JRGS News Archive Page 90
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 90 - Nov 2018 thru Jan 2019 -

JRGS Alumni Society

  

 Steve Tyler (JRGS 1966-74) reports on football-playing alumni from the Fifties...

Wearing my hat as Croydon Amateurs historian and archivist, I noticed that The Mill recently included an image of school football teams from 1949-50, as can be seen below; Peter Oxlade (JRCS 1940-44) supplied these files after a visit to see Charles Smith (JRGS teacher 1942-78). The names in the caption caught my eye: namely Bill Prior, Laurie Montague and Melvyn Williams, as players of those names turned out at the Croydon Arena in the Fifties.
   Does anyone know whether they were one and the same, please? Looking at the ages of the players in 1949, and bearing in mind that Croydon Amateurs FC was founded in 1953 when these would have been adults, I put two and two together and have hopefully made four - Mr. "Smut" Smith would be proud!
   And these chaps weren't school friends of mine; I wasn't even born at that time!

JRGS football teams 1949/50

Stephen Tyler, South Croydon, Surrey; January 2019 Email

Julian Chenery (JRHS 1969-75) adds: I played in the same Ruskin team as Reggie Gaston, Cliff Gould and Teddy Dunne - all superb players. We won the U16 Croydon Schools Football League in 1973, and lost the Cup Final 2-0 against Selhurst (I think) which was played up at Fairchildes.
   I also played football with "Slug" Tyler for the Second XI when I was in the Sixth Form – and down at Bingham Rec.

Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) adds: In reply to Steve Tyler, I played school football with Laurie Montague, Bill Pryor and Melvyn Williams - I appear in the back row of the photo). Although I have no concrete evidence, I think it very likely that they are the same as appear in the archive of the Arena. All three left school at 16 (Laurie at 15) in, I think, 1951. Laurie went to Fulham for two years but was deemed too small.
   A few additions and corrections to the photo. The unknown goalkeeper in the back row is Paine. In between Alan Sherman and Alan Deane in the second row is Dickie Burnley. Fourth from the left in the front row is Blundell. Paddy Bristone in the back row should read Paddy Bristowe; Eric Muggeridge, also in back row, should read Ernie Muggeridge.

Ray "Sprout" Young (JRGS 1950-55) adds: I played in the school football teams from the Fifth Eleven (Class 1) to First Eleven in the fifth form. When I was in the Third Eleven, Mr. "Smithy" Smith would sometimes slip me into the Forth Eleven or even the Fifth Eleven, as I wasn't a big player. I was, though, very nippy and fast - I tried to emulate the late great Jimmy Greaves, The Burglar. He always stayed just on-side and scored most of his goals from inside the six-yard box.
   In 1955, I pestered Alan Montague (Laurie's brother) to sign me up to the JR Old Boys FC, then playing in the Second Division of the Thornton Heath League. He did, and I started playing in September 1955. That year we had a strong side and I scored 26 goals in the season to put us top of the league and into the First Division. Not only that, JR Old Boys won five rounds of the Thornton Heath Cup to put us in the final for the first time in the team's history.
   We lost 2-3 in the final against Powers Samas (the large technical engineering firm) on their ground. Laurie Montague got a brilliant first and I headed the second from a ballooned "route one" clearance by Roy Odd, our left back. The ball bounced high over their centre half, the goalkeeper came running out to the edge of the penalty box but I just beat him to it to head into the open goal, crashing into him as he tried to clear. At half time we led 2-1 before a crowd of 350. This was in March 1956.
   Our team was Goal John Smith, 2 Dave Morgan, 3 Roy Odd, 4 Harold Bailey, 5 John Rickard, 6 Alan Montague, 7 Ron Montague, 8 Ray Young, 9 Fred Drain, 10 Laurie Montague and 11 Maurice Stretton. In the summer of '56 I was offered a trial with Dulwich Hamlet FC, which then was in the top amateur Isthmian League. I was successful and played for them until 1962.
   I knew Melvyn Williams but don't remember playing football with him. But Laurie Montague I definitely recall, together with his brothers Alan and Ron. Laurie lived near me with Hazel his wife in Devonshire Way, Shirley. We used to travel together to matches. When Steve Tyler asked "Are they one in the same" I'm not quite sure what he means. I can only say if they went on to play for Croydon Amateurs, they were both JRGS boys and it must have been around 1957-60.
   I am 80 now and I have amazed myself with remembering the Cup Team! They were such fun days.

Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) adds: Thanks for all our webmaster's efforts with The Mill. It continues to make interesting reading, although it contains few names from my era! Among those I recognise are Tony Childs, whom I recall as being a fair-haired lad in my day. Bob Wane, too, was a year or two behind me but I got to know him rather better later when we were on the same Maths degree course; I think Bob had started it straight from school while I'd spent a year out with Handley Page doing design and performance calculations for the Victor aircraft fuel system. After the first year, that included some rather obscure aspects of pure maths so I switched to Mechanical Engineering that was more relevant to my experience at HP, since I was expecting to return there during all my future summer vacations and later.
   Another name from my time was Geoffrey Child who, unlike Tony Childs, was not a footballer! Don't get the wrong idea but I have preciously mentioned Father Tony Nye. Something I didn't mention was his performance as Lady Bracknell in a December 1949 school production of The Importance of being Ernest, when his query "In a Handbag?" was worthy of any great actress! Geoffrey Child appeared in that same play as Gwendolen, with Derek Howes as, I think, Canon Chasuble, and Owen Everson in a role that I cannot remember. I think that play was one of the best done in my time at JRGS and made a lasting impression on my parents, who loved it. [ML adds: According to the school-play program, Owen Everson played John Worthing, JP, with Derek Howes taking the role of Lane, Mr. Moncrieff's servant, and Bernard Leadbeater as Canon Chasuble. John Eveleigh played Gwendolen Fairfax, Lady Bracknell's daughter.)
   As to Bob Wane's suggestion of a Blue Plaque for the old school, I joined the school in 1945/46 after returning to Croydon from South Wales, where my father had been sent in 1940. The JRGS Headmaster at that time was Mr. McLeod, whom I recall as a loved disciplinarian! He was a fair man who was succeeded by Mr. "Joe" Lowe. At that time the school had not long been transformed from a Central School to Grammar status. I feel that the career successes of pupils such as Terry Morris and Owen Everson owed much to the staff we had at that time, although we possibly didn't realise it until much later.
   Incidentally, as a result of contact via The Mill, I have been able to have infrequent exchanges with John (Jack) Jackaman, who was a year behind me and who moved to Canada - he is now a retried Lt. Colonel of the RCAF. We have a common interest in aviation; Jack flew them while I merely had a hand in the design and test of some of their systems. My one opportunity to fly in them I declined when I saw the office conditions in the Avro Vulcan! I am claustrophobic to some degree and simply didn't fancy the conditions on offer in the Vulcan!

  

 Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) reports on JR college merger...

