Issue 16 (2011)
New Penwithian Issue 16 (2011)
Our Centenary Dinner was a great success and I am grateful to all those who supported the event, to Anthony Holman and his staff at the Queens for all their hard work and to Douglas Williams for the unexpected vote of thanks given to me. Sadly the official photographer, who has regularly turned up for the last 10 reunions, failed to appear; so we have no formal record of the occasion. If anyone out there did take a photograph, we would be delighted to have copies. A full report on the dinner appears later.
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has just passed and it was gratifying that the brave contribution made by Tammy Rescorla in the Twin Towers inferno was remembered in a ceremony beside his memorial in Hayle. We also in this edition give time to those who are remembered on our school war memorial and the service and sacrifice they gave for their fellows and country. However, we still have a shortfall in our memorial appeal so, if you have not yet given, please do. Further details are included in this newsletter together with a donation slip.
Next year, 2012, is the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen and I hope the article by Frank Blewett, ‘God Save The Queen’ will bring back countless memories of the celebrations and pageantry of her Coronation in 1953, particularly those old boys who made the trip to London Churchtown. If anyone has other memories of that era I am always looking for articles for the 2012 newsletter.
I have just re-read my first ‘Secretary’s Smidgin’ from the 2000 edition of the New Penwithian, where I wrote that the association gave old boys, who wanted to, the opportunity to meet and catch up with the past and that was the best that the association could ever hope to do. I hope we still manage to achieve that and I look forward to your continued support over the coming years.
Finally a word of thanks to John Richards our editor and printer and to our advertisers for their continued support – without them there would be no newsletter.
May I wish you all and your families a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.
See you at the reunion in the Queens on Thursday 29 December 2011.
Where are they Now?
‘By Memories Chain We Linked Remain’
The centenary dinner and the appeal for the war memorial have generated a ﬂurry of correspondence as well as the usual visits to the North Inn. BARRY LAMBE (54) was one of the ﬁrst to write in after receiving the 2010 New Penwithian. He points out that FAG BITTERN was his year not 55. (sec’s note: Bittern joined the school in his second year hence 55). Early in the year PAUL WORTH (74) called in to buy centenary mugs and collect the HDGS blazer cap and tie that he had loaned for the centenary open days. He was accompanied by his daughter a pupil in Year 9 at the present HD School. Paul is now working at West Comwall Hospital. LIONEL POLLARD (47), who in many ways was the instigator of the centenary dinner came over from Newlyn in the New Year with his cousin LEN JEWELL (37). Lionel won the magnum of claret at the centenary dinner draw and had at that stage still to taste it. Lionel turned up later in the year to see us with a small gift of an apron and book from his home in France to say thank you to me for organising the dinner: thank you Lionel.
I am grateful to JOHN BOTTLE (45) who back in 2010 sent me an email to say that MIKE MOSS (43) had been awarded the MBE. He reminded me that I had promised to include it in the next newsletter which I failed to do. Sorry John but more importantly our congratulations to Mike Moss on receiving the honour. JOE MATTHEWS (45) writes that he was sad to read of the death of Jim Matthews. He says he got his best PT report ever when Stan Harris muddled up the two of them. He never asked Jim what was written on his report. IAN CAMPBELL (44) wrote in October to say how much he was looking forward to receiving this newsletter. He admits that he has not kept in touch with old school mates but has recently made contact in Australia with a former girl from the Penzance Girls Grammar School. He says it is a long story with no fairy tale ending but it is good to keep in touch with a girl he travelled with on the bus 65 years ago. Watch out Ian!
