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Derek Edwards (joined 1946)

This is a copy of the tribute read out at Derek's funeral & provided by his son, Mike Edwards:

Derek was born on 14th September 1935 in Portsmouth to his parents (Elsieand William Edwards and he shared a hard but happy childhood with his
brothers Peter and John and his sister Olive. Derek is outlived by his brother
John and sister Olive.

He attended Filbert Road Infant and Junior School before continuing his education at the Southern Grammar School. As a youngster Derek was very
much into sport - all sport but especially football, cricket and table tennis. As
a young man he had played for the England Schoolboys team.

On leaving school at fifteen years of age Derek commenced an apprenticeship with Portsmouth Football Club. Unfortunately, this was interrupted when he was called up to serve his two years National Service which he did in theArmy in the Royal Ordnance Corp. Derek went on to have various jobs whilst also playing semi-professional football for a number of clubs including Guildford City before returning to the Portsmouth area where he worked for Mini Models before taking up a position with Lloyds Bank as a cashier, a job he was to do for the next twenty-eight years, retiring at sixty years of age. I feel sure that wherever Derek worked he would have been highly respected by his employers and
customers alike.

Love came into Derek's life in 1955, when he met Daphne, through theirmothers who were acquaintances. They married in St. Simons Church,
Southsea in 1957. Their marriage was blessed
with the births of their daughter Kate in November 1958 and their son Mike in November 1960.
Their lives were later enriched with the births of their grandchildren Amy, Rhys and Dominic.
As a couple Daphne and Derek had shared some lovely holidays in America and Greece and they both enjoyed playing golf and were members of the Cam Hall Golf Club, Daphne graciously conceded to Derek being the better player. Daphne and Derek have shared fifty-five years of married life and our hearts go out to Daphne today.

As a father Derek was firm but fair in the upbringing of Kate and Mike. He had his rules and they both knew that they had to adhere to them. I
understand a look from their father was usually enough to keep the young Edwards children in line. He was always there to help, support and
encourage them both in everything they set out to do in their lives and hetaught them by example to have respect for themselves and other people and
the importance of honesty and integrity all values that Derek held close to his own heart.

Fond memories will surely be the family holidays the young Edwards family had in the West Country, the Isle of Wight and Wales when good times were always ensured. I am sure Derek was extremely proud of his son and daughter and the achievements that they have both made in their lives and also that he was very happy in the knowledge that they have managed to find happiness in their own lives with Hugh and Angela with whom Derek had shared very good relationships. As a grandfather Derek loved his grandchildren as he loved his own children - unconditionally. He was always a willing playmate; he had loved to take them out for walks or to have a kick about with a ball He always looked forward to visits from the younger members of his family when there was sure to be their favourite treats on offer. No grandfather could have been prouder of their grandchildren than Derek.

Jill here today will have your own special memories of times spent with
Derek that will remain locked within your hearts forever and there is no
doubt that Derek adored his family and they in turn adored him. Although polite and courteous to people he met in the main Derek was a relatively private man, who liked to keep his thoughts to himself. He was at his happiest when in his own company or that of his family and in the comfort of his own home.

When it came to hobbies, then Derek's love of football stayed with him all through his life. He had played for the army whist doing his National Service. He eventually stopped playing football seriously in 1970, but he continued to play for local Sunday teams for quite a number of years after that. Derek was a very successful and much respected manager of a number of local football clubs including Chichester City, Bognor Regis and Newport (Isle of Wight) Football Clubs. Golf was also a passion of Derek's, he took it up seriously in his late forties, he was agood player and
had a handicap of sixteen, he very much enjoyed the company of other players he played against.

His television viewing was very selective; he enjoyed watching all sport and was an ardent Pompey supporter, much to his son Mike's disappointment. Derek was not a reader as such but he did take the Daily Express newspaper
which he would read starting with the sports pages first. This man was blessed with a good sense of humour and he enjoyed a joke.The humour of Morecombe and Wise and the antics in Only Fools and
Horses usually brought a smile to Derek's face.

Like all of us here today Derek was not without his faults. He could be a
little stubborn at times and his very competitive nature also managed to
ruffle a few feathers at times.

Derek took great pride in his personal appearance he liked to look nice and he was a very smart man, old school he liked to wear a collar and tie. He was always clean shaven and he kept his hair neatly cut short backhand sides and he was partial to a dab or two of aftershave for a special occasion. Derek had enjoyed good health until four years ago when he was sadly diagnosed with dementia. His health had been slowly deteriorating more so during the last two years. In February 2012 it became apparent that Derek needed specialist care and he went to live in Red House Care Home.  Following a fall in January Derek was hospitalised into the Q.A. Hospital and on his discharge he went into Ranvilles Nursing Home, where he passed away very peacefully on 15th February 2013. I trust you will all draw just a little comfort from the fact that Derek is now free from any pain and discomfort and is now at peace.

