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Current Comments:
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1st of September 2014 07:18 PM by Colin Washer
I certainly agree with Mick Wright about PE with Grant and his use of the climbing ropes in the gym. I was on the end of this particular punishment for talking whilst walking from the playing fields back to the gym after one lesson. I also remember being in the King Alfred when “Dickie” Henderson was carted off after trying a Tom Daley in the shallow end – no ‘elf and safety then.
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1st of September 2014 05:03 PM by Bob Kennett
Remember Woods ? late 1950s gymnastycs master. Discipline gone mad. My refusal to commit to acquiring white shorts cost me a caning (whilst wearing my blue shorts) for "insolence". But in some perverse way it was worth it just to see him seethe. Basher on the other hand was a disciplinarian of a different and superior sort - a real gentleman who commanded respect and who managed to get even the least athletic of us to try our best.
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1st of September 2014 12:06 PM by Mick Wright
When I joined in 1964 we had a PE guy called Grant. Now he really was one to be feared as he thought nothing of using a plimsole or the leather end of one of those climbing ropes in the gym to whack you with. Henderson was a pleasure after him, although once established, was thought a bit too cocky - evidenced by his swallow dive into the shallow end at the King Alfred one Tuesday morning, for him to rise from the water with blood streaming from a cut in his receding forehead.
We had the same experience as David Watts re Kennedy who ghosted into his first lesson with us in his flowing gown and spotted bow tie. He had a bit of an accent but also sounded a bit posh. We had never seen or heard anything quite like it. Yes, he turned out to be one of the nicer guys. Always had time for Barney Balsdon but I fell out with Bill Lawrence over my refusal to run cross country for the house. The house head and deputy had secreted themselves behind a bush in the qualifying run to count 10 house members through so they wouldn't have to do the run the following week. Point of principle really, but I never let on to old Bill, despite him having a screaming fit at me in the follow up.
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30th of August 2014 03:06 PM by David Watts
I again concur with you entirely Dave, and also your earlier reflections on how daunting some of those teachers were when we first joined, though perceptions did of course alter as the years went by. Jack Liddell was as you rightly say a classic example. In the words of the song,"at first I was afraid I was just petrified" - though by the upper school I had already realised that it took a certain skill to keep a class of boys under total command just by sheer force of personality and so I was applauding as keenly as anyone during Jack's memorable send-off in the school hall.
I can also recall "Paddy" Kennedy storming into class 1A for his first ever lesson with us and giving us a very tough and stroppy time as he clearly set out to win our respect and show us all that he meant business. Afterwards I thought that he was 'orrible, whilst PE-master Henderson had soon become a big favourite, mainly because I strangely preferred playing football to attending proper lessons?! Again by the upper school though these perceptions had changed, with Henderson at the very foot of my personal staff popularity list whilst Kennedy had become my favourite of them all and remains so to this very day. And if Mr Kennedy was around now I would certainly buy him a Guinness!
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29th of August 2014 11:01 PM by WEBMASTER
The Guest Book Registry is updated to include those who submit a post on the Welcome Page (Front Page) by using the Sign Guest Book tab. Please note that correspondents that only use the Contact Us tab merely send an email to the webmaster and would therefore not be included in Guest Book Registry.
Please remember to give your starting year and leaving year in your first entry so that the registry can put you in the correct era (colour coded).
Thanks to all of you who are making this website a success.
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29th of August 2014 08:16 PM by David Groves
I remember being in 3b and room 24 on the first floor. In that room, the door when opened to the wall created a triangular space behind it. On some occasions just immediately prior to a lesson starting and whilst we were waiting for the teacher to arrive...someone would grab Peter Hamilton, push him behind the door and then wedge a chair under the handle so that he was effectively imprisoned behind the glass door . Brief cases would then be chucked over the top of the door landing on top of him. And then the teacher would arrive....and always the teacher would actually blame Peter! and say 'Hamilton you idiot why do you always do this? - release him from his prison and send him back to his seat as a nuisance. All the time Peter was trying to explain that the class bullies had done this and it wasn't his own initiative!!!
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29th of August 2014 08:08 PM by David Groves
Hey Dave I remember that very well! I also remember Mr Viney. He was a very thin wiry emaciated white almost gaunt figure who taught physics. He was deeply religious and used to say grace or recite prayers whilst screwing up his face as though it actually hurt him to speak! One day he invited a gospel singer to morning assembly and this American guy appeared and did the usual gospel 'I was lost but now I'm saved' nonsense...but then he started playing on an accordion that was round his nexk. He played, sang , stepping from one foot to another - it was hilarious - but funnier than that was the expression on all the teachers faces as they suppressed their laughter - Tabby almost gave it away - Looby Jones covered his face, Reynolds went bright red like he always did and Balsdon just looked like he was going to explode. I think Williamson just thought WTF!
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29th of August 2014 09:46 AM by Ron Riches
I simply can't get my head around the idea of Nobby Clark delivering a sex talk. He may have addressed the train boys along the lines of "You know what you get up to on the 4.28, well, the birds and bees do it too".
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29th of August 2014 08:35 AM by David Hitchin
Gary Gardner and I were paid £1 between us for a morning's work each Saturday on Greatwood's garden. As we went into the back garden, a bikini-clad young lady jumped to her feet, and was advised by her father to "Cache-toi, mon enfant".