PAUL SNELL (65) writes to say how much he enjoyed the dinner but as far as he could tell he was the only old boy from his year and that made him pause for thought on how some of the younger pre-retirement old boys may be encouraged to attend reunions: any ideas? DON RUHRMUND (59) has helped to ﬁll in a few more blanks on the prefects’ picture in the Picture Gallery of the 2010 newsletter. He identiﬁes Roger Freeman, David Lay, middle back row and Chris Hooley front right and possibly Rickard, Davy and Penrose in there somewhere. JIMMY WIHTE (32) writes from Bristol with his donation to the memorial and asks what happened to the plaques and shields in the assembly hall. I could only tell him that when the school closed in 1980 there was a deep cleansing of all things pertaining to the grammar school but some things did go to Penwith College (the old Girls’ Grammar), some were saved by John Pollard, the Deputy Head and an Old Penwithian. Coincidentally I had a phonecall from a relation of HUGH MINERS (29) who died a couple of years ago to say that they had found a shield from the 30’s with the names of his Cricket XL Does anyone know what happened to the plaques and honour boards? It is rumoured that they were riddled with woodworm and went to the skip!
HORTON BOLITHO (43) and son SCOTT (72) called in to see us. I am glad to report that his school journal which he lent to us for the centenary exhibition has been located. He has also sent me the Tom Petters story. When during an air raid, Mott, looking like a refugee from Agincourt, was patrolling the area in front of the school, where there was a row of Anderson shelters, he spotted John Tulley leaning out to talk across the gap. The result was 3 conduct marks for “attempted suicide”. Horton is pretty sure that John Tulley, normally law abiding, was the ﬁrst boy to receive the cane from TCR. We were also pleased to see GAVIN TONKIN (58) who visited the North Inn in June all the way from Huddersﬁeld.
In July, I was given a copy of the 1939 ‘Penwithian’ by HEDLEY NICHOLS (39) who came up to the North Inn to celebrate his 82nd birthday with his nephew ROY NICHOLLS (59). The ‘Old Boys’ News’ in the magazine reports that F Hosken of Sancreed had 1st prize in team for judging dairy cows at the Royal Cornwall Show. It surely must be the same Frank Hosken, our oldest old boy to attend the centenary dinner. In that year just before the outbreak of the Second World War the annual reunion and dinner was held at Chirgwin’s Café and the annual dance in the school gymnasium. Finally we have just had a visit from an old Pendeener, DOUGLAS FORSYTH (66), now living near Bath and retired from the banking world.
There have been many other regular visitors to the North Inn and letters accompanying donations to the memorial appeal. I am sorry that I cannot include them all but keep writing and visiting.
Centenary Dinner 2011
MR FRANK HOSKEN, well known retired farmer and lay preacher from St Buryan was one of the eldest, if not the oldest, surviving old boys to attend, as a guest of honour, the Centenary Dinner of the Old Penwithians Association which was held on 29 December 2011 at the Queens Hotel, Penzance. He was joined by 117 other distinguished guests and old boys who sat down to an excellent four course dinner. Guests included the Town Mayor, Councillor Jan Ruhrmund and her consort Frank Ruhrmund, himself one of the more senior old boys present; Maurice Hogg, a senior master at the Penzance/Humphry Davy Grammar School for 30 years from 1950 to its closure as a grammar school in 1980; Margaret Woolcock the President of the Girls Grammar School Old Girls Association; and from the present Humphry Davy School the Head Teacher Bill Marshall, Katherine Uren the Chair of Governors and Simeon Royle Assistant Head Teacher.
The dinner was the culmination of the year- long celebrations which had been held at the school and in the town to mark the centenary of the school. These have included open days at the school, a cricket match, musical concerts and workshops including the premiere performance in St John’s Hall of a piece of music by old boy Rikky Rooksby, entitled ‘Scenes from the Life of Humphry Davy’, a composition which was commissioned by the association.
In keeping with the centenary theme the menu reﬂected the four houses of the grammar school and in some cases a reminder of the meals enjoyed in the old school canteen; with Godolphin Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, St Aubyn Seafood au Gratin, Treneere Steak and Mushroom Pie and Trelawney Spotted Dick and Custard. Grace was said by Dr Amold Derrington DFC the second most senior old boy present.