Last Tuesday, 22 January, John Ruskin College held its last governors' meeting as an independent college. On 1 February, 2019, it is to merge with East Surrey College, a further education/FE college based in Redhill, Surrey, with over 1,100 full-time and more than 9,000 part-time students that are studying courses ranging from vocational qualifications to community leisure. The decision to seek a partner was not an easy one; alumni members acquainted with the FE sector in UK will know that there were about 30 college mergers last year, and that many of them were of smaller colleges with larger ones. Some, but not ours, were between totally insolvent colleges with solvent ones.
   Small colleges are finding it very hard to survive under the relentless financial pressure on the sector by government. The expansion of sixth forms into all of Croydon's secondary schools led to a reduction in applications; in its turn that change also led to a reduction in applications from students likely to do well at Advanced Level, while those not likely to be accepted into their school sixth forms continued to apply. So the students did less well, applications continued to fall, and good teachers of Advanced Level were hard to come by - especially as teachers in FE are paid significantly less than teachers in schools. John Ruskin College decided a couple of years ago to stop offering A-Levels, since the provision was not doing it any good and was leaching money. So that impact, together with the continuing demographic fall that continues until 2020, led to a reduction in numbers. Which. in its turn, leads to a loss of income.
   Secondly, for a number of years the college had a contract with Croydon Council to take in students at 14 and 15 who could not easily be accepted into other schools, many of them coming into the country mid-year, often with English as a foreign language. There was never any suggestion that this was a bad thing for the students, who were then able to take their GCSEs early - or even after three years rather than two - and who were also able to progress to courses in the college. These students did very well, in fact. For whatever reason, and without notice or consultation, the council decided to invite three other providers to deliver education to this cohort, and suddenly the income from this source fell by three-quarters. We do not know how well the other providers are doing, nor why the decision was made.
   Shown below are the John Ruskin College (left) and East Surrey College main entrances.

John Ruskin College East Surrey College, Redhill, Surrey

We had taken up the government's challenge to increase our apprenticeship offer, and had at one time more apprentices than any of the FE colleges in our area (Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Kingston, Richmond). The provision was, for the most part, successful and problems with providers were dealt with as they became apparent. But then the government changed its strategy for funding apprenticeships. I will not go into the details, but the result was that nation-wide the apprenticeship starts fell dramatically. Although there has been an increase, it is not for 16+ but for 19+ starts.

Short fall in expected income
To cut a long story short, our income fell short of expectations by £1.6m in a year, mostly for reasons outside our control. We have halved the deficit this year but the long-term prognosis is not good, and it is anticipated that there will be further cuts to a service already as lean as one can get without damaging the student experience.
   Anyway, we have had an interim Ofsted Report that states that we are Good; we were ranked the most improved college by the National Centre for Diversity; and fourth in their list of the Top 100 organisations with whom Ofsted work. Our results this year will be significantly improved on last year's, and we have a significant dowry to bring to East Surrey College, our preferred partner of the five we interviewed. Both colleges will retain their individual names and local identities under an umbrella new name; we anticipate that we will be advertising ourselves to potential students by the name we have held for nearly a century. However, we hope that we will be in a better position to offer more choices and to grow in a way it has been clear we can't afford to on our own.
   Mohammed Ramzan, the current principal, decided not to compete with the current principal of East Surrey College for the overall CEO's post and left us at Christmas. Currently, Tracy Andrews, our assistant principal, is acting principal until 1 February, when the East Surrey vice principal will become principal of John Ruskin College. No doubt there will be learning curves on both sides. Four of our governors as well as our staff and student governors will join the new board, including me - John Ruskin has not been able to shake me off since I joined the school in 1970!
   As far as the planned JRGS Reunion in 2020 is concerned, I have had oral reassurances that we can go ahead, but will need to ratify this with East Surrey. Which I will do as soon as possible, and get back to you all.
   Sorry to send such a long missive, but because I anticipate questions I'm trying to guess and answer them in advance as much as possible. Rest assured, this is a phoenix moment for John Ruskin - the king is dead: long love the king!

Anne Smith, Croydon, Surrey, February 2019 Email

Bob Wane (JRGS 1945-1953) adds: I read Anne Smith’s above contribution about the merger of John Ruskin College with East Surrey College with a growing sense of profound sadness. Judging from her narrative of the evolving situation that lead to the merger, I do not share her optimism for the future of our school. Rather than a “phoenix rising from the ashes “. I would say that over the years, John Ruskin Grammar School fought the good fight and died an honourable death. R.I.P.
   Now, in my opinion, JRGS is worthy of a English Heritage blue plaque fixed the wall of the old building in Tamworth Road with the inscription “John Ruskin School lived here 1935-1955”. But I would not bet on it with the current Croydon Council.

