JRGS News Archive Page 42
JRGS Alumni Society

Archived News/Activities

- Page 42 - Oct thru Dec 2007 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Paul Jeffery (JRGS 1966-68) recalls sixth-form life and musical activities...

I was sent the link to The Mill website by Paul Johnson - we both joined JRGS at the same time but five years apart. We have remained friends during the last 40 years!
   In the Drama Section, I noted that make-up artist in the photograph of "Dracula in his Coffin" was unnamed. I can solve the mystery! That was Jeremy Badcock. He and Chris Gosling were both musicians and good friends.
   I joined JRGS in the Lower VI from Ashburton Secondary Modern in September 1966. Ken Cripps took us for Pure Maths, and Ron Pearce took us for Applied Maths. Lessons in the Upper VI were often spent solving A-level exam questions and Messrs Cripps and Pearce often collaborated in trying to solve particularly difficult integrals!
   I was very privileged to be allowed to play the school organ (although the caretaker [probably Perce Eagleton], complete with bobble hat, was none too impressed with organ practice before school started in the morning!). In my Lower VI year there were three of us; Chris Greenhalgh and Rodney Eastwood were in the Upper VI. I had several lessons from a recent "old boy" - David Fisher. Does anyone know what he is doing now?
   It was very sad to see a picture of the organ in the Demolition Section.
   Although I studied maths and physics, it has been the musical activities - rehearsals & concerts - during those brief two years at JRGS that I will remember with much affection. It started a lifelong passion for music, inspired by music lessons where Dr. James would play recordings of Wagner or Tchaikovsky at full volume in the "prefab" whilst we helped him tackle The Times crossword! I have been fortunate to play many fine organs and to teach many students, many of whom are now in their Thirties and Forties - most of them keep in touch, amazingly enough.
   I also contributed a long story to one of The Mill school magazines - entitled "From time to time" - just to prove that mathematicians are literate AND have imagination!
   I have lived in Tunbridge Wells with my wife Beryl for the past 21 years. We have two children and nearly three grandchildren (No. 3 is due in January 2008!). After studying maths and statistics at Reading University, I started a career as a student actuary, but never qualified (like many of my cohort). I'm now looking forward to retirement in a couple of years time!
   I would be proud to be listed as an Alumnus of JRGS.

Paul Jeffery, Tunbridge Wells, December 2007 Email.


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) reviews the current issue of "Your Croydon"...

"Your Croydon" - Nov 2007 cover"Your Croydon" - Nov 2007 page 15As mentioned below, the November 2007 edition of Croydon Council's Your Croydon magazine includes photographs by Frazer Ashford (JRGS 1962-69) as part of a series called From Here to Modernity, which charts Croydon during the past 25 years.
  In this month's column, Frazer looks at the dramatic changes that have taken place in some local Croydon landmarks, but also the similarities between the town in 1980, when he first provided images for a publication titled Croydon - The Official Guide and the same locations today. Specifically, he compares photos taken of the western end of the Croydon Flyover, which show identical speed-limit signs but a remarkable growth in the nearby foliage. Click each thumbnail, or here to view the 24-page magazine in PDF format.

Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, USA, November 2007 Email.                    Your Croydon ©2021 Croydon Council - all rights reserved.

Frazer Ashford (JRGS 1962-69) replies: The series in Your Croydon should run for about six months, if all goes according to plan. In the meantime, I am attaching some information about an exhibition opening this week at Pepperton Gallery, and which runs until next February. I have five images showing and so if anyone wants to pop along, then the details are all in the attached PDF file.
   Out of interest, I will be there at Pepperton Gallery on Friday, 9th November, from about 9 PM, grabbing a glance at the competition. So if anyone knows me and can pop along, then do say hello.
   Peppertons can be found at 25 Selhurst Road, Selhurst, SE25 5PP.


 Geoff van Beek (JRGS 1962-69) recommends a book from a prominent atheist...

