Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Oldest Old Boy of Them (3)

Many, many years ago, in 1990, my friend and colleague, Simon Williams, interviewed Roy Henderson who was then one of the oldest Old Boys still alive. In due course, I transcribed the taped interview and added some extra explanatory details where this seemed helpful to the reader. This is the third section of an eventual five, all of which describe the High School just before the outbreak of the Great War, and then during the first few years of the conflict.

Prominent boys in the High School at this time included Lancelot Wilson Foster, who, in the 1930s, was to become a vicar in Cheshire, and then a chaplain in World War Two.

William Donald Willatt became the Vicar of St.Martin’s, Sherwood, and eventually lived in West Bridgford. Here is St.Martin’s:

st martin sherwood ccccc

Along with Roy Henderson, William Willatt was later to start a school magazine called “The Highvite”. By Roy’s own admission, it was “a pretty dreadful magazine”, and only survived because it was financed by a variety of different adverts. The enterprising boys went round to local companies such as Sisson & Parker, and many other businesses. As editor of the other school magazine, Harold Connop was furious at the new rival. Roy didn’t get on very well with him at all.

Harold Arno Connop, however, was a first class scholar and very good rugby player. He was a fine three quarter, and a very fast runner, but for one reason or another, which Roy was not willing to divulge, he was, supposedly, never particularly well liked in the school, and in general, was apparently not a very popular figure. This may not have been totally unconnected, however, with Harold’s rare combination of outstanding academic prowess, and humble origins. His father was a mere Elementary School teacher, and Harold’s education throughout his time at the High School was entirely financed by his being both a Sir Thomas White Scholar, and a Foundation Scholar.

Harold eventually joined the Royal Naval Air Service, where he became a Lieutenant. He would not survive the conflict and was to die of his wounds on March 31st 1918. Here he is, resplendent in his uniform:

connop zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Percival Henry Biddulph Furley always used to sit next to Henderson in the Classical Sixth. He was one of Deputy Headmaster Sammy Corner’s favourites. In actual fact, despite being well over sixty years of age, Mr Corner was to leave his post as Form Master of 5b to go to the Great War. Here is Mr Corner, showing the School Charter to interested parents on the occasion of the school’s 400th anniversary in 1913:

sammy corner s

As a teacher, Mr Corner was famous for how easily he could be diverted from the work in hand. Anybody just had to get him started off on an interesting subject, especially in Scripture lessons, and the class would then seldom, if ever, have to return to what they were supposed to be doing. Percival Furley, for some unknown reason, was always nicknamed “Dab”. He was a member of the First Eleven at cricket for three years. His other claim to fame was his talent in school plays. At this time, all the female parts were taken by boys. Given his youthful good looks, “Dab” could always be made up into a very good looking lady or girl! When he left the High School, “Dab” joined the Army. He was eventually to be killed in a skirmish with some lashkars at Miranshah, in the North West Province of India, in June 1919. Here is the official account of that short rehearsal for our recent war in Afghanistan:

furley

And here is Miranshah today, now that it is running its own affairs:

PAKISTAN-UNREST-NORTHWEST

According to Roy Henderson. the younger of the two Boyd brothers, John Hardy Boyd, was the best athlete in the school. He was captain of the school cricket team and of the Officer Training Corps. His elder brother, Charles Gordon Boyd, had been the school’s wicketkeeper, and had represented the school at football from 1910-1912. He was killed on May 3rd 1917, while serving as a Second Lieutenant in the  9th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.

Allan Roy Stewart Grant was the son of a Presbyterian minister. For some subtle reason, possibly connected with his initials, he was always nicknamed “Pongy”. Thomas Wright was quite a good bowler, as was Daft, the grandson of the famous Nottinghamshire cricketer. Other cricketers included Francis Arthur Bird and James Wilcox, and Roy was himself one of the better bowlers and batsmen. The school cricket coach at this time was, of course, Mr A.G.Onion, seen here, perhaps, in his later years:

onion

In one year, Roy was the school Fives champion. In the year before this, it had been Donald Clarkson, who was to become that most vulnerable rank of officers, a Second Lieutenant, killed on August 9th 1918 with the 1/6th Sherwood Foresters. “Pug” Clarkson lived only a street away from where I am now writing, at 52, Caledon Road, Sherwood.

Other school Fives champions included Victor Guy Willatt and his brother, William Donald Willatt. William Norman Hoyte, the Captain of Mellers House was also a very fine athlete, as was Sidney Charles Trease. The latter was to become a Second Lieutenant in the 11th Scottish Rifles. He went  missing on September 19th 1918 at the age of only nineteen. He was the beloved son of George and Annie Trease, of 85, Waterloo Crescent, within just a couple of minutes’ walk of the school. His death came in a fairly pointless campaign in Greece and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial.

