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"The Barbican"

No. 16 - May 1941

Loaned by Joe Warr - Edited by Maurice Hobden

The Original Barbican cover IT is the Spring of 1941. The phoney war is over, the Battle of Britain was won last summer, but now Britain stands alone against Nazi Germany. Russia and America are sitting on the side-lines unwilling to get involved. We are being pounded by German bombers in the blitz which has just begun and our troops are already involved in North Africa fighting the Italians who have eyes on Egypt and the Suez Canal, to add to Libya and Tunisia which they have already taken.

At School it all seems rather distant. Very little danger disturbs peaceful Lewes but the School does its best to adjust to staff shortages and lack of food. True, they have to share the buildings with Bec School, evacuated from London, but somehow they get along.

The best part of this Barbican are the Notes on Old Boys written by NRB, who inadvertantly calls himself "the Editor", thereby destroying the elaborate fiction that the editing is done by the senior boy named in the School List! A careful reading of the Notes gives a very good idea of the variety of ways that Old Boys are contributing.

Some of the lucky ones named here came back and are still alive today to read these jottings on the Internet in the 21st Century. They more than most will be aware of the ones that didn't.

Extracts from the Barbican



The Magazine Of
The Lewes County School
For Boys

May 1941


Summer Term 1941

Captains of the School : B. W. Thomas, G. H. Ford.

Prefects :
LEWES : G. H. Ford, D. George, R. T. H. Stevens.
MARTLETS : B. W. Thomas.
SEAHAVEN : W. Bowles.
UCKFIELD : F. A. Holton.

Captain of Rugby : B. W. Thomas.
Vice-Captain-Secretary : R. C. Blythe.

Form Captains : IIB : J. Laker ; IIA : A. C. Hill ;
IIIB : P. G. Bradbury ; IIIA : J. Barfoot ;
IVB : P. C. Read ; IVA : K. Hills ;
Remove B : F. H. Dusart ; Remove A : S. Wood ;
VB : A. J. Stock ; VA : H. J. Dennis.

Editor of the Magazine : B. W. Thomas.
Sub-Editors : R. T. Stevens, G. H. Ford.


Free speech is one of our most jealously guarded democratic rights and in our previous editorial we expressed our gratitude that it was still possible to exercise this privilege in the Barbican. It was therefore with feelings of deep regret that it was decided to exclude original contributions from the present number. Although sinister motives may be attributed to the editorlal staff, we assure all readers that the unfortunate necessity arose from growing costs of publication.

The war has inevitably continued to influence school life, and has offered opportunities to everyone of displaying true national and public spirit. Many have joined the Lewes Squadron of the A.T.C. while others have formed Youth Service Squads. Much of the voluntary work is done on the School garden, which has supplied the kitchen with a large proportion of its vegetables.

This term rabbits have appeared in the quads, attracting considerable attention. Those whose tender feelings yield to the dictates of the stomach sincerely hope that affection for them does not grow too strong.

F/O John Boulton

It is with sorrow that we bid adieu to Mr. Pett, who has enlisted in H.M. Navy, and we thank him for all he has done for us. He will especially be remembered for valuable help given to the cricket teams and to the Sixth Form Society.

The School can feel justly proud of the record of its Old Boys in H.M. Forces. It is with pride that we record the award of the Czech Military Cross to Flying Officer J. E. Boulton ; he gave his life for his country.

As we go to press we learn that the total reached at School during War Weapons Week is £431 6s. 4d.
B. W. T.


By the time these lines appear, two years will have elapsed since war broke out. Conditions at School cannot become easier, especially as more masters leave to join the Forces and substitutes have to be found. These are difficult to obtain with suitable qualifications.

With night raids fairly frequent during the past winter, we abandoned hope of producing a School play but held our accustomed Speech Day. As only two Governors were present, this function lacked its usual eclat. The gratifying feature was the number of parents who overcame restricted travel facilities and managed to attend. We thank them for their loyal support.

Perhaps the chief event of the past year has been the founding of a squadron of the Air Training Corps with the School as headquarters. Three flights have been formed ; one for boys of our own School, one for the evacuated London School [Bec] which shares our buildings, and one for town boys. In this way we have been able to serve our immediate vicinity as well as the country.

Sixty of our own lads have become cadets. I thank parents for permitting this. I can assure them that they and the boys are doing a most vital piece of national service. If the time should arrive when present cadets are needed in the R.A.F. they will join better equipped and with better chances of promotion. Moreover, the whole future of the country depends on an increasing flow of well qualified young men to the Air Force.

On the other hand, whereas cadets can volunteer as soon as they come of age, they are not compelled to join until called up for military service in the normal way.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the last magazine was the record of our Old Boys. Further activities are given in this issue. It will be seen that they continue to uphold the high reputation of the School.

The fate of some present and past members of the staff may interest readers. Mr. Smith, our mathematics master, is a Captain in the Royal Artillery and has done a Battery Commander's course. Mr. Pett is an Instructor-Lieutenant in the Navy. Mr. Pratt is training as a shift chemist for an appointment in an explosives factory. Mr. Courtney, owing to defective vision, languishes in the Army Pay Corps despite his efforts to get into something more exciting. Mr. Dolden, our former P.T. master, is a Staff Captain, while Mr. Stripe is a Pilot Officer in the R.A.F. Mr. Page is at an Officer Cadet Training Unit. Mr. Stevens is a Subaltern in the Artillery.

To return to the boys, working squads have been formed in connection with the School garden and we aim at becoming self-supporting during the year 1941-42. We thank Mr. Euston and his helpers for their enthusiasm and hard work. The memory of what they achieved during these difficult times will bring satisfaction in years to come.

Finally, I do not think it out of place to pay tribute to those members of the staff who are still at school and who are doing their utmost to see that the interests of the boys do not sufler in spite of war-time difficulties. All are engaged in extra-mural war-time duties, Civil Defence, Home Guard, etc. Yet all are unsparing of their efforts to provide the boys with a full school life. We have been fortunate in the colleagues who have joined us to replace those who have entered the Forces. They have identified themselves in every way with the School and made themselves part of it.

A story could be written about catering in war-time. Readers who wish to get an inside knowledge should apply to Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson in the School kitchen. Any friends of the School who have unwanted supplies of sugar, fruit, jam, in fact, any of those things no longer obtainable in the shops, and who may be worrying as to how to dispose of them, might end their difficulties by sending them to us.
N. R. B.


House Masters . . . Messrs. Hoggins, Larwill and Long.
House Captain . . . G. H. Ford.
Prefects . . . D. George, R. T. H. Stevens.

