Thursday 12 January 2017

OWT93 Jan 2017






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REUNION 2017   You have all received an invitation to our twentieth annual reunion, and the cheques are rolling in.  We have no intention of altering the basic tried-and-tested formula, but there are a couple of tweaks this year.  The AGM will take place before lunch, and after lunch we will have two speakers.  One is Bob Childs, teacher at Downing Drive from 1976-2009, who will complete his trilogy.  The other is Roger Povoas, who was a pupil from 1956-64.  Roger will talk about his time at CBS, and what he did afterwards.  Both will speak for twenty minutes, with time for Q & A sessions.  We trust these two super speakers, plus your free commemorative (and useful) souvenir, will make this landmark reunion extra special.

John Jake Blaikie  (1955-62) welcomes e-mail correspondence at


FROM TONY WAKEFIELD  1951-56   Interesting to read that Michael Capenerhurst is living here in New Zealand, I don't know of any other Old Boys here. I was also in the RAF but as a regular, as National Service had just finished when I came of age.  At school I had the nickname of Tex from about the age of 14, when I went  on a school trip to Chatham Naval Barracks.We were there for a week and went through some of the sailors' training schedules.  I wore a black shirt with  white tassels as per the style of the day,and was tagged with my nickname by the sailors.  Of course, the name was carried on by the other boys on the trip when we went back to school.  Incidentally I did apply to join the navy after leaving school but was rejected as colour blind.  Obviously the RAF was not so fussy!


FROM CLIVE DAVIES  1950-57   Thanks for OWT 92 containing my submission and l would like to correct my computer auto correction.  l didn't notice before l sent it in. The old pal mentioned  was Garth Haines, not George as stated. We got to know each other from an early age as our fathers worked closely together at The Towers Hospital in Humberstone, and we even went on holidays together on a number of occasions.  Garth became a well-known dentist in the Belgrave area of Leicester, and we met up for the last time at one of our reunions shortly before his untimely death about seven years ago.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I have some news about two people formerly associated with City Boys'.Michael Denison Palmer (1933-2015)Mr Palmer arrived as history teacher during my O-Level year, I think 1964. Despite growing up in Brixton, where his father was the incumbent, he retained a tinge of his native Australian accent. He had previously taught at Aldenham School, after graduating from Oxford University.  He consequently (and perhaps disconcertingly) referred to homework as prep, and always wore a bow tie.  He took charge of the fifth-year football team.  I had not realised he played for his college 1st XI at Oxford.  I assumed he was some sort of clogger, watching his refereeing!  He moved from CBS to various schools as Deputy Head and then Head.  He died on 8 September 2015, predeceased in 2008  by his beloved wife, Margaret. He leaves behind  three children.Kev EamesKev and I knocked about in the sixth form.  He went to Manchester University to study English and German.  He had a long career as a teacher.  After retirement he received a PhD for a thesis on educational motivation.  He also taught at Bath Spa University.  He and his wife, Sue, have two daughters.  In his retirement he is closely involved with U3A and Trowbridge Civic Society, where they live.  I met them a few years ago when they came to Leicester to visit his widowed mother.

FROM LES OSWIN  1935-39   In my early years at CBS I did not take much interest in RE lessons, in spite of regularly attending Sunday School and singing in the choir of our local Unitarian church.  In my final year I opted out of RE, thinking that was the end of my association with religion.  But in Autumn 1942, at Trowbridge whilst in the Royal Corps of Signals, on Sundays it was either church parade or spud bashing, and church won the vote.  Around my nineteenth birthday I accepted an invitation from my pal John to spend a Sunday with his family in Gloucester.  We caught the train and used our passes, stopping halfway to change at an unidentified station.  The signs had been removed to confuse Fifth Columnists, as well as the passengers!  The Salvation Army served tea in jam jars, as there was a shortage of cups.  In Gloucester we walked to John's family home where, in spite of rationing, we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast.  We were encouraged to hurry, as the family would be attending morning service at the beautiful nearby cathedral.   We were met at the front entrance, and as VIP's guided into special seats behind the magnificent choir where we participated in the service.  After seventy four years I still remember it, along with the pleasure of being a welcome guest of John's lovely family.  It was the first time I had been inside a cathedral.