The School was converted to rugby by Mr Kennard. He had the unfortunate habit with smaller boys of pulling them close and then tugging their hair very hard. It was extremely painful! There was no real reaction on the part of the boys to the change of sports from soccer to rugby. They just did as they were told.

Roy played as goalkeeper for the school on several occasions. He once let in eight goals against Trent College, and towards the end of the game he became what was probably the first player ever to be substituted in the history of school football, when he was replaced in goal by Donald Clarkson.

At the time, boys who represented the school were awarded ornate colour caps.

This article will be continued in the near future.

 

 

 

 

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The Second XI Football Team 1980-1981

The Second XI had a pleasant and reasonably successful season back in 1980-1981, although it was possible to organise only seven fixtures. They lost their first match against Becket School, but were only to lose one more of the next five matches. Their record for the season of two wins, three draws and just two losses would have placed them comfortably in mid-table in the Premier League of today. Perhaps another Crystal Palace, Everton or West Ham. We drew games against High Pavement, Bramcote and Clarendon and then defeated Clarendon by 3-0 in the return and Bilborough by 5-2. Not a bad record for a team of eleven players picked from just nineteen available candidates:

asecond THE ONE

The goalkeeper was Richard Clark:

richard clark 700
And his deputy was, I think, David Lloyd:

other goalie

In defence we had Chris Turner:

chris turner 700

Alongside him was Julian Bower:

julian bower 700

Ken Blecher was the sweeper. He was the Team Captain, so he had the shiny satin finish shirt:
For some reason, we played in fairly dark blue shirts of a shade called ‘Admiral’ or ‘Azure’ apparently.  This had been worn as a change strip by Sunderland in the First Division a few years previously. The sleeves had a red and white design on them, as did the collars.

Ken Blacher

Now, back to the players.

Phil Sermon was a 100% team player who, although he was often a little quiet, always gave everything on the pitch:

phil-ser-mon-700

Paul Chappell was almost surgical in the strength and calmness of his tackles:

Paul Chasppell
Chris Batty was an accurate passer of the ball, with a powerful shot:

chris batty 7oo

Bert Crisp was a strong runner and created many chances:

bert crisp 700
Phil Colley supplied energy in midfield:

phil colley

Chris Ffinch played well in attack:

Chrs Ffinch 700

Robert Harwood was a confident goalscorer:

robert harwood 700

Stuart Burns also contributed well in attack:

stuart burns 700

On the team photograph, two players remain a mystery to me, although this all took place some 35 years ago now. The first is CD Richardson:

one

And the other is David Nowell, who, as you can see from the comments below, was the left full back, but who was unfortunately injured very early in the season :

three

Forgive me gentlemen.
Overall, the Nottinghamian reported that the players were “all keen to play and all contributed to a most enjoyable season. Everyone has done his best and given his all.”
A lot of my readers, of course, will not be familiar with any of these young men. Let them stand, therefore, for your own sporting efforts at school. Did you do your best and give it your all?
Perhaps you were not in a sports team of any kind. Well, just look at the faces of these sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year old young men. Look at their expressions. Their inner thoughts.
Nowadays they will be in their early fifties. Their team coach back in the day was in his late thirties. Well now, I am in my early sixties, and I just regret that I didn’t enter more Ché Guevara lookalike contests when I had the chance:

me close up

.

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All Quiet on the Western Front (4)

This is Part Four of a dialogue taken from “All Quiet on the Western Front”. A group of German soldier discuss their plight:

All-Quiet-hands

“I’ll tell you how it should all be done.
Whenever there’s a big war comin’ on, you should rope off a big field…”

“And sell tickets.”

“Yeah.”

all_quiet_ghosts

“And on the big day, you should take all the kings and their cabinets and their generals, put ’em in the centre dressed in their underpants, and let ’em fight it out with clubs. The best country wins.”

P1090550

Unfortunately, only one war has ever been carried out like that. It was the Israelites and the Philistines in the Old Testament when one side chose a champion and so did the other:

full_davidgoliath

It would certainly be something to think about, especially where wars are just dragging on in pointless fashion as the First World War and the now long forgotten Iran-Iraq War did.  Eight years and not too far short of a million casualties.

The film, though, comes to a famous end. The young hero, the last of his class to remain alive, is killed by a sniper as he reaches forward to touch a butterfly:

butterfly

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All Quiet on the Western Front (3)

This is Part Three of a dialogue taken from the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”:

Remarque_Im_Westen_ book cover

A group of German soldiers discuss their plight:

“Somebody must have wanted the war. Maybe it was the English. No, I don’t want to shoot any Englishman. I never saw one ’til I came here. And I suppose most of them never saw a German ’til “they” came here. No, I’m sure “they” weren’t asked about it.”