After filling a wheelbarrow with dead plants we were told to take it down the road, to where a sign said "Tip no rubbish" and leave it there.
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28th of August 2014 06:01 PM by Peter Ballantine
Can't say I have any recollection of a sex talk in my time. Perhaps they assumed by the early 1960s we would have known it all!
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28th of August 2014 05:45 PM by Bill Brock
David, Post 824, if you are asking about the present syllabus at Blatchington Mill, I suggest you look at its website. There seems to be some enthusiasm for a school tour next Easter vacation. I'm off to Philadelphia this weekend to do some research and writing, but perhaps our webmaster and I can arrange something when I return in October. As to sex lessons, I think Greatwood handed this job over to Nobby Clark in the 1950s. Weren't we taught the facts of life by him in the third form? He was totally straightforward about it all.
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28th of August 2014 10:03 AM by David Gregory
Yes Ron, I do remember the only sex lesson we ever had on one of the last days at school before leaving. It was in the main hall where the whole of the 5th form were assembled to be confronted by Headmaster Greatwood (Bouncer). He was standing on the platform next to a blackboard armed with chalk, duster and pointer. I thought his first diagram looked more like a map of England rather than human reproductive organs. His approach on this occasion varied from serious through to jolly and it was difficult to tell who was more embarrassed, him or us. Anyway 10/10 for his effort on a subject which was regarded more as a taboo in those days rather than the necessity it is now

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28th of August 2014 09:32 AM by Ron Riches
I had a bit of a chuckle when I read of what I believe was the compulsory sex talk. I can still remember Mr Greatwood's faltering effort on the subject in my fifth year, 1949, when I must have shared the moment with David Gregory. The matter would have been far more comprehensibly covered by splitting the boys into manageable groups and taking them on the 4.28 from Brighton to Haywards Heath and if accompanied by similar groups from our sister school so much the better.
The idea of a reunion in the form of a tour of the school in 2015 sounds promising although judging by the changes that have taken place, at eighty two I may take some convincing that I'm in the right building.
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28th of August 2014 06:36 AM by David Watts
Great to see your entry Dave and I can certainly recall your excellent taste in music, as it was thanks to you that I went out and bought The Yes Album and Rory Gallagher Live in Europe - and even now I still enjoy an occasional blast of Yours is no Disgrace and Bullfrog Blues.
I can also well remember Gordon Brooks teaching us the facts of life while I sat there struggling to keep a straight face. I had already had the same lesson from my father, and when he had told me what he wanted to talk about I had memorably replied with "Yes Dad? Well, what do you want to know then?"
Another amusing memory is of how we used to try in class 3B to brighten up that torrid double maths lesson on a Wednesday afternoon with Poxy Baxter. As you may recall he used to have really bad hay fever and so we would take guesses on how many times he would sneeze during that dreaded double period?! And I can well recall how, just before Baxter stormed in, Tim Gedye would always clean the blackboard and then bounce the board rubber up and down so that the air was filled with chalk dust!!
Ahhhhh, where have the years all gone......

