The photo of the laboratory
captioned 1940 was probably taken well before that date.
There was no gas lighting or tiered seating in 1940, the school
prospectus of that time showed electric lighting with white
porcelain shades - in fact there was no lighting - the shades
were hung from the beams by string and removed after the photo
In the forties the assistant matron was a Miss Pearl who
received a chaste kiss from Brazier (a prefect) when he left
to join the Fleet Air Arm never to return.
I seem to recall the headmasters secretary as a Miss Barratt
who was in the habit of telling all parents that the young
women employed to wait table in the dining room were all of
a very good class! That did not stop us referring to them,
as the skivvies!
One of the more attractive 'skivvies' was observed to be
in great distress after the German attack on North Weald on
the afternoon of 29th October 1940. Story was that she was
engaged to a sergeant pilot who was killed by a bomb just
as his Hurricane took off. Two other planes in his flight
also crashed but the pilots escaped.
Headmaster Dames had a wounded pilot (an old boy?) staying
with him about that time - we never heard his story.
In the autumn of 1940 we started to see RAF Havoc nightfighters
every morning after breakfast as they returned from intruder
raids on French aerodromes - they were Douglas aircraft converted
to RAF use and fitted with 16 machine guns! I think they were
based at Stansted.
The tower of St. John's Church was used as a look out for
enemy parachutists. In the summer of that year, a master named
Smith, reputedly a "conchie," and Robinson were
there on most evenings at dusk.
In my previous messages I mentioned a senior boy in 1941
named Cox, he may even have been headboy for a time. About
1963 I met a man who was in the junior school during the war
- think his name was Taplow or Taplin and he worked for Associated
Lead Manufacturers. He told me that Cox became a distinguished
criminal even graduating from Dartmoor University - does anyone
know about him.
Elphick who was in my class, a good fast bowler, taught at
the school after the war.
More thoughts later as they emerge!
PS Anyone told you anything of the headmasters butler Davis?