passages that accompany conflict on stage.

The story is the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet set in contemporary downtown New York. It could just as well be in Tottenham or Handsworth. The two leaders of the feuding gangs were very convincing and all the choreographed movements of the gangs and their girls were splendidly devised and directed.

The two star-crossed young lovers made the most of their "Te adoro" situations, backed up by a team effort from the whole company of thirty-five players in front of the curtain and the stage-staff behind. The director had worked for months to get the effects he wanted. The lighting was completely helpful and the sets well planned, painted and constructed by expert hands in the school's departments. The boy who played Bemardo so well also painted most of the scenery.

The director was helped by a producer who carried many of the burdens often borne by the director; and the management of the production ran smoothly. The whole company must have shared in the pleasure of seeing "Sold Out" notices for all five performances.

I should now like to see and hear "Romeo and Julliet" in the spoken English of one William Shakespeare. But the relevance to today's tragic racial and communal strife might be less-striking; and there would be no "Sold Out" notices which give such a lift to a successful company.

8th April—A Musical Sequence for Passiontide K.H.R.

Within four days of the conclusion of "West Side Story" the Director of Music drew a large audience to Charlton Church for Stainer's "Crucifixion" and a selection of music that the choir has sung in cathedrals. Additionally, we heard Allegri's "Miserere" which requires the solo treble to reach top C. Two prefects read bible passages on the theme of Passion tide and the audience showed its appreciation of music of the highest quality.

May 23rd and 24th

The school's instrumentalists and chamber choir performed two concerts for Christian Aid in Dover and St. Margaret's churches.


The following gained places at universities:

Adams, C. T. Brunel (Govt., Pol., & Mod. Hist.).

Aitken, A. Manchester (Maths).

Carter, J. N. Southampton (Physics).

Coleman, S. J. London (Computer Science).

Cook, C. B. Durham (Maths).

Cornelius, P. C. Aberystwyth (Agriculture).

Crew, J. J. Nottingham (Mech. Engineering).

Crew, R. D. Loughborough (Mech. Engineering).

Earnshaw, A. S. London (Physics).

Fisher, L. E. Newcastle (Dentistry).

Gibbons, J. K. London (Chemistry).

Gregory, D. H. Southampton (Chemistry with Physics).

Jones, M. O. Bangor (Electronic Engineering).

Jubb, P. D. Newcastle (Computing Science).

Lane, L. C, Oxford (Chemistry).

Leatham, L. R. (Nottingham (Biochem. & Biological Chemistry).

Mann, M. J. UMIST (Building Technology).

McBride, A. J. Liverpool (Ancient & Med. Hist. & Archaeology).

McPherson, S. P. Bristol (Electronic Engineering).

Meredith, J. F. Newcastle (English Lang. & Lit.).

Miller, S. Kent (English & American Lit.).

Moss, S. Cambridge (Engineering).

Naterwalla, N. Guy's Hospital (Dentistry).

Ruck, M. J. Oxford (Physics).

Streather, K. A. City (Computer Science).

Stucken, P. R. Nottingham (Geography).

Whipp, M. D. Aston (Electro-Mechanical Engineering).

Wouldham, D. G. Hull (Accounting).

The following have gained places in Higher or Further Education:

Healey, D. C. Trinity College, London (Music).

Hewitt, G. M. S. Kent College of Technology.

Humbach, R. L. South Bank Poly. (Physics with Computing).

Lockwood, C. B. Kingston Poly. (music).

Lorimer, M. J. Lanchester Poly., Coventry (Law).

Noake, A. S. Polytechnic of Wales (maths & Computing).

San Emeterio, R. Brighton Poly. (Education).

Smith, D. S. Kent College of Technology (Bus. Studies).

Weaver, L. P. S. College of Technology (Elect. Engineering).

Williams, D. Portsmouth Poly. (Political Science).



C. G. BLACKFORD, O.B.E. was born in Dover in 1903 and educated at Dover County School, though schooling here was curtailed when the family moved to Scotland.

He had a distinguished career as a railway engineer, beginning with the Southern Region when he was engaged on its electrification. In the thirties he worked in Brazil where he met his wife and had three sons.

In the war years he served with the Royal Engineers, at first in North Africa. He later took part in the Normandy landings and during the campaign was mainly engaged in the construction of bridges.

At the end of the war he was an Acting Brigadier, responsible for rail movements in North Germany.

After demobilisation he served with the Control Commission and was later attached to the Foreign Office with similar responsibilities.

He later joined an Indian railway based on Goa. In 1962 he retired and lived near Stroud in Gloucestershire until his death on 21st March, 1987.

LESLIE BOORN died suddenly as the result of a heart condition. He was a good soccer player at school and in the Old Pharosians pre-war team. He worked for British Gas and lived at West Wyecombe.