“No.”

off to war

“Well, the war must be doing somebody some good.”

more shells

“I think maybe the Kaiser wanted a war.”

“I don’t see that. The Kaiser’s got everything he needs.”

group

“Well, he never had a war before. Every full-grown emperor needs one war to make him famous. Why, that’s history.”

“Yeah, generals, too. They need war.”

P1100069

And Prime Ministers and even Presidents come to that. They think it will make them look good when somebody else takes the risks on their behalf.

 

 

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All Quiet on the Western Front (2)

This is Part Two of a dialogue taken from “All Quiet on the Western Front”:

passchendale

A group of German soldiers in World War One discuss their plight:

“Well. how do they start a war?”

“Well, stupid, one people offends another.”

“Oh, well, if that’s it, I shouldn’t be here at all. I don’t feel offended.”

741px-second_battle_of_passchendaele_-_field_of_mud_

“It don’t apply to tramps like you.”

“Good. Then I could be goin’ home right away.”

“Ah, you just try it.”

“Yeah. You wanna get shot?”

“Me and the Kaiser felt just alike about this war. We didn’t either of us want a war, so I’m going home. He’s there already”

kaiser

Would it were so simple:

abbeville_arch12

You can see why Hitler’s Nazi Party sabotaged showings of this film in 1930s Germany. It would have brought home the grim reality to many of those willing to die for the Führer at the first glorious opportunity.

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1)

graves1

The film All Quiet on the Western Front was first shown in 1930. It won Oscars for its director, Lewis Milestone, and its producer, Carl Laemmle Junior:Carl_Laemmle_Jr

During his years as head of production at Universal studios, Carl Laemmle Junior was to be best known for overseeing  the classic old horror films such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Lewis Milestone, born Leib Milstein, is best known for directing films such as Of Mice and Men, Anything Goes,  Halls of Montezuma Oceans Eleven and Mutiny on the Bounty.

My own favourite is All Quiet on the Western Front and that fondness for the film is based on a conversation that occurs right at the very end.

220px-AllQuietOnTheWesternFront

The film as a whole was written by Maxwell Anderson, George Abbott and Del Andrews. I do not know who was responsible for these particular extracts. The two writers who narrowly failed to win the Oscar for best writing were Andrews and Anderson. In it, one of the wise old soldiers gives his idea on the solution to war.

all-quiet-467 - Copy

I have decided to divide the dialogue into four sections. Here is Number One:

“Ah, the French certainly deserve to be punished for starting this war.”

“Everybody says it’s somebody else.”

“Well. how do they start a war?”

“Well, one country offends another.”

“How could one country offend another?”

“You mean there’s a mountain over in Germany gets mad at a field over in France?”

graves1

To be continued…

 

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The Oldest Old Boy of Them All (2)

Many, many years ago, in 1990, my friend and colleague, Simon Williams, interviewed Roy Henderson who was then one of the oldest Old Boys still alive. In due course, I transcribed the taped interview and added some extra explanatory details where this seemed helpful to the reader. This is the second section of an eventual five, all of which describe the High School just before the outbreak of the Great War, and then during the first few years of the conflict:

Nobody was ever allowed to speak to or approach girls from the Girls’ High School. For this transgression, boys were punished by being confined to their own school. Attitudes at this time were very Victorian.

Dr Turpin, the Headmaster, was always a popular figure. On one occasion, Roy was grounded for three months for putting chewing gum on the seats of other boys. Perhaps fortunately for him, he was caught when just about to put it on Jumbo Ryles’ seat. Mr Ryles came in, and Henderson thought that he would be expelled for this offence.

There were two Ball brothers in the school at the time. They were both in trouble most of the time. The more famous brother, Albert, was “a real card”. This is a photo taken during the time of the Great War. It shows Albert, apparently still wearing his brightly coloured slippers, his brother Cyril and an unknown officer of the Royal Flying Corps:

Albert25 bro, unklnow

At this time, music was not in the curriculum. There were just “a few ridiculous songs” for the prize giving ceremony. The Third Form music master was a Mr Dunhill, who had one eye which was straight, but the other looked outwards at an angle, rather like half past ten on a clock. Boys always used to make fun of him. Whenever he shouted “Stand up you! ! ! ” and looked at a certain naughty boy, four others would get up elsewhere in the room. “NO! NO! NOT YOU!! …YOU! ! ” The first four would then sit down, and another four completely unrelated boys would stand up elsewhere in the room.

