Wednesday 31 January 2024

Fwd: BONUS OWT Online February 2024

Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2024 at 12:53
Subject: BONUS OWT Online February 2024


I am pleased to announce that we now have so many contributions I am able to offer this bonus edition of OWT.  Please keep them coming so we can keep the memories of our old school alive!!!

EDITORIAL   Submissions are always welcome, subject to the following provisos:,
i) I reserve the right to edit articles if I consider it necessary.  Reasons include, to correct errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling;  to make an article more concise, and thus more readable; to remove any allegations against individuals, founded or unfounded; to remove any hurtful comments regarding individuals, founded or unfounded; tales of bad or illegal behaviour, however innocent they seem now!
ii)  Topics are basically restricted to your time at CBS, and/or your career path.  You can also include sporting activities etc. 
Having said all that, I wonder how many errors will creep into the text below!!
Please send contributions via email to   Text only, please.  Send photos direct to Frank via the facebook page.

ARNOLD 'DOC' BURROWS   The Doc's funeral took place on January 25th, and was attended by six Old Boys.  More details can be found on the fb page.

FROM CHRIS HOWE   Sad to read of the passing of Doc Burrows.  He helped a great number of pupils during his career.  During my time in the sixth form, 1963-65, he encouraged a small number of us to stay after school - I think it was Fridays - and attempt some of the preparations in the Finar organic chemistry text book.  He was doubtful as to whether or not they would work.  His advice to initially treat published data with some caution stood me in good stead.  I only forgot it once, during my naval and MoD career, and luck rather than judgement subsequently saved my bacon.  When I was offered a place at Leicester University, Doc was unimpressed and thought I could do better.  I think he had forgotten I was a linguistic moron, so could not pass the French 'O' level required by most universities at that time.  My late mother-in-law also remembered The Doc. It seems he carried the cross at her wedding in St Barnabas church, Humberstone, in 1945.

OBITUARIES   John Page informs us that Richard Thompson (1949-56) passed away January 8th 2023.
From Alan Pykett Sid Lee (1959-66) passed away around November 2022.  Sid had lived in Scotland for many years, most recently Jedburgh.  I met up with Sid in 2017, when he went to see Elgin City play.  I believe we were in the same forms for our seven years at CBS.
From Keith Brown  Dennis Brown (1953-59)  died in Toronto in 2017.  Although never a great academic (I have his school reports, which make rather amusing reading - they daren't write them like that any more!) he was a keen member of the school Army Cadet Force and an accomplished marksman, qualifying at Bisley in the one hundreds. Thwarted in his ambition to pursue an army career, Dennis did government research in early data communications, then emigrated to Canada in 1969.  He worked for Air Canada, ending up as a maintenance technician on flight simulators.  It was a job he loved, and always said it was the second-best job at Air Canada - after the President!  Working for the airline fostered his interest in aviation, and allowed him to indulge his passion for travel, which he did extensively.  Dennis was a keen amateur pilot with his own aeroplane, on which he lavished attention and indulged his passion for flying.  He retained a fondness for his old school, and attended the reunions when in this country at the appropriate time.  He succumbed to a rare form of cancer in June 2017.
Don Hillier passed away May 2022
Martin Fretter  1959-??
Passed away during September 2023.  Martin grew up in Thurnby Lodge, and worked in banking and electronics.  He celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in March 2023.  He was very active locally, particularly in matters of history, and until 2019 was editor of the LRFHS journal.  In his later years Martin developed health problems, and passed away in hospital.
From Trish Kenyon   My brother, Ron Melia, born 14.5.38, passed away on December 15th 2023.  He attended CBS from the age of eleven, but I don't think he stayed on in the sixth form.  I have often been asked about him.  (Trish was a very welcome and regular visitor at the reunions, and is one of two female honorary Wyvernians, the other being Stephanie Duggan - Ed)

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK   1965-72   How wonderful that OWT has returned.  A couple of names excited me.  I'm not going to name the teacher, but I passed maths 'O' level in 1970 with grade 1 then two years later achieved a grade A at 'A' level.  It was my subject, but I could not have done it without the finest teacher I ever had.  He knows who he is!  But I will name Alan Eales.  He was a fine maths teacher in the sixth form, and is seldom mentioned.
They both might like to know I studied maths at university and failed horribly.  I spent the next fifty years wandering round the world.  I too ended up in Australia, perhaps we should form an ex-pats group?  I never lost the love of learning given to me by CBS.  Even now my wife sometimes gets up in the morning and tells me, 'You were up late last night.and been at them prime numbers again.'  Well, I can't help it!
I didn't know that Rob Willson's name had two L's.  We were in the same class and I too was on the SS Uganda   And my dad couldn't afford it either.