JRGS Blue Plaque

   In another 10 years or so, who will remember us?

Anne Smith replies: It's all very well to be gloomy when your relationship with JR is nostalgic only. But if those of us still associated with it today allowed ourselves to wallow, the quality of the service would go right down. We need to hope that we bring enough to the table to be taken seriously after merger.
   And I agree that the 100 years encompasses more than JRGS; more than the 14-18 high school; the sixth-form college under school's regulations; the sixth-form college under FE regulations; and the site of part of a new college. It's all of those - and I should know!

ML adds: Historically, I tended to refer to the website as "JRGS" for two simple reasons. One, the majority of early contributors came from my contemporaries that attended the school in the Fifties and Sixties, during which period the operation was, indeed, John Ruskin Grammar School; the name stuck. Secondly, it was a grammar school for a total of 26 years (1945-1971), compared to 25 years as a central school (1920-1945), and 20 years as a high school (1971 to 1991). I readily acknowledge that for the past 28 years (1991-2019) it has been a sixth-form college, but that is at a different location with a different educational focus. Mea culpa.
   Plans are afoot for next year's Centenary Reunion, at which time it might may sense to draw a reluctant veil over an adventure that began in December 2001 - when, during a meeting at The Sandrock pub in Shirley, the idea for The Mill was floated - then freeze the site and offer a self-running DVD version as an archive.
   Are there any objections from current alumni?
   BTW: I created a suggested plaque shown above in Adobe Photoshop using an image from the English Heritage website.

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Bob Wane's comments demonstrate a rather negative attitude. Anyway, the "GS" part of JRGS died years ago. I think that we should try and celebrate John Ruskin school in all its guises over the past 99 years.

Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) adds: Regarding the plans for next year's Centenary Reunion, "at which time it might may sense to draw a reluctant veil over an adventure that began in December 2001 ... freeze the site and offer a self-running DVD version as an archive," My Answer: I have no objections whatsoever. It's perfect timing, and a perfect end to a great interlude, a copy of which I will retain in my papers.

David Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) adds: I read the suggestion that it might be time to freeze the JRGS website and offer a DVD of its content. Just to say: "Yes" - I think this is good idea. The Website is brilliant but let's quit while it's at its best, and I think its time to release our webmaster of its burden. Thanks for the years Mel has put in; it is truly is a wonderful archive that I'm sure many other schools are envious of.
PS: I can't believe it will be 50 years this July since we watched the Moon Landings broadcasts on a black and white TV in the sixth-form common room with James Burke and Patrick Moore commentating. But, then, it was all faked by Hollywood wasn't it!

Richard "Tom" Thomas (JRGS 1957-64) adds: I consider that continuing The Mill is our webmaster's choice. However, my strong preference is for its continuation. In my opinion, The Mill provides the particular benefits of updates of Alumni news, memories and "electronic" memorabilia; together with being a point of contact for Alumni. It is a valuable history of John Ruskin Schools in Croydon since 1920, and a repository of many elements of local history in that period. My thanks and due credit to Mel for the considerable time and effort he has devoted over the years to establishing and maintaining The Mill.
   At the time of the 2015 Grand Ruskin Reunion, which we had run at John Ruskin College with their considerable help and co-operation, I had been delighted to hear of the college’s new provision of courses and services to meet the needs of a range of students. These had been set up under the leadership of the former principal, Mohammed Ramzan, together with the governors, and were realised with the hard work of the staff. However, I am sad to learn from Anne Smith’s communication of the destruction of these new courses and services by the rapid changes in central government policies, and by the unfathomable decisions of local government. In my opinion, the college's principal, governors and staff had worked with insight and efficiency in setting up the new courses and services. In this matter they should be lauded for their work and their achievements.
   I believe that the college will continue to provide an excellent service to its target students as it adjusts to the new circumstances. The college is the most recent link in the single, historic chain of John Ruskin Schools in Croydon since 1920, and I wish to remain associated with the college through this historic link.
   For the foregoing reasons, most certainly I would wish the 2020 Centenary Ruskin Reunion to be held at John Ruskin College, if that remains an option as presently indicated by Anne Smith.

Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) adds: Although I appreciate that The Mill produces a lot of work for our webmaster, which is much appreciated, I agree with "Tom" Thomas that it would be a great pity for it to cease to be active. The regular "bulletins" always produce something of interest and I enjoy reading them. It provides a medium for the transmission of information - for example, Anne Smith on the latest re-organisation - and also a means of communication that which would be otherwise unlikely to happen between alumni - for example with Karl Smith.
   Incidentally, as an old fart, what is a "self running DVD".

ML replies: It is a DVD that, when inserted into a Windows-capable PC's optical drive, automatically launches the website. Users of Macintosh OS will need to manually run the home-page HTML file, labeled index.html; instructions will be provided for neophyte computer users! And it has to be a DVD because The Mill's component files currently occupy 2.13 GBytes; a CD would not be large enough.

  

 Your webmaster updates progress with the ongoing Fairfield Halls renovations...

According to a news report in the current issue of MyCroydon News, Fairfield Halls in Central Croydon will finally re-open for business in September 2019, following a £30 million makeover. Often referred to as "The Southbank Centre's younger sister," the site - pictured below - has undergone extensive remodelling and revitalisation since being shuttered in July 2016. (Apparently, the discovery of asbestos within the 60-year old building delayed the project.)
   The opening date was confirmed by venue director Neil Chandler. According to Paula Murray, creative director at Croydon Council, “We were hoping that it would be open by the end of 2018, but the scale of uniqueness of Fairfield meant it has had to be a completely bespoke refurbishment. Croydon hasn't had Fairfield up to its full strength for more than a decade."

The newly refurbised Fairfield Halls in Central Croydon

   The large foyer will form an open-plan area with a bar that will host free events throughout the year; it will be known as the Arnhem Foyer, named after Croydon’s twin town in The Netherlands with which is has been linked since 1944. The foyer will also host exhibitions, the first from Jim Grover, a South London photographer, with his portraits of the Windrush generation. It is claimed that the new venue will be more eco-friendly, with LED lights, modern insulation and heating systems.
   There will be a new second entrance to the venue from Barclay Road to the side that formerly was referred to as the Arnhem Gallery. Renamed The Recreational (shown below), with a new extension the space it will serve as a live music venue; at Christmas it will be transformed into an ice rink. A new 200-seat performance space is being built above The Recreational, and which will be used for dance and theatre performances.

The newly refurbised Fairfield Halls in Central Croydon

   Changes also are planned for the main 1,759-seat concert hall, now renamed the Phoenix Concert Hall after Phoenix Pianos, which supplied seven pianos worth £500,000 for the venue. The new grand and upright pianos will join the venue's original organ, which currently is in storage along with original chandeliers. A mirrored dance studio suitable for classes and rehearsal space will be added behind the stage.
   As well as bars in the foyer, a new bistro will be added on the building's second floor with access to a small courtyard-like roof terrace. A new Fairfield Lounge for daytime use by business people, with a limited membership costing £550 a year.

   Finally, here is an black&white image that my father captured during the early-Sixties, showing the rear of Fairfield Halls during final construction. The two huts seen at the bottom of the ramp are the pay booths into the car park adjacent to the Technical College before the parking area was covered over. The entertainment complex opened in 1962. It was built on the site of Croydon's historic "Fair Field," which hosted a well-known fair up until 1860, and above the disused railway cuttings that used to link the main London to Brighton railway line to Croydon Central Station in what is now Queen's Gardens. Between 1930 and 1962 the land was home to both a car park and wartime air-raid shelters. I recall my parents using the car park when our family drove into Croydon from New Addington aboard my father's Sunbeam-powered motorcycle/sidecar combination. The car park was sited at the sunken level of the former railway sidings, and involved a climb up maybe 50 feet of wooden steps to the street level on Park Lane.

