A 1938 Pupil's View Peter Ward 1938- Home
My first introduction to WGS was through my cousin Cyril Bailey who appears on Pg100 of the book . I wrote a piece about him for Derrick Pearce which appeared in the magazine for 2005 . I have a photograph of Cyril taken with other aircrew which I will send . The flying jacket is here now , hanging on the den door . Cyril talked to me a lot about WGS and especially Mr Lay whom he held in high regard .
My next contact with WGS was due to my father thinking that I needed some help , so we finished up one afternoon in 1937 at Doddington Road and Miss Bavin showing us into the Headmasters study where we met Mr Clayton . Mr Clayton talked to me for some time and then asked me to read from a book . In those days I read a lot and so , I think , completed the task satisfactorily . It was Mr Claytons opinion that I should remain at Higham Ferrers council school and sit the exam . This I did - and failed !! Dad decided to pay for me to go to WGS - at least he saved one years fees .
September 1938 , and it was off on the train to Wellingborough under the watchful eye of Don Braybrook , who also appears on Pg100 , another DFC . Don lived at the top of York Road in Higham , not far from us . As I remember there were other boys from that end of Higham , but only two names spring to mind , Terry Wilmot ( or was it Willmot ? ) who lived in the High Street nearly opposite the old College , and Roy Draper .
The first day I have no real recollection of at all . The second was slightly different !! 'Benny ' Appleby was music master and had all the new chaps into the music room one by one to assess them for the school choir . When it was my turn I entered the Music Room to be thrust straight into action , " when I play this note I want you to sing it " , the result was dreadful or that note and two or three others that followed , no place in the choir for Ward , not that I really minded .
The next master that I remember was Mr Nicholas as I started Latin . He , and his nickname had already been explained to me by my cousin . But Latin was really not my forte and on my descent from 2a to 2b Latin went overboard .
In particular I remember Mr Dunning , I am sure that he hated me . O.K. I was a lazy lttle -so-and-so , but on one occasion I think he went a bit too far . The lesson subject was India and its people , he came round to Indian customs and brought up the prayer wheel , explaining that as the monks walked past the shrines they spun the prayer wheel thereby making several dozen prayers for very little effort , turning to the class he fxed me with his stare and said " just suit you Ward " . But he was a superb teacher and my geography greatly benefitted from listening to him . Many years later I had a flashback to Mr Dunning . I was on a ferry flight to Iraq and had just left Syrian airspace and was anticipating reaching the Euphrates before turning South . The sun came up and showed me the Iraq desert in all its hostile being , and for some reason I thought of ' Jake ' Dunning and his prayer wheel and wished that he could have seen me then .
With his departure to the R.A.F. there came along Miss Gregory , the book refers to her as ' Pat ' , but I think we knew her as ' Peggy ' . She didn't have the forceful impact of 'Jake ' but I am sure that she was an excellent geography teacher , however more of Miss Gregory later .
Going back to the masters ; someone who I shall always remember for his unerring skill with the board rubber as an instrument of punishment , Mr Laurie , sometimes referred to , rather rudely , as 'Piggy ' Laurie , due to his pig breeding activities . Another nickname was that of my namesake , Mr R. Ward , referred throughout your book as ' Beery ' , but when he first arrived I am sure he was referred to as ' Bloot ' or ' Blute ' , and I am not sure why .
Then there came Dr Jackson who introduced me to Shakespeare - especially Macbeth , which has remained with me all these years . But I must admit to being unable to remember the games with the desks, as written about in Chapter 7, maybe they were after 1944 .
The other Masters that I had contact with in the early years were Mr Hole , Mr Phillips , Mr Pine ( Chunky ) , Mr Wintersgill , Miss Harrison , Dr Adamson , Mr Burrell , Mr Butler , Mr Richmond , Mr Findley , Mr Bratt , Mr Holmes and Mr Kent . Then from Haberdashers Askes Mr Powell - Evans who tried desperately to instill the magic ( ? ) of Esperanto into those of us , ex 2A , who had given up Latin .
Apart from being a very good French lecturer ' Froggy ' Hole was also a keen sportsman , and I remember vividly one cricket house match between Stags and, I think, the Lions, on a superb summers day when Ward excelled himself , albeit 100% by luck . I was in the deep outfield and Peter Peck was doing his usual , clouting balls everywhere . Then, out in the deep, Ward was enjoying the sun - there was a click of willow on leather and a slight shadow appeared , out went my hand and the ball smacked heavily into my outstretched palm . Cheers all round, Peter Peck made his way, disconsolately , back to the pavilion - but did manage a glare at me in the outfield , on the other hand 'Froggy' Hole knew exactly what the situation was and gave me one of his sardonic smiles .
Masters - Eddie Phillips , I didn't see a lot during Art and Woodwork, as I am sure he went off into the Forces about 1940 . For Art he was replaced by Mr Kent who was always rather 'acidic' wth his criticism . But I am sure that Mr Phillips' influence extended well into my later years when I took up woodcarving . Sport and the Gym . I have already mentioned one Cricket anecdote; one from Rugby , regarding Mr Nicholas . During a house match , Stags versus Lions I think , Ward was severely reprimanded for ' foul ' play . The lions had Derick Munn playing for them , and he always ran with a head down low posture , on this day I was playing Left Wing and Derick was tearing down the field towards me . I stood still with my right arm out from my side forming a loop . Dericks head ran into the loop and we both went down . This was followed by a blast on the whistle from Mr Nicholas and I was hauled off to the sideline where he explained in graphic detail the possible results of such an action .
' Chunky ' Pine and the gym and , as I remember - a person missing from the book . When Mr Pine left to join the Forces we had a 'character' arrive from London ( so he said ) who took over as the gym master ( ? ) . He was a somewhat brusque chap with some strange ideas of what constituted gymnastics . One of these was to divide the class into four groups and position them at the four corners of the gym, when he blew his whistle you had to make your way to the opposite corner as fast as possible !! The resulting melee had to be seen to be believed !!! However , I cannot remember his name, but his stocky , agressive figure, and the expensive looking pin stripe suit he wore when arriving at school , opposed to the majority of staff who were more casually dressed, will remain with me always. The only master that I had contact with after leaving school was Mr Wintersgill. I was visiting an Uncle , in Huddersfield , and prior to this I was told that Mr Wintersgill and his new wife , formerly Miss Gregory who taught Geography , lived in Huddersfield . On looking through the telephone book I found their number and 'phoned them . I was invited round for a cup of tea . On arrival I soon became aware of an addition to the Wintersgill family who would now be, believe it or not , about 59 !!! We had a long chat about old times , and the afternoon seemed to go very quickly , but most enjoyably . Apart from one or two Christmas cards I had no further contact with the Wintersgill family. That's all Graham , all this has made it very clear to me what Happy Days were my time at Doddington Road . Peter Ward (1938)