JRGS News Archive Page 31
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- Page 31 - Apr and May 2006 -

JRGS Alumni Society


 Peter Hurn (JRGS 1967-73) recalls an Alumni reunion last February...

Alumni ReunionI was at JRGS from 1967 to 1973; my older brother, Brian Hurn, attended the school from 1954 until 1960.
   I am delighted to report that I organised a reunion of the Class of 67, which took place in an Executive Box at our second spiritual home, Selhurst Park, on Saturday 25th February. Liquid refreshment was enjoyed pre-match at the Two Brewers public house, Selhurst, and afterwards at one of our regular Seventies haunts, the Dukes Head, Wallington. The basic premise was that during the course of this season most of us have reached our 50th birthdays, but any excuse would have done.
   Eight old boys and a girl - Lynne Bayes, nee Key (JRGS 1971-73) - turned up; there should have been a tenth but sadly he was prevented at the last moment from joining us. Click on the left-hand image to view a larger version.

   Lynne took many, many photos and has published them on the PhotoBucket website.
   Those attending. aside from myself, were: Rod Bayes (JRGS 1967-73) - and his wife Lynne; Martin Burch (JRGS 1967-73); Richard Inman (JRGS 1967-73); Chris Mann (JRGS 1967-73); Barry Chappell (JRGS 1967-73); Tony Brandon (JRGS 1967-70); and Dave Johnston (JRGS 1967-73)- missing alumnus was Graeme Allan (JRGS 1967-73).
   I've had a look at some of the other photos on The Mill website - very poignant reminders - and  found one with some missing info; I might be able to help. It concerns the 1967/8 5G Class. The last person listed is Paul Wilmer. His name was actually Peter Wilmer; he lived three doors away from me and his younger brother, Geoffrey, also attended JRGS 1966-72. The last I heard of the pair was from Geoff, who was in Devon working with trees, while Pete was in somewhere like Bahrain - but that was probably 10-15 years ago. From the same picture, I also played cricket against Chris Ford in the mid/late Seventies in the Southampton area. He was presumably residing there, I was on tour with my club. But that's nearly 30 years ago! Not much help at all, I guess.
   I know I should know the name of the unnamed schoolteacher in 1967, but I don't. Very disappointing!

Peter Hurn, Wallington, May 2006 Email


 Eric Webster (JRGS 1962-67) unearths a 1965 image of 1924 Squadron ATC...

ATC Linton 1965Regarding Terry Weight's recent analysis - provided below - of where around the world JRGS Alumni now live, Terry was the Flight Sergeant for 1924 Squadron, ATC (The Vale, Shirley) when I was a lowly cadet. The picture shown left was taken at our Annual Camp in 1965 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
   Rear row, (L-to-R): Cpl Pete Hockley (JRGS); Cdts Pete Abbott (JRGS); Martin Wilkinson (then Shirley Secondary, but later JRGS Sixth Form); Eric Webster (JRGS); Rex Sanders (JRGS); Barry Cripps; David Webster (my brother); Barry Hobbs; Cpls Graham (Jim) Wakeham (JRGS, I think); and Colin Maynell (JRGS)
   Seated Row: Flt Sgt Terry Weight (JRGS); Flt Lt Whipp (CO); Fg Off Mike Carter; and Sgt Bob Rhodes.
Front Row: Cdts John Lowry; John Graney (JRGS); Pennington; and Mick Lane (JRGS).
   Many in the photo were JRGS students who preferred the light blue to the khaki, and that continued at 1924 Squadron throughout the Sixties. It played a large part in my spending more than 32 years wearing that blue in the end.

Eric Webster, New Zealand, May 2005 email.

ML adds: Part of the Air Cadet Organization (ACO), which also includes RAF Sections of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), the Air Training Corps is a voluntary youth organization supported by the Royal Air Force. Today, with almost 53,000 members, aged from 13 to 18 years within more than 1,000 Squadrons, the ATC is the world's largest youth air training organization. [More]

