Issue 13 (2008)
New Penwithian Issue 13 (2008)
Sadly I must start with the news of the death of Mrs Rising. Tean Rising was a true friend of our Association and I am so glad that we were able to get her to unveil the Memorial Window to Mr Rising last year, something I know she was very proud to do. We must also pay tribute to Old Penwithian Gary Thompson who was killed in Afghanistan whilst serving with the RAF Regiment. More detail is given in the Obituary page.
This year has been a slightly quieter one for the Association. No memorial window, book printing or tie design but we did have the inaugural OPA Golf Competition in June which was a great success and I hope will be the start of an annual event – a report and results of the competition appear later. If you are a golfer do join us in 2009. Bill Burnett is also contemplating organising an OPA Bowls Tournament so look out for details.
Bill has also put a lot of work into including all our school photographs into the ‘Picture Penzance’ website and he has written a short article on page 10 which tells you how to access the website which is worth a visit. Our Old Penwithian website has at last got the recording of the ‘School Song’ made at the 2006 Reunion so if you have forgotten the words you know where to go.
Last year’s edition produced a healthy post bag and we have drawn on some of the reminiscences that have been sent in and enlarged the Recollections page. If you have any jot them down and send them in we can usually find a corner for them.
Andrew Newport inspired by the reference to Bob Dyson’s maroon Wolsey 1500, number 778 OAF, has drawn on his incredible memory for car number plates and written an extremely amusing article on this very subject.You will also see his new advert for his business.
Numbers were down on the Reunion this year probably because it was a Saturday night. This year the Reunion falls on a Monday so hopefully we could attract a few more old boys. Bring along your old photos and memorabilia and this year we will repeat the opportunity for people to add names to the existing photographs. We are still deliberating on the details of how we might celebrate the centenary of the schools founding in 2010. A Dinner on 29 December, 2010 seems to be the most popular at the moment. If you have any ideas come along and share them or drop me a line.
This is the thirteenth edition of this Newsletter and none of them would have been laid out or printed without the hard work of our Editor John Richards to whom we must offer our grateful thanks.Thank you John.
Finally as always, I am extremely grateful to all those who have provided articles, material and photographs, also to our loyal advertisers. If you would like to advertise your business etc, we would be delighted to include you. There is a small charge which goes towards the cost of producing this newsletter.
Andrew Coak, Secretary
Where Are They Now?
‘By Memories Chain We Linked Remain’
A steady stream of contacts have occurred over the year by etnail, phone letter and visits to the North Inn. I try to make a note of them all but I know memory fails and there must be some who get omitted. If you are one of those I can only apologise and ask you to contact me again.
One of the first contacts of the new year was Dr Bryn Caless (60) who was spurred on by the reference by Peter Nicholls (60) to Dr Bob Dyson’s (60) handbrake turns in New Penwithian 2007 to send in a few more memories which we print later.
The swimming photo also drew some comment. Peter Nicholls thinks that the “successful swimmer” in “one for the Album” is Kevin McCarthy. Gavin Tonkin (58) thinks that to the right ofTCR is David Nebesnuick and to his right, Tommy Maddern, both 58. Gavin goes on to say that coincidentally, the First Cricket XI of 1938 contains his father, second player from left, back row who became head teacher of Cape Cornwall Primary for about 28 years. His father was also much involved with the Pirates, becoming President at one time.
His evidence is corroborated by David Nebesnuick (58) who, reading the New Penwithian, was surprised to see himself there next to Craske. He goes on to say that there are three 58 year boys in the picture. Going from left to right, Anthony Barnes, he became a Methodist minister. Then there is Terry Sampson (59), he ended up teaching at the same school in Croydon as David’s wife! Then Jeremy Green, after him is Tom Maddern, who worked for Marconi for many years, and is now retired and living near Wimborne, Dorset, although he has a place at Porthcurno. David Nebesnuick lived for many years in Oxfordshire and worked all his life in the education sector. He returned in December 2006 and since then has been elected to Penzance Town Council.
I mentioned the reunion earlier and it reminded me of the tradition which seems to have been started by Stuart Guppy (52) (who has now moved home to Carbis Bay), who organises a pre-Reunion dinner for anyone interested in the Queens. Last year Sam and Ted Beckerleg and Terry Johns (58) together with Stuart joined together for an early dinner. Stuart can be contacted on through this website if you are interested. Sam Beckerleg (42) was reminded by an old photo of Freddie Hudson (English Master) how they used to get him recount his WW I experiences which could take up half of the lesson. However, he does recall that there were times when he would come into class with both hands flying and his hands were as big as spades. I wonder if anyone else remembers Freddie Hudson.
John Bottle (43) has been trying to organise a reunion of his year but was unable to drum up enough names. He has had to drop the idea. Michael Hamilton (formerly Rosenberg) (50) emails to say that he is still in comparatively good health and finally retiring on October Ist, as his 69th birthday rapidly approaches, with wife, two cats and an English Field Spaniel to Sarasota Florida to sun their bones.