Since our last notes appeared our activities have maintained a satisfactory standard. Our Rugger XV contained five members of the School XV ; had it played more as a team it would have achieved more spectacular results. Happily we vindicated ourselves in the Sevens Tournament, when our team really played as a unit and won all three matches. Our Soccer results were as usual, disappointing, although the standard of play improved as the season went on. This year, for the first time, we won the Cross-Country Cup. All boys who ran are to be congratulated on this fine effort. It is up to all members of the House to see that the trophy is kept in our possession in future years.

The standard of work has been encouraging, having improved steadily each month. There are still, however, the inevitable few boys who always blight a promising House average with a minus mark. At the time of going to press we are well in the running for the Work Shield, and if these slackers buck up we shall put our name on the Shield for the first time. Every boy should remember that although perhaps not so spectacular, the sphere of work is at least as important as the sphere of athletics.

Most of the boys are now members of the School Service Corps ; this is a good record, but it is up to us as the local House to do far more than the other Houses.

Next term we look forward to Swimming and Athletics. In the former we are confident that we shall retain our customary superiority ; in the latter, previous lack of keenness must be overcome if we are to make a serious attempt at dislodging the haughty Martlets from their exalted position.

Remember, Lewes, it is sustained effort from every boy that will get us to the top, so get down to it, and good luck !
G. H. F.

House Masters . . . Messrs. O'Brien, Tayler, Auld and Nichols.
House Captain . . . B. W. Thomas.
House Prefects . . . W. Wray, J. Hobden.

Although the results of the last two terms give us just cause for complacency, our efforts have met with considerable success.

Our rugby fifteen has done well to win two out of the three matches played. Our victory over Lewes, who have long been our successful rivals on the rugger field, was the most gratifying performance of the season, and helped to soften the blow to our pride in losing to Uckfield with a weakened team.

The soccer XI is again to be congratulated on an outstandingly successful season. They won all three games so decisively that if they can record similar scores on the rugger field the House will have little to fear in the future. In an enjoyable seven-a-side competition we won two out of three games.

After an ignominious start in the Work Shield Competition, we have made a considerable effort to rise from the bottom position. The terminal examinations suggest a reason for this unusual added zest. Since then, however, many have indulged in a period of recuperation with consequent detriment to our House points.

For the second year we are runners-up by a small margin for the Cross-Country Cup. Those who ran especially in the Junior and Colts, did extremely well. But a deplorable lack of house spirit was displayed in some instances when voluntaers to run were asked for.

We are also behind other houses in volunteers for the Youth Service Squads. This is a stain on the good name and reputation of the House. Yet it is, I feel sure, a stain which will be removed in the coming term. Co-operation and selflessness are the principles upon which a successful house is built. I am confident that it will be more evident in the coming term.

We have a long-standing reputation in athletics to guard and may yet cause Lewes some uneasiness in the Swimming Gala. The maintainance of our position as " cock " house depends on everyone and not on a few. See to it that it is maintained.
B. W. T.

House Masters . . . Messrs. Euston, Pett and Warman.
House Captain . . . L. F. Bowles.

Last year our work was much better than our sports but this year up to the end of the Easter term the balance has turned. And though our House rugger team has achieved better results, the work points are lower than those for last year. Two out of three rugger matches were won by our team last term, and perhaps next year we may even beat Martlets !

During the Easter term the seven-a-side rugger matches were held. We lost two of the three matches, but our team exhibited an excellent team spirit. Our junior soccer team won two of its three matches, all members of the team being very keen.

This year our cross-country results were much better, our House coming third in a very close result. Much of,the credit is due to the enthusiasm of the Senior and Junior sections. The Colts did better this year than last, but still remains ths weakest section.

During the last term two new institutions have been introduced into the School. These are the "Air Training Corps " and the " Pioneers ". Both had a good response from our House, nearly twenty having joined the " Air Training Corps " and over thirty volunteered for the " Pioneers ". With very few exceptions all boys in the House are performing some form of service, either connected with the School, or their own local civil defence and other local activities.

As I remarked at the beginning the work points are not so good as they were last year. But there is no reason why we should not make an extra effort next term and make sure of regaining the Work Shield.

By combined effort next term we should be able to keep the Work Shield, and regain the Games Shield.
L. F. B.

House Masters . . . Messrs. Jarvis, Silk and Gourley.
House Captain . . . F. A. Holton.
House Prefect . . . A. Stock.

The first two terms of this year have not been completely successful for Uckfield, but we have several results from both Games and Work which may give us full confidence in our prospects for the summer term, and next year.

The rugby XV was on the small side and included several inexperienced players at the beginning of the year. In spite of this we had a good tustle with Seahaven and were unlucky to lose 3-0. In the game against Lewes we found ourselves up against a very heavy team in most disagreeable weather, and, perhaps owing to faint-heartedness on the part of our junior players, lost heavily. By the end of the season, however, we were strong enough to tackle Martlets confidently and beat them decisively.

The spirit of our Junior element was disappointing at the beginning of term, and lack of keenness contributed much to their defects on the soccer field. Later on they, too, seemed to buck up, winning their last match (v. Lewes). It is with real regret that we see our traditional trophy, the Cross-Country Cup, pass out of our keeping. Our standard of running in the Seniors and Colts was good, but we have still to find a Wooderson [Sidney Wooderson was a famous British long distance runner of the time] among the Juniors. The margin by which we were beaten was very small, however, and we have no reason to be ashamed of letting another House win if for one year.

In the sphere of work it is pleasant to record that our standard is rising. Owing, perhaps, to an extensive publicity campaign conducted on the House notice-board, the averages for the second term are well above those of the first, and if we make the extra effort necessary, we may hope to gain the Shield this year.

A new phase of House activities has opened with the formation of House Digging Squads. Under the efficient leadership of Stock and Strange, to whom is due much of the praise for the success of the scheme, boys are now catching later trains and helping to grow our food. It is worthy of note that Uckfield has taken the lead in this service to the School. May I urge all boys who can to sacrifice one hour a fortnight and join. Much useful work is still waiting to be done, and help is needed urgently.

Finally, may I make the appeal to all the House, and especially the Juniors, to uphold the splendid tradition of the House, and in all things, whether work or play, to " quit you like men."