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27th of August 2014 06:29 PM by Bill Green
I like the idea of Bill Brock's suggestion (Post 822) of a "group" tour during the Easter holidays or beginning of August, both in 2015. How many others would support this, and subject to this we could perhaps socialise afterwards and exchange memories of our days at HCGSB in a nearby hostelry?
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27th of August 2014 04:59 PM by David Groves
I was there 67-74 and remember lots of people. Was really great to see Dave Watts entries!!! I used to hang around with Dave - also Roger Leighton, Ian Rumble and Adam Ford and Cliff Emberlin too. Those days discussing music, going to gigs (when they were still called 'concerts' ha ha) were great. I remember the biology group - with Steve Morley and Hilary - we used to rib him for being posh!
Ah and the teachers....AF Williamson terrified me as an 11 year old when he announced that anyone not reaching a few marks in Latin really ought to be caned! ...and then there was the maths teacher Jack Lidell!!!! A sargent major who universally terrified the entire school....nobody messed with Jack and even those of us who were dim in other subjects excelled in maths - it was simply life or death!!! I remember he took a shine to Chris Edmonson - who was a star footballer - bit like having Gary Lineker in your class - I think Chris was the school goalie and Jack took a shine to him. He would ask Chris If there was ever an away game - and if there was we got off Maths homework phew!
Who else? Mr Hitchcock in geography - I used to like his quizzes when he asked you the answer and then started a countdown clock ...so you had 20 seconds to rush up to his desk and declare the answer!. The most dramatic pupils would wait until 3 seconds left and then launch forward knocking all the desks in sight ha ha And then Mr Brooks - who told us in a music lesson....'the facts of life' and someone asked 'how does it feel sir?' to which, after a thoughtful pause he replied 'satisfying'. ...I was secretly hoping it would be better!!!
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27th of August 2014 04:46 PM by Peter Ballantine
I seem to be the only one who was at school 1958-65 who contribute. There's a lot i could say but I Remember the school trip to the then USSR (Leningrad and Moscow) by train in the summer of 1964. Went with Malcolm Krohne a life long friend and later chemistry master at the school. Ned Land and willy Pope were two of the masters, I think.on the trip.
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27th of August 2014 11:23 AM by David Gregory
Attention Bill Brock. Forgot to add to my previous posting if you had any idea of what the day syllabus was at the school.
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27th of August 2014 11:21 AM by David Gregory
Thank you Bill Brock for your very comprehensive description of the school in its present day mode. It certainly appears to be well suited for the preparation of pupils to meet the needs of the present fast moving world of today. It will be seventy years ago next week when I first attended HCGSB and it was inevitable that dramatic changes will have occurred in that time. A major disappointment was the disappearance of the music room and the library. I am aware you can listen to music and read a book on a computer but in my opinion its not quite the same as doing it in a specialised room with your fellow pupils. I was intrigued to see the store room added to the end wall of the gymnasium. The only wall in the school with out windows and ideal for playing wall ball with up to 20 players involved. It was one touch football with a tennis ball and if you couldn't return the ball onto the wall you were eliminated. Great entertainment for the mid morning break. Like the idea of a reunion and have a preference for Easter as opposed to Summer, after all I shall be 82 years old next year.
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27th of August 2014 10:09 AM by Bill Brock
I seem to have difficulties getting my comments uploaded, but in answer to Bill Green (Post 818) it should be possible to organise a tour of the school through the Manager, Mark Brunet. He it was who showed me round at the beginning of August. Clearly, a visit during a school vacation would be more convenient. Perhaps we could muster a group of alumni for next August 2015? Or, memento mori, for the Easter hols in 2015? I think the Christmas hols are too short and too cold!
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27th of August 2014 09:10 AM by Phil Howard
Earlier this year I was looking for a small part time job to complement my main intention of considering myself retired and someone suggested being an exam invigilator,. I contacted the school, went through the necessary processes and spent a good part of May and June invigilating at the school. It was quite nostalgic comparing today’s buildings to how I remember it but many elements are unchanged as I walked through the corridors opening the same doors that I used in 1969-76. It still didn’t feel right to use the ‘mural’ staircase!! I’m hoping to keep this contact going into future years.
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26th of August 2014 11:33 PM by Geoffrey Christopher
In answer to Bill Green's message (Post No. 818), I visited the school several years ago without any prior arrangement. I just walked in and introduced myself as a pupil who was there from 1949 to 1954, and was welcomed in I was provided with a couple of escorts (girl pupils) who gave me a guided tour of the school. This was before all the alterations described by Bill Brock. Afterwards I spoke to a teacher on the playing field and talked about my schooldays there. He told me that Colin Pope, although retired, still visited the school on occasions.
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26th of August 2014 04:56 PM by David Watts
David Groves! You are well remembered good Sir, with your nickname as I recall being "Tink" - though I never did find out why and so I really could not be blamed for that one?! I do hope all is well with you David. Amazingly I am starting my sixtieth year next week, on what will be my 33rd wedding anniversary on the very same day - and coincidentally my little wife's 33rd wedding anniversary too and so that's an excuse for a glass or two if ever there was one! I also started at HGSB on my birthday itself and so it's clearly been quite a memorable day for me.
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26th of August 2014 10:34 AM by Bill Green
Thanks to Bill Brock for giving such an interesting update on how the school is now laid out. The amount of detail he has given suggests that he has been able to have a tour of the building. Although I now live about three hours drive away from Hove, I would like to know if the school is receptive to any request from former pupils to visit by arrangement. If so I would welcome such a nostalgic opportunity.
Has anyone any experience of successfully achieving this? Perhaps if others are similarly interested a minor reunion tour could be possible?
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24th of August 2014 12:21 PM by Bill Brock
In answer to David Gregory, the school is much changed in function. Basically, there are no form rooms anymore. All the classrooms are specialised rooms. The ground floor is devoted to IT, and the first floor, including the former staff room, is Art and Design. The lovely old Library is now an Art Studio, and the adjacent Prefects' den is now an office which is much sort after by teachers because of its stunning views. The former Music Room, Biology lab, woodwork room and caretaker's flat were demolished when a link building was erected to join our school with the Neville school. The assembly hall is now the Windmill Theatre which has a high-tech lighting and sound box over the former platform. Seating is raked and the old east quad is now a covered space for theatre patrons to take refreshments. Staff rooms have also been built into the quads and accessed from the corridors. The gym still stands pretty much unaltered, but the showers have been upgraded for both sexes. The former cloakrooms have disappeared and become offices. The stage is just that, since catering takes place elsewhere. The former kitchens are drama studios. Joe Allen's and Ted Brown's labs still stand but are augmented by many other labs. There are disabled toilets all over the place and lifts on the many stairways. Computers are ubiquitous. The head's study remains, but Tabby's old punishment and sixth-form maths room is now admin. The corridors seem drabber than I recall, probably because they are not covered with prints of famous art work
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21st of August 2014 12:10 AM by Geoffrey Christopher
Thank you to David Langley and David Hitchin for your responses to my message - Post Number 809.
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18th of August 2014 10:06 AM by David Gregory
Nice to see the latest set of school photos. Can anyone let me know if my old favourites, the music room, H.B's woodwork workshop, the library, the physics lab, the gymnasium and the main assembly hall are still in existence and much changed since 1944. I see the addition of a small building against the end wall of the gymnasium would not allow modern pupils to enjoy a game of wallball which we played with kicking a tennis ball one touch against the wall, with up to twenty players involved. Players were eliminated if they could not return the ball onto the wall. Happy days.
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18th of August 2014 08:44 AM by David Hitchin
Geoffrey Christopher wrote ,I was a pupil in Hove Grammar School from 1949 to 1954. At that time it was called Hove County Grammar School for Boys.