"The God Decision" by Richard DawkinsHaving read many of the reminiscences on this website concerning the daily dogma pumped into us during assembly, R.I. classes, the Scripture Union and The Crusaders, I wonder if others, like me, have ended up doubting it all in the light of the rise of religious fundamentalism all based on a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.
   I am convinced that our teachers all meant well, for Christianity is a convenient transport medium for the teaching of basic morals and ethics, but in the last decennia since the last pupil left JRGS it can’t possibly have escaped the attention of any of us how religion fuels war, ferments bigotry and abuses children.
   As an antidote to the little green S.U. brooches and white Crusader pins, may I recommend a recent book, now that our then impressionable little minds have grown up: The God Delusion by Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (recently voted as one of the world’s top three intellectuals).

Geoffrey C. van Beek, Rotterdam, Holland, November 2007 Email.

Anne Smith, former JRGS/JRHS teacher and principal of the Sixth-Form College, adds: What a one-sided view! Of course religion has done all those negative things but it has also inspired a great many courageous and worthwhile acts - witness the Buddhist monks in Burma recently, for one example.
   The fact is that religion is used by human beings as a reason for what they do, whether they are good or bad men, extremists or pacifists, and they would probably behave in the ways that they do whether they were religious or not.

Ernie Clarke (JRCS 1935-39) adds: Richard Dawkins may indeed be one of the leading biologists in the world today, but unfortunately he does not seem to have read or understood the New Testament. As a Christian, I pray every day to be kept from becoming religious - because religion is a source of evil, and it was religious people who crucified Jesus Christ. I could add a lot more, but this is not the right medium

Ian Manzie (JRCS 1962-71) adds: As a person of faith (more specifically a Christian) one does accept that mistakes have been made in the past. It is very easy in a clearly post Christian period to look back at the 60's when faith was far more important and be critical.
   Personally I welcome anyone commending Dawkins. Increasingly he is the best advertisement for faith and I note that often his fellow atheists' wish he would be quiet! Consistently he has failed to engage with his intellectual peers preferring to pick on soft targets.
   I would also draw attention to the new book from Antony Flew, another prominent atheist: There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, as pictured right
   Whilst religion indeed has and does cause many problems, so do people of no faith, secularists, and atheists etc.


 Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) researches the wartime death of William Powell...

Recently, I came across a website that reports on a crashed Lancaster and then, in 2004, of the erection and unveiling of a memorial to the flight crew. It turns out that the pilot, Flight Lieutenant William Leonard Powell, then aged 22, was a former JRCS schoolboy.
   According to the Pro Patria from the March 1947 school magazine, which lists the names of nearly 70 JRCS pupils who made the supreme sacrifice in World War Two, W. F. Powell attended our school from 1933 to 1938.
   I cannot determine who originated this website but it states that Powell was a member of RAF 49 Bomber Squadron, and is buried in the St Martin-sur-Oreuse Cemetery, Yonne, France. I also discovered other details of his background. In 1942 No. 49 Squadron converted to Manchesters, then Lancasters, and in October led No. 5 Group's epic dusk attack on the Schneider armament and locomotive works at Le Creusot. In 1943 the squadron took part in the first "shuttle-bombing" raid - when the targets were Friedrichshafen and Spezia - and the famous raid on Peenemunde. Among the targets that it attacked during 1944 were the coastal gun battery at La Pernelle on the Normandy coast, and the V1 storage sites in the caves at St. Leu d' Esserent on the River Loire, some 30 miles north-west of Paris.
   The crew of JB701, a Lancaster of 49 Squadron, was shot down over northern France on July 29th, 1944, after bombing operations at Stuttgart Germany. All of the crew perished when the plane crashed near Sens, a small town 120km south of Paris, between the villages of St. Martin sur Oreuse and La Chapelle sur Oreuse in the department of l`Yonne. All seven crew are buried together in the local cemetery.
   Powell was the son of William Percy & Gertrude Elizabeth Powell.

   The JB701 crew, including Flying Officer Geoffrey Edward Franklin, 31, from Lampeter, were honored in 2004 - 60 years after the sad event - during a ceremony attended by than 200 people to unveil a monument marking the Lancaster's crash site, as reported by the Western Mail.
   According to WM reporter Gareth Morgan, archive documents kept in the local town hall record the night when the plane crashed and the bodies were recovered; only two men were properly identified. Jean-Luc Prieur, who owns a local war museum, later sculpted a six-foot eagle's wing to adorn the monument, as well as trying to find the surviving relatives of the dead men, and engraving a memorial plaque.
JB701 Crew   JB701 was one of almost 500 bombers that took to the skies on the bright, moonlit night of July 28, 1944. The young crew (pictured right) had already successfully completed 13 operations together, and had just returned from leave to discover that their next operation was to be the industrial zone of Stuttgart. It is reported that they were caught in bright moonlight and were unable to escape from German anti-aircraft fire when the plane was shot down.
   The JB701 crew comprised:

  • 121347 Pilot, Flight Lieutenant William Leonard Powell, aged 22 of Croydon, Surrey.