David Wright (56) a regular correspondent from down under wrote to say “Set ’em up!” After several aborted attempts to get to the UK and Cornwall, in particular, over the last couple of years, he had finally got booked on a flight and was hoping to have a few days wandering around West Penwith in September. Unfortunately, just before leaving he ruptured his Achilles tendon and has had to abandon all plans of a trip this year. See you in 2010 David
Jonathan Page (62) who regularly writes from Canada turned up in the North Inn with Lionel Thomas (53). We have also seen Chris Symons (55) now retired from teaching Classics but very much involved in music in Oswestry, Lionel Pollard (48), Chris Jervis (52), David James (53), Crispin Clemence (37), Bob Quixley (39/staff), Arnold (33) and David (57) Derrinton and John Harper (43) who joined me in a round of golf earlier in the year.
Keep your emails coming.
The 2007 Annual reunion of the Old Penwithians Association was held, as is now the accepted custom, on the 29th day of the month of December.This year it fell on a Saturday and this did have an impact on the attendance. However, nearly 50 old boys and staff of the old Penzance and Humphry Davy Grammar School, covering the entry range from 1939 to 1977, turned up at the Queens Hotel and enjoyed a couple of hours reminiscing.
Their memories were helped this year for the first time by a computer slide show of all the old school photographs held by the Association which had been set up by Bill Burnett, one of the old masters ** of the school. Old boys were also given the opportunity to add missing names on the photographs and quite a few were added but there is still a long way to go. Many other old photographs were brought in including a framed print of the entire School taken in 1947 which was donated to the Association archives by John Laity, who along with George Goldburn, were the two of the most senior old boys present.
On display as well were photographs of the unveiling by MrsTean Rising and Mrs Joan Bradley of the memorial stained glass window, erected by the OPA in the present Humphry Davy School, in memory of the contribution made to the School by the two Headmasters, Mr Bradley and Mr Rising. In his remarks Andrew Coak, the Association Secretary, reminded everyone that 2010 would mark the Centenary of the founding of the School because it was on 24th January 1910 ‘on a wet and windy day’ that the first pupils entered the Penzance County School. It was generally agreed that the occasion should be marked with a formal occasion and the most likely format would be a formal dinner to be held in a suitable venue in Penzance on Wednesday the 29 December 2010. Any ideas would be gratefully received.
The evening ended up with the customary singing of the School Song accompanied by Dr Nick Marscon on the piano.
**[Bill Burnett, member of staff 1969 – 1980, would like to point out that he is not THAT old!]
Those who signed in:
Recollections From the Postbag
by Dr Bryn Caless (1960-67)
Thank you for The Penwithian for December 2007; it stirred a host of memories which I feel like recording, though I’ll quite understand if they are too eclectic for any of your future records.
Peter Nicholls mentions having watched Bob Dyson do ‘handbrake turns’ on the tarmac in front of the canteen in his maroon Wolsey, which Bob always referred to as his “red sports job”. What he doesn’t record is that the white and shaking front seat passenger was me.
I was especially interested to read mentions of former members of staff at HDGS in addition to Mr Rising. I remember Bob Quixley’s arrival very well the first geographer ever to be taller than Jim Batten, and a School v Staff cricket match in which BQ used an outsize bat which used to hang, I believe, in the window of Lanxon’s Sports shop in Causeway Head. Bob may remember remarking that it was actually a good bat (and it took two small boys to carry it on to the pitch). That was also the occasion when “Trigger” Treglown took a photograph of Bob Quixley talking to the smallest boy in the school which made its way into the School Magazine for that year (1964 at a guess). Bob inspired in me a love for geology which has never left me, and he often said that we were lucky to live in the West Penwith where the geology was so interesting.
Old Boys will recall Maurice “Boris” Hogg as Head of History, as do I as one of his more argumentative A level students, but do they also remember that he played a prominent role in local Civil Defence? I was once lemoned, by virtue of being a boy cadet, as a ‘volunteer’ casualty for a CD exercise in Penlee Quarry, in which Mr Hogg played a prominent coordinating role (1963?). He may recall that I was the ‘bloody’ boy with the realistic broken legs (even to bits of’bone’ sticking out) who was forgotten and lay on a ledge in the Quarry until two hours after the exercise ended and then walked home to a distraught mother who could not understand how I could jump the garden gate with a compound fracture in both legs.
I also remember Malcolm Rudlin with affection. He was part of a 1960s recruitment drive for young teachers, replacing those of war vintage like “Fred” Jarvis. Malcolm, Les Morris,”Bugs” Bennet and “Noddy” Blackler were all of that time and all brought new teaching ideas and methods Malcolm to PE. Malcolm and I did Judo together at an evening class at the school and on one occasion, a Cornishman photographer covered the class and took a picture of me throwing Malcolm in a (carefully rehearsed) fighting bout. It must be the only occasion where violence has legitimately been offered to a teacher and photographed with approval. What Malcolm thought of it I don’t know, but my kudos rating was high for a few days for entirely the wrong reasons.