I asked Derek's family to give me a few words to describe him they said he was a proud, kind and caring man and no finer tribute could be paid to
anyone.  The end of a life is a very sad occasion, but I would ask you all to remember the happy times in Derek's life. Please remember that you have all been t
ouched by his presence and your lives significantly influenced by him. Remember these influences in the years ahead and he will continue to
contribute to the experiences and fabric of life through your deeds and actions. Following these remembrances, I would ask you now to take a minute of silence so that you can reflect on your own personal memories of Derek; his personality, his friendship the individual memories each of you have of him.


Traditionally, the Association has marked the passing of Old Secundrians by remembering them at the annual dinner. The Association's Committee decided in 2011 that a more fitting and permanent tribute would be to record their passing on the annual dinner menu card and then to invite friends to lodge obituaries on the website. Accordingly, this page is given over to recording those tributes. More Obituaries are recorded on Page 2. See also the Rolls of Honour pages for those who gave their lives in both World Wars; these include pages specifically given over to obituaries of all those who died in the Great War. (see Rolls of Honour ).  

Recent obituaries and also notifications of those who have passed away are set out in full, below, but after a suitable period of time we shall transfer them to word document format (all you have to do to view them is to click on the appropriate link and the document will be revealed).

Hitherto, we have noted the passing of colleagues on the Message Board and will continue to do so. However, we shall, in future, then transfer that information to this page after a suitable interval.

Former colleagues and friends who would like to record a tribute should send it (preferably in Word format) to Peter Higgins (see Contacts ).

Click on any link to open the file. When you want to return to the website click on the left arrow at the top left hand side of the page that you have opened

Jeff Lawrence (joined 1947)

I knew Jeff from schooldays although never in the same class throughout our five years at the SGS but got to know him well when we met up at the Telecommunications Research Centre (later the Royal Radar Establishment) at Malvern, Worcestershire where we both served an apprenticeship in electronic engineering.

In 1952 it was a new venture by the Ministry of Supply to train 24 apprentices a year and applications were received from potential electronic engineers from all over the country. Jeff and I were not aware of each other's applications and were amazed to be selected from a total of over 450. We felt it an honour to be two from the same school in the first intake of 24 and also to be only 2 of 12 who completed the full course of vocational and educational traing (Ed: the SGS must have been doing a lot right then!).

After finishing our apprenticeships we went our separate ways with calls from Her Majesty to serve her as National Servicemen (Jeff in the RAF and me in the REME). We met up again when we were attending a Caravan Club, East Hampshire Centre Caravan rally at the West Meon Hut.

Sadly, Jeff passed away on 6th January 2013 and his funeral was at Portchester Crematorium on 29th January.

John Cannon
March 2013

March 2013
Arthur Rogers (joined 1954)  

This obituary, produced by Arthur's wife, first appeared in the Guardian newspaper in February 2009. Regrettably, it was not until October 2013 that it (and Arthur's passing) came to our notice.

My husband, Arthur Rogers, who has died of mesothelioma, aged 65, was the first British journalist to specialise in the activities of the Council of Europe, the European court of human rights and the European parliament. And he was a man who could find a story where others heard nothing but humdrum speeches.

Thus it was in 1981 that he established the
Sarpedon press agency, covering Europe for business publications. During the ensuing two decades, Arthur gathered more than 50 clients in Europe and in the US. He put the same, exemplary attention to detail into a feature whether he was filing it for BBC TV South, the Bureau of National Affairs, the Lancet or Global Potato News.
Before Sarpedon he had been seconded from his job at the News, Portsmouth to become press officer (1979-82) for the Mary Rose trust. Under his guidance, the raising of Henry VIII's flagship from the Solent captured global media attention, helped the trust secure the Prince of Wales as its president and boosted the fundraising which was to make the vessel the only 16th-century warship on display anywhere.

Arthur was born in Bramshott, Hampshire. His mother suffered from mental illness - partly induced by being bombed out in Portsmouth - and spent time in an asylum.
father, a farm and bakery worker, was rarely at home. Arthur fended for himself and took care of his younger brother from an early age.

He was educated at the Southern Grammar chool, Portsmouth, and learned his journalistic trade as an apprentice and later a reporter on the News.
In the late 1970s he studied at an advanced journalism college in Paris, which helped spark his interest in European affairs, and in 1990, under the the Reuters journalist's programme at Oxford University, he produced a comparative study of American and European constitutions. In 1995 he co-authored, for the Council of Europe, Bioethics in Europe - about the ethical and business implications of genetic screening, assisted procreation and embryo research.
The cancer that Arthur contracted was caused by exposure to asbestos that occurred, he believed, while covering stories such as fires at naval dockyards.
He married twice and is survived by myself, three children
and seven grandchildren.


Additional tribute to Arthur:   Arthur was a former pupil at Milton Primary (he lived in Trevis Road off Locksway Road) and was a real character. I doubt he ever wanted to be anything other than a journalist and he clearly achieved his ambition in full. When we were at school I recall his main interests were the Goons, Buddy Holly and the Crickets and Chris Barber's Jazz Band .
Ken Hales (October 2013).


