HE war has only been going for two years but is already making its mark on the school. Many old boys have already lost their lives in the air, at sea and in North Africa where the campaign is far from being won. Nothing much is said here about the fact that Russia, America and Japan are now involved and that it is now a World War with no end in sight. By this time the fear of being invaded by Germany had passed but the extent of the struggle necessary to win was unknown. How many more would have to die? Mr Bradshaw, who had himself been through the First World War has conceived a School Memorial Chapel in their honour.
The activities at school are, perforce, restricted by the shortages of every essential element except the sheer determination to carry on and do the best to win the war. More young teachers are joining the Services and inevitably the range and quality of the education is reduced from that which had been established in the immediate pre-war period.
Spring Term, 1942
Captain of the School : F. A. Holton.
LEWES : R. E. Ford, I. R. Meux, M. B. R. Preece.
MARTLETS : J. G. Hobden.
SEAHAVEN : H. J. Dennis, P. H. Williams.
UCKFIELD : A. D. Siggs, D. A. Caton, A. L. Oliver.
Captain of Rugby : F. A. Holton.
Vice-Captain : J. G. Hobden.
Treasurer : P. H. Williams.
Form Captains : IIB: F. R. Mecklenburg; IIA: E. Carter;
IIIB: G. Ashdown; IIIA: C. W. Hill;
IVB: E. J. Vass; IVA: J. A. Barfoot;
Remove B: P. C. Read; Remove A: K. A. Hills;
VB: F. H. Dusart; VA: S. G. Wood.
Editor of the Magazine : R. E. Ford.
Sub-Editors : F. A. Holton, D. A. Caton, A. J. Burgess.
Since our last issue we have seen events hitherto undreamt of : victories and defeats ; new allies; new enemies ; and, in our own little sphere, changes of every sort. We have alternately been told to " go to it," stay put " and " keep at it." We have been advised to save all we can and to give till it hurts. But we have survived, strengthened if anything by the increasing and changing demands made to us.
We regret that it is again impossible, due to paper restrictions, to print any individual efforts in this magazine. It must, therefore, be a somewhat bare record of our activities in the past year. It is a great pity that the new boys are unable to see and partake in the school life that has so greatly changed with the war. Let us hope that they may rejoice in a happier day.
Many changes have occurred, too, in the Staff. We are now graced with the services of three lady teachers, to whom we bid a hearty if somewhat belated welcome. May we apologise here for the number of times they have, out of force of habit, been addressed as " Sir " ? We are very sorry to lose Mr. Long ; we wish him the best of luck in his new post.
In every sphere of National Service the School has maintained its very good record. National Savings, Scouts, A.T.C., J.T.C., gardening, firewatching - all have appealed to the spirit of service of which we are justly proud.
Our weekly Church Service has been a success from the first ; when peace comes we hope to hold it in a chapel of our own.
While in this confused turmoil of war it is often hard to
visualise a new world order, nevertheless, let us appeal to all
to strive in patience, co-operation and self-sacrifice for the
things that are worth living for so that after this passing storm
we may construct a world in which men may live in peace and
equality, and may no longer be governed by the dictates of
R. E. F.
Hitler has upset our lives long enough. When the war commenced we [the school] were only nine years old. We are now nearly twelve, an increase of a third. While doing our best to crush this upstart, we are trying to develop school life as though he did not exist. We cannot wait upon the "instincts" and "intuitions" of a hysterical demagogue. "Our patience is exhausted."
The School Service
Soon this innovation will be twelve months old. It was an experiment, the outcome of which was uncertain. I believe it has been a success, thanks to the co-operation of staff, boys and parents. I think most of us enjoy going to Southover Church, a beautiful building. There is still plenty of room for development and we hope to improve our singing and make this act of worship a thing of beauty. At least we know that we are doing something that probably no other Secondary School is doing. English church music is a heritage to be treasured with our literature. We all have now heard of Handel and Bach. Perhaps the Service will leave memories that will not be without a place in our lives after schooldays are over.
So far the high-lights have been our Carol Service at Christmas and the visit of the Bishop of Chichester. Now we have heard that the B.B.C. hope to broadcast our Service on a Sunday evening in the autumn.
The School Efficiency Badge
This is now in operation. Work for it will cover every form of activity, including service. I hope it will do something to make the life of every boy many sided and so produce the "complete man."
The Careers Fund
This was commenced four years before the war. Its object is to give that little financial help which so many boys need, after they have left school, in the pursuit of their chosen career. Thanks to a recent magnificent gift of £500 from one of our Governors we have nearly £1.200 invested. When war broke out we were reluctantly resigned to a " stand still " position. However, several parents have sent us contributions as " thankofferings " when their boys have left school, and so we propose to re-open our campaign, especially as the call on the fund after the war may be very great. Incidentally one of the most gratifying features is that Old Boys to whom loans have been made in the past have, in a number of cases, remembered their indebtedness even in times like these. Repayment has come from fellows risking their lives in the air and in the Libyan desert. Such is the standard of honour among Old Lewesians.
The School Chapel
With the consent of the Governors we propose to build a School Chapel. We hope to do a lot of the building ourselves - when the war is over. We shall probably have to resort to various "popular" methods of raising money. Meanwhile we want to show what can be done by hard work - a much better method and one which carries with it its own educational and character training. Our gardeners have already handed over £30 as a result of their last year's efforts. There are a number of other openings in the livestock line, and a most ingenious suggestion of a parent (see next paragraph).
The cheap sixpenny dinner will soon be open to all who desire it. It is, of course, subsidised from public money. One mother proposes to continue to pay 9d. - the surplus to go to the Chapel fund. She calls for imitators. Here is a challenge. I hope there will be many followers. Meanwhile I also hope that all boys who stay to lunch will have the cheap meal. Its value should be sufficient to cause the disappearance of packed sandwiches.
We have said goodbye for the present to Mr. Silk, who has joined the Army, and to Mr. O'Brien, who has gone into the Navy. We shall miss them both very much and thank them for all they have done for our School. Meanwhile we thank their lady successors for their "manful" efforts to fill the breach.
House Masters . . Messrs. Hoggins, Larwill and Hulbert.
House Captain . . R. E. Ford.
House Prefect . . I. R. Meux.
Last year was almost certainly the most successful this House has ever enjoyed. By a sustained effort we managed to win the Work Shield, in spite of those few who still mar the other boys' averages with weekly minus marks.
In athletics we did exceptionally well, gaining more points on the field than any other House, and winning all three relays. If we had gained more standards we would have been able to beat Martlets whom we congratulate on their success. This year every boy must do his utmost, by conscientious training, to wrest this Cup from Martlets.