My only claim to fame at school, where I was a quiet and introverted boy, was that I held the school record – I believe subsequently challenged but never surpassed – for ten conduct marks in a single day, most of them from ‘Henry’ Ferris: we never did get on. I still recall Tom Rising’s weary “Wait outside boy” after presenting him with my day’s haul (3×3 plus 1). Not happy days at all.
I visited you at the North Inn several years ago, introducing myself as Peter Lawton I was Peter Biscuits at PGS, as it was then and I was the said Peter Biscuits who scaled the roof of the building housingTom Petters’s lab and Behenna’s music room and stuck the flagpole into the hole atop the ventilation cone.
The caption was ABANDON HOPE, implying the rest of the motto … ‘all ye who enter here’ for which there was little room. It was written by Peter Ellery (his facher, Angus, the local sign maker) and mounted on Mrs. Ellery’s broom pole. It was John Oates who bumped me up to the roof gutter and who gave me every encouragement to pursue this madcap notion. Derek Retallick(?) had a walk on part, I’m sure.
Secondly, I believe with good reason and with utter conviction that I can claim to have been the most flogged boy of my time at school. But it would be only the late Craske Rising who could confirm this. I’m sure I was caned every three or four weeks and I was even suspended from school for having a girlfriend at the girl’s school across the field. I seem to always to have been easily led! ‘Stupid boy’ … as Mannering would have said.
And thirdly, I’m still around in case anyone dares to challenge the veracity of my perceived misbehaviour and madcap exploits. My very latest, to celebrate my 77 birthday in April, being a hike of the Camino Frances, the ancient pilgrim track from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela a matter of 500 miles. I started in mid May and walked 26 successive days, the last day a Marathon distance of 42.8km in 9 hours.
There’s life in the old dog yet and I plan to traverse the Grand Canyon, north to south, in September.
Old Penwithians Online Gallery
The website of the Old Penwithians Association has always had a “Gallery” page giving access to our archive of photographs. However, as our collection has grown it has become increasingly difficult to keep this particular page of the website up to date. It was also felt that we needed to reach a wider audience, so alternative ways of making our archive available on the Internet were discussed.
At about this time Steffan Barnes had launched his “Picture Penzance” website, to which people were invited to contribute photographs of various aspects of life in the town – thus building up an online archive of photographs of Penzance and its people. This seemed an appropriate place to put our gallery and after discussing this with Steffan he kindly provided the necessary facilities on his website. Our complete and up to date archive of photographs is now available at the “Picture Penzance” site, www.picturepenzance.co.uk
On the home page select “Image Gallery” from the main menu, then on the next page, scroll down to the category “Schools”. Selecting either Penzance County School for Boys or Humphry Davy Grammar School will take you to the “Old Penwithians online gallery”. The photographs are grouped together in a number of albums, one for pre1945 then one for each of the years 1945 to 1980 inclusive. Included in these albums are the contents of the personal photograph album of former headmaster Mr.T. C. Rising, kindly donated to the association by his widow Tean Rising shortly after his death. Other albums include “Staff”, “Buildings” and “Reunions”.
Registered members of the site (it’s free) are able to leave comments about images and this might be how information you have about any of the photographs, such as missing names, could be provided.
Alternatively; at the end of the introduction to the gallery is a “contact us” link which can be used by anyone. Finally, and especially if you have photographs that you would like to add to the gallery please e-mail Bill Burnett or the secretary.
NOTE: Since this article was written the “Picture Penzance” website has been re-vamped and the instructions for accessing our gallery are slightly different – see the “Gallery” page on our Main Menu.
Old Penwithian Association Golf Championships
After a slightly fog delayed start 15 Old Penwithians teed off in what was the inaugural Old Penwithian Association Golf Championships held at West Cornwall Golf Club on Monday 2 June 2008.The competition was open to all old boys of the former Penzance/Humphry Davy Grammar School.
The competition was played using the Stableford format and old boys representing school years ranging from I 946 to I 980 turned out.The comfortable winner was Phil Thomas with an excellent score of 43 points which won him an engraved hip flask donated by the Association. In second place was Jimmy Glover on 35 – other prize winners were Ron Foster and John Matthews on 34, and Phil Sedgeman and Ivor Phillips on 33. Colin Kelynack the most senior old boy present was awarded the ‘Booby’ on countback from Terry Dann.The best House went toTreneere.The competition was sponsored by Roger Dugdale of ‘Penwithian Wholesalers’ and thanks to his generosity most competitors received a ‘wet’ prize.