Derek Bocket (joined 1949)

The following amended extract has been taken from a tribute recorded iin the Portsmouth News by Emma Judd:

Derek, a grandfather who refused to let diabetes stop him from living a full ife has died aged 76. He lived with Type 1 diabetes for 61 years but remained active throughout his life despite the debilitating effect diabetes in its severest form can have and died doing something he loved - walking in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield on Saturday November 23rd. Derek's son, also called Derek, paid tribute to his active father and said "Dad was a fantastic father and gradfather and we will miss him. Losing him has left a huge hole in our lives. I was proud of all the work he did in the community. He was an inspiration to everyone in the way he lived his life to the full not allowing his diabetes to hold him back".

Derek senior supported three diabetes charities and was a member of the Portsmouth & Southsea Diabetes UK support team and was a Portsmouth Healthy Walker leader, took part in diabetes research at QA Hospital and assisted pharmacy students at the University of Portsmouth.

A lifelong Pompey supporter he was often seen wearing his team shirt at charity events.  

April 2013


Roger Allen (joined 1951)

The following obituary was submitted by David Griffiths:

Universally known as "Gubby" - no doubt after the former cricketer - he took a very active role in school life especially sport. He was particularly strong in languages leaving with 3 "A" levels and the speech day prize for spoken French in 1958.

He, along with year-chums Morton Richardson and David Griffiths joined the Executive Civil Service and was appointed to Portsmouthfor a year's training as an Assistant Naval Store Officer. Very soon he was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy in Sydney for three years. By then the Royal Navy Supply and Transport Service and he had a posting to the Naval Armament Depot in Scotland. Later, with several accelerated promotions he became responsible for the implementation of a major IT system. His final promotion was to Deputy Director (one star level - roughly equivalent to Brigadier or Naval Commodore) where he played a major part in his Department becoming partt of a Support Agency and was involved in electronic commercial trading.

Retiring in 1998 he maintained his sporting interests in Bath Rugby and in becoming a skiller skittler. He and his wife Jean, whom he married in 1961, played a very active part in the social life of his village Send in Wiltshire when they weren't cruising the world.

Roger will be sorely missed by his friends and family.

May 2014

Colin Alexander (joined 1952). Born 20 July 1940 & passed away 25 May 2014

The following has been submitted by Ken Hales, a very close friend for well over 50 years. 

Colin was born in Epsom, Surrey but after being bombed out (aged 1 year) moved with his parents and older sister to Yorkshire's East Riding. In due course he passed the 11 plus and started at Beverley Grammar School. Aged 12, Colin moved back with his mother and sister to Portsmouth where he transferred to the Southern Grammar School. His Yorkshire accent resulted in some teasing but undeterred and unknown to his family he spent his pocket money on elocution lessons. (these were the days when some of us will remember the peripatetic "Gus" Gardener, providing pronunciation lessons to the lower school).

Colin's was not a glittering academic career and his interest definitely lay in more practical subjects. He left school at the end of the Fifth Year and started working with the Trustee Savings Bank although he soon moved to Gaiman's, a wholesale grocery business based in Charlotte Street. His boss, David Gaiman (father of the author Neil), went on to become the UK spokesman for Scientology and allegedly told Colin, "This is the best way to make money that I know!". Colin's experience with the Company fired his enthusiasm for commerce and he soon moved on to a number of representative jobs. As soon as he could afford it, Colin had owned a moptorcycle and his work as salesman provided four-wheeled transport. He had a lifelong love of driving and for a while rallied with the Portsmouth Cosmopolitan Car Club. Colin always enjoyed music and in the early 60's was a regular at the Manfred Mann and Georgie Fame gigs at Kimbells and the "Southern Sounds" at the Sportsman's Club.

In the mid-60's Colin moved to London and worked in a number of positions representing Standard Telephones, Dexion (Storage Systems) and Lines Bros (Hornby and Scalextric). He was a very successful salesman. He then moved to Blandford Forum for a few years before returning to London in the early 70's to start businesses, primarily in office and shop fitting. The most successful of these was Dimension3, based in Covent Garden, until this was badly hit by the downturn in the economic climate of the late 70's.

During the 1980's Colin moved his family to his wife's home region in the West Midlands and began the renovation of an Oast House at Upper Sapey in the Teme Valley. This was a task that took well over 20 years to achieve the meticulous standards Colin sought. In the meantime, he developed a high quality, bespoke kitchen manufacturing and installation business.

Colin finally retired to Kidderminster in 2013 and, sadly, within a short time was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer. He did not respond well to a short course of chemotherapy and accepted palliative care stoically. Colin loved company and conversation, especially in a pub with a pint in his hand. His eBay "handle" was "RantingColin". He bore his final illness with dignity and never lost his sense of humour. He will be desperately missed by his widow Sandy, his four sons and his many friends. Colin also had two children from a previous marriage with whom he had lost touch.

July 2014

Bill Brown (joined 1940. Passed away August 2014) 

Bill was born in Portsmouth on 21st March 1929. The outbreak of war led to his school being evacuated to Brockenhurst in the New Forest in 1939 and he did not return until 1944. He told many stories about this time and regularly met until very recently with the "Old Secundrians" to reminisce about this period of their lives. Upon leaving school he took a 5 year indentured apprenticeship in the Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth and then subsequently joined the Merchant Navy for 2 years.