FROM ALAN MERCER   (Alan was a teacher at CBS in the early sixties.  Sadly, since he sent this item last year, Alan has passed away - Ed)  I wonder how many remember a ski trip to Hoch Solden, Austria, in 1963?  We 'lost' three pupils on the return journey.  Interestingly, in the staff room before the trip, it was suggested that if we did lose any boys they were the ideal candidates!  The instructions were to get on the ski lift, which only held four at a time, and meet in the valley below.  But the three culprits decided to walk down the mountain.  The snow was crisp up at the hotel, and the ground in Solden dry.  But n between it was slush, then mud.  Consequently we missed the local train to take us into Switzerland, where we would change to the Alberg Express at midnight.  The station master came to our rescue.  For a fee of 17 schillings they would stop the express.  It was a wonderful sight to see the sparks fly as the enormous engine was brought to a halt.  In the end it worked out far better, as we no longer had to change at midnight.  Perhaps after sixty years it's time to thank those boys!
On another topic, at lunchtime in the main staff room in Humberstone Gate there was a bridge school.  But at Elbow Lane we had a slate board for shove ha'penny  (The pub variety)  A young French teacher was very good, and admitted he had spent too many hours playing it whilst at Oxford.  He blamed it for his 4th class degree,, that being in the days before 2i and 2ii degrees were awarded.

FROM BRIAN STEVENSON  1959-65   I was sorry to hear that Alan Mercer had passed away.  As stated, he was one of the younger, less harsh teachers.  Although this occasionally exposed him to a bit of 'playing up' he was never in danger of completely losing control - as per Bill Sykes or Dickie Diack.  His nickname was Jasper, he taught me maths in 3 Alpha.  I still remember the time and trouble he took with me, as maths was not exactly my strong point.  He rapidly identified this weakness, and made a habit of taking me aside after a new maths topic was introduced and going through it patiently on an individual basis.  I've always been grateful for this, and I rank him as one of the two best maths teachers I encountered at the school The other was Basher Brewin, who had a somewhat different style but somehow he got this maths dimwit an 'O' level!

FROM JOHN PASIECZNIK  1971-78   (This was written in January 2023 - Ed)  My classmate Bruce Pegg (1971-78) has written a book covering sixty five years of rock and pop concerts at De Montfort Hall.  I attended the book launch at the Marquis of Wellington, London Road in November 2022.We had group photos taken inside and outside at the famous venue.  Bruce has included many people's memories of rock and pop concerts over six decades at the De Mont - stories about The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin.  Plus Leicester favourites Englebert and Showaddywaddy are all included.  There are also amazing photos of  tickets and a comprehensive list of concerts from 1957.  You can order Goin Down De Mont. A People's History of Concerts, for £19.99 via

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72   I was a member of Charnwood House, and being of a sometimes-obsessive sporting persuasion I was always keen to take part in as many inter-house events as possible.  However, Charnwood and Abbey always seemed to be over-powered by the might of Bradgate and/or De Montfort, especially on sports day, though I have no facts to back that up.  Time can cloud memories, but I have recollections of some fearful beatings, with the possible exception of cricket, during my seven years at the school.  So I took it upon myself to question the allocation process of first-year boys, as I was unhappy that Charnwood were always so short of sporting talent.  I think it was Ken Witts who told me that names were drawn out of a hat, by whom he did not know.  Maybe it was just during my time this disparity seemed to exist, or maybe the masters associated with Bradgate and De Montfort identified the sporty types and manipulated the system accordingly.  Surely not...  (I was allocated to Abbey 1959-64, but was never interested in any type of sport, though did enjoy cross-country.  My own recollection of that period is Abbey being very successful on the whole.  But I have no positive facts to back that up - Ed)

FROM DAVID BILLSDON   An enjoyable reunion (March 2023) when I met up some familiar faces and one or two I had not seen since 1966.  Several people queried the meaning of the school song chorus, here is the Google Translate effort.  Can any Latin scholar improve on it?
Vivat crescat in aeturnum floreat                    May it live and grow forever
Scola quam laudamus,                                    The school we praise                             
Primem lucem juventutius                              The first light of youth
Semper te amamus                                         We always love you

FROM NICK (NED) MILLER  1961-66   I discovered the Wyvernians web site pretty late in the day, and I hope someone can answer my enquiry.  Does anyone know the whereabouts of Mr Palmer, he was referred to as Arnold and/or Percy, I think, but I never knew his real name.  He was one of the history teachers in the mid to late sixties and organised Saturday treasure hunts.  They involved cycling from Downing Drive to East Leicestershire, searching for answers to history clues in various villages.