  • 1592150 Flight Engineer, Sergeant John Frederick West, aged 29 of Altrincham, Cheshire.

  • 142089 Navigator, Flying Officer Geoffrey Edward Franklin, aged 31 of Lampeter, Cardiganshire.

  • 151428 Air Bomber, Flying Officer Albert Stanley Cole, aged 21 of Hastings, Sussex.

  • 1184749 Air Gunner, Sergeant George Edward Kirkpatrick, aged 30, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts.

  • 1339900 Wireless Operator, Flight Sergeant Donald Carl Stephens, of Truro, Cornwall.

  • 1868952 Air Gunner, Sergeant Thomas Moore, home town unknown.

   Unless we have a JR contributor living in Burgundy, France, we'll have to wait for a photo until I can get there. In the meantime. a website includes some photographs of the village at St Martin-sur-Oreuse.

Roger Adcock, Oxted, Surrey, October 2003 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: There is a website that helps friends and families of RAF crews keep in touch with one another. Here, 1184749 Sergeant (Air Gnr.) George Edward Kirkpatrick's nephew Bob Leader recalls the flight of Lancaster III serial JB701 Code EA-G from 49 Squadron that took off from RAF Fiskerton at 22:33 on 28/07 1944 on Ops to Stuttgart and, due to enemy action, crashed at St-Martin-sur-Oreuse near Yonne whilst returning from the operation. He has photographs of the ceremony mentioned above.

Roger Adcock updates: I emailed David Broughton, the author the website cited above, who replied as follows:
   "Thank you very much for your enquiry concerning one of our best and most successful link-ups.
   "Just so that you get as much of the big picture as possible, at the ceremony [on Saturday 31st July, 2004, in northern France to unveil a newly commissioned monument, to honour the JB701 crew], there were present the original French people - who made the whole event possible - [plus] representatives from 49 Squadron and relatives of at least one other member of the crew.
 Memorial at St_Martin_sur_Oreuse  "Alas, we were unable to trace William Powell's sister.
   "There are photographs available but at this stage I do not know who has them or what the copyright situation is. I will start the ball rolling to find out."
  Click here to access a PDF version of a press release issued to publicize the 2004 ceremony.
   And here is a link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, which included an image of the grave site, shown left; there is a separate entry for William Powell. The Manchester Evening News also published a item that reported on a search to find relatives of Flight Engineer Sergeant John Frederick West, who came from Altrincham, Cheshire.

   Interestingly, George Kirkpatrick was not due to fly on this mission, and had been ill with flu. But, because the crew was very superstitious, he insisted on flying that night.

   I have also received the following images of the July 2004 Memorial Ceremony at St Martin-sur-Oreuse Cemetery, Yonne, France.

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

Opening speech at
at dedication ceremony.

Paul Reumaux, a d' Equaiville
Free- French veteran who served
in RAF, and J. L. Prieur

Gravesite of JB701 Crew at
St Martin-sur-Oreuse Cemetery

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

Close-up of Flight Lieutenant
William Leonard Powell'

Commemorative plaque on Memorial Sculpture

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

 George Kirkpatrick's son, who
currently lives at Bookham, Surrey.

Placing wreath on
Memorial Sculpture.

English and French visitors
at dedication ceremony.

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

Fabrication of memorial sculpture.

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

July 2004 Memorial Ceremony

Memorial Sculpture at  St. Martin-sur-Oreuse Cemetery.

Left to right: The Kirkpatrick Family - Janet, Bob, Mike, Kirk, grandson Kirk, Patrick, Andrew and Big Bob.