Bill and Sheila first met at the Embassy Ballroom Fawcett Road, Southsea and they were subsequently married at St James Church Milton in 1950.

Bill travelled extensively in the Merchant Navy but due to the long absences that this required he left after two years. and undertook National Service in the Royal Air Force. Between 1953 and 1955 he worked as a draughtsman at the Admiralty Underwater Countermeasures and Weapons Establishment. In 1955 he joined GEC where he worked in the drawing office initially as a design draughtsman. Bill went on to work as an environmental engineer for GEC and GEC-Marconi as it became, for a total of 35 years and upon completion of 25 years service received a much treasured gold watch.

Bill was a friendly, kind and compassionate man who saw no bad in anyone. He enjoyed 64 years of happy marriage with Sheila and enjoyed his home life very much maintaining a close relationship with his two daughters Susan and Karen in whom he was always interested.

Bill had many interests which included Tai Chi - something which he enjoyed immensely and was a member of Roko Sports Club for a number of years. Bill also enjoyed boating on the Thames and enthusiastically volunteered to be the Galley Slave; the family did however, receive strange looks when they were seen to be lounging in the sun whilst waiting for lunch to be served by an elderly gentlemen in a Crew bobble hat!

Sheila and Bill enjoyed 64 happy years together which has generated some very special memories that are now treasured.

September 2014


Bill Brown 1929-2014
The following obituary has been  submitted by Bill's daughter Susan:
The only thing I can add is that I met Bill in 1940 at Brockenhurst, we parted in 1944 and met again at the first reunion 1990, I think, and pretty regularly since then at the annual dinner and our local quarterly pub lunches. Bill was a very popular chap with an extremely good memory of the evacuation years and could always be relied on to relate stories of what went on and perhaps shouldn't have in and out of school hours then. He will be sadly missed at future lunches (the next one is on 10 September). I was very fortunate to have known him.

Gordon Blackman

With thanks to David Thwaites for drawing our attention to the following obituary which has been formed combining extracts from Wikipedia and the Daily Telegraph:

General Sir John James Stibbon KCB OBE
(joined in about 1946) Sir John was a former Master-General of the Ordnance. He was educated at the Southern Grammar School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1954. He was appointed Commanding Officer of 28th Amphibious Engineer Regiment in 1975 and then made Assistant Military Secretary at the Ministry of Defence in 1977. In 1979 he was made Commander of 20th Armoured Brigade and in 1983 he became Commandant of the Royal Military College of Science. He was promoted to Assistant Chief of Defence Staff in 1985 and to Master-General of the Ordnance in 1987; he retired in 1991. He was also Chief Royal Engineer from 1993 to 1999 and Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Pay Corps, of the Royal Pioneer Corps and the Royal Engineers.

In retirement Sir John was a Non-Executive Director of Chemring Group plc from 1993 to 2005 and Chairman of ITT Defence Ltd from 1993 to 2004. He was also an Honorary Vice-President of the Football Association from 1987 to 1993. Among many charitable activities he was Chairman of the Governors of the Royal Star and Garter Home from 1991-1996 .

Sir John had a lifelong interest in athletics. As a young man, he represented his regiment, division and corps at the discus, and shot and played football for the Army and the Combined Services. In retirement, his interests included palaeontology; he assembled a large collection of fossils from all over the world. He was also an accomplished watercolourist. He wa s appointed OBE in 1979 and knighted in 1988. Sir John was married to Jean for more than 56 years with whom he had two daughters Jane and Emma.
Click on image for a larger copy

Geoff Elderfield (joined 1941). Sadly, Geoff passed away in June 2014. Many will remember that Geoff was a keen Old Secundrian who attended the annual dinner every year until hearing problems kept him away for the last few years of his life. He will also be remembered by many as the the sports master at the Technical High School where there were many fine battles against teams from the SGS. A service for Geoff was held at St Helens Playing Fields on 11th July - where his ashes were also scattered ( July 2014)

Colin "Gus" Gardener (joined 1941). We very much regret needing to report that Colin passed away at the end of June 2014. Colin was a keen Old Secundrian and regular attendee at the annual dinner. He was the regular captain of the Old Secundrians 2nd X1 and a formidable centre half . He also did well on the bowling green in his later years. Colin's cremation was held at Portchester on 14th July. Our sincere condolences go to Colin's wife Mavis and his family and friends.

George Burren (joined 1938). We are very sorry to report that George passed away on 22nd October 2012. Sadly we have no further details (please let Peter Higgins know if you are able to help [see Contacts page]) but our condolences go to his family and friends . ( November 2012 )

Pat Shasby (joined 1936). We are sorry to report that Pat passed away in the United States where he had lived for some years. Pat was a former player and Chairman of the Old Secundrians FC. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

George Mason (joined 1937). We were notified in January 2013 of George's passing. Sadly, we have no further information (please let Peter Higgins know if you are able to help [see Contacts page]) but our condolences go to George's family and friends. ( 2013 )

Ken Nicholson (joined 1942).  It is with great regret that we record Ken's passing, in hospital, at the end of August 2013. Ken was a keen supporter of the Old Secundrians and a regular attendee at the annual dinner. We shall miss him greatly. Ken's funeral was held in Old Bedhampton on 18th September 2013 and our condolences go to his family and friends. ( September 2013 )