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72   (A second contribution - Ed)  Thankfully smoking is now seen as more socially unacceptable than hitherto, but during my days at Downing Drive witnessed it often.  Sad to say I was one of the many who went to some lengths to enjoy a fag whilst in school uniform.  The bike sheds were the go-to sanctuary for a nicotine fix, though I recall a little recess to side, or rear, of the woodwork room which was also used.  In the summer one could wander off across the playing field, also in foggy weather, with minimal fear of detection, though I suspect the staff were well aware what was going on.There were periodic purges to catch the miscreants, one of whom (I think it was Ken Witts) developed a technique of flicking water under toilet doors, then presenting a detention to boys seen with wet shoes!  All quite laughable really, as whenever you had resson to visit the staff room, or worse, Jock Gilman's office, you were met with clouds of smoke when the door was opened.

FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-69   (Rich's hat trick was to attend Elbow Lane, Humberstone Gate and Downing Drive - Ed)  Cast your minds back to a glorious afternoon (Come on chaps, try hard, you can do it...) and think of that sun and blue sky illuminating the lush grass of the Downing Drive sports field.  Visualise that grass gleaming greener and brighter than ever before.  An idyllic scene, in fact.
That lovely afternoon is very special, one of the great events that graced the school calendar.  A red-letter day, one looked forward to by the whole school.  Yes, it was the day that eleven noble masters, mainly from the younger end of the age spectrum, elected to reveal their knees.  In order to justify the spectacle of bare patellas a subterfuge was employed, that being a sporting football encounter between the bare-kneed staff and the school first eleven.
The game was going well.  The masters, though not as nimble and speedy as the boys, had experience and guile on their side.  The game remained tight, but then the masters pressed forward, swamping the first-eleven penalty area.  The defenders struggled to keep their goal intact.  Then suddenly, it happened.  A hefty boot sent the ball hurtling towards the halfway line, just inside the left-hand touchline.  It was an early demonstration of what the redoubtable Jackie Charlton referred to as the 'W' plan.  The ball rolled swiftly over the immaculate grass, getting closer to the attacking half of the pitch.  A first-eleven player was making good speed along the wing and gaining on the ball.  Sadly, he was unaware of the danger.  A fleet-footed master, Mr William Mann, was also making a bee-line for the ball from an oblique angle so unseen by the heroic first-elevener.
The crowd feared a collision or, even worse, that Mr Mann might reach the ball first thus depriving the first-eleven the chance of launching a major assault.  Then it happened.  A voice from the touchline alerted the first-elevener to the danger by calling, 'Watch out.  Don't let Bill get it!'  The now-bemused Mr Mann swivelled, at the risk of putting his hip out, and delayed his progress by waving an admonishing finger at the schoolboy who had raised the alarm. But to be fair, he also grinned widely.
This was the chink in the masters' armour.  The boy took possession of the ball and sped towards the goal  It looked like him versus the goalkeeper, as the entire masters' team was now stranded and making their laborious way back to stem the danger.  The race was unequal, with the boy putting more yards between himself and the labouring masters.  He finished his run in fine style by confidently stroking the ball into the net, to the joy of the crowd and the first-eleven.
And that, my friends, is how I came to 'assist' a goal for the school first-eleven from my position among the standees on the touchline.

AND FINALLY...  I too can claim a hat-trick, as I attended Lee Circle, Elbow Lane and Humberstone Gate.  The 1959 intake was the last to use the former British Restaurant 'huts', before they were demolished to make way for the multi-storey car park.  Boys watched  the work from The Pen, noting the novel use of tower cranes.  I recall the gas fires in the classrooms.  My desk was at the back of the room, directly in front of the fire, so I was often uncomfortably too warm.  The laboratory was also used as the hall, the staff room being nearby.  Wally Wardle was in charge.  During the intake's first morning, Wally burst into the room to enquire if any of us had an interest in joining the school orchestra.  It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to show a bit of enthusiasm, so without thinking it through I raised my hand.  It was a decision that led me into all sorts of trouble, both at home and at school.  I have told the sorry tale before, but it was many years ago so I will repeat it in a future OWT.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
February 2nd 2024