In 1966 I drove my family from Birmingham to Gloucester, where we lived, and decided to take them to the cathedral.  Being a weekday there was no service  Under the watchful eyes of cathedral officials we made our way to a row of seats behind the choir stalls, and sat in the very same seats we had occupied way back in 1942.  I have visited many cathedrals since, but there is a special place in my memory for that day in October 1942.


FROM DAVID LINNELL  1955-62   Dave Zanker asked what happened to those featured in the 1961 photo of 5S – I was one of those named.  After school I went to LSE,  joined the Prudential, qualified as an actuary and moved around the Life and Pensions departments, ending up as Compliance Officer at the time the Financial Services Act started.  I've now been retired for nearly 20 years but am still active with the local residents association ( ).  In a previous OWT the sixth-form dances were mentioned. When I was in the sixth form, I was dragooned into becoming the club secretary.  At one of the dances my companion brought along her friend, who tried to get in without a ticket.  I intercepted her…….. and we are now approaching our Golden Wedding. We spend a lot of time in France – I'm eternally grateful to the teacher who knocked enough French into my unwilling head for me to be able to get by sixty years later!


FROM IAIN TWEEDIE  1958-63   Congratulations to all involved in the forthcoming 20th reunion, and congratulations to you personally on the long life and high quality of OWT.. Editors have to work hard, persistently and consistently - you  have clearly done that in sustaining a newsletter over some 90 editions  (Thank you - Ed)
Spookily, on the day before your reunion invitation arrived, I was reviewing some personal documents and came across programmes for two Annual Prize Distributions at De Montfort Hall, one on Thursday 13th November 1958 and one on Thursday 26th July 1962. It must be forty years since I last saw them, and I didn't know I had them. Each programme, after the front cover and details of music and poetry for the evening, lists six impressive pages of school prizewinners, 'O' and 'A' Level examination results, university acceptances and Successes of Old Boys. I remember prize-givings as being bizarre events with us boys there reluctantly, while a smattering of the keenest parents came to support their embarrassed offspring.
All the teachers displayed the colours of their degree-awarding colleges ontheir gowns, providing a coded reminder of the staff room's real pecking order. I seem to recall that several members of staff outshone the Headmaster in the academic reputation of their universities.  We lads generally felt  our evenings wasted as we fidgeted while the ritual ceremony of exhortation and reward played out before us.  I wonder now if the real beneficiaries of prize-givings were the staff.  Each year, below them they scanned the crop of young people who they had developed in some way, whether by grinding in useful facts and formulae or by widening cultural or sporting experiences. This surely must have boosted the teachers' own morale, professional pride and sense of purpose. Or perhaps not…   I also found a newspaper photo (which must have come from the Mercury in 1962), the caption of which reads: Captain of the school J.W.Mawby, centre left, pictured with award winners at the City of Leicester Boys' School annual prize distribution at the De Montfort Hall last night. Left to right are A.P.Bowden, I.R.Tweedie, J.A.Bennett, C. Smart and A.R.Watts. Other pictures will appear in tomorrow's Star - lunchtime - edition.  Most of us looked keen and remarkably cheerful  (Iain has kindly donated the documents mentioned to the memorabilia collection - Ed)


AND FINALLY....   You will note this OWT is very short, and it has used up all the material.  It would be great if we could reach 100 issues, but after 93 it is perhaps no surprise that we are running out of anecdotes and information.  So it's up to you, the loyal readers, to send me something.  Long, short, serious, humorous, factual, biographical, anecdotal.  You are almost guaranteed to appear in print, though I will not publish anything hurtful, insulting or libellous.


Dennis J Duggan

January 12th 2017