When I was there a bit later on, there were two unforgivable sins: omitting the word County and using the spelling Grammer.
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17th of August 2014 02:52 PM by Webmaster
I took the liberty of correcting the name of the provider of the school as it is now photos.
Apologies to both Bills.
The school hall was converted into a theatre called The Windmill Theatre mainly for use of the Performing Arts students - there is moveable raked seating where the masters' dais used to be and as far as I am aware the covered quad was created to provide a gathering and circulating space for the audiences.
The Blatchington Mill website gives more info.
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17th of August 2014 01:29 PM by Bill Green
Thanks to Bill Brock for the interesting photos of the Blatch school and the changes since my happy days there (1950-1956). What is the story behind the Windmill Theatre sign over the front door, and the covered quad?
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16th of August 2014 10:57 AM by Webmaster
William (Bill) Brock has kindly sent some photos of the school as it is now (2014).
These have been posted in the Gallery. Anyone who has not been back to the school since it became Blatchington Mill should find them very interesting .
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14th of August 2014 09:21 PM by David langley
Welcome to the site. You were contemporary with several stalwarts, as I recall.
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14th of August 2014 08:13 PM by Geoffrey Christopher
I was a pupil in Hove Grammar School from 1949 to 1954. At that time it was called Hove County Grammar School for Boys.
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9th of August 2014 08:50 PM by David Morris
Bob Gunnell