The following text is taken from a press release issued in 3rd of August 2004 by Janet Marsden:

Moving ceremony in France to honour British Lancaster crew

More than 200 people attended a moving ceremony in northern France yesterday to unveil a newly commissioned monument which marks the crash site of a Lancaster shot down sixty years ago.
   Lancaster JB701, from 49 squadron, was one of almost 500 bombers which took to the skies the bright moonlit night of 28 July. The young crew on board had already completed 13 operations together successfully and had just returned from leave to find that their next operation was to be the industrial zone of Stuttgart.
   On board that night were:

   ● Pilot, Flight Lieutenant William Leonard Powell, aged 22 of Croydon, Surrey,
   ● Flight Engineer, Sergeant John Frederick West, aged 29 of Altrincham, Cheshire,
   ● Navigator, Flying Officer Geoffrey Edward Franklin, aged 31 of Lampeter, Cardiganshire,
   ● Air Bomber, Flying Officer Albert Stanley Cole, aged 21 of Hastings, Sussex,
   ● Wireless Operator, Flight Sergeant Donald Carl Stephens, of Camelford, Cornwall
   ● Air Gunner, Sergeant Thomas Moore, home town unknown and
   ● Air Gunner, Sergeant George Edward Kirkpatrick, aged 30, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

The 49 Squadron had 12 aircraft airborne that night. The squadron’s two previous operations had been hampered by cloudy conditions. However, the operation to Stuttgart took place in bright moonlight which resulted in some of the bomber stream being harassed by German fighters. One of the other 49 Lancasters survived such an attack by slipping into cloud cover; but no such luck befell the crew of JB701 which was brought down near Sens, a small city 120 km south of Paris.
   All the crew were killed and buried in the local cemetery at St-Martin-sur-Oreuse. Archive documents still kept in the local town hall, record the night when the plane crashed and the bodies were recovered.
   Only the body of Sgt West, the flight engineer from Altrincham, was positively identified. The town hall records state: “Male, aged 25 – 30, about 1.75m tall, with curly, light chestnut brown hair; no facial hair, dressed in a dark grey uniform with three white stripes on his sleeves and the RAF insignia on his right arm. The following information was written on a disc which was worn by the dead man: J F West, 1 592 150 RAF B2. On a piece of cardboard – the number 33.”
   Another member of the crew was initially thought to be a man named Minshull, because a piece of paper found in the dead man’s pockets bore that name as well as an address in Nottingham. Poignantly, he was also found to be carrying a rosary as well as some photos, a suitcase key and a wallet. The German authorities kept the wallet and gave the rest of the dead man’s effects to the village priest. In addition to his uniform, he was found wearing a flying suit and large gloves and it is now believed that the body was that of Sgt George Edward Kirkpatrick, the rear gunner on board the aircraft.
   He was 30, married to Hilda (née Leader) and they had two sons, Michael and Robert, who were five and one respectively when they last saw their father at their home in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
   The family, like all other bereaved relatives, was contacted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission after the war and the engraving on Sgt Kirkpatrick’s graves was carried out according to the family’s wishes.
   The graves were subsequently cared for by local people and the Commonwealth Graves Commission.
   Then, earlier this year, in stepped M Jean-Luc Prieur, 41, of Veron near Sens, who decided that it was the right time to raise money to fund and erect a memorial on the crash site where the men lost their lives.
   He personally set about the sculpting of a 6 feet high eagle’s wing to adorn the monument, as well as the engraving of a memorial plaque. Coincidentally, the crash site of the Lancaster is on land now owned by a Scottish woman, Mrs. Gillian Fischer, whose own father was an RAF fighter pilot who had a miraculous escape when his plane crashed in Scotland!