All who participated agreed that the competition should continue next year and it is hoped that next year’s championships would attract even more old boy golfers. Details of the 2009 competition are given below
Attention all golfers
This year’s competition will once again be held at the West Cornwall Golf Club on Friday 5 June 2009 (date to be confirmed).The competition is open to all old boys who have a current golfing handicap. It will be a Stableford competition with full handicap and the winner will receive the Old Penwithian Golf Trophy. There will be other prizes! Players who are not members of WCGC will require a handicap certificate. Roger Dugdale (52) of’Penwithian Wholesalers Limited’ has kindly offered once again to sponsor the competition along with the Association. Tee off will be from between 0900 and 1000 hrs and a lunch will follow at about 1430 hrs. Cost, including coffee and lunch, will be in the region of £12 per head for WCGC members and approximately £29 for visitors.
If you would like to play, registration notices with full details will be available in the WCGC and, we hope, other Golf Clubs in the area in the New Year. If you would like further details or to register your interest please contact the Secretary.Andrew Coak Tel: 01736 7876504.
Two Score Years and Ten
by Andrew ‘Uggy’ Newport (58)
Fifty years ago almost to the day as I write this I climbed aboard a Western National double-decker in my new maroon PGS uniform and complete with new leather satchel made my way to alight in Coombe Road outside the Penzance Grammar School for boys or as it was still often referred to County School. My previous seat of learning had been Alverton County Primary and what confronted me now was awesome to say the least. I was initially cautious as I had heard rumours that first formers were held in quite low esteem. They were considered fair game for tricksters, bullies and any others anxious to assert their superiority and generally emphasize your low slot in the hierarchy. Actually, as is so often the case, the reality was nowhere near the expectations.
One aspect impressed me early on. It was the deep note of the all male voices at assembly. At Alverton, hymn singing was lead mainly by the girls and most of the boys especially the older ones, were a little self conscious and reserved in their singing. I had not previously encountered such gusto in school renderings of the Hymns of Praise. All this and a piano accompaniment too!
We were sorted out into 3 different classes. I with some 28 others went into C room. We were asked by our new form master Mr Ward to form an alphabetical snake starting with the front desk nearest the door. The snake roll call ran as far as I can remember something like this: Boase, Carter, Chudleigh, Clayton, Elliott, Fisher, Glasson, Heyes, Hill, Hitchens, Keast, Law, Luke, Moss, Nebesnuick, myself Newport and continuing Penhaul, Pitcher, Prowse, Reynolds, Rickard, Rowe,Tonkin,Tyrell and finishing up with Whittock and Eddie Williams who came from St Just. Christian names seemed to be banned. Surnames were the order of the day with exceptions made for any Thomas, Edwards, Richards etc who could add their initials for identification purposes.
Morning break time came and with it the realisation there was a tuck shop plus Jack Barnes’ pop shop. In the canteen was the facility to purchase loose biscuits, ginger nuts, bourbons, rich tea etc to accompany your one third pint bottle of school milk. This I decided was. almost civilised. Lunch time in the canteen was also full of new experiences. The seating arrangements with a senior boy as table head. The bell for grace. The requirement to say “thank you ma’am” to each canteen lady in turn. There were notices and announcements and on some days the availability of “seconds”.
During those first few days we had our first RK lesson with Jeff Monroe. He was horrified to discover that none of us could name the first five books in the bible. We were told to find out and learn them by next week. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Thinking I would be clever, I also learnt the following ones: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles but never got asked again. At first we thought him very fierce. How wrong first impressions can be. We all know Jeff wasn’t like that at all. He must have been having a bad day.
Early on there was a buzz going around. Just wait ’til you have Fred Jarvis. We did and he certainly lived up to the reputation that preceded him being both stern and strict. He made us all sit up straight at the desks in B room with our arms folded in a certain way. All exercise book work had to be headed in the format he required and even hand writing needed to conform to a certain style. Geography started with “Mary Jones lives at Green Farm which is in Dunno Lane about one mile from the town of Egham”. I’ll bet I’m not the only one to still remember this. You entered and exited B room in ordered silence. Fred stood no nonsense.
As the first autumn term progressed we all settled in and as mere first formers we soon blended in and enjoyed our new school. I continued to make the daily pilgrimage from Newlyn bridge to the bottom of Alexandra Road by petrol engined Bedford (either Western National or Blue Mousehole bus) and then to Coombe Road on Bristol Lodekka, OTTIO. Strangely appropriate with a headmaster called Otto.