Mike  Marsh (1949-55) adds: When I was in 1924 Squadron, the Air Training Corps was intended as a possible stepping stone to joining the RAF in due course, just as it still is today. In those days it was, of course, conscription, but having been in the ATC meant that you had preferential choice as to which Service you entered. Once in, those who had been in the ATC received a number in the "3" sequence, whereas "ordinary" mortals were in the "6" series I recall. My number was 3151346; this marked you out as someone who might know a thing or two about the RAF and Service life and how to conduct oneself in a Service situation.
   Even in the early days when we were being initiated into RAF life we received lessons about living in the RAF, like home-craft lessons - washing, cleaning, sewing etc. Oh, and avoiding VD of course! And what to do about it afterwards - plus the history of the RAF itself. Considering that these times were a period when young men were not as "life-wise" as perhaps they are today (?), often being away from home on their own for the first time and having to fend for themselves. They always used to say that you went in as a boy and came out as a man! Even after just two years.
   Being used to discipline was always of great importance to Service life and those who had had some experience of it in the ATC were often put into positions of some responsibility, like being Senior Man in your hut. (We all lived in huts in those days; none of these brick built quarters then, not until I got to my permanent camp anyway.) I was not in charge of a hut myself, RAF room jobsbut someone always was and it was his responsibility to see that hut duties were always carried out and on time. Promotion through the ranks was in our case a matter of trade examination, but previous experience of the ATC often helped too.
   I remember one occasion during basic training in Shropshire, we were out on a bivouac night and I was '"elected" to be in charge of an aerial runway. But this was probably as much as having been in the Scouts as the ATC!
   The sheet of "domestic duties" shown left comes from RAF Bridgnorth days; this was a Basic Training or Square Bashing camp. It's not my copy, just one I found on the internet; click on the graphic to view a larger version.
   By the way, the designation Fg. Off. would certainly be recognised by anyone who knew their RAF ranks as Flying Officer, as would Flt. Lt. for Flight Lieutenant. Or indeed P/O for Pilot Officer. It could be Flg. Off., if you like, an abbreviation that is perhaps more recognisable.
   A Pilot Officer had one narrow ring on his sleeve. A Flying Officer had a slightly wider one, a Flight Lieutenant two of the wider ones, followed by the Squadron Leader, who had two of the wider ones with a narrow one in between them, and so on.
ATC -1954   Shown right is an image of the ATC members at camp, taken possibly in 1954. I am not sure how old one had to be to join; in 1954 I would have been 16 - I'm in the back row, fourth from the left, looking decidedly geeky. Click on the image to access a larger version. (I have other photos of me in the RAF not looking all that much better!)
   I cannot remember what RAF camp we were posted to, but have a vague memory of a steam train ride down to central south coast area comes to mind. I know they flew Chipmunks there and I was waiting on the airfield to go up when they decided that the weather had become too bad to continue. I never did get to go up in one.
   Do I remember the name Formagia being mentioned as being at JRGS? I am wondering whether that would be him in the middle - the only one wearing glasses. I may be totally wrong, but when I looked through the faces, that name jumped into my mind when I saw him there.
ML adds: After attending JRGS, Mike did his National Service with the Royal Air Force from February 1957 to 1959. He trained as a teleprinter mechanic and was stationed at RAF Kormakiti in northern Cyprus plus Signals Centre Cyprus at RAF Ayios Nikolaos, near Famagusta.


 Terry Weight (JRGS 1959-65) analyses where The Alumni currently live...

Fellow Alumni; you may be interested to know that we must have been awful at languages only 5% of us live in non-English speaking countries even though 29% of us live outside the UK a bunch of colonialists!

  • 95% of you were students, though some were students and staff.

  • 10% still live in Croydon.

  • 49% of you live within 100 kilometres (Southampton) of Croydon.

  • On average you live 2,983 kilometres from Croydon but your median distance is 173 (which is Bristol).

  • The honour for the maximum distance goes to our colleague in Wellington NZ, 18,830 kilometres.

  • On average you left JRGS in 1965.

Some Boring Background

The current Alumni email list includes just over 110 names, but not all seem to be current. After a reminder, I received 77 replies before I did the analysis; a few came after this occurred. The story here is factual for those 77, but we will never know how well this represents the rest of JRGS ex-pupils and staff. I have not separated staff and students.

   Based on your replies, I found latitude and longitude values on the internet for where your current home cities. Occasionally, I had to make approximations. Then, based on Haversine's formula, I calculated your distance from Croydon. Mr. Pearce would have been proud of me. (Actually this was another website since I soon realised that my rusty Maths degree was no longer up to calculating the arc distance on a sphere.) A few of you added details I could not use.