Martlets . . . . . 6 Pts
Seahaven . . . . 6 Pts
Lewes . . . . . . . 3 Pts
Uckfield . . . . . 3 Pts

Martlets . . . . . 6 Pts
Seahaven . . . . 4 Pts
Uckfield . . . . . 2 Pts
Lewes . . . . . . . 0 Pts

Lewes . . . . . . 513 Pts
Martlets . . . . 526 Pts
Seahaven . . . 521 Pts
Uckfield . . . . 519 Pts


The 1940-41 Rugby season was a disappointing one. The promise of the first few matches was never realised, and instead of progressing we got steadily worse.

A good example was afforded by our two matches with Hurstpierpoint. The first, in October was a very close game (lost 8-3) in which we gave a promising display but the return, played in December was a runaway victory for Hurst (37-0) whom even this score did not flatter. Even when allowance is made for Hurst's much greater training facilities, which allow them three or four games per week, that does not excuse our weak tackling and lady-like forward play.

Bec School, with an older and more experienced team, were much too strong for us this year, though in the return match our forwards gave a really rousing display, and more than held their own.

Finley at full-back was disappointing though he started well. Of the three-quarters, Thomas was much the best ; Holton was excellent in defence, but rather shaky in attack ; Glenister was a dangerous attacker on the few occasions when he really set his teeth and went for the line ; Caton and Dennis both did well on occasions and should be very useful next year.

Williams showed plenty of " guts " at scrum-half but he gave a poor pass, and as the ball usually hung in the scrum, this made Blythe's task at fly-half none too easy. The latter's kicking was a great asset.

Hobden was the outstanding forward, and he was well backed up by Ford. Owing to the scarcity of players we were unable to field three teams on the same day, and war-time games conditions are likely to leave us in the same position next year. Much will depend on the way the new Remove forms shape in the autumn. This year the Juniors produced some useful players and among others we shall expect to see more of Wood, Brookes, Wilkins, G., Preece, and Royall.

Old Colours : B. Thomas, R. C. Blythe, G. H. Ford, J. Hobden.
New Colours : F. Holton.
Complete Results : Played 20. Won 8. Lost 12.


The tenth annual Speech Day and Prize Distribution was held on 19th March. The chair was taken by Mr. C. H. S. Ellis, in the absence (through disposition) of Sir Amherst Selby-Bigge, Bart., K.C.B.

The Headmaster, in his report, drew attention to the achievements of the School during the past ten years, and thanked parents and friends for their loyal support during our short but by no means undistinguished life.

Mr. C. H. S. Ellis, Chairman of the East Sussex County Council, then presented the prizes, and in his subsequent address congratulated the School on the tradition that had been built up during its ten years of existence.

The proceedings closed with the School song and the traditional cheers for the Governors and Staff, tea afterwards being served in the Gym.

The National Anthem
The Chairman
The Headmaster's Report
Mr. Ellis
Distribution of Prizes
Votes of Thanks
" Floreat Lewesia"
" I Vow to Thee my Country"


R. C. Blythe and O. Hill

F. R. Avis, W. G. Haggar , R. Pacey, G. L. Baird, D. J. Head, I. K. G. Phillips, W. E. B. Baldwin, M. R. Hill, R. B. B. Rees, D. D. J. Banks, J. G. Hobden, R. A. Sellens, V. E. Brook, F. A. Holton, M. G. Sherry, A. W. Brown, J. Ibbett, W. H. Smith. J. Brown, P. J. Jacobs, J. N. Turner, K. G. Clapson. G. A. Jessop, H. L. Walter, W. E. Evans, M. Joslin, P. H. Williams, F. J. Glenister, R. B. Leftwich, A. A. Wilmott, W. T. Greenwood, L. R. Marshall, L. J. Wilson, L. Martyn, G. W. Woodrow.

J. P. H. Davies and D. E. Harman

R. I. B. Cooper . . . . . . . . . Percy Pemberton Prize: Trinity College, Cambridge.
D. J. Crouch . . . . . Competitive Army Entrance Examination for Commissions.
J. F. Cull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Part I. B.Sc. Engineering London.
P. W. Ridley . . . . . . . Class I (Modern Languages) Trinity College, Cambridge.

Flight Lieutenant T. M. Horgan . . . . . . . . . Distinguished Flying Cross.
Flying Officer J. E. Boulton . . . . .Czech Military Cross (Posthumously awarded).

D. J. Thomas

E. S. Gates, J. N. Hawkins, S. F. Lofthouse, R. G. Moore.

W. C. Evans

Povey Work Shield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Seahaven
Bradshaw Games Shield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lewes
Thompson Athletic Cup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Martlets
Henderson-Oliver Cross-Country Cup . . . . Uckfield
Innes Swimming Cup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lewes
Sinfield Swimming Cup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L.Wynter


It is pleasing to report that the past session of the Sixth Form Society has been one of unequalled success. As a result of our impassioned plea in the last issue of The Barbican attendances at every meeting of a long season have been unusually good, the science section being no less in evidence than its literary brother. Continued support has been given by the Staff. Officials were as follows :--

Winter Session
Chairman . . . . . . Mr. O'Brien
Secretary . . . . . . . Mr. Cronin
Committee . . . Messrs. Thomas and Holton
Treasurer . . . . . . . Mr. Blythe

Spring Session
Chairman . . . . . . . . . Mr. Silk
Secretary . . . . . . Mr. Thomas
Committee . . . Messrs. Woodrow, Stevens and Ford.
Treasurer . . . . . . . Mr. Bowles

The Winter Session was especially notable for the Mock Trial (admirably arranged by Messrs. Euston and Courtney) and for the several fruitful discussions held.

During the Spring Session a formal debate on the motion " That Necessity is the mother of Convention " was held and provoked outspoken comment from all sides. Principal speakers for the motion were Messrs. Cronin and Bowles, and for the Opposition were Messrs. Holton and Woodrow.

Lectures on Art, Glyndebourne Opera and Astronomy were given and play-readings were a feature of both Sessions. Literary and social evenings were held with the Sixth Form of the County School for Girls and with the Bec School Club, and both Sessions closed with the traditional Balloon Debate.

The full programme was as follows :--
18th. Business Meeting.
20th. Literary Evening.
27th. Impromptu Debates.
4th. Musical Evening.
11th. Mock Trial.
18th. Play-reading - " The Devil's Disciple."
25th. Literary Evening.
8th. Discussion on the Educational System.
15th. Social Evening with Bec Club.
22nd. Discussion on Religion.
29th. Discussion on "All is fair in War."
December 6th. Literary Evening with the Sixth Form of the County School for Girls.
13th. " Balloon " Debate.