I have a life long interest some would say obsession with motor vehicles. To me the contents of the staff car park offered an endless source of fascination. More so I’m afraid than the amo, amas, amat that I was supposed to be absorbing. At Alverton our headmaster Mr Lees had the only car. A fine mark one Zephyr Zodiac reg. no. HBN but here was something else. At that time all the cars were, of course, British with a fair sprinkling of prewar models. I think I am right in remembering that the first foreign car was some time later about ’63/’64 when Mr Jacobs arrived in a splendid Citroen DSI9 in place of his Rover 3 litre. But in September ’58 it was mostly Austin, Morris and Ford. Fred Jarvis drove to the school in a 1937 Austin 10 (ELE 553). This was exchanged for one of the then new Austin A40 Farinas (275 EAF). Ruby Sibson arrived in an emerald green A35 (131 RHX) and Alan Tregenza a grey A35 van (125 EAU) while Doffy Behenna had an Austin A30 in a faded shade of salmon pink! This later was replaced with a 105E Anglia. Morris motors were well represented. Both Henry Ferris and John Grover had black Morris 1000 travellers as did Charlie McCarthy – a grey one (XRL 749). This was later traded in for a very stylish Vauxhall Victor FB estate in bottle green. Bob Home drove a blue Minor Convertible (TCV 137). Mr Norton, the lab assistant, would arrive in a green A40 Devon van (NJH 85) which still bore the remains of the legend Colne Valley Water Co. This vehicle passed to the stewardship of Tony Fitt and several years later came in to my possession for the sum of £4! Both Abdul Thompson and Martin Lynch had pre-war Morris 10’s. Abdul’s was a beige colour and Martin Lynch’s black. He sometimes referred to it as his Bentley pointing out that the bumpers and most of the mud guards were indeed “Bent”. Henry Ford’s products were well represented. As was mentioned in a previous magazine Phil Dempsey commuted daily from out on the Lizard Peninsula in a Ford Pop. Heroic stuff but on occasion he brought a Hillman Husky. Jack Barnes the groundsman had a 1946 Anglia which gave way to a cream 100E. Ernie Guard drove a grey 100E (535 BHW) and Dennis Mitchell aThames 100E van. Ron Skelley’s 100E was black with a reg. no. SLT 690 which he would explain stood for Skelley’s Luxury Travel.
Tom Petters was a Ford man. His willow green 1953 Prefect was superseded by a new 100E Prefect (1 EAF from memory) in the summer of 59. At the start of the autumn term ’59 another Ford 100E began to appear. Registered XLR it was a grey Squire Estate with faux wood trim and bearing yellow head lights and a GB plate. This was the mark in those days of someone who had been on adventurous travels. T Craske Rising had returned and he as we all know stood no nonsense either.
Some members of staff only brought cars to school occasionally. One such was Mr Bennett with his Singer 12. Another was “Trigger” Treglown who brought a Standard 8 of just postwar vintage and at other times appeared in a graceful Riley RM. As time went on there were some staff changes and also of course changes in the car park. When Bob Quixley came to HGDS (as it had by then become) he brought with him what was affectionately known as “the Walls Ice Cream cart”. This was an early ’50s Hillman Minx Estate (FP 7180) painted mid blue and cream. It bore on its side windows stickers proclaiming “Rutland Fights For Minority Rights”. In due course this venerable old battle wagon gave way to a primrose yellow Cortina Estate with I think a TCV registration. At the time ’62/’63) Cortina’s were considered state of the art being lightweight, stylish and of brisk performance they were very different from previous generations of Ford. Ernie Guard changed his 100E for a blue four door Cortina, but there appeared one morning a white Cortina GT (270 SAF) which belonged to the Maths department. Jack Mostyn was probably the keenest motor enthusiast in the proverbial staff room. I’m surely not the only one to recall the Hepolite Piston Rings sticker on the door of the chess cupboard in F room.
There was an AlvisTC2l ,3 litre Grey Lady which was followed by DEY 900 – a blue 3.4 litre Jaguar. What a machine! Following on from 270 SAF came a highly tuned Hillman Imp Sport. Four very different cars but all high performers. Sometimes during a maths lesson we could entice him onto matters motoring but he quickly twigged to our ruse and reverted to the more mundane world of algebra and geometry. Meanwhile up at the side of the new block Des Astin kept his mark one Console in Dorchester grey (which was actually a fawn) RVR 623 from memory. He previously had an Austin A40 Devon WMD I think. Back in the main staff car park an orange mini van started to appear courtesy of Perry Mason.
However, not all staff were car owners. Neither Ben nor Jim Batten were motorists nor was Maurice Hogg who strode purposefully to school armed with a smart leather briefcase. Harry Otto, Ernie Tarbet, Les Morris, Frankie Hull, Brutus Thomas all managed to manage without cars as did dear old Joe Pascoe. Or so we all thought for many years until he was spotted in Marazion at the helm of a green Morris Minor. Bung Waller and Jeff Monroe both cycled but Frank Murray journeyed in from Rosudgeon daily astride a maroon Zundapp Bella motor scooter. Quite a rare breed even then.