ERIC JONES died in March at Stockton-on-Tees. He was a fanatical soccer player and the editor can remember asking him "Would you rather go without your dinner or your football?" The predictable answer was that he would forego his dinner.

He obtained creditable passes at '0' level but was then persuaded to go to Coventry City as an apprentice professional. The club very properly saw that he should continue his education at a teacher training college where he qualified as a teacher of physical education.

He became a teacher but played as a semi-professional for Nuneaton. On one occasion he brought his boys to play soccer against his old school. He spoke of his regret at leaving rather abruptly after '0' levels.

He will be remembered by all who knew him as a pleasant and intelligent sportsman. He died of cancer aged 49.

F. T. MEACOCK (1924-33) died at the end of February. When he left school he was an apprentice with the de Havilland Aircraft Co. and had a distinguished career in the Aerodynamics Department and Airscrew Division of that company. He later moved into Public Relations and was a Director of the Wilkinson Sword Co. His publications included "The Elements of Aircraft Propellor Design", His honours included C.Eng., M.R.Ae.S. and Honorary Freeman status of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers and of the City of London. His devotion to his own family led to a deep interest in genealogy. He particularly treasured a Grant of Arms in 1973, bearing the motto "La douceur est la seule noblesse".

BILL MOORE (1921-28) died in May. He had a deep affection for the school and cricket and the theatre. He and his wife together ran a home for boys in Suffolk and Bill did much for cricket in that area. They often returned to Dover for Operatic Society productions until Lucy's death a year or so ago. In recent months Bill had suffered a stroke and black-outs but he corresponded with great cheerfulness and affectionate reminiscences of his schooldays.

BRIAN SANDERS (1948-56). With deep regret we hear that this Old Pharosian was robbed and killed in Washington, D.C. in January. On leaving school he took a B.A. at Nottingham and later an M.A. at the London School of Economics. At the time of his death he was Senior Reference Librarian at the Department of State.


Kent Cricket

The editor's summer has been brightened by watching Derek Aslett and Chris Penn playing for Kent. On Sunday, 10th May, with Worcestershire as the opponents, the editor only got his car into the ground by favour of a former pupil's kindness on gate duty. There were about 8,000 spectators present. Derek was included in the side when another batsman was unfit. He came to the wicket after three quick wickets had fallen and he batted through to a declaration at tea-time with 120 not out, including ten fours and two sixes.

Chris Penn bowled and fielded well in that game and on other occasions has taken five wickets in an innings and scored 50 useful runs.

Both have retained their places in Kent's successful XI, Derek often scoring about fifty and Chris getting three wickets in an innings on several occasions.

Professor B. A. Bibly (1931-40) has retired from the Metallurgy Department of Sheffield University with the title of Emeritus Professor.

Chris Choules has received a Cup for Seamanship for his work as a helper and instructor at Dover Water Sports Centre. He races with the Kent Schools Sailing Association.

Canon John Dilnot (1947-55), now Rector of Aldington and Rural Dean of North Lympne, is to be Vicar of St. Mary and St. Eanswythe, the parish church on the Leas at Folkestone.

He read theology at Selwyn College, Cambridge and then trained for the priesthood at Cuddesdon.

He was ordained in 1962 and served in the Midlands before returning to Kent in 1914.

His new church is rich in history and tradition where he will find a rewarding ministry.

Ian Dunford (1975-82) gained an upper second class B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering at Surrey University and was awarded a prize for a project that was part of his course.

He is now working for I.C.I. at the plant protection division at Fernhurst in Sussex.

Gary G. Gill (1961-63). The editor has received a card bearing the following request.

Your prayers are asked for Gary George Gill, to be ordained by the Lord Bishop of Dorking in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit, Guildford, on Sunday, July 5th, 1981 at 10.30 a.m. (25 Park Avenue, Dover, Kent.) to serve in the Parish of Addlestone, Surrey.

The editor can recall, quite a few years ago, being approached by Gary Gill in the sixth form when the editor was his form master, with the request for signature on papers seeking entry to King's College, London with a view to preparation for eventual ordination.

The editor asked why Gary Gill wished to become a priest. The answer was "I wish to serve the people of a parish and administer the sacraments to them." Signature was instantly written.

Adrian Hogg (1974-81) has been working with Television South and Thames TV. He took an HND course in TV operations and is now off to California to be TV's Video Editor in the world of satellite television.

Philip Janaway (1943-52) produced "The Pirates of Penzance", this year's presentation by the Dover Operatic Society. Philip's good sense and good nature will have won him the affection and loyal co-operation of the company. Those same qualities are exercised in his duties as deputy headmaster of Astor Secondary School.