15th. Business Meeting.
17th. Impromptu Debates.
24th. Musical Evening.
31st. Anthology of " Death."
7th. Codger Evening.
14th. Lecture on Art by Miss Collins.
21st. Talk on Glyndebourne Opera by Mr. Austin.
1st. Play-reading - " The Flashing Stream."
8th. Literary Evening.
15th. Formal Debate.
21st. Social Evening with Bec Club.
28th. Lecture on Astronomy by Mr. Hoggins.
2nd. " Balloon " Debate.
4th. Social Evening at the County School for Girls.

G. H. F.


For just over a year now we have dug and sown; weeded, planted out, and harvested. We have waged long-term campaigns against wireworm and aphis; fought short blitz encounters with rooks ravenous for seedling peas, and straying steers suffering from "lebensraum" complex. The ubiquitous caterpillar and most other pests have warred against us. On the whole we have emerged victorious.

The virgin soil of the New Field, shallow though it is in places, has proved remarkably fertile and yielded excellent results. Two hundredweight of seed potatoes produced two tons ; some of the cabbages and savoys weighed fifteen pounds each ; and from a bed of 300 plants we gathered over 8 cwt. of Brussels sprouts for the School Kitchen. In fact, the Kitchen was unable to take all we grew, and so, just before Christmas, the surplus winter greens were sold off cheaply among the boys, and the money -- just over £3 -- used to buy spades, forks, and rakes.

This year, in addition to the ground under cultivation in the New Field, we have opened up another area of just under 1000 sq. yds. behind the Drill Hall in Mountfield Road. Here the soil is nondescript to poor, with an underlying pan of stubborn gravel. We have turned in the turf, given it a good dose of fertiliser, planted it with Majestic and Arran Banner potatoes -- and hope for the best.

To-date (May 9th) the two Schools between them have sown 7½ cwt. of seed potatoes (from which we estiinate with fair luck a yield of 5 tons), 160 sq. yds. of maincrop carrots, 200 yds. of peas, 50 yds. of broad beans, 350 yds. of onions, and enough of all kinds of winter greens to plant up the remaining area under cultivation.

Almost the whole of the work has been done either after school hours or on free days. A large number of boys has shared in the work and certain boys in particular have come along regularly and given valuable and intelligent service. The members of Uckfield House have organised working squads after school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Boys of Lewes House did well during the Easter vacation ; and certain boys in IVB, with a number of diminutive but sturdy enthusiasts from IIIA, deserve special mention. Once or twice I have been disappointed with the response -- for instance, that from two Houses during the Easter holiday when urgent work had to be done -- and was done ; but not by those who had promised their help. Generally speaking, however everyone has realised the pressing need to grow more food and has done his best.

To-day there is much gardening propaganda, and rightly so. The counter-blockade has made it imperative to grow all we can wherever we can. But gardening is a timeless thing -- and its true context is not war. When the bombing and torpedoing are done, the habit will continue among those who have come to love the brown earth : a gentle pursuit harming none, exercising brain and muscle, and bringing to birth beauty and joy in the beautiful. We shall no longer think solely in terms of carrots, onions, and winter greens -- of filling our bellies, in short. We shall delight our eyes with almond spray and arching cherry set with white and pink. Once more the sky-blue ceanothus will climb the wall and look down on the blue delphinium below, and share with the roses the joy of June.
W. H. E.


If variety were indeed the spice of life, our Scout Troup would be a particularly spicy gathering, for during this first eighteen months of the war we have had no fewer than six different members of staff as Scoutmasters or Assistants.

Since Mr. Smith, who now holds the rank of Captain, left us in the summer of 1939, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Page and Mr. Pratt have all taken over for a while and then have departed, the two former to His Majesty's Forces and the latter to add his wealth of chemical ingenuity to the task of confounding the Nazis. To all of these we tender our very sincere thanks for the great help they gave us, and wish them every success in their present venture. At the present time Mr. Gourlay is acting Scoutmaster, and Mr. Hulbert is acting Assistant Scoutmaster.

Meanwhile scouting has gone on unhindered, and difficulties of travel, blackout and air raid alarms have all been overcome, and at the present moment the Troop is in a very healthy condition, thanks chiefly to the enthusiasm of our troop leader Tyndale, and the patrol leaders Buckman, Chandler, Sinnock and Wynter.

The troop recently embarked on a new venture by becoming a troop of Air Scouts. Critics of the change, who hold that Scouting should in no way become militaristic need have no cause for alarm, for the ideals of service and good fellowship still remain as our prime object, while loyalty to the King takes a new and more vigorous meaning in time of war.

Many of our older boys are in the A.T.C., while the younger boys perform a national service by collecting waste paper and assisting twice a week at one of the Lewes canteens.

The troop retains for another year the Campers' Trophy and the Swimmers' Trophy. We believe that this is not due only to the fact that there was no competition for either award last year.

Recruits are always welcome and we invite most cordially any boy who is not yet a Scout to share with us the joys of Good Scouting.
W. M. G.

National Savings


By sale of 565 Certificates at 15s . . . £423 15s. 0d.
[Stamps] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £7 3s. 6d.
[Small change] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7s. 10d.
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£431 6s. 4d.


It is with great regret that, since the publication of the last number of THE BARBICAN, we have heard of the deaths of four more Old Boys in the service of their country. We offer our deepest sympathy to their parents and relations.

Walter was on the S.S. " Britannia," which was sunk in the Indian Ocean by a German raider. Beck died in one of the ship's boats from exposure. After leaving School he obtained a post in the County Medical Officers' Department and was making good progress there. He joined the R.N.V.R. before the outbreak of war. His stay at school was marked by hard work and steady progress, and a promising and useful career has been untimely cut short.

One of our Old Uckfield boys, he entered the School from Uckfield Grammar School when we opened in 1930. He was a keen scout and camper and attended the first School camp at Shanklin in 1932. He had moved to London since leaving School and had recently married. We heard from him last January in North Africa. His letter was full of the gaiety which was always characteritic of him. Shortly afterwards, his plane was shot down and nothing more has been heard of him. His was a humorous and sunny nature that caused him to face life with a smile.

George Simpson

The news of Simpson's death was a shock to all who knew him at School. Although only 19 he had done a lot of operational flying and had recently visited the School while enjoying a well-earned rest. His plane was badly damaged during a raid and crashed in the Shetlands on trying to land. The crew of three were killed. The Squadron Leader states that Simpson had been recommended for promotion to Flight Sergeant. He was a most popular boy at School, merry and kind, always willing to give a helping hand, and liked by everyone.