Albert Ball specialised in misbehaviour during these singing classes. He and his brother would invariably “kick up a terrible row”, and would then be sent out of the room. This is Albert in 1911:

Albert 1911 trent

According to one Old Boy from just a few years later, however, Albert Ball’s actual expulsion came from an incident which took place at morning prayers. Ball took in with him a huge bag full of boiled sweets, which, at one point, was allowed to burst, and hundreds of sweets were all dropped onto the floor. The whole school assembly then became one seething mass of boys, all scrabbling about on the floor, “heads down and bottoms up, completely out of control ”, trying to pick up as many sweets as they possibly could.

Albert Ball’s father was a City Alderman, but at the same time, he too was “a real character”. He took Roy trout fishing on several occasions around this period, but always used worms, never flies. This is Albert with his father, Sir Albert and his mother, Harriet Mary:

Albert22 family

Roy’s brother was also in the school around this time. He seemed always to be in scrapes when Roy was a prefect. Eventually he left Nottingham, and went to Millhill School. Roy himself enjoyed the High School, although he was never very good in the classroom. By his own admission, he was very poor academically, and was totally hopeless at exams.

Roy was a best friend of Arthur Willoughby Barton, who was later to become the Headmaster of the City of London School. The pair of them always collaborated closely in Chemistry lessons with Dr Turpin. Henderson did the weighing and all the practical activities, while Arthur did all of the calculations. In lessons they always got full marks, but in examinations, Roy usually scored very low marks indeed. Arthur, of course, still got his ten out of ten. Here is the official paining of “Fuzzy” Barton as the Headmaster of the City of London School:

(c) City of London Corporation; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The high point of Roy’s rather modest academic career came in the Sixth Form, when he finally won a prize, the Duke of Portland’s prize for an English essay. It was on “Militarism”, and Roy only won because the rest of the Sixth Form deliberately boycotted the competition, with the attitude of “It’s the only thing Henderson can do…..let him have it.”

The Duke of Portland, in his capacity as the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, was to unveil the school war memorial in 1922:

1900_Duke_of_Portland,_by_sssssssss

Roy sang a specially composed song, accompanied by a piano placed “at the top end, just inside the school”. A wonderful draught of wind blew outwards from the school throughout the very impressive and solemn ceremony. It carried his voice beautifully, but also gave him lumbago. Here is the school war memorial:

notting_high_school_war_memorial xxxxx

Here is a photograph of the dedication ceremony. One of the people is surely Roy Henderson. but I do not really know which one:

war meoorial ceremnoy

During the first year of the Great War, many of the Sixth Form members of the Officer Training Corps had gone to a special summer camp, working on a farm on the south side of Nottingham. It was hard, unpaid work, harvesting potatoes and hoeing turnips. The following year, Roy arranged his own summer camp, at a farm near Grantham. Six boys, all members of his father’s church, went with him. They were all Prefects, and comprised three pairs of friends, Harold Connop and Francis Bird, Thomas Wright and Lancelot Foster, and John Boyd and Roy Henderson. Unfortunately, as they waited for the train, the tent, which was supposed to arrive, did not turn up, so four of the boys went on to Grantham, while two had to stay behind in Nottingham. The farmer, unhappy with having to pick them up twice at Grantham, greeted the final two at the station with the words:

“What? What? My boy, I am not a little annoyed! ”

Here is Grantham relative to Nottingham. Look for the orange arrow:

granthsm

The boys were asked to load hay from a stack to the farm cart. They started piling it on enthusiastically, but they proved to be too quick for the man on the cart, a Mr Wright. The latter soon told them that half a load was enough, and then geed up the horse. When the cart set off, though, half the stack came with it, and the whole lot collapsed. Everyone found it immensely amusing, and they laughed about it for a long time afterwards. Other work for the boys included shaking the clover out of the cut wheat. At the end of the week, they enjoyed an amazing celebratory meal at the farmhouse. There was roast beef and duck, and by the end of the pudding, everybody was absolutely filled, collapsing with the weight of the food consumed. The farmer then sent for Henderson, obviously about to give him something as payment for the six boys’ work during the week.

When he returned they all quizzed him…“How much??? How much??? ” He replied “A pound.” There was a disappointed silence, which was broken only by Henderson’s single word “EACH!!” Everybody collapsed with excitement. They were totally flabbergasted, as, at the time, a pound was an absolute fortune. The boys were later invited to the farmhouse for dinner at Christmas. Under each of their plates, they found a ten shilling note as a gift from the generous farmer. In addition, the boys all went to the school’s army camp, but was a much more formal, military occasion.

This article will be continued in the near future.

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