Miss Matthews, Mrs Blewett and co in the canteen all managed to get there without cars but a regular visitor to the canteen was an Austin K8 lorry belonging to Symons Treneere Manor. Piloted by an elderly gent with waistcoat and watch chain but no collar on his shirt. The waste food would be removed in old drums and tubs to be fed to the pigs. Eddy’s Mounts Bay Mineral Waters kept Jack Barnes’ Pop Shop fully stocked using a petrol engined Bedford A type but the highlight was the arrival of a National Health Mass Radiography Chest X-Ray Unit. These were Leyland Beavers and due to their low annual mileage several have survived into preservation, NGF 106 being one. I would watch in awe and listen to the rapturous note of their O600 diesel engines as the driver reversed the outfit in through the main gates. Remember that the granite gate posts were closer together then and there was no power steering. Of course, the school bell would foreshorten this delight but I expect the driver was glad for us to clear out of his way.
I was told once that if I knew my Latin verbs as well as I knew my car numbers I might get somewhere. I’m afraid I’m still not cured. Hopefully these reminiscences’ have stirred some memories amongst Old Penwithians of the period. My big regret is that I didn’t record it all on camera. It was to be later that I acquired a Brownie 127. Perhaps some readers did and may like to contact me so I can add to my archives. Although it is highly unlikely any of the aforementioned vehicles, apart from the X-Ray Beavers survive today, I do know of one that has made it in to preservation. None other than the Western National Lodekka OTTI0. Strange how the circle gets squared off.
by Tony Jasper 1951 – 1959 and later, for a time, as a master
It was ‘that’ car that sidled up beside me as I walked upTolver Road that worried me, trapped as I was.The door to the side of the driver was hurled open and the invitation of a lift was offered, or, should I say, ordered. I couldn’t say I was on an errand for my mother for there are no shops on this obviously perilous stretch of road. My kind invitee was Frederick Jarvis. Indeed, he wanted more-or-less to gag and bind me, and eventually dress me up in ATC uniform. At least it was comparatively friendly compared to some of his assaults on my physique in the classroom that consisted of twisting my ear and hitting my face against the blackboard. In career terms it was a non-starter. In the exam I merely wrote my name and put a line through the rest.
The said master also took to the whistle during the rugby term and if the rain came down then it was question-time indoors. We would think of difficult questions, one of which ran thus: ‘Sir, if the ball bursts before the posts, and the bladder goes over, the outer shell goes under and the laces fall to the ground, is it a score or not?’ Like many things in life, later it all seemed far away, as in later times I did have some good conversations with Fred. Fred, of course, like the others, including Hugh Harvey, who took games and sometimes PE (Fred did that as well) suffered from walking in the shadow of Mr Bolton. Here was a Pat Boone look-a-like, and this was a man who discovered the sunray lamp before most. He looked par excellence in the good guide to track suit wearing and persona. Winter proved awkward to him what with mud flying around, a pity that, when you’ve made the effort to be a cult star for the girls up the road, and teachers who could not cut the same showbiz aura.
Tom Peters was another character. I did once score over 100% in an exam. I did this by the process of answering more questions than I should and somehow Tom then marked me at 123% and seemingly was confused by this outcome as he gave out our exam papers.The always likeable Mr Pascoe, of history fame, was another from whom you could simply gain high marks, and in this case by writing essays of ten pages or more. I am sure he never read some of them.
With Ruby Sibson, I and others, decided to permeate our essay with the most difficult and obtuse words we could find.The resultant marking saw many a question mark from RS in the margin.
Jim Batten was a great guy and we got on well, mostly anyway. He never smiled at my description of say Iceland, that I would say was straight up from Birmingham, a sharp right at the top, then move across, and so on. One way to curry favour was to bring back from holiday some morsel of interest and so contribute it during the first lesson of a new term. I usually looked up a book from where I had been and memorized a few geographical facts. I failed geography at ‘0’ level.
Ben, his brother, was another great guy, and I visited him in Newlyn right up to his death. His daughter Joy still resides at the house, within happy yards of Jelbart’s Ice Cream emporium and Jewells, fish and chippie.The former nowadays is a Jimmy Glover enterprise and Jimmy was the guy who was my school hero, and doubtless for many others. He had an effortless skill at sport, especially tennis and rugby, but seemingly anything else he did and played.To some of us he was also the kind of guy girls would chase over.Talking of girls I would often volunteer to be the prefect who prevented boys from mingling with the girls after they came back from the canteen. Naturally I saw myself outside of such a ruling – there had to be compensations for volunteering.
This was the time when ‘The Eagle’ came into its own and readers will recall that apart from Tommy Walls and Dan Dare the comic ran on its back page the journeys of St. Paul. Ruby decided she would embellish Hut C (and not a difficult thing to do whatever the colouring) with the back page. Perhaps we were childish but we knew she would run out of space, but seemingly this did not occur to her until it happened. We greeted her bafflement with merriment when the week came and there was no space. Ruby lavished me with merit marks for all sorts of services.