Central Croydon's newly costructed Fairfield  Halls in the early Sixties

Incidentally, the Central Croydon railway station was a largely unsuccessful venture by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) to bring trains closer to the centre of Croydon, since East Croydon station was considered to be located too far from the town centre. Originally opened in 1868 the station closed in 1871; it re-opened in 1886, before being closing permanently in 1890. Its site was used for the Town Hall, erected between 1892 and 1896.
   In 1863, under pressure to provide a more convenient station, LBSCR promoted a parliamentary bill to build a branch line from East Croydon to Katharine Street, where a new Central Station would be built. Passed into law in 1864, the LBSCR started to buy the necessary land, comprising a block between the present-day Mint Walk and Katharine Street, up to the High Street. The line and station were initially intended to approach Katharine Street at an angle, but a realignment of the route made it run parallel with the latter, thereby reducing the amount of land required. Eventually, the branch left the Brighton Main Line just south of George Street and curved sharply west, where the Fairfield Halls are today. It then passed under Park Lane, through the present-day Queen's Gardens to the site of the Croydon Clocktower and Town Hall. The short section from the main line as far as Park Lane remained in use as "Fair Field Yard" engineers sidings until 1933, when they were abandoned.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA; January 2019 Email

Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60) adds: The bit of railway history being the reason that there was such a vast derelict space we knew as a dusty car park - and which became the Fairfield Halls - was all new to me, and really interesting.
   When I started at Ruskin I used to catch the bus from Thornton Heath to Shirley Hills. It went via George Street past East Croydon Station and, accordingly, I can remember looking out from the top of the bus across the "Fair Field". Latterly, for several successive years in the 70s I was responsible for organising dinner dances for 200 people in the large function room.

Your Webmaster adds: I have also found these images from a book I mentioned in 2009, following a visit to the Croydon Library. Published by Croydon's Parks Department in 1983, the 100th Anniversary of the town's incorporation, the top image from The Queen's Gardens shows the railway sidings across the original Fair Field, while the lower graphic details the route of railway lines from East Croydon to the planned Central Station, parallel to Katharine Street.

  

 Your webmaster receives two books from Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69)...

Further to an interesting contribution from Graham Donaldson (JRGS 1962-69) about Gibson ticket machines, and mention of several books he has written about London areas buses, Graham kindly left review copies of two of these publications at The Petersham Hotel in Richmond, west of London, to await my arrival in early December for a month-long sojourn to complete my in-progress book project, and spend the Christmas holiday with relatives and friends.
   Here are scanned copies of the front and rear covers of these fascinating books; click on any thumbnail to view larger versions.

The Routemaster Years in Croydon and District The Routemaster Years in Croydon and District

Front and rear covers of The Routemaster Years in Croydon & District
Paperback: 79 pages | Published December 1994 | ISBN-10: 0952466902 | ISBN-13: 978-0952466901
|
£9.95

All Change of The Country Buses All Change of The Country Buses

Front and rear covers of All Change on The Country Buses
Paperback: 100 pages | Published November 1998 | ISBN-10: 0952466910 | ISBN-13: 978
-0952466918 |
£13.95