John Lee (joined 1948). We are very sorry to report that John passed away in hospital on 19th June 2013. John was a great supporter of the Old Secundrians Association and a regular attendee at the annual dinner and other groups associated with his time at the school. John's funeral was held at Portchester on 5th July where there was a strong Old Secundrians representation. Our sinncere condolences go to John's wife, Jean, his family and many friends. ( July 2013 )

Bill Shott (joined 1932). We were very sorry to hear from Bill's son, Martin, that Bill passed away from heart failure on 20th January 2013. Our sincere condolences go to his family and friends. ( February 2013 )

Jack O'Grady (joined 1932). We were extremely sorry to report that Jack passed away in March 2013.Sadly, we have no other details (please let Peter Higgins know if you are able to help [see Contacts page]). Jack was an extremely keen Old Secundrians supporter and contributor to this website and was father of the House at the last two dinners that he was able to attend.He will be very sadly missed and our condolences go to his relatives and friends . ( April 2013 )

Max Grierson (joined 1957). We were shocked and greatly saddened to learn that Max had passed away in May 2008. We have no other details  (please let Peter Higgins know if you are able to help [see Contacts page]) . Max was a genuinely nice chap and a fine sportsman (images of him are featured in, for example, the soccer pages of this website). who I knew and remember very well. Condolences go to Max's family and many friends (Peter Higgins November 2012 ).


The following obituary has been submitted by Don Sanders - a friend of David Saunders for over 70 years. Sadly, David passed away in November 2014 .

David Saunders (joined 1943).     As a schoolboy he was a talented middle distance runner, and a first eleven player at football and cricket. In the non-metric days he set a school record of 4 mins 32 secs for the mile and, on a memorable day playing away at Chichester High School, he took 6 wickets with his hostile fast bowling all "Caught D. Sanders, bowled D. Saunders".  In later years, David became President of Petersfield Golf Club.

He was Victor Ludorum in his last year at school from which point he went on to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Rumour has it that he was constantly "over the wall" visiting Jackie - his wife to be - and he and the Sandhurst C.O. reluctantly agreed to a parting of the ways. From there, David went up to the City to commence a highly successful career in banking mainly in Hong Kong and the Far East. In respect of his many achievements in a career with Rothchilds International Bank I am told (but not verified) that David opened the first bank in China when trading relations were first established with the Peking government.

The main thing I would say about David was that he was a true sportsman throughout his life , a man of complete integrity and one I was proud to call my friend.

(DS November 2014)

Brian Rann (joined 1945) Sadly, Brian passed away in November 2014. After leaving school Brian did National Service in the RAF (mostly in Malta) then worked for the Evening News in Portsmouth before joining Llloyds Bank where he rosethrough the ranks until he managed the North End Branch. His interests as a younger man lay in Motocross and long distance swimming - he swam the Solent no less than 28 times!He was a lifelong su[pporter of Portsmouth FC and towards the end was anxious about the outcome of Pompey v Aldershot in the FA Cup. Fortunately, he never found out that Pompey had failed again. Although his long term marriage had failed, in later years he met up with Eileen a former colleague from the Portsmouth Lifeguard Club and they married in about 2006. There were two nice touches at Brian's funeral; the priest who conducted the service was a former neighbour and friend from St Ronan's Road and the funeral director, Colin Barrell, had been Brian's Motocross partner.  (Submitted by Ken Hales November 2014)

The following tribute has been submitted by Steve Stevenson

Robert Burns Francis (Joined 1956)

Bob passed away on Saturday 19th April 2014, aged 69 years, after a short but painful illness. He had very little energy over the last few months of his life and gradually faded away. He is greatly missed by wife Jen, daughter Jacqueline and grandchildren Liam and Lucy, not forgetting sister Jean, nephew Andrew and niece Marie. Grateful thanks are offered to all the Staff at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester and Countess Mountbatten Hospice, Southampton for all their support and kindness during Bob's illness.

Bob spent most of his working career at Pirelli General but his main focus outside of work was in Freemasonry, were h is contribution overall cannot be underestimated, as his influence will live on through the standards he set and the knowledge he passed on. He was also an avid reader and a model railway enthusiast. He loved classical music and had a large collection of recordings. He enjoyed his allotment and was always ready to donate plants to others every Spring.