   Plans were well in hand for the inauguration ceremony, when M Prieur met Janet Marsden in May whilst visiting Sens to visit various sites in the area where her father, Jack had been looked after by the French resistance after his Lancaster was shot down on 4 May 1944. He decided to enlist her help to look for any surviving relatives of the crash of JB 701, so that he could invite them to the inauguration ceremony.
   "I was more than happy to try and help Jean-Luc in his quest," explains Janet. "My own father was one of the lucky ones who was shot down yet survived. I can empathise with the relatives of aircrew who either don’t know where their loved ones are buried, or who have never had the chance to visit their graves."
   She contacted local newspapers circulating in the hometowns of the crew and immediately struck lucky in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, where the nephew of Sergeant Kirkpatrick still lives. He then contacted his cousins, Michael and Robert who now live in Somerset and Surrey, respectively.
   "I was absolutely amazed when my cousin, Robert Leader – my mother Hilda was his father’s sister - rang me out of the blue", said Bob Kirkpatrick of Great Bookham, Surrey. "He told me that the local newspaper in Sutton had printed an article about a Frenchman who was looking for surviving relatives of my father and I immediately contacted Mike, my older brother and phoned Janet to find out more."
   Both brothers, together with Bob’s sons, David and Andrew as well as Sgt Kirkpatrick’s nephew, Bob Leader of Sutton, made the pilgrimage to France over the weekend.
   "We didn’t really know what to expect,” explained Bob Kirkpatrick. "However, we were absolutely blown away when we arrived at the crash site to find more than 200 people waiting for us as well as a band and a full complement of local dignitaries."
   Also playing a full part in the ceremony was Bob’s own son, Flight Lieutenant Andrew Kirkpatrick, aged 31, who has been in the RAF for seven years and who has seen active service in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. He, together with six others, laid wreaths at the new monument after it had been unveiled by the local mayor and all the members of the Kirkpatrick family.
   The party of 200 then moved on to the local cemetery where a message from M Hamlaoui Mekachera, the French Government Minister in charge of Veterans was read out. His message concluded:
   "In this year when we commemorate the 60th anniversary of our liberation with great emotion, it is entirely fitting that we remember the immense gratitude that we owe them. Honour to these heroes!"
   In sharp contrast to the official words of thanks, the words of love that a mother had for her only son were then recalled when an extract from a letter written by the mother of crew member Flight Sergeant Donald Carl Stephens of Camelford, Cornwall, was read out. The letter came to light when Hendon woman Sue Palin was sorting through her mother’s effects after her death in the Seventies. She then realised that her mother, Betty King, had been Donald’s wartime sweetheart but she didn’t launch a search to find information about Donald until the Nineties. She appealed for information via the Western Morning News in Cornwall and via 49 Squadron Association, and was therefore contactable when the latest search to find any surviving family and friends of the crew commenced.
   In the letter, Donald’s mother thanks the girl who may have been her future daughter-in-law for sending her flowers of condolence and says:
   “I have put a bunch of them in my cabinet behind a large photo I have of him. Some people think that the dead know what we are doing and that their minds and spirits never die. It’s dreadful to me to think that he won’t be home anymore...
   "His last words to me, smiling were: ‘Cheerio mum, see you again in five weeks. It’ll soon be over now.’ Bless his heart. He was loved by everyone who knew him. Church and chapels every Sunday for months prayed for his return to me. I don’t think any boy in the world could have been better liked than Don.”