In Rugger this season we can claim little success, but this is not in any way due to lack of keenness or effort ; this was amply shown in the hard struggle against Seahaven, who beat us 9-3. To retain our as yet undisputed superiority in Swimming, every boy must gain standards like those who last year upheld our reputation nobly by winning the Cup easily. We are glad to report that our effort in the Cross-Country this year was worthy of our predecessors. We were second to Uckfield, who beat us by three points, thereby reversing last year's result with the same close struggle. Special mention is due to Laker, who won the colt race and beat the Senior winner's time. In Junior Soccer we have done fairly well, beating Seahaven and Uckfield, and losing to Martlets.
Two members of the House have gained their 1st XV Rugger
Colours this season, and one other member has played on several
occasions. Behind us we have the high standard set for former
Lewesians ; in front of us lies opportunity in every sphere of
activity ; it is energetic team-work rather than individual
brilliance which will enable us to maintain that standard.
R. E. F.
House Masters . . Messrs. O'Brien, Tayler, Auld and Nichols.
House Captain . . J. G. Hobden.
In Rugby this season Martlets has not achieved very good results, and the chances of retaining the much-coveted Games Shield are very slender indeed. The blame for this lies among the senior element of the House, whose spirit towards the Rugby House matches has been very poor. We managed to beat Lewes after a grim struggle, but lost heavily to Seahaven. Owing to illness we were unable to field a side against Uckfield and had to forfeit the match. The Soccer XI is again to be congratulated on a most successful season, having won all its matches.
The work has been satisfactory, although more effort is required if we are to be certain of winning the Work Shield for the first time, and every member of the House must pull his weight.
We have a long standing reputation in Athletics to guard next
term and we must make an annual habit of winning the Cup.
J. G. H.
House Masters . . Messrs. Euston and Worman.
House Prefects . . H. J. Dennis and P. H. Williams.
Work. The average points of the House is so far better than that of last year, but it cannot yet be said that every single member is pulling his weight. There are still a few wretches who can only manage to score minus points and they are letting down the House. Special praise, however, should go to our more intellectual members, such as K. Payne and Vass, who are a credit to Seahaven, each having contributod over forty points to our total.
Sport. To turn to the Sports' side of our activities, we can give a mediocre report. The Rugger XV have won two of their matches, overwhelming Martlets, fighting hard with Lewes, but, unfortunately, being unable to field a full team against Uckfield, our successful opponents. The Soccer team has not achieved such good results as might have been expected, losing, alas ! to our bete noir, Uckfield, and to Lewes, although in the latter match illness considerably weakened our team. Congratulations, however, for giving Martlets such a good match.
Turning to a more happy aspect, I think, it is a notable
achievement that the House has five memhers playing in the School
1st XV, four of whom have gained their Colours. As regards the
Cross-Country races, Seahaven succeeded in maintaining their
position of third. But this is by no means good enough, and it is
only the lack of spirit of a few which spoils the effort of the
House as a whole.
H. J. D.
House Masteys . . Messrs. Jarvis, Gourlay and Silk.
House Captain . . F. A. Holton. House Prefects . . A. D. Siggs, D. Caton, A. L. Oliver.
Our rather dismal record in the first two terms of last year was brightened somewhat by our Athletics results. After a tense afternoon of strenuous effort on Sports Day, we finished a close second to Martlets, whom we congratulate with a stern resolve to oust them from their position next year. The herculean efforts of Stock throughout the afternoon deserve special mention. In Swimming we put up rather a better show than in former years, largely owing to individuals. With a little less modesty throughout the House we have some chance of gaining the Trophy this year.
Our Rugby team showed excellent form when finally settled, and u-e succeeded in winning all our matches. Besides a good stiffening of 1st XV fellows, we fielded a good pair of halves in Dewdney and Davies, while our team-work generally was very praiseworthy. Junior Soccer began late in the year owing to wintry weather, but the team showed a good spirit, beating Seahaven decisively and forcing a hard game on Martlets, we lost 6-8. It is good to see the Junior element pulling its weight again.
The Cross-Country results, just announced, reflect credit on our teams, and. on the House generally. Special congratulations are due to Dumbrell and Wright, first and second in the Senior race, despite stout opposition, and to Church, who kept up the Juniors' end by winning their run. It is up to everyone to see that the Trophy, having come home, will stay for good.
With such inspiring results for the first part of the year, we
must ensure that our superiority shall extend to summer sports.
Only the best from every member of the House will enable us to do
this. See to it.
F. A. H.
THURSDAY, 5TH FEBRUARY, 1942
The chairman at the School's eleventh annual Speech Day and Distribution of Prizes was Sir L. A. Selby-Bigge, Bart., K.C.B., and the presentation of prizes was made by Mr. John Christie. The function began, as usual, with the National Anthem, and this was followed by the Chairman's speech and the Headmaster's report. Then Mr. Christie spoke and distributed the various prizes. When votes of thanks had been moved and " I vow to thee, my country " had been rendered, the proceedings closed by an affirmation of the School's loyalty as they cheered the Headmaster and Staff, and Governors.
Appended is a list of successes, of the awards at the Speech Day and of the trophies which were contested for by the Houses during the year 1940-41.
OXFORD HIGHER CERTIFICATE
L. F. Bowles, D. George, B. F. W. Thomas, P. J. Cronin, R. T. H. Stevens, W. R. Wray
OXFORD SCHOOL CERTIFICATE
K. I. Bacon, P. J. Jennings, C. Dicker, D. J. Beevor, M. B. R. Preece, A. R. Dodson,
N. H. Bingham, A. D. Siggs, H. E. Emerson, D. C. Blunden, A. C. Sinnock, L. H. Norris,
A. J. Burgess, A. E. Smith, A. L. Oliver, L. R. Butchers, M. J. Smith, B. J. Pawson,
D. A. Caton, H. Stenton, J. M. Phillips, M. Crosthwaite, P. H. Williams, R. E. Metcalfe,
P. J. Delmon, R. L. Wynter, I. R. Meux, H. J. Dennis, M. J. Barnett, B. E. Sharp, R. E. Ford,
K. J. Bartholomew, G. A. Stiller, A. E. Green, K. J. Brown, A. J. Stock, S. R. Hemsley.
COUNTY INTERMEDIATE SCHOLARSHIPS
G. H. Ashdown, L. A. Hoadley, C. W. Hill, R. J. Reynolds, G. A. White.
COUNTY SPECIAL PLACES
J. J. Elphick, R. D. Brickell
UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS, ETC.