In my new book ‘Next hymn we shall sing’ (yes, a plug for your Christmas buying) I spend quite a few pages describing the school assembly, and more so the endless times we assembled at the end of the day to sing again the hymns Craske found wanting in their delivered volume. Donald B, the music man, hated pop music, well, ‘hated’ is a mild word. It would be hard these days to get boys singing the martial hymns we had before us, even if Princess Diana loved I VowTo Thee My Country.
Another cultural mark of the time was ‘respect’ but not in the no sad misuse of the word in the tribal warfare that seems to the fore in some of our cities. I must have been in 1B or was it 2B when the Head toured the classrooms to tell us the King had died. Lessons ceased for a while.The radio played sonorous music.
As you would expect from someone who had intended to be a clergyman I never reached ten conduct marks and so qualified for the happiness of a caning. I would reach eight and then Craske in his moment of goodwill would call an amnesty. It would though always be a salient and warning shot across the bows to be sitting in a classroom near his caning area and hear the swish of the cane. It’s often said that punishment in the public school section partly creates SM addicts, and who knows the impact upon us and any sexual adventures of the frequent ‘swishing’ sound, although I do not think we had anyone go into motor-racing.
I thought when I began writing this that I would have something erudite to say, but alas not, just a few recollections. I lived near the school so I did not stay for school lunch, but it was from this area that many a story would originate and maybe someone else can recount food horrors and protests, the joining together one day of food drums and sending them down the playground, or I’m sure there was a fire there on one occasion. I do recall the arrival of the X-Ray van to see if we had signs of TB.That event was shrouded in another of Craske’s ‘let’s make it a big moment.’We would all line up and be pressed against whatever it was. And some of us did so with some fear and worry, after all TB like diphtheria and polio were major illnesses. Craske compounded things by not inviting those with suspicious lungs to his room either to say they needed another X-ray or follow-up, but would announce things from his stage home in the hall by name.You kind-of stood with everyone in a frozen state until the possible name announcement had passed.Talking of Craske R again does bring one back to assemblies.They were never pleasant affairs for there were people to be shamed and named, and yes, some to be praised. It was sheep and goats. Still, again, I got on with the said Head and kept in touch to near his end.
I partly gained his favour through my tennis for often the staff would be short of someone and I would be summoned to make up the foursome.
I mentioned earlier that I returned to the school as a master, for a while anyway, when Martin Lynch broke some bones, or was he ill? It was good to be part of a master’s room that was too small but had a buzz, and to become friends with my former teachers. It also entailed taking some A level lessons with the likes of Jane Simon and Jennifer Jasper at the Girl’s School. I recall Miss Milton encountering me. It was not to express pleasure at my skills being brought to bear in her impoverished school. She simply said, ‘Oh, you!” Jane had and doubtless still has the most sumptuous pins. It was always a pity we did not have closer relationship with either West Cornwall or St Clare. Both had boarders and were guarded with the kind of skill that an ex-SAS gentleman would admire.
So, I’m sure lots of stories will come flooding back once I’ve finished this. By and large they were good news.There were some very sad moments, as when one of my former class B mates John Care would die while at school, and when I read with some dismay and distress one Sunday of the loss of the Penlee lifeboat it as to remember someone who sat near me in 1B, John Blewett.
Of course the departed list will grow. Sorry about that last sentence! wishes tony jasper.j
Dudley Savage MBE (31)
Tributes to organist and ‘one of the greats’
An “enormously popular” Westcountry musician and personality in broadcasting and concert performance during four decades of the postwar years, Dudley Savage MBE, organist and presenter, has died aged 88.
His musicmaking took him throughout the UK and Europe and he built a powerful following through his BBC weekly hourlong radio request programme As Prescribed, broadcast from Plymouth’s splendid Royal Cinema at the centre of the city, when the organ was an integral part of the entertainment. So much so that when the programme was axed after 20 years a petition of protest produced 43,000 signatures and it was brought back.
His courtesy, charm and immaculate appearance, combined with great talent, made him a welcome voice and guest wherever he appeared and he retained a natural modesty and refreshing personality.
A Cornishman who delighted in local links and associations, Dudley was born at Gulval.near Penzance, where his mother was the village church organist and father worked at Barclays Bank, Penzance.
His sister, Gloria, was head teacher at the St Mary’s C of E School at Penzance. Both were taught music by St Mary’s distinguished parish church organist and composer, Dr Donald Behenna.
The veteran broadcaster died at a nursing home near Liskeard after a long illness. His wife, Doreen, died in 2003.Their two sons survive them.A private funeral service will be followed by a service of remembrance in memory of Dudley and his beloved wife, at a date to be announced. He was born in March 1920 and his first music teacher, on piano, was his mother, a farmer’s daughter. He went on to study and receive organ training from organists at Penzance and Truro Cathedral.