In his introduction to the toast to the Old Penwithians Association, Secretary, Andrew Coak, recalled that the association had nearly collapsed after the closure of the Grammar School in 1980 but was revived in the mid-nineties after a series of year reunions and was now once again a thriving association, but it was also a ﬁnite one and one day would be no more. He hoped that there could still be the odd Old Penwithian around to celebrate the 150th anniversary but such an old boy would then be in his 90’s as he would have joined the school 50 years on from 1930 when Frank Hosken entered the school. Frank gave the toast to “the Old Boys of the School”. He recalled his time at St Buryan School and compared the differences to his educational life when he entered what was then the Penzance County School. He remembered that he had escaped the cane from Mr (‘Boss’) Bradley, by keeping out of trouble. In his toast he particularly remembered those Old Penwithians no longer with us and those who had served and given their lives in the service of their country.
The toast to “the old Grammar School” was given by Maurice (Boris) Hogg who had stood in for Mr WR Smith, the last of the four grammar school headmasters, who unfortunately was unable to attend. Mr Hogg reminded everyone that the old school was made up of 4 components the bricks and mortar which had changed little in its 70 years, the staff over 200 of them, the governors and of course the students themselves. He said that the old boys present gave a true indication of the achievements of the 6148 old boys who had passed through the school. He referred to the custom of announcing the day’s anniversary during school assembly, the research for which, he as Head of History had been responsible. He had been unable to ﬁnd a suitable national occasion for the day of the 29th December. However, he had found a local anniversary, which was perhaps not the best example for such a celebratory occasion, the sinking of the HMS “Anson” in 1807 off Low Bar when over 100 lives were lost.
The ﬁnal toast, given by Bill Marshall, the present Head of Humphry Davy School, was to “the School and its Future”. He talked of the achievements during the more recent history of the school and looked forward to the next 100 years.
An unexpected vote of thanks to the Secretary Andrew Coak for the organisation of the event was given by well-known local writer and journalist Douglas Williams, who entered the school in 1942. He did also comment that he had been surprised that no mention had been made of Mrs Ruby Sibson one of the few lady teachers on the staff. Mention of her name raised a loud cheer from all present and the evening ﬁnished with the traditional hearty singing of the School Song, accompanied on the piano by Dr Nick Marston.
During the evening a raffle and sale of centenary mugs and T shirts were held in aid of the School War Memorial Appeal and over £320 was donated.
Sec’s Note: Alas the photographer did not turn up as he has done for the past 10 reunions so it is a great shame that we have no record of this important milestone. Is there anyone out there who took a photo on the night?
God Save the Queen
ONE day in 1952 the whole school stopped work to sit silently as a radio broadcast announced that King George VI had died and his eldest daughter was to succeed and be crowned Elizabeth II. Soon after this it was arranged for schools to send as many children as possible to see the decorations that had been erected throughout London to celebrate the coronation. Trainloads of children descended on the Capital from all over the country. I was one of the lucky ones and with ﬁve others in our compartment we fooled around all the way from Penzance to Paddington.
The compartments in steam trains were far from clean due to the soot content of the engine’s effluent which was not all steam. In a short space of time the crisp white shirts, that our mothers had washed and ironed for the big day, were grey. We were all ﬁlthy from raising the soot and dust mainly by jumping up and down on the seats, but managed to quit our high jinks and sit angelically when the duty master sauntered by. Upon arrival at London having not rested at all and in an exhausted state we were ushered from the train to coaches to tour the city and see the sights and decorations in the streets. The coach had hardly left Paddington when one by one we all fell asleep to slumber soundly throughout the whole of the tour. We had lunch somewhere which woke us up a bit after which we all boarded a sight-seeing boat on the River Thames. As it pulled out yet again, one by one everyone in our small group nodded off only to be awoken at the end of the trip in order to disembark and get back on the awaiting coach, upon which we slept on the journey to Paddington Station. We were then marshalled back on to the return train when again our six entered another ﬁlthy compartment. In which we remained rowdily all the way to Penzance. When I got home, despite being whacked out I was asked to describe in detail what I had seen. Needless to say it was all pretty tricky to explain as was the state of my clothes.
These recollections of the excursion to see the sights and decorations adorning the route of the coronation procession are crystal clear in my memory but as I have explained I didn’t actually see anything. It would seem that any sense of occasion and history had not quite developed in this small posse of ‘49ers in ‘52.