Further general information from:
Janet Marsden, 07929 714129 Email.
Jean-Luc Prieur, 00 33 386 951780 or 00 33 664 97 20 30 or Email. (French-speaking journalists only for interviews but emails can be written in English.)
   Information on Sergeant George Edward Kirkpatrick, rear gunner from his son, Bob Kirkpatrick, 01372 453560.


 Frazer Ashford (JRGS 1962-69) bring us up to date with his photographic career ...

ML writes: Back in the Summer, Anne Smith (JRGS/JRHS teacher and SFC principal) alerted me to a special photographic exhibition of former JRGS pupil Frazer Ashford at the Warehouse Theatre in collaboration with this year's Croydon Jazz Festival. "Frazer worked from the late Sixties to the early Eighties in music and theatre photography," Anne wrote. "His work was a regular feature in the national music press, as well as in newspapers, magazines and books. Amongst those whom he photographed were Davis Bowie, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, George Melly and Elton John."
   I wrote to Frazer (pictured right) asking for more details.

Frazer AshfordThanks for the email; the phrase "better late than never" obviously comes to mind. My excuse (almost as good as those I came up with at school!) is that I was in the USA when your original email came through and so was picked up on my laptop. I returned for the jazz festival and then went to Ireland and swapped to a mains machine - I split my time between living in London and Ireland - and then returned to London in mid-September and went straight on to my mains machine here. So, when I went to the laptop earlier today I found the original email that had been sitting there all that time – sorry.
   The exhibition was very successful although I realise that it is a bit late for publicity now, but thanks for the offer anyway.
   I will be having an exhibition at The Clock Tower in Croydon next spring but the dates have not been finalised yet. In the meantime, Croydon Council's Your Croydon magazine will be publishing two of my pictures every month for the next six months or so. The series is called From Here to Modernity, and charts the changes in Croydon over the last 25 years.
   I was at Ruskin from 1962 until 1969, and had a great time whilst there. In those days it was a boys school and, in fact, the year that I left was the last boys-only year. Mr. Lowe retired at the same time and I remember the trepidation that some of the masters were expressing about the influx of girls "next year"! Co-incidentally, my brother joined the sixth form several years later and spent time in the playground porta-cabins that were erected after my leaving.

JRGS Film Club

   I was already very interested in filming back then and started a film club with several of my classmates, which lead to my winning and directing a film for ITV (Redifusion as it was) in 1966 – a fact that I believe lead to my becoming a senior prefect (it certainly was not my academic achievements). 1967 JRGS Film Club All of that eventually lead to where I am today (wherever that is?) and so I do look back with great memories.
   I have looked at The Mill web site and find it absolutely brilliant – I found a picture (shown left) of myself in a group shot with several guys I still know today. The image of young filmmakers from page 28 of the 1967 School Magazine was taken in the back garden of my old home in Bisenden Road, East Croydon. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version. [Also see page 29 of the same issue for a fascinating account of the filming of this 8mm production... and resultant newspaper publicity - ML.]
   As far as I can remember, the "Crew" for Dracula's Destruction was (left-to-right): Jeffrey Pache, unknown (kneeling make-up guy), Me, Nicholas Goy and Christopher Gosling in the coffin as Dracula. We are all Ruskin boys and I notice that we are all wearing school ties – very strange.
   I moved on from stills in the early Eighties and went into film and TV, mainly as a producer. I won a few awards, including a Royal Television Society documentary award and was part of the original team of four who introduced cable television to Croydon in 1985. I produced my last two series in 2000 and 2001 in Los Angeles, and decided to return to finally do something with my archives of 100,000+ negatives.
   However, I was approached by a leading West End talent agency and got diverted as an agent for the last four years, although I finally left all of that behind last March and now work on my images as I always planned.
   Once again, sorry for the delay but I will send information about any future exhibitions. Apart from a collection of images on my website you can see just how far I moved on from filming in Shirley Hills as my latest film, Hands Up!, a short starring Timothy Spall, can be seen here.
   As far as the JRGS group pictures go, I have found myself in 1962 (fifth from left in section one). This was taken before I wore glasses, and I also seem to one of the few in long trousers. In the 1964 picture I am in the October 1964 School Photographsecond row down from the top, third boy in on the far right (section 4). Again, it seems that it was before I wore glasses.
   I cannot see the guys I was referring to that I still know, but I can spot all my classmates. There are also a couple of other faces that I have come across over the years and I have marked them on the image shown right. Alan Cubitt - outlined bottom left - is now a successful writer and producer (he recently wrote two episodes of Murphy’s Law) and actor Mick Ford (Touch of Frost | Silent Witness | Midsomer Murders) is top right).
   As for the picture from 1967, in section 1 John Mill is sixth from the left on top row. John is now a lawyer and not only handles all my personal and business matters but is company secretary to two of my current companies. In section 2, the very top-left guy (in glasses) is Mark Poncia; we were great friends in the early days. His father worked for the Daily Mirror and lived in Brighton. Mark works locally as an auctioneer at Rosan’s in West Croydon. I lost touch with him for many years but saw him about two years ago in South Croydon and we met after that for a pint. He modelled for me in an early image with my wife – see image below.
   Section 3 contains (top row, fifth from left) Adrian Tibbs. We went on a camping trip the summer that we both left JRGS, and I have kept in pretty regular touch since then. Unfortunately, for many years Adrian has suffered severe mental problems, although is not so bad as I write. He lives in accommodation in North West London. I can also be found, now wearing glasses, as the 15th from the left although I am not sure why I look so short (I am 5-11).
   Section 4 only reveals Mick Ford yet again and a guy - 13th from left on the top row - I was friends with and tried to get in touch with after we left but could not trace him. His name was Jo(e) Rainer, and he lived at that time in New Addington.
   One other name that springs to mind is Christopher Gosling. He appeared in several of my films at the time (including Dracula in the aforementioned picture). His mother lived in Bingham Road. Chris came on holiday with us when my father had a boat on The Thames, but I lost track of him and often wonder where he finished up. Any news would be very appreciated.
   TheClare and Mark image shown left is entitled The Old West, and features Mark Poncia who is one of the guys I identified in the 1967 picture. Once I left school, he was the only JRGS classmate that I ever photographed or worked with in a creative sense. (I still work with John Mill, my lawyer/company secretary.) Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   The female in the picture is Clare, my girlfriend at that time (c1971). We got married about 12 months later and still live in the area, Coulsdon. Incidentally, we have two children: Beccy, who was an actress for several years (The Bill, My Family, etc,) and then left the wacky world of showbiz to work with a charity that helps adults with learning difficulties; and Ben, who worked as a reporter for The Advertiser before becoming a crime reporter for the South London Press in Streatham. He is now a reporter for The Sun, based in its Manchester bureau.

