11 January 2007

A warm welcome to Neill Leary

Here is Neill's welcoming email and his reply,
---- Original Message -----
From: James Wishart
To: neill.leary1@btinternet.com
Cc: Doug Clews
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:09 PM
Subject: Peter Symonds nostalgia corner
hi Neill,
I'm pleased to welcome you to the club and I hope you enjoy it here. Please feel free to introduce yourself to the members and let us know when you were at the school and any doings you did!
jim wishart
list manager.
Dear Jim

Thanks for your welcome to the Peter Symonds Nostalgia Corner. Here are few paragraphs to fill in some of my background.
I went to PS in September 1945 - the first 'intake' after the end of WW2. My primary school had been St Bartholomews Hyde (now pulled down and expensive houses built in its place) where I was one of the brighter children. To my dismay I found that all of my class were bright children from their primary schools and it took me a couple of years to settle in properly - it was teachers like Tom Pearce who really helped me to get started. Thankfully I managed to get a clutch of respectable grades in the Oxford School Certificate, stayed on until I was almost sixteen when I was encouraged to seek fame and fortune in the great wide world - family finances (or lack thereof) might have had something to do with it!!! Incidentally I think that Doug Clews and I were class mates at some stage.

I joined the RAF for National Service in 1952, became a navigator, rose to the giddy heights of Squadron Leader, got bored with office jobs, resigned, joined the Civil Aviation Authority where I became the manager of their aeronautical charts section, retired, became the part-time Membership Secretary of the Royal Institute of Navigation (of which I am a Fellow) and retired at the end of 2005. I do voluntary work at Southwark Cathedral, 'just potter' and enjoy myself not doing very much at all.

My contemporaries (apart from Doug) were Dennis Hewlett (who was seriously bright and went to Brasenose College), David Smith who was the manager of a jewellers shop in the High Street, Mike(?) Gilson (also seriously bright and went to Oxford but I do not know which college) and Derek Stone who left when his family went to live in Slough. I would very much like to be in touch with any of them.

PS people who I have met down the years include Bill Sandford ( a senior personage in the Royal Institute of Navigation), Paddy Hines who became one of the 'high-ups' in the RAF, John Hardwick who was an RAF Group Captain, Michael May (also in the RAF as an Education Officer, and I was told that he died many years ago.) I also bumped into Bob Weeks (his elder brother had lost a leg in a childhood accident on Fawley Down) - were at a pre-retirement seminar and found ourselves sitting next to each other!

I am not a great person for reunions and that kind of thing but having found your web site it is really good to be in touch.  Please pass on my regards to Doug if he remembers me.

Kind Regards - Neill
PS I have just seen Mike Conlan's email to me in which he mentions Paddy Hines and John Hardwick.

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