STATE BURSARIES IN SCIENCE
I. F. Bowles .. .. .. .. Trinity College, Cambridge
P. J. Cronin .. .. .. .. Trinity College, Cambridge
D. George .. .. .. .. Trinity College, Cambridge
G. H. Ford .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Bristol University
NORFOLK SCHOLARSHIP IN MODERN STUDIES
R. T. H. Stevens .. .. .. .. .. .. Christ's College, Cambridge
BOARD OF EDUCATION GRANT
W. R. Wray .. .. .. .. University College, Exeter
R.A.F. UNIVERSITY COURSE
R. C. Blythe . . . . . . . . Trinity College, Oxford
OLD BOYS' UNIVERSITY SUCCESSES
R I. B. Cooper .. .. Class I, Part I Natural Science Tripos, Trinity College, Cambridge
P. W. Ridley .. .. .. .. Class I, Modern Language Tripos, Trinity College, Cambridge.
"EDGAR POVEY" TROPHY .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. R. C. Blythe
"LILIAN FLEMING" PRIZE (BIOLOGY) .. .. .. H. Stenton
"CHRISTIE" MUSIC PRIZE (SENIOR) .. .. .. F. A. Holton
"GLASS" MUSIC PRIZE (JUNIOR) .. .. .. .. .. .. C. W. Hill
Povey Work Shield - - - - - - - - - - - - LEWES
Bradshaw Games Shield - - - - - - - - - - MARTLETS
Thopmson Athletic Cup - - - - - - - - - - MARTLETS
Henderson-Oliver Cross-Country Cup - - - LEWES
Innes Swimming Cup - - - - - - - - - - - LEWES
Sinfield Swimming Cup - - - - - - - - - - J. Buckman
The past session of the Sixth Form Society has been one of strange inconsistencies. The general tenour of meetings rose to a peak at each of the two debates, at the " Brains Trust " and at the " Coger " evening ; yet seldom has a meeting fallen flatter than the anthology of " Men and Women," or has the Society been so disgraced as by three gentlemen who signified their belated inability to defend their cause in the " Balloon " debate. High attendance figures were marred by the rare appearance of a few great names. The Society has lost much in the departure of Mr. Long, but gained much in the arrival of three ladies, one of whom, Mrs. Wilkinson, has become its first lady chairman.
There were meetings on the occasions when Messrs. Burgess, Caton, Austin, Meux, Stenton, Preece and Hoggins addressed the Society on their own peculiar topics when the most unruffled calm prevailed ; at others one felt a dim echo of a certain " Remove A Literary and Debating Society " (with gratitude).
The arrival of our Chairman has elevated India to a position rivalling music as a topic of discussion and dissension ; and, at one time, the Secretary was even accused of an anti-society policy, but, fortunately, contrived to lose the minute-book just as the rebellion was coming to a head.
There were some successful and rather daring innovations, including " On the Air," at which each member contributed personally a few moments of original broadcast programme. Among other celebrities at this meeting, we heard the inevitable F. A. Kreisler playing a violin without many strings, and the "Kitchen Front" advising grizzly bear pie. The "Brains Trust" idea was copied, and the Society demonstrated its tendency to be Joadish, to the unfortunate exclusion of the topographical element displayed by Campbell. A few heroes formed themselves into a "Cabinet" and spoke on post-war settlement and reconstruction ; the Indian question raged, and the "Prime Minister" suffered from an exceedingly weighty cigar.
Not the least interesting of these new ideas was a " baptism of fire " which the Society received at the hands of the Girls' School at a dance in their gymnasium, to which it was invited. The Society is to be commended on its handling of the situation and proved itself willing to obey the commandment, "Love your enemies", although the girls were less inclined to "Bless them which persecute you."
Perhaps its attendance at this function was responsible for the Society's slight decline in sober dignity, with the result that it is now unduly associated with a certain gay Strauss waltz.
The past session has certainly been formative in the character of the Society. At present, one can discern the beginnings of a tendency that has heightened the interest and can only be likened to party politics. There are in the Society a number of concerted groups who lose no opportunity of putting forward their respective arguments: Two strong music camps, representing the swing and classical varieties, are eternally vying with one another. The Chairman leads a faction pledged to Home Rule for India. In the " Cabinet " meeting the Foreign Secretary encountered a staunch Bolshevik element. At times Plato and even conscientious objectors have fallen foul of some members ; and discussions on family allowances and swearing have continued far into the night.
As a contrast to this verbal disputation, there was the tacit interest with which one regarded the eccentric garb assumed by old members when revisiting the Society.
The School garden has now completed its second year of food production. It started at the beginning of 1940 as an experimental venture and ran for its first year without any organised financial basis. A certain sum of money was borrowed from the Dinner Fund to buy a minimum of equipment, and in return all produce was sent to the School kitchen. The borrowed money was handsomely repaid in kind.
The next year it was decided to run tHe scheme under the management of Mr. Euston on a business basis. Money was again borrowed to provide seeds and manures, and the produce was to go to the kitchen at prices roughly agreeing with the current bulk prices of outside growers.
In the spring of 1941 more land was taken in and a wider range of crops grown. The season was perhaps the most perverse in living memory, and pests and diseases extraordinarily persistent ; yet unremitting care and our excellent soil pulled us through successfully and yielded the following produce figures :
Potatoes .. .. .. .. .. 3½
Carrots .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 8 cwt.
Onions .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2¾ cwt.
Peas .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3 cwt.
Broad Beans .. .. .. .. 1½ cwt.
Cabbages, Savoys and Sprouts : enough to supply the kitchen fully from May till December.
It was decided that the financial year should end on 3lst December. On that date the balance sheet worked out as follows :
Value of Produce . . . . . . £44 1Os 1Od
Expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £14 2s 11½d
A profit of over £30 has been handed to the Headmaster to inaugurate the School Chapel Fund.
A great deal of the credit for this achievement goes to those boys who between February and July, 1940, voluntarily worked in the garden after 4 pm and on " off " days. The members of the Uckfield House were particularly assiduous, and so too, were certain keen juniors who turned up repeatedly on Tuesday afternoons when the new ground was being broken. Since September, the beginning of the new School year, most of the work has been done by the Remove Forms in their Rural Science periods. The weather, on the whole favourable for getting the crops in, has been sadly against winter cultivation, and at the time of writing (mid-March) we are seriously behind with our work.
It is hoped this year, if the ground can be got ready in time, to run a series of experimental plots which should prove instructive. Some of them will undoubtedly demonstrate the fact that scientific theory does not always work out in practice ! Another proposal is to carry out grafting and budding experiments on a variety of stocks, and possibly attempt some fruit tree breeding.
The 5th Lewes Troop continues in a very healthy condition and before Christmas our membership had increased by so many that a new patrol, the Lions, was formed under the leadership of Maurice Hall. Later, however, our numbers dwindled somewhat, until at the time of writing we have about thirty active members.