Images in JRGS School Magazine
   My pictures are also included in the 1969 School Magazine, on page 17, page 18, page 19 and page 20 - even though in those days I obviously did not insist on credits! I had forgotten them completely and only really remember the "Umbrella" montage on page 20 which, in those pre-Photoshop days, meant cutting out prints with a scalpel and gluing them together.
   The interesting thing is that, to my knowledge, these must have been the very first pictures of mine that were published in any form. I took pictures in those days simply for using as publicity still for my films – I cannot remember who printed them or any other details. The model in that montage was also a girlfriend of mine (around 1967/69). Her name was "Buzz" - I had met her on a field trip that Mr. Green organised in Dorset. I remember the film that I was taking the pictures for was shot in Shirley Hills. [The London boutique] Biba lent us all the clothes for the shoot. In one image [on page 18] there is a dog – no idea where that came from; presumably it was walking past and came up to say hello.
   My only A-Level from JRGS was Zoology with Mr. Green. I remember the dissections and the strong smell of formalin that permeated the lab in those days. As far as I can remember, he was very strict but must have been a good teacher as it was the best exam result I ever got at school.
   I was in a funny situation at school, especially with the science teachers. I was obviously disinterested in the lessons and dreamt about films all the time – they therefore thought (or I felt they thought) that I was a bit of a waste of space. However, when I won the ITV Film Competition, and appeared on several TV programmes of the day, they suddenly changed their minds and took more notice of me. I seem to remember that Mr. Green was also the careers teacher and, when I asked for information about the film and TV industry, I was given a very old-fashioned pamphlet where all the operatives wore white coats and were tinkering with big dials – I think that if you were not a university candidate the school felt that they had failed in taming you.

Frazer Ashford, Coulsdon, Surrey, October 2007 Email


 Robert Lisney (JRGS 1958-65) reports on a JRGS reunion at his recent wedding...

Robert Lisney's wedding and JRGS reunionThe attached photo is of four JRGS Old Boys from the '58-65 era (left-to-right): Geoff Nicholson, me, Ken Howes and John Matthews. This was taken at my wedding in July earlier this year at our house in East Sheen, Southwest London. Click in the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   We have all been in touch ever since we left JRGS. Geoff is a retired head teacher who has travelled a lot recently and done some interesting overseas work. He is currently touring with the Northcott theatre studio, acting in some short plays, one of which he wrote. He now lives in Devon.
   Ken is sort of retired after a very influential career in the banking world associated with plastic money and its development and, despite having allegedly retired, still seems to be in demand for consultancy in the field.
   John retired some years ago and is happy doing a range of voluntary work with Surrey County Services looking after the green environment and their sheep/goats, etc.
   This was the first time al four of us had met up, we reckoned, for over 30 years, although Ken John and I, being nearer, have regularly done so.
   So you can imagine the conversation that evening - it covered most of that era's personalities, teachers and colleagues.
   By the way, I should maybe update The Alumni on recent domestic changes. I have moved to East Sheen from Chandlers Ford, in Hampshire, and now work as a consultant in sustainable development and specialising in natural resource use and recovery; an agenda linked to climate change/carbon etc as well as resource conservation. It is a big complex set of topics all of which are interrelated to the way society works.
   Being based now in London is better for me in terms of clients and travel, although I am still linked to Hampshire County Council which has asked me to guide it through the final elements of delivering materials resources strategy.
   I Penelope and Robertmet my new wife Penelope just over a year ago; this week we have shared our joint birthdays - mine on 20th and hers on 22nd October. Pen works from home as a consultant too in the area of development and learning, and is currently setting up a Housing Academy for a number of Housing Associations.
   With both of us working from home it is nice to be flexible about how we spend our time. Pen has a teenage daughter at home and a son who lives away, although he will be with us this summer whilst he does business studies work experience in London.
   It has been a major and happy change for both of us who, in late Fifties (and now me venturing into Sixties), find new partners and are now having a wonderful time.  Attached right is a picture of both of us at our recent July wedding.
   I am continually amazed at how much info The Mill receives from people, and how well the web site operates.

