Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cars, Boats and War - Conversations from Facebook

Hamish Wilson Canoeing on the Wye, camping at Cern Abbas, hitching to Southampton (for a reason that escapes me) on the initiative test, boating on the Clyde (I was next to Mr Parker's son when he caught his finger between the rail at the front of the boat and the dock). A few cool cars were about with Johnny Walkers MG, Tankies selection of Jags, Hoss's Bently and Rev Jack Williams grey Mini pickup (which must have been the cheapest vehicle on the market at the time, confirming the rumours of his frugality). I seem to remember that Rosemary's dad had an American car, possibly a Packard at the time as well. I'm sure I was impressed by all these (except the mini) as my Dad only had an Austin A35!! I can't envisage how a family of 6 fitted into that. I used to spend lots of time running around the athletics track, mainly when I should have been doing something else, incidentally sometimes running with Sue Rowland.

Ralph Aldhous My dad had a grey Austin Cambridge. It was like a boat on wheels. I think it was an A55. We were very proud of it because it was a newish design.

Rosemary Webb Rehill  Hamish! Great memory! My big brother, Peter did have an American Packard. My brother Steve has pics of it. Lovely thing! Steve remembers everyone's cars. Beyond Gordon Place's Volvos and Terry Walker's MG I don't remember any. I do remember when Harry lost his fingers though. We were shocked! I just remember someone saying he wouldn't be able to play the piano....!!

TexasDave McGarry I remember Harry's accident at Kilcreggan on the Clyde. I was in Mr Harper's boat, and we came in just as it happened. He was trying to put the boat's rope on the bollard and the bow dipped under the pier.. ouch! He was incredibly brave. I hated that job.. throwing/tying the rope. It nearly happened to me on the same trip.

Sarah Williams Great to hear from you Hamish. Just to complete the picture, our family had an old Bedford van and later a new Bedford van. It was often used for ferrying boys around. The Webbs had a Bedford too. Re. the A35 - we had 2 vans a few years back - called Ethel and Wilf. Excellent vehicles though our feet used to get wet in serious rain and the trafficators didn't always work. Sue was a good runner - we were both in our school athletics team but I was only there to make up the numbers.

The Masters and the War

Paul Norman Of course Jack Williams turned out to be a bit of a financial wizard. I think he left £2 million in his will. (More on this here - )

Paul Rees  I remember him saying "No Red Herrings in this lesson boys, please". Then we would get him talking about his RAF life and that was it.... no History that day!!!

Ralph Aldhous I wrote 'GO BACK TO THE HILLS' on the back of the roller board so that it appeared when he pulled it round. He reacted very calmly and just rubbed it off. Boys can by cruel.

David Partridge  I think Ken Williams (Deputy head from 1964) he was rather well respected, there was a certain calm firmness in his manner. (and he made the unification of Germany interesting to a 15 year old, quite an achievement!)

Sarah Williams He studied European history at Oxford, ironically at the time when WWII was raging.
Dad was a Quaker, we used to go to meetings in Coventry . The Meeting House was (is?) in Hill Street. The nearest meeting to Cleobury was Stourbridge - we were there the night Bob Rowland died. Driving home from the Cherry Orchard direction we looked across the field to see all the lights on in the school at an hour when most buildings were in darkness.

Rosemary Webb Rehill  Do you remember, it was your dad that stopped us as we drove across the playground? Or was it my dad that stopped us as your dad drove us across the playground. We must have come into the school by the head's cottage entrance.

Sarah Williams I imagine Dad had been at the meeting with us. It was all those lights and the sense of drama that has stayed with me.

Rosemary Webb Rehill Yes, I agree! Must have been my dad who stopped us on the playground. I think my mum was with us too?

Ralph Aldhous What time was that and what time did he die? I think he died on the M6 after visiting an (ex?) pupil. We were all told to go to the assembly hall before breakfast and not lark about. I think the rumour was already going round.

Ralph Aldhous Mr Williams announced it to us.

Sarah Williams I think he died that evening (previous to your breakfast memory). He drove into the back of a lorry on the hard shoulder of the motorway. I guess it must have been dark. I can't remember the date, I would guess autumn.

Trev Teasdel Autumn term 63 - Bob just had a rubbber stamp signature on the report - so that's about right right. Spring term 64 Ken Williams was acting head - did the headmaster's report two terms running then Mr Parker after that.

Ralph Aldhous It was either autumn or spring because the morning was dark. There must be a dated cutting somewhere. It's easy to nod off if you're tired and drift onto the hard shoulder. I've done it myself on occasion, fortunately without serious consequences.

Trev Teasdel On the article i did on the blog - Bob's old school mag states the date as Sarah Feb 28th. Maybe he didn't comment in autumn 63 because he was busy then! That date is mentioned by Rose and by the Solihull school magazine - so I guess that's the one.

Rosemary Webb Rehill I seem to remember that everyone said he was "over the 8" on the night he died.. Bob was a WW2 fighter pilot and loved the drink. I think he had many dark memories. It must have been very hard for a young man to see so much horror.

David Partridge I believe he went to Cambridge and then Heidelberg universities before becoming a bomber pilot during WWll.

Ralph Aldhous We often forget that people in that generation went through a lot and did not get the treatment that is the norm now. Post traumatic stress disorder was simply not recognised. You just got on with it.

Trev Teasdel Someone said that the Rev Williams was a bomb Aimer during the war and many of them became padre's after the war. 

Our resilience to boarding school life was nothing compared to what the war generation went through!

Rosemary Webb Rehill Very true! Weird that we all grew up in the shadow of WW2. Everything was either before or after "the war"

TexasDave McGarry
We're always talking about (Titterstone) Clee Hill, but let's not forget her bigger, darker sister, Brown Clee.. There was something foreboding about her, a graveyard for at least 6 planes, German and English, during World War 2.. 
No wonder only a few of us ventured there.. it was a scary-dark hill, that one.

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