More Detail

How old are you? The graphs immediately below show for each year how many people from our sample of 77 left that year. The follow up graph shows this on which continent you live. I wondered if there were any year clusters or patterns. There are no obvious patterns once you allow for the low numbers who left after 1976.



So where do you all live? The following graph would be better of superimposed on top of a world map but I did not find the website that would have let me do this. Once you see where the UK is, you should be able to spot two on continental Europe, a trail leading across Asia to Australia and New Zealand plus the 10 who felt the need to go to America. I felt this underplayed those of us still near home, so the second graph is for those who still reside in the UK.

I took as the non-English speaking countries France and Spain (I was confident there), Thailand and Bali. I included Wales and (just) North America as English-speaking.

  My last exploration is distance from the centre of the Universe, namely Croydon.  How far away do you live and is this dependent on year of leaving?  The answer is that most of us are not that far away from our "origins," and that there is no obvious pattern versus year of leaving.


It occurred to me to look north/south so I noted that 38% of us have chosen to move north of Croydon if not necessarily very far north. Our most northerly brethren lives in Inverness. This statistic enables me to mention Scotland and avoid a UK country bias. But please note - none of us chosen Ireland.

   So there you have it.  This soon to be famous anthropological study was completed in the year of 2006 by Terry Weight.  There is little here that is earth shattering but hopefully it is still fun to read and ponder.

   One question I now wished that I had added is: "What the farthest from Croydon you have lived since you left school?" Some or the respondents who were concerned to show they were not stay at homes often added the fact that they had lived abroad - and I am one.

Terry Weight, Macclesfield, Cheshire, May 2006 Email

Mike Marsh (JRGS 1949-55) adds: Well done, and many thanks to Terry for that information. Interesting figures.
   I reckon that he has been busy with a Great-Circle Map to get those longer distances. As a radio amateur I have occasionally spoken with New Zealand amateurs that the G-C Map - which we use specifically for this purpose since it provides distance and direction relative to UK, in my case - gives as about 19,000 km. Since this is one of the few ways to measure longer distances around the curved surface of a globe - without the help of a maths degree to calculate it - Terry's figure is pretty accurate. Incidentally, Wellington would be on a bearing of 30 degrees from here (so that you can point your beam aerial in that direction), just clipping the Arctic Circle; so New Zealand is not in the bottom right hand corner of the world as depicted in many world atlases!
   For a long time, having met with and heard about many people over the course of a lifetime, like fellow students, family, friends, and families and siblings of friends, I have had the thought that more successful folk tend to move, live and work away from the UK. One should expect that an establishment like JRGS would produce a goodly portion of more successful students and this is borne out by Terry's figures I think. ("A bunch of Colonialists"!)
   This is not to say, of course, that those who do not move away, or who stay around their original home area, are not also equally successful!

Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Regarding Terry's comments about a north/south bias, in fact we have a non-internet ex-pupil living at Wick in Caithness in the far north of Scotland - Brian Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) - who probably holds the record, unless we can find somebody in St. Petersburg, Scandinavia or Alaska.
   And from 1962's 5U we have Russell Ead (JRGS 1959-66) at Marple near Stockport in Cheshire, and Stephen Lander (JRGS 1959-66) at Caterham, near Croydon.
   Like Terry, I can distinctly remember doing spherical geometry with "Puncher" Pearce, but without looking it up, spelling it correctly is as much as I can do nowadays.

John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Fascinating stuff - I loved the graphs. I suppose I shall have to count myself as having moved north, albeit only by a few miles [to Camberwell, south London]. Retirement to South Croydon would redress the balance!


 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) meets with Roy Hodgson, Finnish national coach...

Roy HodgsonCrystal Palace's recent home game against Watford was played on a Friday evening. As my son and I were walking past the main entrance we spotted JRGS Alumni Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-65) signing autographs. Roy, as the new Finnish national coach, was there at Selhurst Park to watch Crystal Palace's Aki Riihilahti, capped 62 times for Finland.
   Briefly introducing myself, "from the year below at Ruskin", Roy was amazed to learn that Mr. Charles Smith was still alive and living not a million miles from Selhurst Park. We shared a laugh when I said that Mr. Smith and some of our other teachers would be mightily impressed by the number of languages that Roy speaks fluently.
   Roy is in regular contact with Robin "Lennie" Lawrence, another Ruskin old boy of similar age and fame in the football world. He also asked after Neville Graham and expressed pleasure at the news that Mr. Graham was alive and living comfortably in retirement down under, asking that I pass on best wishes to him. [Winpedia] [FA.com]