God Save the Queen.
Frank Blewett (49)
Shortfall for the School War Memorial Appeal
THE appeal for the refurbishment of the Old Penwithians War Memorial which we launched in December 2010 has now reached a total of £1795. Donations have been received from all over the country; from old boys, from the families of old boys remembered on the memorial and from people with ties in the local community. A raffle was also held at the centenary dinner raising £320.
Unfortunately, the total collected is still £705 short of the £2,500 target, the minimum sum needed to match any grant from the Memorial Trust to cover the estimated cost of £5,000. Before the association and the present Humphry Davy School, custodians of the memorial, can proceed further with a grant application we will need to have in hand this sum of £2,500. We are also a little concerned that the estimate for refurbishment is now out of date and that costs will have risen. The association is now appealing once again to anyone whether it be old boy, family or just anyone with connections to the school to make further donations to the appeal so that we can proceed with the work. The ideal solution would be to raise the entire sum of £5,000 from donations. This would mean that there would be no need to go down the grant route which is still an uncertain one. Another article has recently appeared in The Cornishman and contributions have begun to trickle in once again. If you have not yet given and wish to do so, any sum, large or small will be gratefully received. A donation slip with details of where to send money etc is enclosed with this newsletter.
Family War Stories from the Memorial
Some of those who donated to the war memorial appeal did so in memory of family members. The appeal resulted in some very interesting historical facts about old boys whose names are recorded on the boards being revealed. They help to bring to life some of the names on the memorial. Here are some of the stories:
Charles Tonkin (10): Charlie Tonkin was a Sergeant in the DCLI. He died of wounds on 30 June 1918 age 23 at a casualty clearing station. He was employed as a clerk by GWR prior to enlistment and he is interred in the Aire Coimnunal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. This information was originally sent in by his nephew William Tonkin and appeared in the 2006 ‘New Penwithian’.
John Thorburn White (10) and Leslie Graham White (10): John Thorburn White was the grandfather of Phil White (62). He was a gunner in The Royal Artillery and suffered shell shock during the war. He farmed all his life, apart from the war years, at Boscathnoe Lane, Heamoor. His brother, Graham White, served in the DCLI. He went on to become a long standing Chairman of the School Governors and farmed at Croft Hooper near Crowlas.
Francis Redvers Jago (13) and James Walter Jago (12): The name Jago features twice on the roll of honour and I am grateful to Darrell Jago from Plymouth and john Jago from Goldsithney who have both written in with a wealth of information on their family’s involvement in WW1. Darrell’s father was Francis Redvers Jago who served in the Devons and Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and spent most of his service in Ireland and survived to go to America and then return in 1922 to join his father’s company TF Jago & Son at Marazion. John’s father, James Walter Jago, served in the Royal Flying Corps at various airﬁelds in the UK. He was demobbed in 1919 and became a ship’s engineer serving on the Blue Funnel Line travelling to China and Russia. He returned to Penzance and was the Borough of Penzance Water Superintendent before the Drift Dam was built. In all 5 of the Jago family siblings served during the First World War. Apart from Francis and James, Joseph Walter served in the RGA Territorials, including 3 years in France, Thomas Bennett in the Devons and sister May as a Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD) nurse. Francis Redvers is reported to have said ‘I think the Jago’s served their country well and were blessed that all came back safely’.
Richard John Penrose (11) and Matthew Rowe Penrose (13): Nan Butler the daughter of Richard and niece of Matthew writes in on behalf of herself and her sister Marie Folkedal. Richard and Matthew from St Just were both early pupils and were fortunate to survive trench warfare and live to a ripe old age. She did not tell me where they served.
A Richards (11): Private Ambrose Richards served in France with the 2nd Devons and went on to teach Maths, Art and Science from 1921 to 1925 at PCS and was eventually Head of Marazion Primary School. He was taught by Mr Bradley as was his son Tony Richards (41) who wrote in to tell me about his father.
