Tuesday 17 July 2018

OWT 99 July 2018

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JULY 2018

FROM SIMON PARTRIDGE  1966-72   (Continuing Simon's memoirs - Ed) Joining the ACF in 4 Alpha was something I had craved, and thoroughly enjoyed.  Prior to Simon Tong the corps was commanded by Captain Chris Lowe, Head of English.  He had the occasional assistance of (Lieutenent?) Brian Scott.  Chris Lowe moved on to be Head of English at Wyggeston, Headmaster at the Princess of Wales School, Oundle, and Legal Officer to the Secondary Heads Association.  Besides publishing an English compendium in conjunction with John Gates he had been, like Mr Bell, called to the Bar and was a non-practicing barrister.
During May of that year there was the Ten Tours expedition over Dartmoor, led by Eddie Gadd.  It possibly included Geoff German, Andy Bull and maybe Clive Cirtin(?) and Phil Murray(?)  Teams of six in the 14-16 year group had to navigate their way over a thirty five mile course to ten check points, each at the top of a Tor.  This had to include an overnight stop.  We had prepared well, and in Eddie Gadd we had a natural leader who inspired confidence when spirits were low.  He was able to anticipate problems and implement the best solutions.  Saturday was straightforward, but on Sunday we were faced with strong winds and driving rain which made navigation difficult.  We used a prismatic compass to take bearings, and spent a few hours trying to locate a track to the finish.  It was wet and cold and for long periods we were up to our knees in muck, which probably explained the loss of a tent.
We eventually reached the road, a remarkable achievement as it was easy to stray off course and travel in the opposite direction to that intended.  The last few miles prefigured scenes from MASH, released two years later, with military vehicles, regular soldiers, medics and helicopters.  These were involved in the search and rescue of teams who would not finish within the allotted time of thirty five hours.  We were the only Royal Anglian team in our age group to finish.  Lieutenant Tong was well pleased.  Then followed a hot shower, half a pint of draught Courage and the endless drive from Okehampton to Leicester via Northampton.
Easter 1968 and 1969 saw the annual camp at Derring Lines, Brecon, ostensibly to complete the requirements for a Duke of Edinburgh award.  Both times it was cold, and after almost fifty years both events have blended into one.  Cadet A went AWOL and was eventually located in Newport, Shropshire.  Officer A was reduced to using the vernacular, having been told the search helicopter was costing the army around £1,000 per hour.  Two regular soldiers had recently perished in the Black Mountains, and because of this Regular Soldier A was tasked to go over survival skills again, emphasising the need to pay attention.  Cadet B was banned from the Blue Boar, Brecon.  Cadet C put on a pair of trunks and a woolly hat to see if the survival bag really worked.  It did, and the following morning he watched us struggle to pack the frozen canvas tents.
One team of six managed to reach their destination by 11am, having hitched a lift from a mountain rescue worker driving a minibus.  One afternoon we killed time by walking the eleven miles from Story Arms to the Brecon camp along the highly dangerous A470.  Risk assessment my *****, but at least it was downhill.  In June and December 1968, four months into the fifth form, there was the completion of Cert A and a stripe.

FROM DAVE WAIT 1958-63   (Further CBS memories from Dave - Ed)  One of our classrooms in Stalag 14 overlooked an alley, with a pub roof directly opposite.  It was a regular occurrence to ask the landlord if he would retrieve a satchel.  I tried asking for a pint, but he didn't want to know. On one occasion our teacher was delayed, and a riot was taking place.  Desks were piled up by the window overlooking the alley.  The teacher, when he finally arrived, asked what was going on. 'Someone has fallen out of the window, sir.' The teacher turned white, making him look more like a licquorice allsort than usual.  He was not amused by the joke, and homework for the day was doubled - or would have been if anyone actually did it!  Once, a relief teacher took the class for French.  I say once, because we never saw him again.  We played him up almost as soon as he entered the room, and he decided to stamp his authority.  'You, boy.  What's your name?  Take five lines, I must behave in class.'   Everyone burst out laughing.  'Who, sir, me sir?'  'Yes, you, boy.  Take ten lines, I must behave in class.'   This continued throughout the lesson, with the last boy hitting the jackpot of one thousand lines.  Phew, I thought I would never finish!
Poor old Bill Sykes, in between popping pills he taught us French.  He had a more effective way of dealing with wrongdoers by issuing a slap, though in my case he sent me out of the room.  Looking back I feel rather sorry for Bill.  He wasn't a bad teacher, and was near retirement.  There were some teachers we did not dare to play up, even breathing too loud could be treated as an insult.  Mr Sweet, who took French, had the habit of walking up and down between desks.  He would suddenly ask a question in French, place his large hand flat on your head and swivel your face round to his, then repeat the question.
Mr Hutchinson took us for woodwork and metalwork, and was also a part-time jockey.  I got on really well with him, even though it took me a whole term to finish a dovetail joint.  I never progressed to metalwork, whether that was because I always took so long to complete a project I cannot say.  Perhaps that was the reason he let me run errands, including fetching his lunch from town.  But the only time I had the cane was from Mr Hutchinson.  I held the door shut so he could not get into the workshop, but my cunning plan failed.  He exerted more pressure on the door, and I did niot have enough time to return to my place before he came in.