Keith Jarvis (1952-60) will be remembered for a solo flying display in a Tiger Moth as part of the C.C.F. Annual Inspection in 1960, a display he now looks back on as the "most hair-brained and incompetent piece of flying I have ever done".

On graduation from Cranwell in 1963 he served with Coastal Command and Near East Air Force, flying Shackleton aircraft. By 1971 he had flown over every ocean and continent in the world except one.

In 1972 he graduated as a flying instructor working on jets at Leeming in Yorkshire and as Commanding Officer of a couple of University Air Squadrons. He completed a number of staff appointments and retired from the R.A.F. last year as a Wing Commander.

He now works as a flying instructor for British Aerospace in Saudi Arabia. His home is in Hertfordshire where his two children "cost a small fortune for no better education than I received for no personal cost at Dover Grammar School".

Carl Jepson is to be congratulated on obtaining a 1st Class B.A. degree in Accountancy at Brighton.

David Langley (1957-63) has received a Ph.D. from Surrey University where he is a lecturer in immunology. He started his career in the pathology laboratory at Buckland Hospital in 1963.

He now researches into immunity to infectious disease so he spends some of his time talking to groups about Aids.

David Lawrence (1979-85) played the recorder in a Vivaldi concert on 9th May at Warwick University.

Ian Potts (1971-78) got as far as the semi-final of B.B.C's Mastermind, 1987. His occupation was given as Railway Signalman and his home town as Dover.

He chose Alexander the Great as his specialist subject and at the end of the general knowledge questions he had score 34 points, equal first with a lady competitor. Unfortunately he had two passes to the lady's one so by that narrowest of margins he failed to reach the final.

At school in the sixth form he was a well-informed geographer. He had a pass on British Rail with which he travelled all over Britain. On leaving school he went to Keele University to read geography and politics. He had been with a school party to Greece which may have helped his choice of "Alexander the Great" as his specialist subject.

W. J. Ratcliffe (1947-53) has made giant strides since leaving school and going into the National Westminster Market Square branch in Dover.

He moved to other branches and spent a few years in Paris. As a member of the bank inspectorate he travelled widely but returned to London as manager of the Cannon Street branch.

He is now Deputy Head of Group Inspection (International) based in the heart of the City.

David Smithard received his London M.B.B.S. higher degree from Princess Anne. We assume that M indicates a Master's degree. The remaining letters are left to the knowledge or imagination of our readers.

Nick Stevens has been appointed public relations manager of Hoverspeed at Dover. He already performs similar duties for Sealink British Ferries in Dover and Folkestone.

Bert (A.G.) Stone (1927-32) was at school in the buildings at Ladywell, Frith Road and Astor Avenue.

He retired from teaching in London and now lives at 86a Joy Lane, Whitstable CT5 4DD.

He operates an amateur radio station (G4 UPJ) and would be glad to hear from other O.P. "Hams" with a view to running a NET occasionally.
He frequently travels from Whitstable to be present at school concerts.

Dr. O. S. G. Thomas (1970-77) was married on 11th April to another Hertford College geography graduate and has established a home in Sheffield where he is lecturing, researching and preparing material for publication. He has been chosen to spend six weeks in 1988 researching in the Great Australian Desert.

Mike Titmuss (1946-52) after thirty-four years service in the R.A.F. in many parts of the world has been appointed Officer Commanding the supply and accounting section at R.A.F. Manston.

Captain Edwin Venables (1945-47) advised Admiralty judge Hr. Justice Sheen at the inquiry into the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.

He is master of the Dover-based Sealink ferry, St. Christopher and has a special knowledge of roll-on, roll-off vessels and has assisted in a number of marine inquiries.

S. A. Willcocks (1955-62) who was advised when leaving school not to consider a career in education, nevertheless went to college and has been in primary education successively in Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire. Until recently he has been headmaster at a delightfully named village called Shady Bower near Salisbury. But he has written to tell of his promotion as head of a new school with 500 eventually on the registers at Fordingbridge. He now has a wife and three sons: and his interests range through church, rotary, cooking, music and railway archaeology.


The book "FIFTY YEARS ON, 1931-1981"

A number of copies of this book, published after the visit of the Duke of Kent in 1981, are again available. They can be obtained at the original price of £5 from either the Headmaster or the editor. Cheques should be in favour of "The Old Pharosians Association".

History of Dover County School (1905-31)

Further copies may be obtained from the editor in exchange for £1 cheques in favour of "The Old Pharosians Association".

The School Choir's Cassette "A Celebration of Christmas"

Has sold the 300 copies made last autumn and another 50 will be made in readiness for next Christmas. Anyone who would like a copy (£4.50) can write to the editor, making a cheque in favour of "Friends of Music at D.B.G.S.".