JP Harvey (11): JP Harvey was the father of Percy Harvey (38) and Bill Harvey (40) who tell me that their father was a stoker in the Royal Navy on the “Duchess of Norfolk”, a ship requisitioned by the Navy from the railways. “The Duchess of Norfolk” was a paddle steamer and was employed on mine sweeping duties in Malta for 12 months, 1917-18 before going up into the Aegean to Gallipoli for further mine sweeping duties. On demob in 1919 he joined his father’s building ﬁrm and his ﬁrst task was to draw up a quote for the Mousehole War Memorial .
H Fox (14): Sgt Fox’s nephew Michael Fox tells me that his uncle played for the school first X1 and his name was recorded on the cricket shields in the main hall. We know nothing of Sgt Fox’s service. Michael went on to emulate his uncle and gained his lst X1 cricket cap in 1949/50.
Albert Newton Hosken (12): Eric Hosken (34) has generously donated to the memorial restoration in memory of his uncle Albert who served with the Gloucester Regiment and was killed in action on 19 September 1918 near Bethune. Eric still has Albert’s wallet complete with the bullet hole, which was sent to his family by the War Ofﬁce together with a signed letter from King George V. He was buried in the Le Vertannoy Cemetery, Hinges France. Eric’s father William Hosken was a sapper with the Royal Engineers and served at Pashcendaele. He attended Mabbots School in Penzance.
With his donation to the memorial Tony Casey included some very interesting and pertinent information from the 1917 edition of ‘The Penwithian’. Here are some of the entries recorded in the Old Boys’ article of that year’s magazine.
CE Bird (14): “It is with much regret that we record the death in action of CE Bird, Lieut. Royal Fusiliers. Bird, who came home from India to take up a commission was only at the school for a short time. He was home on leave about 3 weeks previous to his death. Much sympathy will be extended to the widowed mother who has now lost 3 sons in the war. The fourth and sole remaining son also holds a commission.”
AG Harrison (10): “AG Harrison has been ﬂying as a pilot in the RFC in France and has been in England on leave after recovering from the effects of a crash. We were pleased to see him looking ﬁt and well after his slight accident”.
C Anthony (12): “Many rumours have circulated about Gunner Cyril Anthony from St Ives. I am glad to be in a position to state deﬁnitely that he has not been killed. He was recently wounded in the head at Ypres. His friends will be glad to hear that he is progressing favourably in a London hospital”.
Also of interest, in 1917 they were already discussing the idea of a war memorial, in fact, several subscriptions were returned. It was considered that the School should wait until the end of the War and then do the thing in a satisfactory manner. There was also the unhappy possibility of more casualties.
Finally thanks to Margaret Williams (nee Angove), an ex. Penzance Girls’ Grammar School pupil from St Levan, now living in Wales, we have another photograph of the memorial taken in 1925. She contacted us after reading the article on the memorial in The Cornishman last year. She writes: “Although I never remember seeing the memorial in reality, I am very familiar with it. My uncle, Morgan Hosking from Newlyn, a conductor of the Penzance Orchestral Society for many years, was a pupil at PCS and played violin in the school orchestra. A photograph of the orchestra was taken in 1925 in front of the memorial and I included this in my centennial history of the Penzance Orchestral Society ‘The Food of Love’ which was published in 2007.”
Sadly we have to report the death of the following Old Penwithians:
COLIN KEMPTHORNE (43)
On 14 ]uly 2010 aged 79. While at school Colin played the lead part, Thomas Becket in the 1951 school production of ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ and was a keen cyclist and a gifted pianist. He studied French at Manchester University and then Poitiers and the Sorbonne. He returned to England and taught Latin and French but also became a novitiate monk for one year in the Benedictine order. He retired to Penzance and became very interested in researching the work of Blaise Pascal, writing in French on Pascal’s thoughts and philosophies. He was a member of the Pascal Society in France and attended and spoke at their conferences becoming an international expert on the subject.
I am grateful to John Bottle, John Harper and Graham Grafton, contemporaries and friends of Colin, for their inputs on Colin’s life.