Stevens was killed on his first raid, being shot during a daylight sweep over France. The plane got back and made a forced landing near Pevensey. After leaving School Stevens was employed in a Brighton insurance office. He came to see us in the summer term after completing his R.A.F. course. He was keen to get on with the task which lay before him and glad to be one of the old Lewesians serving in the R.A.F. He was at School a most reliable and trustworthy lad, with a blameless record. His untimely death has brought sorrow to all who knew him.

At the time of writing, Charlie Hall is reported missing from a raid over Germany. There are good grounds however, for hoping he is safe, and we trust that we shall be able to supply good news in due course.

We are tremendously proud of the record Old Lewesians are putting up. They are setting a standard for present lads to copy, and one which should be an inspiration to those who come after.

A large number of Old Boys find time to write to us or pay a visit while on leave. Among those whom we have seen or heard of are :

Batten, now a Pilot Officer, wears white wings on his tunic and black ones (reputed immense) on his upper lip.

Stone, Tich Barford, Roberts, Bradbury, Towner, D. Oliver, Williams, Russell, Ketchell, Fred Ruffle, M. J. Wilson, K. J. Grainger, and Oswald Hill are at various stages of training as Pilots or Air crew. Ketchell and Russell are in North America. Don Blake (Sergt. Air Gunner) has had a bad crash in a Beaufort but is home on sick-leave and hopes to make a complete recovery. Noel, Sub-Lieut., R.N.V.R., after journeying up and down the Channel on a balloon-barrage ship, has been posted to a station in the Middle East.

Sharp, now a Flight Sergeant in Coastal Command, has been taken off operational work for the present and is instructing. We congratulate him on his marriage. Dennis Thomas, after a year's teaching in a Private School, has joined a Young Soldiers' Battalion. We are not surprised to know that he is football captain and editor of the Battalion magazine.

Congratulations to Dowden-Wings, Pilot Officer and now an instructor on twin-engined bombers. We include an extract from a letter written by him a few months ago [see below].

Geoffrey Knight, Field Security Wing in Scotland, has had a skid on a motor-bike and been in hospital. A pretty good education is required by radio-mechanics of the R.A.F., and E. H. B. Sellwood, George Hilton, Gooderham, and Ingram are at present training in this category. Edgar, a corporal in the Field Security Wing, has found his duties to take him all over the British Isles with penty of opportunities to keep up his French. As he says, the duties of this Wing may include anything from despatch riding, fire-watching, to a parachute jump.

We have had a couple of pleasant visits by Colin Chivers, R.A.M.C., who was first at Leeds, then on board ship for an unknown destination but did not go, and now is at Aldershot.

Fred Cosstick, 2/Lieut., R.A., is with the Middle East Forces. Tom Horgan, Flight-Lieut., D.F.C., met him out there and found him " immense and very fit."

Gerald Cook (Lieut., R.N.V.R.) has been gracing the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and has spent a leave in Kashmir. Obviously the Navy can have its attractions. Eric, his brother, after trying conclusions with a bomb in Bristol, is fit again and is now a R.A.F. Corporal.

Page is the proud father of an infant daughter. He regrets he will not be able to teach her to play soccer. He has got his Sergeant's stripes in the R.A.F. Amidst the excitements of the Services, Gerald Hutton is slogging away in a wireless factory in a bombed area and is managing even so to acquire gradually a London Degree in Science. Bellingham, too, is on war work, making filters for planes in the sandy Middle East. Marande, in engineering works at Southampton, was bombed out of home three times. He expects to join up soon.

We were very pleased to hear from Jack Leak. Old members of IIB (1930) will be interested to know that he was at Dunkirk and is now an R.E. Sergeant in a Bomb Disposal Squad, for which he volunteered. We congratulate him on his marriage. R. S. Mackie -- introducer of the " Spinning Jenny " at school fetes -- had " the time of his life " at an instructional station in Canada. " Those western people are simply great," he says. He is now a Pilot Officer flying Spitfires.

Roger Rich is a Sergeant R.A. and has been recommended for a commission. Gravett -- a married man -- is at an O.C.T.U. and Buller is waiting to go to one. Woodbury, before joining the Royal Engineers, passed the Intermediate Examination of the R.I.B.A.

The School, of course, played its part in putting paid to the "Bismarck". Geering, in Iceland, was doing radio-location stuff during the engagement, Emery and Tyndale were on "King George V ", Peter Duke on "Ark Royal", Cottis on the cruiser "Suffolk", while the radio-officer on the same ship, which picked up the enemy first was George Akehurst. He received a pat on the back from Commander-in-Chief Tovey for maintaining contact.

Emery, by the way, has been recommended for a commission and has married. Congratulations.

Bob Faulkner, Sub-Lieut., R.N.V.R., after a period on a fast motorboat in home waters, has, we believe, gone East. Congratulations to Barfoot, who has got his wings and to Tomley, Sergeant Pilot, Coastal Command, on his marriage. We were sorry only to catch a glimpse of M. Hill, R.A.F. Apprentice, and to miss altogether Martyn, who is an apprentice in an engineering works in Lincolnshire, when they visited the School.

We were very glad to see Bevan again, who crashed in a Wellington montbs ago and has had a tough time in hospital. He is now well on the way to recovery. Jack Lockyer, R.A.S.C., with the Middle East Forces, is in a country " next door to Hell itself ; miles upon miles of desolate, arid waterless desert, no shade whatsoever and not even a blade of grass to be seen for miles." He is looking forward to the first reunion of Old Boys after the war and hopes the " Old Originals " of 1930 will all be there to answer the roll. He complains that the running-board of a lorry and an empty petrol tin do not make the best writing desk. We would have given him a " credit " for a very interesting letter.

Grayson has been doing R.A.F. radio mechanics' course in Scotland has seen many of the show places and finds Scots' hospitality of a high standard. Congratulations to Tribe, Willis (R.A.F.), Tom Hilton, and Peter Hall (now a Sub-Lieutenant, R.N.V.R.) on their marriages. Tribe helped to guard Rudolf Hess on his landing in Scotland. Peter Hall is on contraband control.

The wireless announced one night that four airmen had been picked up from a rubber dinghy in a North Sea minefield after a stay of over eight days. Lewes County School was represented by Basil Chandler. It sounds like a school pirate story -- water ration limited to enough to cover the bottom of a tin, hot sun by day, heads pushed under water to get cool, mines discovered, attempts (unsuccessful) to catch fish, bitter cold at night, etc. We were very glad to be able to welcome him to School only ten days later.