East Sheen, Southwest London, October 2007 Email


 Charles Smith (JRGS teacher 1942-78) shares with us two fascinating images...

Peter Oxlade (JRCS 1940-44 and later school governor) writes: During a recent visit to see him and his wife Elisabeth, Charles produced from his files two pictures dating from the year 1949-50. One is of the football teams of that year, and the other of a more senior group of boys he taught as 5S's form master in the late-Forties.
   Charles identified one of the boys in the latter image as A. F. S. Childs (JRGS 1947-53) whom he said was now a doctor living in Godalming. I was asked to contact Dr. Childs and determine if he could provide some names of the groups. I subsequently made copies of the photos and wrote to Tony Childs enclosing the copies and requesting his assistance in adding some names.

JRGS Class 5S 1949/50

JRGS football teams 1949/50

JRGS Form 5S from 1949-50

JRGS Football Teams 1949-50

To my complete amazement, Tony has named virtually every person in both copies - either he has a good memory or a super filing system! Click on either thumbnail to access a larger version.
   I took great pleasure while visiting Charles again to present him with the results. The prints that Tony has sent him complete with nearly all of the names penned in was a great thrill for Charles, and he waxed lyrical about most of those shown - each of them seemed to have touched his memory, and that send a knowing smile to his face.
   Such a great pleasure for me to be there and see it.

Peter Oxlade, October 2007 Email.

David Wheeler (JRGS 1945-53) adds: I can fill in some more of the names in the photo of 1949-50's 5S  - to the right of Patel in the left-hand photo is Green, John Nimmo, Geoff Bullock, Stevens, Tom Stacey, Warren, Chris Jones - but not the last one in that row.
   In the front row to the left of Alan Sherman in the same photo is Peter Butterworth, John Crumplin, unknown, Morris and myself.

Bob Wane (JRGS 1945-53) adds: The left-hand photo is identical to one I have here at home and which I obtained from David Wheeler, so it should be in the archives somewhere. .
   To the best of my knowledge the left-hand photo is of 5S in 1950. (I suppose it could be the year before - i.e. 4S - but it does not ring a bell.) I can confirm most of the names but, sorry, only surnames. But I cannot help with the football teams - not my scene.

Tony Childs (JRGS 1947-53) adds: I entered JRGS into the third form, having been away at school during the war and just after. I stayed on for a third year in the Sixth Form.
   The names appear to be okay, but on the left-hand image of 5S I'm not sure if it is Stephens or Stevens - I think it's the former.

Brian Dunning (JRGS 1947-52) adds: Those photos from Mr. Smith certainly brought home some memories - the football team photograph, in particular, as Colin Clisby (Terry Clisby's elder brother, with whom I have lost touch) was my best man. Sadly, Colin was killed whilst serving as a RAF pilot in Malaya during the conflict there.
   I grew up with Alan and Laurie Montague, who lived in my road and suffered the nightly bombings during Hitler's Blitzkrieg. Once again, sadly I have lost touch with them.


Archived News/Events Pages have been moved here.

The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes only, and is subject to change without notice. The JRGS Alumni Society makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the content of this web site, nor the results to be obtained from using any part of such content.

Please send any messages and memorabilia to webmaster
©2021 JRGS Alumni Society. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: 01.01.21