JAMES EDWARD PASCOE (36)
On 8 Feb 2011 aged 87. Jim Pascoe was a long standing friend of Dr Desmond Pengelly (34), who remembers him as ‘Stripes’, because he had previously attended Falmouth Grammar School where they wore striped blazers. He left school after School Cert and trained as a pharmacist with Boots. He worked in the London School of Pharmacy and branched out into Physiology and obtained a BSc. A sideways move took him to the Physiology Dept. of University College London where he rapidly progressed, retiring eventually as Reader Emeritus in Physiology. Following his retirement he returned to Cornwall. Desmond will always remember him as a great stimulator of logical scientiﬁc thought and as a constant friend.
MICHAEL HOWARTH (55)
On 27 Feb 2011 aged 68. Pupil from 1955-57. Read Modem languages at Oxford and returned as a member of staff teaching Latin and French from 1966-68. Qualiﬁed with his wife Heather as Librarians and worked at York and Bristol Universities specialising in Modern languages and Classics. In 2004 he became Assistant Librarian in Exeter Cathedral until 2009. Heather tells me that he read through his copy of ‘Three Score Years and Ten’ the day it arrived. His funeral was held in Exeter Cathedral where he had been a server for 20 years.
LANCE BROWN (44)
On 26 Feb 2011 aged 78. His son Philip writes that he was born in London in September 1932 the son of a publican. In the early stages of WW2 he was evacuated ending up in Penzance and attended PGS. He wrote of the experience in the 2009 newsletter ‘An Evacuee to Penzance’. His evacuation had a deep and positive effect on him and he carried with him deep gratitude to the Symons family for the way they took him into their home and their lives. In adult life he continued the family ties with the drinks trade through operating wine shops and positions within brewery sales anagement. In the last 15 years of his working life he was San Miguel’s UK agent and this proved to be his most enjoyable part of his career. He moved to Reigate in 1963 and remained in and around the town until his death.
BRIAN SMITH (42)
In March 2011; thank you to Peter Luke (47) for letting us know about Brian. He was a St Ives boy and eventually ended up working in the Guildhall at St Ives. Peter recalls that there is a photo of him as a mall boy holding up Brian then in the sixth form with a props gun in a school play.
TONY PEARCE (49)
On 11 July 2011 Anthony Edward Pearce aka ‘Pearcie’
True Grit Old Penwithian
A tribute from Brian Coak aka Coco
‘Friendships are often fused in heaven and on Cornish schools playing ﬁelds’. Anon
At Lescudjack Primary School Penzance at lunch time we used to play ‘milk tops‘, against the wall, or kick around a tennis ball. I booted the ball across to a dark curly headed cheerful lad nearby who kept picking up the ball and throwing it to me with two hands. I surmised that this fellow had been brought up with the oval ball? I knew him as ‘Pearcie’ and he knew me as ‘Coco’.
It was 1949 the beginning of our ﬁrst term at Penzance Grammar School (PGS). We ﬁled into the granite stone portals waiting to be allotted our classrooms as our proud maters watched the maroon blazer-clad lads disappear inside. I made my way to Class 1B which was a wooden, motley hutted structure next to the lower football pitch. Pearcie was allocated to crummy Hut 1C. The following year both Pearcie and I found ourselves in 2A, form master, Joe ‘Tuﬁk’ Pascoe. Pearcie was a brighter lad than me and went through the science stream taking maths, chemistry and physics with one Harry Otto & ‘MOT’ while I skived along quietly in the arts stream learning little.
We were in the sixth form and I saw Pearcie’s end of term report where Elvet wrote, “As cheerful and lazy as ever”. Another Elvet true remark was “Pearce, if personality, cheerfulness and laziness counted for anything, you will be Prime Minister: unfortunately hard work and diligence are required in this world, so you will probably be hanged.” I have always thought that these remarks were most unjust.
We both started to swim competitively at an early age and swam for the school and played water polo for Penzance ‘Tiddlers’ and the junior team. Later we were both selected for Cornwall Juniors.