Bob was a very quiet and reserved man, but always enjoyed a pint of beer, and a chat with friends after his days’ work. He lived respected and died regretted. He will be sadly missed. (February 2015 )

David Saunders (joined 1943) It is with great regret that we record the passing of David Saunders on Tuesday 11th November 2014. David was a keen supporter of the Old Secundrians and a regular attendee at the annual dinner - he will be sadly missed. As David's friend of 71 years, Don Sanders, observed - he was not only a great sportsman in his pomp but a thoroughly decent and honourable man in all respects. David's funeral was held at St Peter's Church, Petersfield Square, Petersfield on 1st December 2014.  ( December 4th 2014 )
John Amey (joined 1945). We regret to inform readers that John passed away on Sunday 16th November. John's funeral was held on Wednesday 3rd December at Tunstall Church (St John the Baptist), Sittingbourne and the Garden of England Crematorium, Bobbing.  "No need to wear black". The request was for family flowers only but donations if desired to Crossroads Care, East Kent c/o R. Highland & Sons, 1 Bayford Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3AD. ( December 4th 2014)
Anthony (Tony) Akehurst (joined 1952) We have recently been advised by Richard Taylor that Tony passed away in the early part of 2014.  Sadly, we have no other information but if anyone is able to provide further details please contact Peter Higgins ( Contacts )   

Fred Baynham (joined 1945) We are very sorry indeed to report that Fred passed away (at the end of April 2015) after a long illness.  Fred's funeral was held on Monday 11th May at Poole Crematorium. No flowers but donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Society in Fred's memory.Our sincere condolences go to Fred's wife Ann and family. ( May 2015 ).

At a personal level I knew Fred both through his regular attendance at the annual dinner - until illness precluded him from coming a few years ago - and through our work in H M Customs & Excise where he was a very well liked and respected manager. He was also one of my predecessors as the SGS 1st X1 goalkeeper. He was a genuinely nice person to know and a gentleman. We shall miss him greatly [Peter Higgins - May 2nd 2015] )

Rob Carter (joined 1956)  We have recently been informed - and are very sorry to report - that Rob passed away suddenly in 2002. He was married to Mary and had four children to whom we send our very belated sympathy. ( May 2015 )
Colin Arnold (joined 1959)   We are very sorry to report that Colin passed away on 29th June 2015. His funeral was held at Semington Crematorium near Trowbridge on 10th July where Brian Hewson represented the Association. The family requested no flowers but donations can be made to The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Charity through Our sincere condolences go to Colin's family and friends. (July 10th 2015)

Irwin Harcourt Rowland (joined  1936)

Irwin passed away on 3rd July 2015 and the following obituary is based upon the eulogy, produced by Rowland's son, Mark, at Irwin's funeral. It has been adapted, slightly, by Martyn Robinson at Mark's request.  

Life for the Rowland family was hard. A trolley-bus driver’s wages were low and there were four children to feed. They were very poor.

Irwin was a clever child. He won a scholarship to the Southern Grammar School for Boys in Portsmouth. At the age of 11, he already had a quick tongue, which often got him into trouble. One of his teachers would ask a question to the class followed immediately by, "Not you Rowland!"

He was a keen boy scout and was one of the youngest to gain the King's Scout award. He loved cycling around Hampshire and camping.

And then, when he was just 14, the war started and his life, and those of millions of others, changed for ever.

As Portsmouth was a major naval base and port, it became the target of intensive German bombing. The pupils of the Southern Grammar School were evacuated to Brockenhurst. Irwin did not go with the others. Instead, he became a messenger for the ARP or Air Raid Precautions to give it its full name. He rode his bicycle around Portsmouth delivering messages and dodging bombs - as he described it.

Later he applied to join the Navy but was turned down on medical grounds.

He didn't get on well with his mother, and at the age of 16 he left Portsmouth to be closer to his sister, Barbara, who was working as a nurse near London. He himself became an orderly in Goodmayes psychiatric hospital at Chadwell Heath. Through Barbara he met Ted Groves, who was a bookmaker, and eventually became a bookmaker himself.

After the war, he met Lorna, a teacher from Danbury, who was to become his wife. Their wedding was on 4th July, 1950. Deborah and I are their children.

They lived at Gaynes Hill Road at Woodford Bridge. Gardening became a passion and looking at the photographs and cine film, the results were truly spectacular.

Irwin continued working as a partner in a bookmaking business. His brother, Denis, was one of the other partners. Over the years there were a number of cases relating to betting office licences. Irwin never lost a case and was known as "Perry Mason" by one of the officials. From this you can get an idea of my father's determination - he simply never gave up.

My Mum, Lorna, always wanted to move to the country, and in the early 70's they had a house built in Mill Lane in her home village of Danbury. They named it Hilarion after Saint Hilarion Castle near Kyrenia in Cyprus. They had a long association with Cyprus. They first went there in the late 60's and fell in love with the island - so much so that they had a villa built there. My sister, Deborah, went to live there and I am very happy to welcome my brother-in-law, Spyros, and my niece, Faye, who have travelled from Cyprus to be with us at his funeral.

At the age of 57, Dad had a serious heart attack. He was told by the doctors that if he didn't stop working, it would kill him. His brother, Denis, was also in poor health and reluctantly they sold the business and retired.

Irwin and Lorna devoted a huge amount of time and energy in turning the waste land around Hilarion into a lovely garden. Sadly, Lorna only lived 12 years to enjoy it, when she died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1988 and poor Dad was left on his own.

He continued to live at Hilarion. Of course, he had regular visits from Deborah and me with his grandchildren, Faye, Martin and Geoff and Geoff's wife, Katie, and recently his great-grandson, Dexter. As he grew older he became more reliant on friends and helpers.