An obituary for Bob Gunnell can be found online.
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9th of August 2014 02:16 PM by David Langley
RIP Bob Gunnell.............

I knew the highly respected name, but never met him.
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9th of August 2014 01:35 PM by David Hitchin
I have just read of the death of Bob Gunnell, who must have joined HGSB about 1938. He was a broadcaster, especially with Radio Brighton, a Hove councillor, magistrate and chairman of the Brighton Philharmonic.
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7th of August 2014 04:54 PM by David Langley
cut off in my prime!

I spent ............... eight years avoiding getting lost in that corridor, sometimes unsuccessfully.
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7th of August 2014 03:08 PM by David Langley.
Thank you very much Bill. That has cleared some of the haze of time for me.
Two offerings:
If one turned left out of the Holmes Avenue gate, the first semi housed AN Other, the next housed the Terry Chambers family, and the next the Hawksworths.
If one turned right, the Sharmans were a few houses up.
Whereas it took all these four about two minutes to get home, it took me all of five, in Tudor Close. Barry Brown [just opposite Bishop Hannington in Nevill Ave], must have equalled this time. Others very near wear the Gravetts, Ford, Denis Bentley and Cedric Chown. The Theobalds in Windmill Close were a little further NW.

The other offering for long corridors is/ was
Ley Strasse in the Joint Headquarters of NATO, British Forces Germany and RAF Germany at Rheindahlen, Germany. I spent a t
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6th of August 2014 04:41 PM by Bill Brock
In my VI form days (1954-56) Neville Withnell owned a leaky covertible which he sometimes brought to school from Haywards Heath. He was our frequent taxi driver to parties in mid-Sussex. Those were also the days of the Vespa and I recall frequent pinion rides on the machine owned by Robert Hawksworth who lived next door to the school in Holmes Avenue. (Oldens will recall his father was a headmaster at one of Hove's junior schools.) On masters, it is said that Spike Reynolds was the only master to own a car in 1936. But perhaps "master" does not include "headmaster"? Norden lived in Dyke Road and being a burly man I cannot imagine that he walked from there to school each day. Masters' cars and motor bikes were usually parked outside the woodwork room.
Incidentally, the woodwork room and the caretaker's flat above along with the music room were all demolished when a new link building was erected to join our school with the Neville School. Blatchington Mill School must have one of the longest and snakiest corridors of any school in the UK and only beaten by the Infinite Corridor of MIT in Cambridge, Mass.
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6th of August 2014 01:26 PM by David Langley
Thank you ..... so where did the car park when the Butcher was not using it for his rounds, as it were?

The historical aerial photo showing school complete with air raid shelters c. 1952 shows a few cars in front of the Holy of Holies, but, other than that, bike sheds galore.
Unless a bike was padlocked it was fair game but most were returned next day.
The other problem was remembering where the bike was moored ....... I spent hours, cumulatively, looking for mine.
It survived school and I kept it going for another 5 years or so, ended up behind the White Hart at Hockliffe, but that is another story. Drink was the problem as I recall.
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6th of August 2014 11:33 AM by Bob Kennett
Dave L's post 799 - look at Gallery picture # 12 and the third layabout along (sitting) was a mature student by the name of Butcher (who's first name escapes me at the moment) - he drove a Fiat 500 to school in 1959 - 60 . Not so sure a mature student counts or indeed if a Fiat 500 counts as a real car.
This was treated as a classic student wagon and was filled to the brim and beyond so much so that on the way down Hangleton Gardens it veered left and turned almost right over - no-one was hurt and as I recall some even stayed inside while we rocked it upright again to continue our journey to the Manor (or maybe The Downsman) . Not sure who else was aboard but probably Chas Challoner and others in the picture.
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5th of August 2014 09:09 AM by Ron Riches
Re master's modes of transport: In the mid to late forties,Mr Greatwood had a Mk I Morris 10 circa 1937, Joe Allen had a Singer 9 of similar vintage, Mr Forder had an Austin 10 circa 1933 and Harry Barker tore up the tarmac on a 125cc Francis Barnet.