Rainbird -- Sergeant, Royal Sussex Regiment -- has gone East on a special job. Geoffrey Crouch and Bob Lusted are two of our Old Boys who were in the Abyssinian campaign and both found a place called Haiya about "the worst place in the world". "It is nothing but a sandy waste, and all day long a high wind creates a perpetual sandstorm," says Crouch. Lusted's description is contained in a letter quoted below. Both saw the high-lights of the campaign. Crouch spent a night dodging an enemy patrol in the undergrowth of no-man's-land. "I was rather disappointed in Egypt," he says. "The famous buildings, including the Pyramids, have, been turned into side-shows like those in a fun fair and the people struck me as being decadent." The Sudanese he found a finer race and he was impressed with the scenery of Eritrea and Abyssinia and the road-making of the Italians. Clifford Crouch is at an O.C.T.U.

Our sympathies go to Arthur Evans, who has been invalided out of the Navy. French {R.A.F.) and J. D. Baker (Corporal, R.A.F.) have been posted overseas. "J.D." is bclieved to be at Sierra Leone. Congratulations to Jim Baker, who by a magnificent effort has got his Ph.D., and is now waiting to join the forces. Chant, on a transport, had a hot time in the Crete and Greece campaign and is now a Sergeant in the R.A.M.C. We congratulate him on his engagement.

We have had pleasant visits from Yandle, Royal Corps of Signals; Aston, Meteorological Assistant, R.A.F., Grade II, who is gaining solid promotion ; Eade, 2/Lieut., Royal Sussex Regiment ; Henson, Southern Railway Marine Department ; Sandles, Royal Sussex Regiment ; Kenneth Wicks, R.E. ; Bartholomew, Writer, R.N. ; Tom Turner, R.E. ; Metcalfe, R.A.F: ; Will Jessop, R.A. ; Reed-Collins, 2/Lieut., R.A. ; Ashburner, and Pay.

Hazelrigg is doing excellently and is now a Quartermaster Sergeant, R.A.S.C. J. A. Barnes is a 2/Lieut., R.A., while brother Bob is a 2/Lieut., Pioneer Corps. Dick Faulkner is a Sergeant in the latter corps.

Keith Lusted has got his Artillery commission, while Hurst is also in the Artillery. John Hawkins has gone to India to take up a commission in the Royal Indian Tank Corps. Mepham is happily married and after serving in France in a Guards Battalion, is now on light duty at home -- Waterloo Station. Macey, an Air Gunner, has been wounded in the knee.

Huntingdon, Tubby Beale, Colin Banks, and Bartlett are still in local companies of the R.E. We were glad to see them looking so fit. Beale and Banks are two of the numerous Sergeants we have supplied to the Services. F. S. Allen is training for a commission in the Fleet Air Arm.

Morling, the elder, is at Singapore. We believe that John Morling is doing his pilot's training in the R.A.F., while Fitzgerald and Randall have been accepted and are waiting to be called up. R. M. Evans, Wireless Operator in the Merchant Navy, has had a tough time and has been torpedoed.

D. G. Allen, also a Wireless Operator, was in the big convoy attacked by the " Scharnhorst " in the Atlantic. He was one of the few saved from his ship being picked up sitting astride an upturned boat which had a couple of shot holes through it. He was only 16 at the time. He is now training for his wings. Ted Wynter is pursuing his uneventful but efficient way as an Artillery Subaltern.

Mussolini Castle, complete with charming wife, has been to see us. He wonders whether he is the first Old Boy to bale out. His night fighter was attacked and exploded in mid-air. He spent a month in hospital, but is now fit again. Sergt. M. Beard, R.A.O.C., and Mrs. Beard have also visited us. He is still feeling the bad time he had at Dunkirk. Bernthal, A.C.I, played rugger, soccer and boxed for his R.A.F. Station, going three rounds with Len Harvey's sparring partner. Dick Morrish has joined the R.A.F. and is awaiting calling up. We are publishing an interesting account of a sea adventure by Cyril Kelley. We congratulate him on his marriage.

D. J. Crouch is doing a course at Manchester University for a commission in the Royal Corps of Signals. He was picked last winter for Roslyn Park. D. R. Howard is training for his wings in U.S.A.

Charman, a Sapper, has gone East. Boscott, after going through last winter's bombing in the accountant's department of a London hospital, has now joined the forces. Hart is a telegraphist in the Navy. Holford met Peter Duke at Gib. and had " a night out " with him. Holford has had several " brushes " with the Germans and played for his ship at soccer. Last time we heard from Alfred Green he was a Corporal, Royal Sussex Regiment, and was chasing a commission. David Pollard, R.N., has been having a good time in U.S.A.

Kirk has joined the Royal Armoured Corps as a regular. John Simmons is believed to be in the R.A.F. (Air crew).

Clapson is a Seaman Boy, as is H. L. Walter. K. Coles has been accepted for Air crew training. Dennis Wickham is driving a Friends ambulance. Hamxnond, after his experiences in operations in Holland, went to Sierra Leone, but is now back in England. Peter Bailey, in the Surrey Police, would welcome any Old Boy who is serving in the forces in his district and who would like a little homely comfort, at his address, "Didcot", Diamond Ridge, Camberley.

When we last heard of Watson he was in the Army Pay Corps. We saw a newspaper photograph of T. E. Dadswell at his sister's wedding. From it we learnt that he was a Leading Seaman. J. A. Pillinger, Royal Sussex Regiment, who has ambitions as a parachutist, was looking very fit when he came to see us. Lowles has confirmed our belief that he was in the operations in France. He was wounded at Caestre, but is now fit.

Moppett, Radio-Mechanic, R.A.F., has gone overseas. John Henderson is a L/Bombardier, R.A. Clements has been granted a commission in the Special Duties Branch of the R.N.V.R.

We have not heard of Killick lately, but he had a second bad crash when taking off. His machine caught fire and he lost a good tunic, eyebrows and the starboard side of a new moustache. E. K. Payne is in the Navy. " Smiler " Moore, when we heard from him some time ago, was " weight lifting " in a Chemical Warfare Squad of the R.E.

R. Burgess is in the Royal Army Pay Corps. Congratulations on his engagement. Cottis, already mentioned in these notes, passed out as a Leading Airman, Fleet Air Arm, and is a Telegraphist Air Gunner. Billson has gained his Second Mate's Certificate. Congratulations to Percy, who has gained his wings, and is not in the Army, as reported previously. Rogers, employed by the Thames Conservancy Board, has been provisionally accepted for the Fleet Air Arm or Navy.