We have inaugurated an inter-patrol competition where points are scored by the various patrols at each meeting for some Scout activity, and we thank Sergeant Woodall, of the Lewes Police, for presenting us with a small silver cup to be awarded to the winning patrol each term. The first holders of the Woodall Cup were the Badgers, and Brian Chandler is to be congratulated on his very able leadership of this patrol.
A few of our boys have spent several weekends in camp at Broadstone Warren this term, in spite of the spartan weather conditions and Mills and Chandler will soon be qualifying for the rank of Broadstone Bushmen, an honour which is obtained only by a good deal of hard work, and a considerable degree of determination, in connection with clearing and improving the Scout camp site near Forest Row.
The Patrol Leaders took some of their boys to camp at Easter, arrangements for which were made by Wilson Chandler, Hall, Dusart and Mills ; but Mills had the misfortune of being prevented from attending by contracting mumps at the beginning of the holiday.
We are very fortunate at the present time in having five very able and enthusiastic Patrol Leaders, though we are rather short of boys from the Middle School to take their places when the time comes.
It is hoped that this year the local Association will revive some of the annual competitions, which have not been held since 1939, and we will do our best to retain the Trophies already in our hands and possibly add a new one to the collection.
We issue a cordial invitation to all boys to join us and so
help with the good work of Scouting.
W. M. G.
Very little business was transacted during the Summer Term of 1941. In the Autumn Term, J. M. Phillips left, and the Company was left with no experienced hands. However, work was done for various members of the School, and no complaints were received.
December saw the publication of the first edition of the Printers' Magazine. Its reception was, in spite of its mediocrity and the personal references to the Prefects, sufficiently favourable to tempt us to commence work on the second edition. This it is hoped to publish, price 2d., during the Summer Term of 1942.
LIST OF COMPANY
Worshipful Masters : A. L. Oliver, G. Filtness.
Senior Apprentice : J. C. Taylor.
Junior Apprentices : Merrick, Strivens.
During the term the School Group has achieved two notable feats. First, we exceeded our Warship Week objective of £300 by £80. This included £5 5s. collected by the special efforts of three boys, which was invested on behalf of the new Chapel Fund. Secondly, we passed the £1.000 mark for the grand total of savings since the formation of the Group. This record is all the more remarkable when it is realised that this represents the savings of less than 100 members, the majority of the rest of the School belonging to " outside " Groups. Even so, our membership has increased by 40 during the past twelve months, and continues to grow.
Actually, of course, it is immaterial where the saving is
done. Membership of the School Group, however, has certain
advantages. It is easy to make regular savings at School, the use
of date-labels ensures the earliest possible commencement of
interest on certificates, and the filling in of certificate
counterparts by members is reduced to a minimum.
J. A. N.
Although the weather made Rugby practically impossible in the Easter Term, the shortened season produced some very good games, and was a great improvement on last year. We started with a heavy defeat from Hurst, but this did us a lot of good, and though we lost as many matches as we won, the team improved steadily throughout the term.
We were a little nervous about taking on Christ's Hospital 2nd XV, as we had previously only played their 3rd or 4th, but this proved one of the most enjoyable matches. We just lost 9-12, and the last 15 minutes, during which we scored all our points although playing 1½ men short - Caton was off and Ford had cracked his wrist - were very thrilling. We had two hard games with Brighton College 2nd, each winning one ; we beat Worthing High School, lost deservedly to Skinners , and finished up the term with a delightfully hearty game against Bec School, whom we beat 8-3. This match was very much on the lines of the classic game of two years ago, when there was no score. The team owed a great deal to Holton's keenness. They played increasingly well throughout the term, and it was a real pleasure to threequarter line (not to mention a full-back) who took a ferocious joy in real aggressive tackling. The 2nd XV lost their three matches and the Juniors won two and lost two, their best display being against Hurst, whom they beat 10-9.
1st XV Team. - Wood, Holton (Capt.), Caton, Dennis, Brooks, Ford, Williams, Hobden, Palethorpe, Preece, Wilkins, Ireland, Mills, Stenton, Siggs, Oliver.
Hurstpierpoint . . . . . . . . Lost . . 0-43
Brighton College II . . . . . Lost . . 9-12
Worthing High School . . Won . . 17-3
Christ's Hospital II . . . . . Lost . . 9-12
Brighton College II . . . . . Won . . 12-3
Skinners' School . . . . . . . . Lost . . 3-9
Bec School . . . . . . . . . . . . . Won . . 8-3
It is with deep regret that again we have to record the loss of Old Boys on active service.
PETTY OFFICER WRITER, RONALD FRANKLIN HOLFORD (1931-36), R.N.
Ronald had been serving for over two years on board the cruiser " Dunedin," which was torpedoed last November in the Atlantic. He was among those who were not picked up. Holford was one of our most loyal Old Boys and had acted as Secretary to the Old Lewesians' Association. After leaving school he entered the County Clerk's Department and was there esteemed most highly. Just before the war he enlisted in the Navy as a writer. He had already done well enough to show that he would have had a successful Naval career. In fact, his promotion to Petty Officer in so short a time was remarkable. He had an orderly mind and a very mature judgement for one so young. He was also a good soccer piayer and played for his ship. His death is deeply felt by all who knew him at school. We offer his Parents our deepest sympathy.
LEADING AIRCRAFTSMAN T. X. BRADBURY (1930-33), R.A.F.V.R.
The news that Tom Bradbury had been killed while on a reconnaissance flight came as a great shock. The high esteem in which he was held is evinced by the number of Old Boys who have mentioned him in their letters. After leaving school he entered the Ringmer Building Company and was as highly thought of there as at school. His death was all the more tragic in that he expected to be commissioned within a few weeks on finishing his aircrew training. We offer our deep sympathy to his young widow and parents.
SERGT./PILOT L. J. WILSON (1935-40), R.A.F.V.R.
He was only 18 when killed in a flying accident. At school he showed that he had more than average ability and got a good School Certificate with Matriculation exemption. Soon after leaving school and by giving a wrong age he got into the Air Force and secured his wings after the normal training in England. His station regarded him as a good pilot and a promising career has been cut short. We offer his grandparents with whom he lived our heartfelt sympathy.
When last we went to Press we reported that Charlie Hall was missing. We are glad to say that soon afterwards news came through that he had baled out of his Manchester safely and was a prisoner. Among those whom he met almost at once was Joey Green.
George Macey, tail-gunner in a Wellington, has also had to bale out over the Fatherland. He is in hospital with a couple of broken ankles, but says he is " doing fine." Remembering Macey's cheerful grin after painful experiences at school, we are confident it will take a lot to quell his spirits.
At the moment we are anxiously awaiting news of Jack Holman, who was at Singapore, and Dennis Moppett, who escaped from there to Java. We hope to be able to give good news in our next issue. We have had our usual batch of letters and welcome visits during the winter.