John Byford, Camberwell, London. April 2006 Email

ML adds: On 31 March, Crystal Palace beat Watford, 3-1, in front of a crowd of 18,619. [more]

Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) adds: I was in Roy's class for seven years. He was always mad keen on football and was in Beta (blue) house. Regarding his language skills, Roy took French A-Level, but I don't think German, and would have taken Latin to O-Level.
   He collected 45 pop records and was couple of years ahead of Steve Kember, the other well- known Crystal Palace player and a better schoolboy player, though not as academic as Roy - I believe Steve obtained one O-Level.
   Coincidentally, I worked in police on Lambeth Borough at same time as Keith Kember, Steve's brother. Their Dad was also a police officer.


 Mike Beaumont (JRGS 1955-60) recalls his form teacher, Mr. "Des" May ...


Pictured left-to-right: Bob Johnson, Mike Beaumont and Colin Blunt, at their reunion on 31 March 2006 at The Green Man, Kings Stag, half way between Sherborne and Sturminster Newon, Dorset.

Colin Blunt, Bob Johnson and myself met up recently for the first time in approximately 45 years; see the picture left.
   Pete Rayner, Colin and I used to cycle to school together. From my parent's home in Thornton Heath, I would go to Pete's house near Crystal Palace football ground. We would then cycle on to Colin in Enmore Road, South Norwood and so to school, reversing the process on the way home. We would often stop off in Ashburton Park to "dally" with some of the Ashburton girls. We would hang around together during breaks sometimes we would meet up at weekends.
   Having found the JRGS Alumni web site (great), I browsed through the July 1960 School Magazine for the first time ever and was surprised to find I got two mentions in connection with swimming - once in the Gamma House report (page 30) and once for representing the school with Pete Rayner in an interschools competition. We came second to Selhurst but it seemed to count as something of an achievement because we were such a small team! I don't suppose Pete has seen that. I was a bit peeved at the time that I was not awarded colours for swimming, having swum regularly for the house and school throughout my time there.
   One thing I do remember is a few of us, including Colin and Pete, being taken swimming at Scarbrook Road baths by the PE master Mr. Murray. It is memorable because Mr. Murray went out of his way to teach us how to show "off" in front of the girls - diving - pulling ourselves out of the pool in one motion, etc.
   Well, it seemed impressive at the time!!
   Colin Blunt, Pete Rayner and I can be seen together in the March 1958 school photo standing next to Roger Walters, with whom we are also in touch. Colin, me and Roger Walters (in that order, from left) are three rows immediately behind Mr. Cracknell in Section 3 of the 1958 school photo (or 4th, 5th and 6th from the left, three rows from the back). Pete Rayner is in the next row back between Roger and me. Bob Johnson is 11th from the right second row from back in Section 4.
   We are also in touch with Mr. "Des" May, who was our form master for all five years that we were at JRGS. Mr. MayI know a bit more of his career after Bedminster where he went immediately after JRGS. He became a Deputy Head in Hemel Hempstead in 1967 and then went to the Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury as Headmaster for 25 years, until retirement in 1996.
   He tells that it was unusual to be able to stay with the same class right through the year groups, but something he was able to persuade the Head (Mr. "Joe" Lowe) to allow after making 40 runs and taking three wickets in the Staff versus First X1 game that year!

We would like to trace Pete Rayner, who is thought to have joined the RAF on leaving the school.

Mike Beaumont. April 2006 Email


 Chris Green (JRGS 1955-59) discovers some 50-year old exercise books ...

Here are some examples of my poor academic achievements during my years at JRGS.

Maths1 Maths2

Mathematics page 1-2

Mathematics page 3-4

Religious Knowledge

Cover2 History Cover2

Back covers

History: 100-Year War

Front Cover

History must judge whether it was the fault of the teachers, or of the student, innocent and victimized.

Chris Green, Bali, Indonesia. March 2006 Email

Derek Charlwood (JRGS 1958-64) adds: How Chris Green's books brought back so many memories. I was two or three years behind Chris, and obviously have no memory of him, but it was like reliving my own personal nightmares reading his books. At least I know that I was not the first to get the "Are you thick, boy?" routine!


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