- Page 12 - Dec 2003 thru Jan 2004 -
- Page 12 - Dec 2003 thru Jan 2004 -
Lack of space prevents our including the
following items on the main News Page, but here are some interesting
events/comments from the past several months.
Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) recalls the school's Army Cadet Force...
As we seem to be on an outward-bound, army-cadet theme I thought fellow Alumni might be interested in these photos, which I found in my Dad's house. He died two years ago and while clearing out I came across these pictures of Sergeant Harrison outside our old house in Gwynne Avenue, Shirley, and on parade with fellow cadets.
The parade is in the school playground. I have no idea what it was for but it must be circa 1964. I don't recognise any faces but the platoon would have been younger than me because I'm the sergeant marching at the back. There is an officer in one photo that could be Captain Maggs, but I can't quite make him out.
Roger Hall and I stuck it out in the cadets right through to 1966, when we were both sergeants. Towards the end I think we were a little half-hearted about it. The Sixties were in full swing. I, for one, wanted to grow my hair and suddenly the cadets were not so cool. We had some great times though running around Salisbury Plain, carrying giant radio transmitters on our backs. Firing Bren guns and throwing real grenades at Bisley were some of the highlights.
In 5U I will always remember double-Latin last
thing on a Friday afternoon, sitting in my itchy uniform on a hot summer
day. We must have had rifles with us sometimes because I remember on one
occasion somebody aiming a rifle at the classroom door just as Mr.
walked in. The look of shock on his face! I think he thought he was going
to be shot. We then had a long tirade about his army days and the story
about how they all had to stay on board a troop ship in North Africa until
Montgomery got off or something. Does anyone remember that one? Anyway,
Grant Harrison, January 2004; email.
Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60) adds: Just imagine a double period of "Rhino" on a Friday afternoon! What did they do to deserve that? (It's probably as bad as two periods of Maths with Mr. Smith on a Monday morning.)
Graham Dewey (JRGS 1962-67) adds: I think the Parade may have been either the new Colours presentation when we became the Queens Regiment, rather than the old Queens Surreys, or a practice for the presentation ceremony.
Roger Hall (JRGS 1959-66) adds: Spike Milligan's memories have many similarities with Grant's and my experiences in the cadets. Apart from an amazing trip to Germany with the then BAOR (how we ever won the Cold War I'll never know!), I recall this little episode.
At the end of the summer
term, we were each issued with a rifle, minus the bolt, to take home
and bring with us to the summer camp. As I was cycling through
Central Croydon with this rifle across my back, and wearing school
uniform, I passed a policeman on point duty. He did an impressive
double take, abandoned his post and ran after me shouting, "Oi, you.
STOP"! He knew little about firearms, but I did persuade him that it
was safe and was allowed to continue on my way. Different world now, methinks.
Michael Howard (JRGS
1963-70) adds: Somewhere in this photo is me; then Cadet M. J.
Howard – later CSM M. J. Howard (1969-70). The photo is, I think, of
the colour parade held when new colours were presented to the
battalion by the ladies of Croydon. There was a big parade at the
school, with ground keepers from all the other battalions in the
Surrey Brigade. After we were reformed as 143 Detachment of 14 Group
SW London ACF we retained only one of the two colours presented that
day, the other being kept by the Surrey Brigade. As I remember,
Major Neball was the OC of the battalion, and in charge of the
parade. The RSM was Bert Miles - a lovely man.
Grant Harrison replies: Yes, I
do recall the parade; I just couldn't remember what it was for. I'm
very impressed that you remember so many names. The one I do
remember well is Bert Miles. He had served in Cyprus and we were all
very impressed with his stories.
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) meets with Chris Bennett at the Croydon Archives...
The Alumni will recall, in late June 2003, Nick Goy (JRGS 1963-70)
first made contact with the Local
Studies Library and the Croydon Archives; an initial visit by Nick and Paul Graham
followed in August, when they met the Archivist, Chris
Mel Lambert, Burbank, CA, January 2004; email.
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) suggests a possible use for those Xmas book tokens...
During a recent visit to Croydon Library, I added to my growing collection of books about the history and heritage of Croydon and surrounding areas.
All four books shown here with front and rear covers are published by the Croydon Natural History & Scientific Society (CNHSS), 96a Brighton Road, South Croydon, CR2 6AD, and should be available through local book stores. Artwork design ©CNHSS. All rights reserved.
Click on any thumbnail to download a larger version.
Mel Lambert, January 2004, email
Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) recalls a School-versus-Masters match from 1968...
