Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Rev DA Williams - Charles Joyce Virtual Museum Theme

DA Williams in the RAF as a Padre
Rev DA Williams
Today I received 45 photos from Charles Joyce - the latest of his Virtual School museum themes. This installment focuses on the Rev DA Williams (known by pupils as 'Jack'). (as in Jackdaw - from his initials DAW)

A new (in 2017) Timeline about the Reverend David Williams from some recent research, can be found here. This give fuller details of his life and career.

A Tribute to the Rev DA Williams by Charles Joyce
The Rev DA Williams lived and advocated a frugal life and in terms of cars, was more modest in his choice than some of the other staff who had Jags and Bentleys. Early in the 60's he had a Morris Minor shooting break and then a mini...

He was born in and retired to Llanwrda

He was a man of the cloth - a Curate and later a Padre in the RAF and later still House master in  Kuala Lumpur

Charles and I (Trev) had Mr Williams for English lit in the 5th form 1966-67. These are three of the books we studied with him that year.

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw was for CSE English where as the GCE choice was Major Barbara. Pygmalion of course was the basis of the popular film and stage show My Fair Lady. Shaw's work introduce us to the idea of social class...

Moral courage was a theme that came through strongly in DA William's teaching and he would illustrate the theme with stories from his life's experience. In Far from the Maddening Crowd, the Thomas Hardy novel the character of the sturdy, long-suffering Gabriel Oak who also lived a frugal life was juxtaposed against the dashing Sergeant Troy with only conquest on his mind. In the end Gabriel Oak (strong and persevering like an oak) wins out. 'Jack Williams' (as we knew him) knew the novel inside out and his passion for the book and its life-enriching message came through in his teaching.

The Complete works of Dickens

Another book on the CSE English syllabus was Spencer Chapman's The Jungle is Neutral
Once again this book was a natural for the Rev D A Williams who had been a House Master at a school in Kuala Lumpur.

The amazing story of Freddie Spencer Chapman is told here
An educated adventurer and author before the war, Chapman joined the Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George near Inverness at the outset of the 2nd world War. Sent to Japanese occupied Singapore he became a thorn in their side, destroying no less than seven trains, fifteen bridges and forty motor vehicles and the killing of some hundreds of Japanese troops in a short period of time. Read more here

In the foreword to Chapman's book on his experiences in Japanese occupied Malaya, The Jungle Is Neutral, Field Marshal Earl Wavell wrote "Colonel Chapman has never received the publicity and fame that were his predecessor's lot (referring to T.E.Lawrence); but for sheer courage and endurance, physical and mental, the two men stand together as examples of what toughness the body will find, if the spirit within it is tough; and as very worthy representatives of our national capacity for individual enterprise, which it is hoped that even the modern craze for regulating our lives in every detail will never stifle."

Spencer Chapman

The explanation of the title of his book - The Jungle is Neutral is " However much he suffered in the Malayan jungle, he attributed his survival to the basic rule that "the jungle is neutral". By this description he meant that one should view the surroundings as neither good or bad but neutral. The role of a survivalist is to expect nothing and accept the dangers and bounties of the jungle as of a natural course. Hence, one's steady state of mind was of the utmost importance to ensure that the physical health of body and the will to live were reinforced on a daily basis."

"After the war, Chapman was asked to form a School in Germany for the sons and daughters of British Forces and Control Commission Civilians resident in the British Zone of occupied Germany. This School, the King Alfred School for children 11 to 18 years of age, used the German naval establishment at Plőn in Schleswig-Holstein where Admiral Doenitz had resided during the last days of World War II. Freddie, as Headmaster, set up the school, organised the teachers, arranged for the alterations to accept both boys and girls, and then in one day in 1948 accepted 400 young boys and girls into what was possibly the first successful comprehensive, co-educational boarding school in the World. His dynamism and understanding of the requirements of young people were the guiding influence in setting up the school and it was a first class success story which lasted for 11 years."
Learning Curves - Trev Teasdel's look at DAW's English Literature lessons.


  1. Jack Williams taught 'O' English Lit to Terry Hobson and I in 1964/5. We studied Hy lV pt l, The Cruel Sea, The Jungle is Neutral, The Comic World of Dickens, Far from the Madding Crowd and Twentieth Century Verse. That was quite a lot in one year. We both passed fairly well and were, I believe, the first two Eng Lit passes at the school.
    I big thank you to all who contributed to this piece, I think JackDAW earned a lot of respect!

  2. David Williams or "Jake" as we knew him, was R.E. English (Lit and Language) and History Teacher during my time 73-78. I think that during my time in his lessons, I learned more about philosophy than any of the subject matter. I found him to be a fascinating teacher and a truly well balanced person, who could hold your attention, teaching the most mundane subject matter. I was fond of the (seemingly) many occasions when a wasp would land his brow and he would calmly talk about it, without flinching, might I add. Far from the Madding Crowd excerpts were frequently being scrawled on the board and that triggered my reminiscence. He still taught it with a passion and was also fond of Hemingway in his later Years because we studied a Farewell to Arms and the Old Man and the Sea. He pulled me aside one day and explained that he had talked to my mother during visiting day. He explained how she herself was an angel because she was raising 9 children as a widow. I always looked up to him after that and was saddened to hear of his passing. You were right, "Jake", I would not need a lot of money to be "rich".