What can I say about the type of man Irwin was? When I tell people that he had died, they described him as a lovely man and a gentleman. He was a devoted husband and father. He was generous both to his family and to charity. He helped his mother and father buy a house. He was extremely generous with his time. He would often go to great lengths to help people. For many years he was a good friend to an elderly neighbour. He had coffee with him every day and took him shopping. He often emphasized the importance of having a good sense of humour.

Before Irwin's health failed he was extremely hard-working. I can honestly say that I have never known anyone who worked as hard.

As I have said, he left school at the age of 14. So how did he appear to be so well-educated? Well, he was highly intelligent, quick-witted and had an excellent memory. He had an excellent command of English. But above all, he was a voracious reader. He read many types of books. He loved reading thrillers and who-dunnits - especially Edgar Wallace, Agatha Christie and Rex Stout. He also enjoyed John Mortimer's books on Rumpole of the Bailey. He absorbed all this information and retained it with his remarkable memory. He could, and often did, quote his favourites, Shakespeare and Kipling.

Dad was a life-long football fan. He was brought up not far away from Portsmouth's stadium at Fratton Park. He enjoyed watching football of all standards and from all countries. Towards the end of his life, he really only watched football and the news on TV.

  Dad was not a great fan of the NHS or the medical profession although he did grudgingly agree that without them he would have died a long time ago. However, there was one doctor that he got on very well with. His name is David Cunnah and for many years Dad saw him at Broomfield Hospital. When Dad died, I wrote to tell him and to thank him for all he had done.

This is what Dr Cunnah wrote when he replied to my letter.

"I remember Irwin extremely well. I first met him as an inpatient. Given his nature he was always concerned that I had re-arranged his treatment by the cardiologists but he always declined the opportunity to return to their fold!!! There began a long association which I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed. Many memories. His fondness of being extremely well presented, his ability to put the NHS (Broomfield) in its place, his language abilities and his undiminished sense of humour despite ever increasing frailty".

Mark Rowland (January 2016)


Stewart McIntyre (joined 1939)

Sadly, Stewart passed away in April 2016. This obituary was produced by Ian Owen:

Stewart and I were in the 1939 intake to PBSS at Brockenhurst. Fresh to new surroundings and new friends, but away from our families and relatives and also unwanted by the locals !

What I recall of Stew (as he was known) was a little later on when we locked horns playing football for our school house. He was a good footballer playing for the school and was also an excellent student, liked by all for his pleasant quiet manner of doing things well.

He was a classic scholar, rather than modern, being an avid reader. Stew was a good, solid, reliable chap you were glad to have on your side, not only in the football team !

In later life, Stew was a good communicator. He was the driving force for the Portsmouth local section of Old Boys keeping everyone in touch and informed for regular lunchtime get-togethers at The Manor House pub, East Cosham.

He will be sadly missed, but not forgotten by those of us who knew him well.

Ian Owen 1939-1944

May 2016



The following tribute has been submitted by Robin Jones (1964 intake) at the request of Christopher's mother.

Christopher Dennis Neal (joined about 1962) Sadly, Chris died from cancer on Good Friday, 30th March 2018 at the age of 67. I’m not sure which year he started at The Southern Grammar for Boys but I suspect, from his age, that it was probably 1962.

During his life, he was a member of the the following: SAS Reserves and The Flying Tigers of Goodwood (Sky Divers), he was also an avid “biker”, riding a Harley Davidson.

He married Lisa Maltby in 1975 by whom he had 2 daughters - Samantha(1979) and Victoria( 1980). He moved to Wales in 1991 and in 1992 married his second wife,  Sue.

His last employment was as a Planning Manager for the Electrification of Welsh Railways. Latterly, he and Sue bred Irish Wolfhounds, winning “Best in Breed” at Crufts in 2015.

As a result of Christopher's long service with the SAS Reserves, his name will be read out in Westminster Abbey on 8th November 2018.

Our condolences go to his mother, wife Sue, Samantha and Victoria. (July 12th 2018 )


 This obituary was produced by Roger Watts with the agreement of Peter's family.


Peter Leslie O'Leary (joined 1940)  
Peter was born in Portsmouth on 12 June 1929 and died at Sleaford, Lincs. on 24 February 2016.
After a spell of evacuation to the Isle of Wight at the outset of World War II, he entered the Portsmouth Southern Secondary School in 1940 and was re-evacuated to Brockenhurst.
The school returned to new premises at Highland Road late in 1944.  Peter had by then enjoyed academic success and went on to become the First Consul in 1947 under the radical changes introduced by the new headmaster, H J Mills.
Throughout his time at the school Peter played a leading and popular role in its varied activities.  He was an enthusiastic participant in the Athenaeum Debating Society and took part in drama at both house and school levels.  He was a member of the cast in "The Tempest" (1946) and "Henry V" (1947).  In addition to his busy prefectorial duties Peter found time to be the first joint editor, with D A Richards, of the newly introduced school magazine "The Secundrian" and he also took a great interest in the school’s musical activities.
Peter moved smoothly from school to reading history at University College, London, and graduated in 1951.  Success in a Civil Service examination saw him enter the demanding training programme to become an Inspector of Taxes in 1952.  Three years of study led to qualification and to a period of management experience before appointment to Grimsby 1st District.
There he met Margaret Debney who became his wife.  Career moves took him upwards in the Revenue with postings to Alfreton, Northwich, Manchester, Chester, Wrexham and London.
His career finally took him into the Revenue Headquarters at Somerset House where he attained the rank of Under Secretary and at times worked with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Following retirement Peter was with the Construction Confederation and did voluntary service with Probus and the U3A.  With his family he led a full cultural life enjoying overseas travel, music, drama, horology, gardening and wine-making.
Peter’s passing is mourned by his widow and four daughters and by those who new him at some stage in a richly rewarding life.
Roger Watts
(June 2016).