B. C. Oliver, R.A.F., has gone to the Middle East. Congratulations to L. F. Hope, our first Old Boy Captain. He is Regimental Signals Officer and chased his battalion (1st Yorks. and Lancs.) round France without catching it and returned to England. Pettit has a commission in the Royal Engineers.

Pannett, a prisoner of war, earns enough money to buy soap and razor blades. We should have liked to see Pannett with a beard. Joey Green and Watts have been in the same P.O.W. camp. Joey is studying German.

John Howard and John Lawrence, also prisoners of war, have let us know they are fit. No doubt they would be very grateful to receive news from School contemporaries as a relief to their trying confinement. Don and Michael Archer are in an A. A. Battery. Among Old Boys serving in the R.A.F. ground staff are John Barford (Corporal), Franklin, Taylor, Charles Kelley, Frank Walder (Corporal and in the operations last year in France), John Turrell, R. A. Mitchell (Corporal and now married), P. A. Walder, and R. E. J. Sellens (Corporal).

Pat Munton, Sub-Lieut., R.N.V.R., has been on a target ship for aerial torpedo practice. Sounds rather risky.

Congratulations to Williamson on passing his Pharmacy examination and to K. W. Norris on winning a scholarship of the Coventry branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Kirby has met V. D. Hall at a Ministry of Labour course for draughtsmen. Kirby is now at an aerodrome. Gates is in a laboratory at a soap factory. Sherry and Bliss are engaged in the radio-location industry. D. L. Noel is farming, as are Gibbons and Woodrow.

We have no space to record the activities of those Old Boys who have just left School to go to civilian posts. We ought to mention, however, the deeds of Ridley and Cooper at Trinity College, Cambridge. Ridley obtained another " First " in both French and German in the Modern Language Tripos and was a Sergeant in the O.T.C. He is now waiting to join the Army. Cooper got a " First " in the Natural Science Tripos and has been elected treasurer of the College Boat Club. There will be a further contingent of Old Lewesians at Cambridge this coming autumn. We hope they will maintain the brilliant record of Ridley, Cooper and R. W. Barnes.

There must be some omissions in the foregoing chronicle. For these the writer apologies. Memory plays many tricks and stray notes get lost these hectic days.


(1) From Bob Lusted in the Middle East :
" We went from Suez to Port Soudan in December. We went to a place called Haiya. It was just sand and flies. The G.O.C. came to see us there. He asked our Sergeant if he liked it. The Sergeant was so awed by the red hat and epaulettes that he murmured dumbly ' Yes, sir.' He ought to have been lynched. " We then went to a place 100 miles from the Gallabat front. It was there we saw our first action. We were machine gunned from the air. We then moved up to the front. We dug and camouflaged for the first two days, The bombers came over when we had just finished. The camouflage was so good that they didn't see us then or any other time in the four weeks the battery was there.

"After two days of firing, I went back to the Base Hospital. When I got back the battery was at Keren. They have described Keren as the toughest battle in the campaign. The Wops had a position that strategists dream about. It was perfect. The infantry stormed up the slope that looked to me unscaleable and after a struggle the Iti's fled. We chased them to Asmara, which was declared an open town. Quite a place ! We had a few days there. What days ! Can you imagine cherry brandy at 2d. a glass.

" We then went to Ambelargi. We received quite a reception from the Iti's. They shelled our position before we got to it. But after we got cracking we soon kept 'em quiet. One shell from them landed quite close, covering us with dirt and rocks. No one was hurt however. One of our gun-pits had a shell inside it, but again we were lucky. With the South Africans we took the place, which was as strong a position as Keren. Thank God the Wops are yellow or we should probably be in this blue-pencil country for good.

I've missed out a couple of days when we took Massawa, but its hardly worth mentioning."

(2)From Gerald Cook before he left the Mediterranean :
"You have no doubt heard on the wireless about the action between the British and Italian fleets in the Mediterranean. Well, there we were -- we do seem to chase trouble. I have not yet heard an official Admiralty statement or an Italian communique but I can tell you that the only casualty we suffered was very slight damage to one cruiser. Nothing else was hit at all. For our part (our Fleet I mean, of course) we hit a battleship (how severely damaged I don't quite know), a cruiser seriously damaged and to all intents and purposes finished, two other cruisers hit, one quite severely, and one destroyer seriously damaged and left almost useless, and one less severely damaged. Whether there was anything else or not I don't know, for, as I say, I have not heard an official statement yet.

" We engaged the enemy quite close to their own coast and in spite of the fact that they had a much superior force, they immediately turned tail and ran. " I must admit that I had heard this news about the Italians so often, 'The enemy turned and ran. ' that I have been a little bit sceptical, but, believe me, it's true. They eventually managed to make harbour -- at least the greater part of them -- sadly shaken up. I don't think we shall see them again for some time.

" We were bombed, of course, several times after the action, but no hits again ; they flew so high that accurate bombing was an impossibility -- they didn't seem to relish the idea of going through the barrage we put up.

" Well, there we are. It's a treat to be able to give you some idea of what we are doing. I am writing this in my cabin and looking somewhat longingly towards my bunk. I am just going to have my first night between the sheets for eight days, and, needless to say, I am looking forward to it."

(3)From Donald Dowden during training as a Pilot :
"I am afraid I have no really exciting incidents to recall and only one slightly amusing one. The occasion was when I was sent out to do my first solo rolls. Before you get used to being upside down the sensation is unpleasant and slightly alarming if your straps are not very tight. In my eagerness to convince myself that I wasn't frighened to do a slow roll by myself, I soon got the plane on to its back and then quite forgot what I had to do to get it on an even keel again. Eventually I pushed and pulled at everything in turn and managed to get out of it in a rather unorthodox fashion. Before I attempted my next one I made sure that I knew the sequence of events correctly."

(4) From M. E. Russell, at an E.F.T.S.
"I went solo for the first time last Sunday morning, and what a feeling it is, too. When you are sailing along up there, 2000 feet above the earth it makes you feel like singing for the sheer joy of it. It's great being able to fly every day, to go up on your own, do just what you feel like. I spent a very delightful hour this morning executing steep turns around the church spire of the village we are billeted in. It's pretty tricky getting into banks of cloud. I found myself in the middle of a big black one to-day at 1500 feet with no horizon for a guide, and honestly for a minute I did not know which way up the plane was. After two or three seconds I looked at my airspeed indicator and to my astonishment I was rushing earthwards at nearly 200 m.p.h. The farm houses came up awfully near and great big poplar trees down below looked as if they were trying to claw one out of the sky."