His progress was followed with great interest in West Cornwall and in his teens, in 1938, he became the cinema organist at Plymouth’s ABC cinema.
Called up for war service in I 940 he served with the Army in India, returning in 1946 to resume his career at the Royal.
The As Prescribed show, part of the West of England BBC service, had a great following, with Dudley as both presenter and organist following in the tradition of Sandy Macpherson on regular national wartime programmes before and during the television era. It began in June 1948 and continued until 1968. The public reaction to its ending was so powerful it returned the following year as a monthly show for a further 10 years, eventually moving to Radio 2. He also presented editions of TV’s Songs of Praise when the programme was hosted in Plymouth. 20
A close friend at Plymouth and BBC colleague, Joe Pengelly described him as “always a delightful and warm character and perfect gentleman. Apparently he also had a strong following on the continent, especially in Holland.”
The BBC made a recording of selections of his broadcast music and Joe had happy memories of compering some of his public conceits in Devon.The cinema organ was taken from Plymouth about two years ago and is now in London.
Dudley, for many years,”had organ, will travel” said admirer Douglas Williams, of Newlyn, who sang with him in Cornwall. “He travelled for performances with an organ that could be taken to churches and concert halls on a trailer and towed by car. “It was not easy to bring the organ to some remote Cornish churches and I especially recall one night when he arrived at Pendeen parish church, not easily accessible with its narrow approach lane.”He had a great night in a’capacity house’ with his easygoing manner and remarkable musicianship then packed everything together again and returned to Plymouth. He was always thoroughly professional and audiences loved his delight in his local roots. He was enormously popular.” Dudley also undertook concert tours of Europe and the UK, bringing music to many excra thousands of fans. The Cinema Organ Society said Dudley’s passing was “a great sadness” and that “he had delighted organ fans up and down the country as well as in Europe: Dudley was one of the last surviving organists from the great days when cinema organs were to be heard constantly on the wireless,”
Jonathan Mann, author, musician and organist, described him as “one of the greats”.
(As printed in the West Briton, December 2008)
We are also sad to report the following deaths:
Mrs Tean Rising. On 18 March 2008 at the age of 98. Her memorial service was attended by many old boys and staff which was a measure of the support she had given to Mr Rising, the School and latterly the Association. The School song was played at the end of the Service, a tribute to a wonderful lady.
William Eddie Jenkin (32). On 21 May 2008 at the age of 87, Egbert Eddie spent one year at Exeter University, then volunteered for the RAF where he served as a bomber pilot. He joined 70 Squadron flying Wellingtons in the Middle East. On demob he joined Penzance Borough Council then moved to London where he finished his career as Chief Revenue Officer for Havering Borough.
William (Bill) John Stevens (34). On 18 December 2007 at the age of 83, Bill served in the Homeguard in St Ives (pictured) along side Bernard Leach then serving in the DCLI in India and Burma before being commissioned into the Bengal Sappers and Miners Regiment, Indian Army. After the war he studied at the Royal School of Mines and became a mining engineer working at South Crofty, with Rio Tinto Mining in Spain and from 1956 with English China Clays at St Austell.
Gary Thompson (68) on 13 April 2008 aged 51 whilst serving with the Royal Auxiliary Airforce Regiment, killed in an explosion in Afghanistan. He was one of two aircraftmen killed in a blast in the Daman District of Kandahar Province. Gary is the oldest serving combatant to be killed in Afghanistan. In civilian life, he was Managing Director of Sherwood Ducting Ltd, in Nottingham. He leaves behind, his wife Jacqui and their five daughters.
Phillip Pengelly (40). In May at the age of 79, Phillip was a former English Language teacher and, after graduating from Southampton University, taught at various schools before returning to Penzance in 1976 as the Deputy Head of the Girls Grammar School, becoming Deputy Head of the Humphry Davy School in 1980. Retiring in 1989 he continued to teach for a few years.
Reg Hunter (31). On 20 November 2008 at the age of 87 in Derriford Hospital after an operation, as reported by his brother Mike (44). Reg attended the unveiling of the memorial window and particularly enjoyed the permission to wander around the School and relive old memories.
John (Jack) Wallis (32). On 3 May 2008 at the age of 84, Jack played football for the School and was a fluent speaker in both French and German, joining the Royal Navy and serving in Special Forces in the Atlantic, Pacific, SE Asia and Burma. His son, John tells us of his father’s many happy memories of school, including a strong dislike of Algebra, getting lost in cross country and scaling the fence in lesson time to go to the Savoy Cinema.
Douglas Thomas (40). Douglas died on 7 December 2007.
Alan Blewett (54). Alan died on 28 December 2007. Geoffrey Rogers (62). In March 2008 at the age of 56, Geoffrey farmed at Hellesveor Farm near St Ives after gaining a Degree in Agriculture at Newcastle.