These four pictures are dated April 1968, and annotated: "School versus Masters" - but I am not sure about the game. I took them at Oaks Road Sports Ground but they are faceless, I am sorry to say.
They are not great photos, but in one you can see Steve Kember.
The Masters watching (lower right) are certainly Mr. D. E. Thomas smoking away, but who is the other?
Looks like most of the school are sitting around the edge watching the game - the car park by the pavilion is full of cars.
Click on any image to download a larger version.
Roger Adcock, January 2004, email
ML responds: It seems that some
Alumni - myself included - were under the impression that Steve
Kember left JRGS in 1965. But, as Roger points out in a recent
email, while Steve did indeed attend the school for five years from
1960 to 1965 without staying on for the Sixth form, "SK made a return
visit to play in this game. Remember at that time he was [an]
England Schoolboy, and signing professional papers more important to
the boys than Maths Tripos."
Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-68) recalls a four-day hike to the South Downs...
April 1967 Army Cadets Messrs CSM Benn (right), Cpl. Adcock (centre)
and Sgt. Harper (red & left) went on their Duke of Edinburgh
four-day hike to the South Downs studying flora, fauna and strange shapes
on maps - somehow we made it and passed.
Photographed here on the South Downs; click to download a larger version.
Roger Adcock, January 2004, email.
Brian Dunning (JRGS 1947-52) admits to an unauthorized growth...
In Brian Thorogood's
Memoirs, he mentions
"Sixth-form students [wearing] a tasseled skull cap, and seemed so
grown-up to an eleven year old boy. Indeed, one senior boy remarkably
sported a moustache." I can confess to being that boy.
Brian Dunning, December 2003, email.
Brian V. "Bone" Thorogood (JRGS 1951-56) adds: I remember Brian Dunning when he came into the bottom floor classroom at Tamworth Road on a sunny April afternoon in 1952 to have a word with the master in charge. He certainly looked the very part of Poirot, Agatha Christie's famous detective.
I too liked Mr. Culcheth, a
trendy young teacher, possibly just out of training college. He had
back-packed around Europe as a student. His pretty, kindly wife came to
the form end-of-term party afternoon in Summer
To the gentleman [Clive Whitehead >>more] who enquired if any pupil remembered Mr. Lowe reading from "The Pilgrim's Progress," yes, this was at morning assemblies. It took six months to get through the whole text, reading a few paragraphs each day.
I have a good copy of this
book, only just recently acquired, for my library; a case of Jungian
Colin Peretti (JRGS 1955-60)
adds: Brian gives some further insights into the "forgotten"
Culcheth. I think that "trendy" in this case meant that he had fairly long
hair. But I agree with Brian - he was a friendly sort of person and I
don't think he was ever offended by his nickname as the brats chanted it
when he wheeled his pushbike up the path to the cycle sheds.
Mark Dymond (JRHS 1978-81) recalls life at the school during the early Eighties...
I have just found The Alumni web site through www.FriendsReunited.com. The site is interesting since I attended John Ruskin High School for three years from 1978. My memories of Ruskin are enjoyable ones.
Looking at the staff profiles I couldn't find any mention of Mr. Patterson (the headmaster in my time) and just wondered if you had any information on when he retired and whether or not he is still alive.
Another teacher I had at the time, and who I believe was at the school for a long time, was a Mr. Wilton. He was head of Fourth and Fifth years and taught English - again would you have any information on him?
I noticed on the profile page Mr. Ken Maggs; I remember him very well, and would often see him in Croydon long after I left.
After three years at Shirley High things were different when I joined Ruskin, to say the least! For a start, at Ruskin you were aiming for something - O-Levels, CSEs, etc. - and I found that the teachers were starting to treat us like young adults as opposed to kids at Shirley. I also found that the standard of teachers was better. This could be because there were teachers from the grammar era still there, such as Ken Maggs, Mr. Rowlands and Mr. Woodard.
The Sixth Form Centre was a sort of temporary building on two levels linked to the main building. This was located at the front of the school; on the lower floor of the building you had the home economics rooms. At the back of the school beyond The Mill there were about 10 Portakabins, which in the winter - despite having heaters - got cold.
I see from the photos that there were playing fields in Oaks Road. When we had games down there we were told to go down Oaks Road, as opposed to going across the golf course. One reason for this, I was told, was that Mr. Patterson was a member of Shirley Park and would sometimes "swan off" for a round of golf during school time.
Mark Dymond, December 2003; email.
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