As Graham wrote in a recent email: "I didn't realise that you did not know about my Routemaster book. I don't have many left now as it was published nearly 25 years ago, but I'm more than happy to send you a complimentary copy."
   And, after he had dropped off a large envelope containing the two books at the hotel, marked for my attention upon arrival: "A lovely location; it reminds me of photographing Routemasters on Route 65 in the early 1980s along that section of Petersham Road [from Kingston and Ham to Richmond]. For some time, because it's so narrow, drivers refused to take wider and longer buses along there. As a result The 65 was the last purely suburban route in London to keep RMs until January 1986."
   Copies of these fully illustrated books can be purchased from Graydon Transport Publishing, 56 Newark Road, South Croydon, CR2 6HQ. Or via Graham Donaldson's email. I am advised that schoolboy discounts are available for JRGS Alumni; Graham states that "The Red One" can be purchased for £3.50, and "The Green One" for £5.00, plus postage.
   "I have just returned from New Year in Argyllshire with my sister and brother-in-law, who moved to Scotland in 2017," he says. "It was an epic journey in itself, and which involved, from Euston, Virgin Trains, Scotrail, The Argyll Ferry (between Gourock and Dunoon) and then a West Coast Motors bus. My sister is indeed lucky that I'm a transport enthusiast!"

Mel Lambert, Burbank, USA; January 2019 Email

  

 Karl Smith (JRGS 1946-51) wonders about some of his school contemporaries...

Maybe I'm behindhand with news, or my memory isn't what it used to be; after all age takes its toll in some ways. Anyway, I don't recall ever seeing a mention of Owen Everson on The Mill. So, while web browsing earlier today I was saddened to see that he died in March last year at the age of 85. His importance was as Hon. Canon of Southwark Cathedral and an Oxford Tutor. I knew him as my contemporary at JRGS Sixth Form when he was Head Prefect and School Captain in 1949/50.
   Unfortunately, those who knew him are declining in number, I only recognise two names from my time - and both were a year behind me!: John Jackaman (JRGS 1949-51) and Bob Wane  (JRGS 1945-53)- are there any others out there? Those who have already gone include Andrew McIntyre, Peter Prevett, Terry Morris (Professor Emeritus at LSE), Roy Baldwin (who also taught briefly at the school), Derek Howes and Philip Bamford. To the best of my knowledge (Father) Anthony Nye is still with us; any news would be appreciated.
   Incidentally, I was actively involved in getting the Avro Vulcan bomber onto the civil register under Permit to Fly rules, which normally are reserved for lightweight home builds. I have also been asked about possible involvement in a similar exercise for a Hawker Harrier Jump Jet. Are they still operated by US forces? After all, they bought all of ours at knock-down prices!

Karl W. Smith, CEng., FRAeS, Heckington, Lincolnshire. January 2019 Email

ML adds: Terence Morris (JRCS 1942-50) recalled several school friends from the Fifties in a posting on The Mill back in 2005. There is also a sixth-form image of these same lads here.

Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) adds: Just a short comment regarding Avro Vulcan XH558, the last flying example as mentioned elsewhere on The Mill. A few years ago I visited the Model Engineers exhibition at Alexandra Palace. During the lunch break, my friends and I sat with an exhibitor: a former RAF man who claimed to have fitted a replacement fuel tank(s) to the Vulcan. He explained that when the planes - Valiant and Vulcan - went out of service with the RAF all the spares were scrapped. That included any spare fuel tanks which, for the Vulcan, were profiled to fit into the delta wing. However, to have produced a replacement tank of the same shape would have been very costly and, because the Vulcan did not need the same range, tank(s) of cubical shape were constructed and fitted. Regarding the Hawker Harrier, my nephew Nigel had an extensive input with their construction and maintenance; he was quite upset to recognise planes he had worked on in the final fly past of the planes.

 Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) adds: In reply to Karl Smith, I am still around and was a contemporary of Bob Wane and, two rears behind him, Karl. The only one of my contemporaries that I know anything about is John Crumplin, whom I met at the last JRGS Reunion, but that was in 2015.
   I was interested to hear about Owen Everson. About a year ago I was in Southwark Cathedral and noticed his name on the board of Canons of Southwark. Owen and I were the first pupils of John Ruskin to go to Cambridge (or Oxford) - me straight from school and Owen after two years, I think, studying to be an actuary. Both Owen and I had been Head Boy.

  

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