My cheerful chum worked through the house rugby teams and in 1953 Pearcie was appointed as captain of the PGS First XV. Pearcie was a forward and a tough hooker while I played centre. There was a good compliment from St Ives well supported by Tammy Rescorla and Sully Sullivan from Hayle. Most Saturday mornings the School ﬁrst XV played against other schools. In the afternoons Pearcie played for the Pirates Colts. I played for St Ives Colts while our hard men rivals Sully and Tammy played for Hayle Colts. Tony was leaving PGS heading for Cambome School of Mines (CSM) studies but while playing for the last time for PGS XV against Mounts Bay he got crunched and ended up in West Cornwall Hospital Not long after he had a motor bike accident and ended up in WCH again which shorted out his studies at CSM.
The Malaya emergency and Korean War (1950-1953) led to the December 1948 National Service Amendment Act lengthening conscription for two years. As these small wars dragged on reaching 18 years many of the old PGS school rugby team were called up to serve in the armed forces. The writer went into the Grenadier Guards on a Thursday and on Saturday was playing rugby for the Guards Depot at Caterham against the Royal Engineers in Chatham. After basic training I was thinking off joining the Guard’s Paras or the SAS for a bit of action. However, I managed to ﬂuke my WOSB and was commissioned into the DCLI and seconded to ‘White Man’s Grave’ Nigeria in the Western African Frontier Force (WAFF) the One Queen’s Own Nigeria Regiment (IQONR). I heard that Pearcie joined the Devon & Dorsets. He too received an NS Commission into the DCLI. I wrote to him and urged him to request a secondment to the WAFP. Pearcie duly arrived in Nigeria and was posted to the Recce Squadron in Kaduna in north Nigeria. I was stuck in the East. I played in the Port Harcourt Sevens while Pearcie played for the Kaduna Club XV. There was no chance to play together or against each other unfortunately. Playing against the Nigerian Police Pearcie was crunched again and taken to hospital with 11 stitches in his head. Back in the clubhouse there was a shout from the police superintendent in charge of the police XV, “Where is that bloody Cornishman then?” It was Doffy Behenna’s brother!
I wrapped up my military career in Enugu in the east (later the site of the Biafra genocide war) and was on my bike to ‘blighty’. After leaving Enugu on a rickety DC 10 I arrived in warm Kaduna to be met by one 2nd Lt. Anthony Edward Pearce again. We polished off a few beers before I left for Sokoto to catch my connection to Germany leaving Pearcie on the tarmac.
The DCLI was soon amalgamated with the Somersets. Smart Pearcie served on and received a regular commission in March 1961. Unfortunately in Nigeria he went down with malignant tertian malaria and was sent back to Germany for treatment. He soon gave up his regular commission and was working in Grays Essex as a work study engineer. He played rugby there and was President of the Lions Club. During this period he passed the Foreign Oﬂice & Excise exams but was unable to take up an appointment with the FCO as he was unable to return his appointment letter on time. Shame! He could have joined me in Hong Kong and played rugby together again.
The next time I was in Penzance on leave from Hong Kong I found Pearcie at home suffering a bout of malaria. At some time Pearcie became the manager of the Admiral Benbow Restaurant and ran the Maritime Museum in Chapel Street, Penzance. He then joined a local company maintaining Council property. Whenever I was on leave from Hong Kong I always used to visit Pearcie and his wife Christine in Penzance and chat about old school times and the gals we used to chase. From 2009 to the end of 2010 we kept in touch on the ‘net. We each used to write short stories to amuse each other. From 2010 Tony’s health began to suffer and despite many uncomfortable medical procedures he remained as cheerful as ever in his correspondence or chatting on the blower. He never complained. He showed true grit and a Cornish rugby player to the end.
Anthony Edward Pearce of Penzance aged 73 ﬁnally went ‘offline’ peacefully on Monday 11 July 2011 at Treliske Hospital. Beloved husband of Christine, loving ‘Papa’ of the late daughter Clare, family and friends attended the funeral service held at The Kernow Chapel Paramount Crematorium Truro on Tuesday 2 August at 10.30 am.
We miss you Pard!