Written by Mike Senyard (A. 1950-53)
Sunday, 18 June 2006

I read with much enjoyment Pat Lyford’s affectionate recollections of his masters’ nicknames and mannerisms in issue 18 of the Pelican. I fully endorse Pat’s comment that he was very fortunate to have had the masters that he mentions. I would like to add my own very minor contribution to his list.

Bill Stewart was in no small part christened ‘The Duke’ by Duncan Stewart (A. 1947-52) soon after he became headmaster in the summer term 1950. My own particular cherished thoughts of him include the three main points of advice that he gave to the 1953 leavers. Firstly – don’t come back and hang around the school after you leave, but wait until you can afford a good suit. Secondly – real men do not wear jewellery and thirdly – watch out for women, they can be fickle.

R L Farnell - the body of Cromwell was ‘hanged’ not ‘hung’ you horrible boy!

Leslie George Upson - much is unprintable, particularly with regard to the change to white webbing for the CCF.

RSM Beckitt - if anyone yawned during PT he would threaten a hard punch between ‘wind and water’. A ‘twisting’ was his form of punishment if things became slack on PT. The source of his tobacco probably did come from the bottom of lamp posts as he claimed. Those unlucky enough to be awarded a major school drill are unlikely to have forgotten the experience. He was, in fact, a super chap with a caring disposition.

Major Campbell - housemaster of School House who introduced white webbing for the CCF – what problems he caused us all. Firstly scrubbing the webbing (belt and gaiters) so that the old colour did not show through and then applying an even coating to white blanco which was not so thick that it cracked, but at the same time, highlighted the weave of the webbing.

Peter Gough - whose acting skills reached into his physics laboratory and whose role of a goldfish in a glass fronted symphonic cistern of a gentlemen’s’ toilet terminated with him flapping on the floor and then rising gradually to his feet (still flapping) as the cistern re-filled, will be remembered by all witnesses.

B H P Boddy - whose geography of Britain seemed to concentrate on the Tees/Exe line and the coal fields. When asked to name the coal fields I remember Bob Alexander (C. 1950-55) offering as a starter, Sutton Coalfield, and the reaction that it generated!

Mr Frith (Nero - above) - a very human master who combined discipline with good humour. The above photo was taken by Pat Lyford at the end of the autumn term in 1952 – showing ‘Nero’ in false glasses and nose. In the background are L to R – Bob Stephens (H. 1950-52), myself and David Downey (D. 1949-53).

There were of course many more and Pat Lyford is correct by stating that he was fortunate. Indeed we were all very fortunate to have had masters such as these.

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