OBITUARIES   Derek Needham  1946-53.  Passed away January 19th 2018 aged 83.
John Smith  1951-56.  Passed away May 2018.
Stuart bailey  1965-67.  Transferred to the sixth form from King Richard III school.  Stuart was Chairman of Leicester Civic Society, and involved with local heritage matters.
Les Oswin  1935-39.  Passed away June 25th 2018.  Les was a frequent contributor to OWT, and a staunch supporter of Wyverninans

FROM KEITH WRIGHT  1958-65   I read Mr Chris Lowe's account of his spell at CBS on the web site, and noted you chipped in with a few comments.  I know that memories tend to fade, but Elbow lane was not 'an old secondary modern school' but the former Gateway Girls Grammar School.  And we had a Cadet Force long before Mr Lowe came on the scene.  When I joined the Cadet Force under Mr Newton it was very active, and on Thursdays several of us joined RASC Brentwood Road Cadet Force for extra training.  We had extra shooting practice, which was good for me as I was in the Tetrathlon team under Bill Mann - and we got to drive Bedford trucks round the parade ground!  We also went on regular camps, fired our own Lee Enfield .303's at the range in Kibworth and sat for NCO exams.  The rifles were kept in the school armoury at the back of the gym.  After Captain Newton left, Mr Berry took over.  He was also a Captain in the Royal Army Educational Corps.  We all went, in uniform, to an annual regimental dinner in the school hall, with Mr Bell in his Major's uniform.  The Chairman of the Governors was also in attendance.  I left the Cadet Force in my last year in the sixth form.

FROM PAUL HEALEY  1960-65   (Paul makes refernce to the severe winter of 1962/63, when we were bussed to Grace Road and walked back into town - Ed)  Your final comment item in OWT98 rang a bell with me, as I lived in Aylestone and did the same thing.  I waited until the line did a snake round a bend on Aylestone Road, then did a runner up one of the side roads.  Very effective!
Reading John Lowe's piece, I did not realise that John Leaman (he was a year or so ahead of me) had been killed in a car crash.  I have fond memories of John, he captained a very average second or third eleven cricket team.  If my memory is correct, he was one of the older boys, together with (?) Geary, to go on the trip to Paris.  I think it was led by Mr Whitbread.

FROM ALAN PYKETT  1959-66   Very many thanks to all those involved in arranging the latest reunion, a highly enjoyable occasion as always.  As we know, this was the twenty first reunion and I remain an ever-present.  I am sure there are others who share this record, apart, of course, from our marvellous committee.  Prior to the reunion I did what I do every four or five years, and that is to watch the whole of the school film.  As it lasts for six hours I begin at the start of the year, viewing thirty minutes each week, finishing in the week leading up to the reunion.  I find this gives me an added appetite for the event, and of course the lunch!  As the film covers 1959-66 it encomasses all my seven years at CBS, and naturally those are the years I find most interesting..  I also enjoy the years leading up to my arrival, though have to say the years after my departure don't do a great deal for me.  Perhaps that is a natural phenomenon. 
I remember attending all the film nights, accompanied by my mother.  The school film was shown, followed by a full-length feature film.  I am struggling to recall them, but two might have been The Lavender Hill Mob and Operation Amsterdam.  Perhaps someone can come up with other titles.  Roll on OWT 100, with possibly some guest contributors.

FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56   The most inspiring master from my time at CBS has to be Ron Smith, our history teacher.  His lessons were always interesting, and he kept us awake and on our toes the whole time so there were no dull moments.  I managed to obtain a Distinction in 'A' level history thanks to his efforts.  In 1 and 3 alpha we had Spiv Beaumont for history, he was quite a flamboyant character.  The other history master I recall was Mr Bufton, who was Deputy Head, but I can't recall if there were any others.  We began with English history from 1066, concentrating on the Tudor period and 17th and 18th century European history.  Surprisingly there was no teaching of 20th century history, which I understand is now taught more widely.
I was intrigued to read in the Daily Mail that Leicester citizens are called Rateyes, after the Latin name Ratae (ramparts) for the early Roman settlement of Leicester.  I have never heard this expression.  The name I associate with the city is Foxes - has anyone come across it?  I remember a school trip to the Roman pavement, and the site of the Jewry Wall.  We received a book called Ratae for the coronation, but my copy disappeared when my parents left Leicester in the mid-sixties.  Since then I have visited numerous Roman sites, the most impressive being Jarash, in Jordan, and Pompeii  (Ah wuh born un brung up in Leicester un ah cun say av nevver erd uh Rateyes - Ed)

FROM JIM HENDERSON  1953-60   Referring to an earlier query, I can say that Mr Baum was indeed a former teacher at CBS.  He was my first German teacher, though I cannot remember when he left.  I enjoyed this year's reunion enormously.