(5) From Fred Cossick, at sea, nearing his destination in the Middle East :
"We sailed on an evening in April, through the Atlantic, safely and without incident, to the tropics and our first port of call. No one was allowed ashore except for a few officers and these only for an hour. I was one.

"So on an early day in May, 1941, I added a second continent to my bag.

"We sailed on again until we came to cooler waters, and with them a storm whose father was a hurricane, whose mother a screaming gale. For two days our progress was tumultuous. On the dawn of the third day we rolled through a gentle swell with land in sight to port. The sun was rising over great mountains, the heights, climate, vegetation and geological structure of which Mr. Jarvis drummed -- or attempted to drum -- into my thick skull, was it a thousand years ago ?

"We put into port shortly after and had what amounted to four days' leave. Hospitality and patriotic fervour, cheering crowds as we marched past the local big wig. " Too soon we left this city of charm and abundance. Back to the ship, whose narrow confines seemed even more insufficient and more unsatisfactory. Since then from heat to heat, men sitting in pools of their own sweat, a lethargy throughout the ship."


From Cyril Kelley. Written at the request of the Editor

While on watch one morning, we were expecting to continue with our usual patrol duties, but the unexpected (which has happened more than once) occurred. We changed course and considerably increased speed.

Everyone was trying to find out " what was in the wind ". A few may have known, but the majority of us were scanning the horizon, hoping to see for ourselves. Land was the first thing we saw. We followed its rugged coastline for a while and then turned into a calm and peaceful bay. This time, however, it was not the rugged coastline that attracted our attention, but an Oil Tanker.

As we got closer to her, we made out her name -- the San Demetrio. We could see also that she was damaged. To us on board the destroyer, she was just another oil tanker. But to-day it is a well-known name standing for the fine seamanship, courage and endurance of the British Merchant Seamen.

Asked what they wanted, the crew could think only of food and rum. The whaler was lowered and their requirements were sent across to them. Their next request was for some of our engine room staff to assist in the work of repairs to the tanker's engines and oil-feed pipes. They were followed by a navigation officer, a sub-lieutenant and six seamen. I was lucky enough to be included among the seamen, and while on board the San Demetrio I was able to see for myself the extent of the damage, and was told of one of the most interesting stories of the war.

She was holed just above the waterline, and both the bridge and port side aft were wrecked and burnt out. The crew had painted " S.O.S. HELP " on the deck to attract the attention of patrolling aircraft. Before we were told the story, however we made a few minor repairs. By far the most important was the job of blocking in the hole through which had passed about fifty tons of water, so flooding a small hold. It was done by folding big sheets of canvas and then nailing them on to heavy wooden battens. Our first attempt was unsuccessful, for while lowering it into position, it fell off the lowering ropes into the sea and was lost. Another attempt was made, and this time we were successful and the cover was lashed into position.

In the meantime, the stokers had completed their jobs and we were ready to sail. Having accomplished so much, and having gone through so many trials in bringing the tanker to Ireland the Merchant crew were given a well-deserved rest, while the Naval crew set course for a northern port. The six seamen were divided into two watches. The three off watch naturally " had their heads down." Of the other three unfortunates, one steered the tanker, another manned the anti-aircraft gun, while the third was lookout. The steering of the tanker, of course, was not possible from the bridge, owing to the damage done. There is, however, an emergency steering position on every ship and in this particular case it was situated on the port side aft, which had shared the same fate as the bridge. Yet amidst the twisted steel and burnt wood, the steering column and charred remains of a quarter of the steering wheel remained. The " bridge " was two cabin doors laid across the girders. The view from the " bridge " was very limited. Owing to the steering wheel being alongside the funnel the starboard side could not be seen ; and owing to the wrecked bridge, sighting right ahead was impossible. All we were able to do was to lay on the starboard quarter of our destroyer and follow her course. To make matters worse, we had no serviceable compass to steer by.

Benzine fumes were still very strong in various parts of the tanker, and consequently naked lights were not allowed, even in the galley. A fire to cook with was out of the question and an alternative method had to be found. Potatoes were peeled and put into a bucket of water and then taken to the engine room, where the stokers of the San Demetrio had already connected some ¼in. copper tubing to a steam pipe. The end of the tube was put into the water and the steam turned on. The steam passing through the water heated it and so gave us boiled potatoes. With the potatoes we had either corned beef or tinned herrings and onions. During the last day at sea a fire was lit and we had an extra course -- soup. Its preparation was unknown to the Officers, but it was highly recommended, so I will make known its ingredients. They were : potatoes, corned beef, tinned herrings, onions, an oxo cube and a little flour, all boiled in water.

[The Journey of the San Demetrio]

It was during these meals that we were told the story of the amazing journey to Ireland. She was one of the ships in the Jervis Bay convoy. After the glorious action fought by the Jervis Bay on 5th November, the San Demetrio received the attention of the German raidcr. Smoke flares were dropped, but she was unable to escape under the cover of the smoke screen and received direct hits, causing fires to break out. Being laden with a cargo of 10,000 tons of benzine, the Captain gave the order to abandon ship. Owing to the bad weather, the lifeboats lost touch with each other. During the afternoon of the following day the San Demetrio was sighted by one of the lifeboats, although in sighting they did not know she was their own ship. Its occupants attempted to reboard her, but she was still burning fiercely and there was fear of the survivors being overcome by benzine fumes. On 7th November the weather moderated, and after many difficulties the tanker was reboarded. The crew fought the fires for about ten hours before they were finally extinguished. Meanwhile, the engine room staff were successful in starting the engines, and during the afternoon of 8th November the San Demetrio was under way again. Steering by the sun, stars, and wind these sixteen men brought the damaged tanker to the Irish coast. Their courage and resource had saved the ship, 10,000 tons of benzine, and other cargo, valued collectively at £300,000 [worth £30M in today's money].

I have referred to the crew as " British seamen". There was, however, an American among them, and we asked his version of the voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia. But it was not a story of his eventful journey to these Islands he told us ; it was the sincere thoughts of an American who had come to join the famous American Eagle Squadron. It was the sincere thoughts of an American who knew that besides fighting for a free Europe, we were fighting for a free America. " I have read many stories in our American newspapers of what you British have been doing, some I doubted. But after seeing all that I have during this voyage, I will certainly tell all my friends at home that now I know what you British mean when you say 'GO TO IT !' "

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