F. J. Peters has passed out third in the initial part of his course as an R.A.F. radio mechanic. George Hilton topped the list in the final examination of a similar course. Bevan is now fit to do non-operational flying and is towing a target for air-gunners. He believes in Army co-operation and arranges for his leave to coincide with that of Barnett in an A.A. Battery. Gates had greetings from the R.A.F. on his twentieth birthday - his notice to commence aircrew training. Members of the Science VI will be interested to know that he had just had three weeks in sole charge of a soap works at Bradford. He does not appear to have a high opinion of the British workman, some of whom do not know " what a bung-key is for."Neither do we. Sounds like " Brodford."
Alan Castle, Sergeant in the A.T.C., is now at an I.T.W. Before going there he amused himself with quarters up five flights of steps (top floor of luxury flats), with innoculation, and marching in full kit across London. J. A. Barnes, 2/Lieut., R.A., has had embarkation leave, which included a Mayfair party lasting all night. From the hilarity of his letter it sounded as though the party was still on.
To Fred Cosstick congratulations on a second pip. He had ideas of spending the season in Benghazi, but hearing that the best people were not staying there this summer and remembering the Old School Tie, what! he left rather hurriedly. He has now spent six months in the desert and wonders what it would be like (i) to have a bath, (ii) to dance with a pretty girl.
Yandell, too, is spending this summer in the Mediterranean a quite popular resort among our Old Boys. Having passed some part of the winter playing football, he is now turning his attention to cricket. Let us hope he bowls out Hitler. Alfie Green has been preparing to meet landing parties from Germany by means of night route marches and eight-mile cross-country runs. The Brigadier did not think glasses became officers engaged on this work and now Alfie awaits a fresh posting:
Kenneth Grainger has been wintering in Florida and has whiled away the time doing a little flying. He paid a visit to Detroit, but Henry Ford was not at home.
Do you know Crasher Williams ? We always called him David. Since amusing the Americans with spectacular landings on wing tips and upside down, he has earned his new name. He also took part in an exhibition match of that dangerous game, Rugby football. Maurice Tomley took a Catalina to Egypt. He looked at Tobruk by night, but did not like the gunfire, so proceeded to Alexandria, smelt Cairo and returned. Incidentally, as one of his passengers was the Station Commander in " Target for To-night," Tomley is expected to make a film debut soon. We congratulate him on his marriage and on gaining a civilian navigation certificate.
Killick is now a Flight Sergeant, but is still regarded as too dangerous to Goering to be allowed to resume operational flying. As senior Flight/Sergeant we understand he lords it over the Sergeants' Mess. Blythe, having secured a Fresher's Rugger Trial at Oxford and adorned the University Flying Squadron, has now proceeded to an E.F.T.S. John Barford went to Guernsey and came back ; had meningitis and made a splendid recovery ; got three stripes and a fiancee and is now awaiting a commission in the R.A.F. Regt. We congratulate him on all these achievements ; and his brother " Tich " who has his wings.
Kandall has survived an I.T.W. and came to see us before proceeding overseas for flying training. We noticed a glint in his eyes at the prosgect of flying. Poor Hitler !
P/O Colvin is enthusiastic over Wellingtons and we are enthusiastic over P/O Colvin. The sartorial effect is perfect, and the moustache equally so. As he was posted to the same station as Batten, they were, no doubt, able to compare notes. We were delighted to see Batten when he was on leave, but we are not quite sure about the moustache. The wing span seems too pronounced.
P. S. Bailey still adorns the Surrey Constabulary and is much in demand to deal with Free French. But why is the occupant of the car left outside School ? Perhaps Lofthouse, who has just gone to the same Force, will send us the answer. Pelham has been in a corvette to Freetown. He is still busy hunting for submarines.
Our hearty congratulations to David George on passing the Mechanical Science Tripos Qualifying Examination at Cambiidge and on giving an air of distinction to corduroy bags. He and Bowles have been a driving force in Trinity second Boat, while Cronin has adorned the first. Ford has enabled Bristol University to have a decent Rugger XV and is now hoping for a Technical Commission in the R.A.F. Wycherley having come top in his Royal Corps of Signals course and scored a possible at musketry, is finding it difficult to digest bully and so to satisfy the doctor that he is fit for a commission.
Desi FitzGerald looks like being the first member of the School A.T.C. Squadron to get his wings. He found New Brunswick in winter a grim place, but was cheered by meeting G. W. Franklin out there and by detecting Maurice Russell in the guise of a Pilot Officer: " Fitz " has now gone to Southern U.S.A. to complete his training, while we have been able to welcome Russell on his return to England.
From U.S.A. we pass to India, where John Hawkins has heen granted a commission in the Scinde Horse. He was one of twenty-seven selected from 150, who desired commissions in a cavalry regiment. Just two years ago he was playing Demetrius in the School play. Reed-Collins, with two pips, has also gone to defend the brightest jewel in the Imperial crown. He made the journey as far as the Cape with the South African Parliamentary Delegation returning from Britain.
We had an airgraph card from Maurice Willis, who is in Egypt with the R.A.F. On the boat going out he found Yandell, while in Cairo he ran into Morling. We are sorry to hear that he has been in hospital and hope he is now better. Clements, a Sub-Lieutenant, R.N.V.R., has been causing all the annoyance he can to Jerry on an anti-aircraft ship ; G. W. Taylor is keeping our planes in the air as an R.A.F. mechanic ; while Akehurst, also a Sub-Lieutenant, is looking after the Navy's radio apparatus. He was sent to Gibraltar in a corvette to put the Army apparatus in a working condition. He might have seen there Clifford Crouch, who has a commission in a Heavy R.A. Battery.
Tom Horgan, now a Squadron Leader, also wrote to us from hospital where he was recovering from a bullet wound in the leg. We heard that he came down inside the enemy lines and was afterwards recaptured by our troops. We have not verified this, but we heartily congratulate him on his promotion. Hearty congratulations to John Cull, whose worth was quickly discovered, and who was soon sent to an R.E. O.C.T.U., where he will shortly complete his course for a commission.
We were glad to hear after a long time from S.R. Cooke, who is a L/Bdr. in a coast battery in Essex. Eric Cook, now a Sergeant in the R.A.F., came out top of an anti-gas course and has had embarkation leave. His brother Gerald now a Lieutenant R.N.V.R., is dealing with " lesser breeds without the law " in the Far East. K. Barnes is a Corporal, R.A.F., and has gone overseas. Chant is a Quartermaster-Sergeant on a R.A.M.C. troopship and has explored both the Middle and Far East.