Harking back to house meetings and war-cries: I do not recall either having been thought of in my day (!944/9) and if the meetings were held after school, the four-fourteen out of Aldrington Halt would have taken priority. As for the latter, to imagine that the Kent drivel might be attributed to Joe Allen is an insult the dear old lad. I can imagine another Kent house-master, Nobby Clark, penning such tripe with tongue firmly in cheek.
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4th of August 2014 05:08 PM by David Langley
Transports of delight ...... masters' cars or motor bikes. Even push bikes or horses.

Please do we have memories of masters' transport? They didn't just appear at school, and few walked.

"Jane" Lucas garaged his car in Tudor Close. Joe Allen certainly had one. I think Harry Barker had a motorbike.
The other aspect is to ask where they parked their means of transport [or tethered, if a hoss].

And who was the first pupil to drive to school? Commonplace these days, but very cutting edge [actually unthinkable] in my day.
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3rd of August 2014 09:16 AM by Geoff Stoner
I know nothing of Tabby's war record, but I'm pretty sure his uniform included jack boots, monocle, and riding crop (just an affectionate joke, before the PC brigade goes for my jugular). Harry Barker led a platoon fashioning wooden rifles for the Home Guard.
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1st of August 2014 11:55 PM by David Compton
As an old boy (1958-1960) at HGSB - I've just spent a pleasurable hour or so browsing your site, getting absorbed in thoughts and memories about the school and reflecting on what a grand place it was. I didn't know it then but, as I'm sure those of similar age, would later come to appreciate the skill and inspiration of the teaching staff. For me, those worth a special note were Mr " Sooty" Corbett, Bert "Bucket" Playll and Mr Bill Lawrence. To each - I say thanks for your efforts, it's made a lasting impression on this person.
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1st of August 2014 02:55 PM by David Langley
Public thanks to Bob Kennet for the anecdote.
The events were entirely in keeping with my impressions of a fine man and Physics master.

I cannot recall HOW it came about but I do have a strong memory that Joe lived in a very nice country house with a big garden, and somehow a patrol of scouts, me included, ended up drinking lemon squash and yoffling biscuits on his lawn. We were hiking and I think Joe, passing in his car, recognised the neckerchiefs or even the individuals.

"A good reputation endureth for ever"
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31st of July 2014 01:30 PM by David Langley
Gentlemen, very many thanks indeed. I will pursue the Joe Allen angle off-piste of course.
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31st of July 2014 11:55 AM by Bill Brock
From my notes. Greatwood was headmaster of Newport Grammar School during the war years and this was a reserve occupation; ditto for Norden (who had served in both the army and RAF in WW1). Tabby was also probably not subject to call up for same reason, though eyesight would have been an issue, as it was for Baxter. Harry Barker was too old (he had served in WW1); Stapleton (biology) was too old; Bell was not called (too old?); Jumbo Griffiths was severely diabetic and not called; Basher Bates (who joined school in 1940) was too old. Spike Reynolds was not called, but I have no explanation, unless being a parish church organist was a reserved occupation. Burnett served in the army somewhere and emerged as a Major; Scruff Romer was an Educational Officer in RAF, as was Brown; As the war drew to a close, Norden made a special plea for Brown's return to science teaching and got him back in 1945 whereas others were unable to return until 1946. Andrew served in Royal Armoured Corps; Thorpe was Intelligence Officer in 8th Army. No information on Richardson (art), Hawking or Joe Allen. Skipper March was in RAF but was discharged through injury in 1943 when he returned to caretaking. I may have information on post-war staff, but I'll post this later.
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31st of July 2014 09:24 AM by Bob Kennett
David , re: Joe Allen .There was an incident related to his wartime experience which took place at the beginning of a Physics lesson following a French lesson that clearly demonstrates what a passionate man Joe was - unfortunately it is not repeatable here but I would happily regale you with the details if you contact me via the Contact Us tab. Bob K