FROM LAURIE FORD  1962-66   Thank you to you and the team for putting on another excellent reunion, which prompted me to jot down some random memories.
First day, sitting in the Hall, heard the name Ford called for 1B.  My report at the end of the first term showed I had apparently ended up in the wrong class, there was another Ford who had gone to 1A.  My report had me in De Montfort House, not Bradgate, and age incorrect by three months.  In addition, my parents felt the comments did not represent their son.  The school was contacted by my dad.  They realised what had happened, but I remained in 1B, which was fine by me.
The embarrassment the first time I wore my school scarf.  A sixth form scarf had been purchased in error.
The record club in the hall at Elbow Lane during lunch time.  At some point it was closed down, and when it reopened you needed a pass to attend.
Handball at lunch time in the upstairs gym at Elbow Lane.
The Elbow Lane library, which held a surprisingly good selection of books.
Second year (2B) classroom with its own yard which was good for cricket.
This classroom also had large cupboards and some members of the class - Wagstaff being the main culprit - would hide in them.  Usually this was during a Bill Sykes lesson.
Lunch times at Elbow Lane.  A prefect at the head of each table in charge of serving, with two lads appointed to assist.
Playing football in the Elbow Lane yard after school.  Always played OK there, but put me on the pitch at Grace Road and I was useless.
The bus rides to Grace Road and Rushey Fields.
Rushey Fields for cross country.  I seem to remember the changing rooms were even grimmer than those at Grace Road.
Vestry Street baths on a Friday morning.
The Dess, a magazine started by 3B under the guidance of form master Bill Gates (English teacher and Leeds United fan)  Handwritten, and printed on a duplicating machine.
Le Copains, I think its French equivalent, under the guidance of Geoff Elliott (French teacher and rugby fan)
I was given a bus pass, and still have it.  The move to Downing Drive meant I lived more than three miles away from the school.
The 1963 Christmas concert.  An excellent band, sixth formers I guess, played The Cruel Sea, by The Dakotas, which had been in the charts.  In that same concert some of us, complete with wood and cardboard guitars, mimed to the Freddie & The Dreamers hit You Were Made For Me.  Chris Issitt was Freddie.  Others incuded Phil Selvidge, me and possible Steve Pinchbeck.  Apologies if I have missed anyone.
When I was in the third form I was asked to play a badminton match against the teachers.  This was at Elbow lane on an afternoon during half term.  I had been really looking forward to this, but to my horror the caretaker (Arthur?) refused to let me in as I was not in the senior achool.  It still rankles.
The power of the third form prefects at Elbow Lane, with their red and white metal badges.  Can't remember if I was one.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I wonder if we could manage a checklist of which teachers wore gowns, and why.  Role models?  Sense of achievement?  Conformity or non-conformity?
With reference to rugby union, I seem to recall that Eric Bann went over to that dark side with Leicester Tigers before the sport was accepted at CBS.  But I remember him as a basket ball player in the Humberstone Gate gym.

2019 REUNION   The date is Saturday March 16th, if you want to make a note.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   Mr Wardle could be terribly intimidating.  He taught is Geography in the first year, Religious Instruction in the third and filled in with history and just about anything else when a teacher was away.  Alas he could not teach us Classics, as it was no longer on the curriculum.  But in the sixth form he taught us Economics, and all of a sudden here was a teacher who was human, and treated you likewise.  Some members will know the meaning of  Economics.  You are not here to become Economists.  You are here to obtain an 'A' level and you will do so.  If you could not find a third subject you studied Economics.
In the first lesson, Wally  asked what other subjects we were studying.  Only one or two were doing 'sensible' subjects like English and History, I was doing Maths and German.  One boy, let's call him Rosemont, announced he was studying Art and RI.  Wally sat behind his desk, rubbing his eyes as always.  Rosement, what do you expect to do with your life, studying Art, RI and Economics?  Rosemont had no time to reply before the class wag, Ian T, piped up, Paint parnd notes on the collection plate, sir.  Hard to imagine, but Wally  cracked up.  T, come to the staffroom at break and I shall give you threepence for a Mars bar from the tuck shop.  I was one of the boys hanging round when Ian knocked on the door.  He got his threepence, and went on to establish a very successful window cleaning business.  I have no idea what 'A' levels he was studying.

AND FINALLY...   Alan Pykett's mention of the film nights certainly brought back memories.  I think I only went to one, as given my dodgy reputation I did not feel it wise to encourage my parents to vist the school any more than necessary.  Thus I often 'forgot' to mention such things.  But in my first year they did attend, and I'm pretty sure the film was Carry On Nurse.  It came out in1959, so the date would fit.

Dennis J Duggan
July 17th 2018