Buller went to Clifton for a R.A.S.C. commission, which he has now got. When last we heard of him he was conducting twenty tank transporters from Guildford to Norfolk without the help of traffic police. At Clifton he ran into Clifford Baily, who has also got a R.A.S.C. commission. With Eric Cook an Old Boys' re-union of three was held.
Ibbett, at the age of 17, has played for Roslyn Park 1st XV against the Aldershot Services. He spends a lot of his time as a member of the Home Guard and expects to be called up shortly. L/Cpl. Dennis Thomas, in a Young Soldiers' Battalion hopes to go to an O.C.T.U. shortly. His brother Brian is waiting to commence his military service and has been selected for an Army University course.
Sgt/Pilot Palethorpe, after flying Spitfires, was transferred to Hurricanes. He has gone overseas. Tom Wickens, after spending a considerable time in the Royal Armoured Corps, has been recommended for a commission in the R.E.'s. Alec Franklin has not followed his brother into the R.A.F., but has joined a Young Soldiers' Battalion of the Sussex Regiment.
We were glad to see R. M. Evans, who continues his arduous duties in Mercantile Marine, and Billson, who is Third Officer on the latest tanker of the Athol Line. Tindall and Appleby, who left School last summer, are also Cadets in the Merchant Navy and both have been to New York. Peter Walder has quickly reached the rank of L.A.C. in the R.A.F., while Norman Green is training as a Wireless Mechanic.
Jack Lockyer has explored Palestine and on passing through Jerusalem thought of " England's green and pleasant land." He has managed to play some football and finds life less tough than in Libya. Tom Hodson, Sergeant, R.A.O.C., has proceeded overseas.
Peter Duke arrived in England in time to hear that the ship he had served on since the outbreak of war - the "Ark Royal" - had been torpedoed. He is doing a nine months course for a regular commission R.N. Our hearty congratulations. Sergeant Tubby Beal, R.E., has done a Quartermaster-Sergeant's course. By the way, shall we have anyone under Sergeant's rank by the end of the war ?
Emery says he can hold up his head again. He has been commissioned in the R.N.V.R., and so can face his wife, an officer in the W.R.N.S., with confidence. Incidentally, it is a good job that the rule about officers consorting with other ranks has been somewhat relaxed in this war. We have heard that the wife of Sergt./Pilot Mussolini Castle has been given a commission in the A.T.S.
We were glad to make contact with Flying/Officer Norman Hancock again. He was in the first daylight raid on Brest, and one of the fighter escort in the daylight raid on the power station near Cologne. Much to his disgust he has been given a period of instructional work. Philip Ridley, when he wrote to us, was in an O.C.T.U. training for a commission in the Reconnaisance. Corps - a pretty tough project. He had formed a discussion group on the model of our VI Form Society. We have since heard - still to be confirmed - that he has been sent to the Intelligence Corps.
H. F. Sharp, having sampled the R.A.F. as a Sergt./Pilot and Flight/ Sergt., is now a Pilot/Officer and is still instructing. P/O R. S. Mackie has written to us from the Central Flying School at Upavon. Having spent some time in a Spitfire Squadron, chasing off odd Huns and escorting convoys, he states he was dealt a sad blow when selected for a period of instructional work. Tim Ketchell, having got his wings in Canada, is now with a fighter squadron. Among Old Boys who have been, or still are training as Air Crew are : D. Oliver, Fred Bishop, John Edwards (after being in the University Squadron at Cambridge), Oswald Hill (who has got his wings), Keith Coles, John Simmons, C. Kelley and Howes. Congratulations to J. D. Baker, who has been promoted to Corporal in the R.A.F. He has left Freetown for the Middle East. M. Hill and D. Head, Apprentice Clerks in the R.A.F., paid us a welcome visit. They expect to re-muster as Air Crew after finishing their clerical training.
Colin Chivers is now a Corporal in the Field Hygiene section of the R.A.M.C. Alec Blake, although under age, has got into the Navy as a Signaller. His brother Don has made a wonderful recovery after fracturing his spine in an air-crash and is now flying again.
Peter Trott was in Crete when the Germans captured it. He is now a prisoner of war. No matter where the fighting, the School seems to supply a representative.
W. J. Dawe wrote us a most interesting letter describing his course in a sound-ranging section of the Artillery. It appears highly technical and interesting work. Only lack of space prevents us from quoting it. Schmid is happy at last. After many handicaps, including a broken leg, he has got into the Navy as a writer. Parker is a L/Cpl. of the R. Armoured Corps in the Middle East. Grayson has passed out as a Radio Mechanic. His duties take him daily past an inviting stream, where he hopes to do a little secret fishing. We have not heard from Alan Wilkie since he joined ihe Army, but we received indirect news that he had been in a Commando raid on Norway. Alan Rogers has been accepted for the Fleet Air Arm and is waiting to be called up.
Congratulations to Rutherford (Royal Corps of Signals) on getting a commission and a wife on the same day. Charman, booked for the East, did not go, but found a most interesting job in the movement control section of the Army. Power paid us a very welcome visit. He is an Engineer Petty-Officer, R.N.V.R., on a general utility boat, a vessel which can be called on to do almost anything. Like Emery, Peter Hall has married a W.R.N.S. Officer. We were very pleased to welcome both at School. Clapson and Walter, Seaman-Boys, looked a likely pair to keep the old flag flying when they visited us. They appeared happy and seemed to be doing well. Haffenden and Sellens, both regular R.A.F., are also getting on well and are now Corporals.
Two very senior Old Boys, Aston and Proffitt-W hite, have been to see us since our last issue. Both are in the R.A.F., Aston having been promoted to Grade II, Meteorological Officer. Arthur Kitchener, L.A.C., R.A.F., is an instructor at an Electrical School in Herefordshire, and is happily married. He says that he appears to be settled there for the duration. Jack Kitchener failed to make the medical standard for Air Crew, and so joined a Heavy A.A. Battery.
Norman Thorpe paid us a most welcome visit. He had at that time done over 300 hours flying. We have heard that Basil Chandler has now done over 30 offensive trips and has been recommended for a commission. Marcus Berry has finished apprentice training in the R.A.F. and is an A.C.1 We were very glad to see Geering, who is with the R.A.F. stationed in Iceland. He was on leave just before Christmas. Gooderham has been studying at the Northern Polytechnic, London, for his course as a Radio Mechanic. He has now passed out.
Donald Dowden is another of our Old Boys selected for instructional work-again much to his chagrin - on twin-engined machines. He had been trained as a fighter pilot. We have heard a rumour that he has been promoted to Flying/Officer. We were very pleased to see Holding and congratulate him on being promoted to Sergeant (Regular) in the R.A.F. Calwell when he visited us was in a Young Soldiers' Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks L.I., but hoped to be transferred to an Irish. Regiment. Cyril Kelley has been released from the Navy to work as a draughtsman at a Naval Torpedo School. Gravett, with Mrs. Gravett, paid a welcome visit to the School. He is now an R.A. Subaltern.
