06 November 2004

Bill Palmer's memories

Bill is a new member and he sent me these memories, very evocative doncha think?
Thanks for the mail Jim,
I was there from 1953 until 1958, having been at Western primary school first. I was a "Day Boy".
Memories include
- the cross country runs we had - the pain and the pride... mainly the pain!
- the CCF, where after achieving Cert A, I joined the Navy section - figuring on an easy uniform. It wasn´t!  All those folds in the
  trousers had to be ironed from opposite sides. . Still we got to Lee on Solent (where I was later to ride many bicycle races)
  and had a ride in a Dragon Rapide. That was my first air experience sitting adjacent to the pilot and watched  fascinatedly as
  the Isle of Wight tilted when we banked.
- on the subject of aviation, which became my life later but wasn쨈t then - watching the "big boys" balancing the glider on its
  stand in the wind and as they were catapulted along the ground by a long bungy stretched by armies of lads. I believe
  someone got it airborne and deposited it in the school swimming bath, which I however did not see.
- prayers - and the way Doc Freeman pronounced "Artificer Apprentices" in a disdainful voice as though below his dignity.
- running the gauntlet of the Kelsoe boys as we bicycled through a hail of very hard snowballs on our indirect way home -
  indirect because we had to make a detour past the girls County High school to see who might be there...
- playing a borrowed banjo ukelele in Peter (Frank) Whitford´s skiffle group.  We practised many songs for said High School
  dance - then when we turned up, there was a professional band there - we were only required to entertain during the tea and
  buns break!  Frank, who was a great artist and cartoonist later wrote travel books and I heard him (in German) on a German
  talk radio show once. I believe he  became a professor of English at a Cambridge University.
- getting belted with a tennis shoe by some sadistic prefect on a Wednesday lunch time - probably learned his business at the
  hands of Eo Jones.
- watching the cricket match at the open day (which year?) when Archie Warr, who wore a leg brace, hit 4s and 6s all over the
  place off Chalky White and in so doing engendered a little of the tradition of the public school in me.
- being forced to eat school dinners completely by Hawkins. I used to hide big pieces of greasy meat in my handkerchief - till
  my mother noticed it and made sandwiches to take instead.
- actually learning something - mainly biology from Cox, German from Gladwell and Maths from White. Not much, it has to be
  said but the knowledge remains to this day.
- actually passing something - just the basic 6 O levels, which some years later enabled me to Join the RAF and fly.
Well, its a long time back and since then I had 5 disasterous years at the Castle,  8 years RAF, 25 Years Swissair, 2 years
flying for a Japanese airline and finally 3 years with easyJet. Now I am retired, so there ist just bicycle , guitar and some web surfing!
Good luck with the site.
Bill Palmer.
PS. How about a "Do you know where .... is now?"  page?

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