John Morling is training in the R.A.F. groundstaff. We received a very interesting letter from IFrench on his way to an unknown destination. He had made the acquaintance of flying fish and had come to the conclusion from experiences on the voyage that Columbus was a stout guy. Penfold's name brings back memories of days when the School first opened. His duties in the Navy on his first trip alone took him to Canada, Gibraltar, Alexandria, Aden, Durban, Cape Town, Freetown, Bermuda and Iceland. Can anyone beat that? He is full of praise for the hospitality of South Africans. He is a Leading Wireless Mechanic now on board H.M.S. "Kent."
W. Morling is a L/Cpl. draughtsman in G.H.Q., Middle East. Kemp is a Flight/Mechanic, R.A.F. Mattocks has joined the R.A.F., but the doctor would not pass him for Air Crew. Robinson is in the Forces, but we have not heard which branch. We have also learnt that Pryke and Strachan are in the R.A.F., but have no particulars of their service.
Coxon, after many years' sojourn in the East with the R.A.F., is back in England and paid a welcome visit to the School. Barry Turner has a commission in an Anti-Tank Battery. Condolences to Beard, who has been discharged on medical grounds as a result of his service in France. Both John and Leslie Turrell are now serving in the R.A.F. groundstaff. The former is an L.A.C. We were very glad to hear from Charles Arthur Baily, who is in the R.A.O.C. When he wrote he was in the Sudan. He prefers England " bombs or no bombs." Some Old Boys, no doubt, remember Park whose poems used to be a feature of the School Magazine. Passing ,through Lewes, he made a hurried visit to School to see how we were getting on. He is serving in the Navy. Jim Baker has taken his Ph.C. qualifications to the Army and is now in the R.A.M.C.
Of Old Boys still in civil life, Sam Henderson is doing important work in a reserved occupation and has recently made a discovery in plastics which has considerably increased his salary. He spends all his spare time in the Home Guard. Sufton, who went to Canada some time ago, is in a bank in Ontario. Michael and David Joslin are farming. Edward Strange is learning the job of a land-agent, as is Maurice Phillips. Alfie Smith is doing well in the drawing office of an engineering firm. When we last heard from Marande he had been selected for the Drawing Office of the S.R. Engineering Works. He was expecting to be called up. P. H. Marson was also expecting to join the Air Force shortly. As a Customs Official he went through all the worst of the bombing of 1940 in the Port of London area. He has since been moved to Glasgow.
Hoad, who left us when his parents moved to Cranleigh, has matriculated at Guildford Grammar School, and hopes to be accepted for a R.A.F. University Course next October. He has been a member of the School XV and Shooting team. Willie Wray is finishing his first year at University College, Exeter before joining the Forces.
We publish [below] the " Cambridge Letter," which gives an account of those of our Old Boys there who are snatching a brief University career before joining the Forces. Their activities indicate that we can hold our own with any school.
Members of the staff on service continue to go strong. Mr. Smith is now a Staff Captain ; Mr. Courtney has coaxed (or bribed) the doctor into changing his category to enable him to get out of the Army Pay Corps into the Artillery. He is at present doing his O.C.T.U. training for a commission. Having become rejuvenated through P.T. and Rugger, he looked very fit when we saw him last. Mr. Page paid a welcome visit to the School. He is a Subaltern in the Artillery. Mr. Pett, Lieutenant, R.N., is busy convoying war material to Russia.
All Old Boys who knew them at School will be pleased to hear that Mr. Davies has been appointed a VI Form Master at Bolton School and Mr. Bowman Senior Science Master at King Edward VII School, Sheffield.
We have made brief reference to a few of our Old Boy Prisoners of War. We are giving the addresses of some of them, hoping that those who knew them at School will write to them. Nothing can be more trying than the monotony of confinement.
Prisoner of War:
Peter Trott, 11091, Stalag IIID, Camp 413, Germany.
J. R. Lawrence, 2297, M. Stammlager VIIIB, Germany.
F. White, 13250, Stalag XXA (4), Germany.
L. N. Watts, 11582, Stalag VIIIB, Germany.
Sgt. C. F. Hall, 9586, M. Stammlager VIIIB, Germany.
F. Pannett 10696, M. Stammlager VIIIB Germany.
L/Cpl. J. Howard, 583, M. Stammlager XXB (311), Germany.
L/Cpl. R. S. Green, 6116, M. Stammlager VIIIB, Germany.
F. W. Austen, 13784, Stalag XX (51), Germany.
We conclude this log, which covers the period to April, ig42, with the " Cambridge Letter " mentioned above, and with extracts from letters by Norman Hancock and Geoffrey Crouch. The latter has been through most of the North African fighting.
The writer of these notes repeats the apologies made in previous numbers for omissions and inaccuracies and also for not quoting many most interesting letters. To do justice to all would fill a book. The Old Boy family is becoming so large that it is difficult to keep pace with all the members. Incidentally the cost of these notes is an appreciable item. Verb sap : If you have not sent " the necessary " please do so. To those serving in the desert and foreign climes bartering is prohibited. We do not wish to be greeted at School with a string of camels, a crowd of monkeys or a cage of parrots.
When we arrived in Cambridge last October the prevailing atmosphere was one of the deepest awe. For two years in the Sixth Form at Lewes, a university education had been something of a glamorous dream. The awe soon departed in face of the reality yet it was not superseded by disillusionment but by a sense of familiarity and homeliness in our new surroundings. Nevertheless, the first few days were mainly occupied by somewhat extravagant reaction : we were suddenly grown to full manhood, and addressed as " sir " ; we found extraordinary pleasure in throwing tea-parties in each other's rooms ; our pocket money tended to evaporate like tinned milk as we bought college crests, college writing-paper, a thousand nick-nacks to perfect our bachelor quarters ; we were ridiculously proud of our cap and gown ; we went punting in approved style, lost the pole and ran aground.
At last we settled down to our studies, which were sometimes diversified and encouraged, sometimes distracted, by the innumerable societies which, if you let them would lecture and discuss all your time away. We had before us however the standard set by R. I. B. Cooper and P. V. Ridley both first class honours men. The latter has left college to devote his energies to the national cause and shed intellectual light over the mental darkness of an O.C.T.U. The former is still with us and imparts sage advice to puzzled freshers ; we are sorry that he has had to give up the captaincy of the Trinity Boat Club, and has now joined the ranks of the old gentlemen. He is still to be seen, however, disappearing into the upper realms of the Cavendish, or shaking alpha-particles from his coat before entering the dining-hall.
This example in the Boat Club has been well followed up. Last term P. J. Cronin won the Fresher's Sculls, and this term has been promoted from the second to the first Trinity boat. L. F. Bowles and D. George have been promoted to the second boat. There are strange rumours that the last-named gentleman has been heard playing the clarinet. All three of our first-year Trinity men are on the Junior Committee of the Trinity College Mission (London). P. J. Cronin and D. George are in the Home Guard, and in this connexion we may remark that P. J. Cronin is known to drive an Army truck at cyclonic speeds. He is also to be congratulated on being elected this term's Treasurer of the Trinity Natural Science Society. L. F. Bowles is on the committee of the same, and is also doing social work in connection with the Methodist Church by helping to run a boys' club. R. T. H. Stevens, who lives at the top of a suicidal spiral staircase is on the committees of the Christ's College Debating Society and the College Magazine ; he is leaving college shortly to take up social work in East London. The others remain to carry on the Lewes tradition.
The most widespread activity here is talking. If you wish to air opinions, orthodox or revolutionary, come to Cambridge. Nobody will be shocked, unless the man burning the midnight oil in the next room objects to the din. Here one meets blue-bloods and Bolsheviks, fundamentalists and Platonic pantheists. Over the dinner table or by the fireside the relentless interchange of ideas goes forward : on the very threshold of Armageddon the spirit of free thought and tolerance triumphantly persists, just as King's Chapel still stands rock-like over the murmuring Cam, while against the roar of the bomber its hushed music breathes an unearthly wistfulness to the loiterer beneath its shuttered windows.
We are proud to have the opportunity of carrying on the Lewes County School spirit into university life, and we see school and college not as distinct phases but as a continued process. May we hope that the essential spirit of university life at its best will survive these uncertain nights and days ; that times of peace will see from the State as much readiness to support and encourage entrance to the university as has been shown in the exigencies of war ; and that the Lewes County School will continue to send its alumni to seek in the great universities tolerance, and fellowship, and knowledge, and the noble use of knowledge.
(1) From GUNNER G. D. CROUCH :
"Life in Tobruk was a bit grim, but for the most part it was no worse than other places to which we had been. The worst trouble was the dust storms, sometimes they used to blow for several days at a time and the fine dust would get into everything - in your clothes and blankets, in your eyes, ears and nose, and worse still, into your food. But we did get several quite long clear spells, and during the first few weeks we were there we were able to get down to the sea once or twice for a bathe. Along the coast there were several coves similar to those found in Cornwall, and the bathing was excellent. On the whole, the food one received was fairly good and we were not unduly short of water, for we were already pretty experienced at having a bath in little over a mugful of water. The period up to the middle of November was fairly quiet, but the complete lack of entertainment made life rather monotonous. As soon as the battle started though, things began to liven up, and I spent a very hectic six days with a forward observation party."
"On the first morning it was a grand sight seeing one hundred of our tanks moving up into action, but they were soon lost in a cloud of sand and smoke from bursting shells, and after that enemy shells made us keep our heads low. We pushed forward out through the perimeter wire and we spent one night in front of our own infantry and 300 yards from the enemy - I did not get much sleep that night ! As soon as our force joined with those on the outside, our part of the battle was virtually completed and we were looking forward to a quiet Christmas, when one hundred of us were sent out to join another unit, and together we helped make up a Mobile Column. We left at dawn next morning, but it was not till the third day that we made contact with the enemy. Our force was not a very large one, and our job was to harass retreating enemy columns. While warfare of this type is rather like a game of cricket and as soon as it gets too dark to play both sides draw stumps and go into " laager," that is all the vehicles are bunched together with the armoured ones and guns on the outside and the soft vehicles in the middle. But it means getting up very early as all vehicles must be dispersed before it is light and it is now very cold at nights, much colder than I ever thought it could get in this part of the world."
"Several mornings I woke up to find ice on my ground sheet. During a period of nearly four weeks we travelled some 600 miles around the desert, but we did not see a single place of interest. During this time we encountered all kinds of attack, including machine gunning, bombing dive-bombing, shelling and finally tanks. I must admit the sight of tanks approaching shook me a bit, but out of the eight which attacked us only one got back. Rations on this trip were very poor and consisted almost entirely of bully and biscuits. We spent Christmas Day looking at the Tripoli Road, but with these meagre rations it was impossible to produce anything remotely resembling a Christmas dinner."
(2) From FLYING/OFFICER NORMAN HANCOCK :
"After a winter of comparative inactivity we moved to Cornwall last April. Here we spent most of our time doing convoy patrols, and, as these had to be continued from dawn until dusk, we certainly worked hard. On our first day of operations there I flew for three hours before breakfast. Never has a meal tasted more glorious to me than that breakfast! As the days grew longer, so we worked harder, and in June and July four and a half hours' sleep each night was the usual thing."
"These incessant patrols around ships, which hardly seemed to move, quickly became boring, especially as we never saw any Huns. Then suddenly we were re-equipped with long-range Spitfires and shortly afterwards we took part in the first great daylight raid on Brest. We escorted a crowd of Hampdens across and I caught my first glimpse of France - from 15,000ft. It was all very thrilling for me as it was my first offensive patrol. But the enormous barrage of 'Flak' which the Jerries sent up over Brest was not quite so thrilling ! Down went my Flight Commander, having stopped a piece of shrapnel, and we all started to mill around while the bombers were unloading. Here I had my first encounter with an Me. 109, during which time we slung lead at one another wholesale. I was not hit, but I hope he was ! I had no time to observe what happened to him as the bombers started for home and we all joined up again."
"After this little episode the powers that be evidently decided that there was a definite future in long-range Spitfires, because we then started trips up to the East Coast as a jumping-off place for Holland."
"Our first operation to Holland was the escorting home of the bombers which made the daylight attack on the power stations at Cologne. They were escorted over to the Dutch coast by Whirlwinds, from where they 'hedge-hopped' into Germany. We went over to escort them back and went up the Scheldt as far as Antwerp. The timing was pretty good for we had to wait less than ten minutes, during which time we formed a large defensive circle. This was grand fun as we were rarely above 2oo ft. the whole time. We joined up with the returning bombers and made our way home, having met with surprisingly little opposition."
"After several trips of this nature the Squadron was moved up to the East Coast permanently at the end of August, and our main function from then on was fighter escort to Blenheims bombing shipping off the Dutch coast. I have every admiration for the crews of these Blenheims for their job is truly a suicidal one. They made their attacks on convoys at mast height, and the concentration of fire that they had to pass through was terrific. Many is the time that I have seen a Blenheim go hurtling over a ship, drop its bombs and then dive straight into the sea."