Dennis Prince (joined 1942)       The following tribute has been produced by Dennis's son, Brandon.

My father, Dennis Frank Prince, who left the school in the Lower 6th at Easter  1949, passed away on 22 November 2016.
He met my mother at the Southern Grammar School for Girls when the boys'school was bombed in the War, and he had to attend her school for Botany & Zoology classes. He spent his National Service in the RAF Medical branch, and then spent his working  life in the NHS. When he took early retirement, on health grounds, he wa s allegedly the longest-serving member of staff in Portsmouth & SE Hants. He started at the old Priorsdean Hospital, which became St Mary's East Wing, as part of the laboratory service. This old Victorian building, which could seem quite creepy at night, is now a housing estate! He moved to QA, and became Senior Chief Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer, responsible for introducing computerisation.
My father served under Dr Michael Darmady, who was a pioneer of Nephrology, building one of the first kidney dialysis machines. My father was also involved in papers investigating cross-infection in hospitals - still a hot topic today! The lab at QA was until recently called the Michael Darmady Lab, but sadly this name was removed, for reasons unknown. My dad spent a short period at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in London, and was briefly seconded to Gillette in Reading, who supplied sterile instruments.

I remember his stories of the colourful characters who taught him, also his schoolmates. Service was a part of his life, He was a keen Sea Scout. He was also a keen modeller all his life, and spent almost 40 years as a member of South Hants Model Railway Club, based at Fort Widley. He travelled to exhibitions throughout the country. He was also keen on wildlife, and a lifelong Liberal. When he joined the party, in the late 50s, there were only 6 Liberal Party members in Portsmouth. He worked for the party in 4 constituencies. He took his social responsibilities seriously. He survived three separate periods in QA, 1st with a heart attack, secondly with a supposedly straightforward gall bladder operation that went wrong. Then he had a fall downstairs which broke his neck. Each time he fought back from his stay in ITU - he was made of strong stuff. On his final visit, it was a chest infection that eventually defeated him - he was too weak to fight.

Everyone that knew him was touched by his life, although of course he out-lived many schoolmates & colleagues. Add to this the many patients whose lives were affected by the work he did tirelessly behind the scenes.

( Ed : Dennis was an evacuee to Brockenhurst during the Second World War and his  passing is mourned by his wife, June, son Brandon, daughter Charlotte, grandchildren Miles and Isobel, other family members and friends).

Brandon Prince
(July 2017)


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Ron Sonnet (joined 1945 and former member of staff). 

Ronald Norman Sonnet died on June 21st 2016  aged 82.

I first met him when I joined the staff of the Southern Grammar for Boys in 1957. He was the same age as myself and we had completed National Service and a Russian course and attended  Oxford University at the same time.
I knew that he had been an old boy of the Southern Grammar and the similarity of serving in the armed forces and taking part in University activities made us united in our attitude to education, politics and everything else.

We both became members of the club which fostered relationships between the Southern and Northern Grammars and brought us into contact with Stan Davies, Joe Rogers, Paul Mizen and others. Both my wife and I became close friends with Ron and Joan and I taught Esther, their daughter, Classical Civilisation.

He was an active member of the Labour Party and also the National Union of Teachers each of which we both belonged.

We managed to get on with Mr Drennan (not an easy task).  And I well remember going on many of Ron's walking treks across the country with pupils. His company was always invigorating (sometimes rather too much so for the less physically inclined!).

We took our wives to Italy, Istanbul and France. He always had an opinion and was always right though he probably changed his mind later!

His knowledge and love of Portsmouth will be well remembered by countless old boys.

Sadly, his wife Joan and a son, Richard, predeceased him but he is survived by his daughter Esther and younger son Matthew.

His friends will miss him.

John Carrick (July 2016)



The following tribute, which has been marginally edited,  has been written by John Carrick
The following obituary has been drawn to our attention by David Ingles and appeared in the Journal of the Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Keith Guy  (joined 1955)


The following tribute has been submitted by Ken Hales

J D T Harrigan (Year of Entry:1953)  [24 Sep 1941 - 12 Feb 2017]

Jon Harrigan was a very bright "A stream" student  throughout his time at the Southern Grammar and regularly collected
prizes on Speech Days. His interests were wide but he excelled in the sciences.

After VIth Form he read Chemistry at Birmingham University and after graduating began a career in the adhesives industry where he proved to be a proficient trouble shooter. After a few years he decided on a change of direction and joined the retail world running businesses, first in  Portsmouth and Hayling Island and subsequently in Gibraltar, Muscat, Abu Dhabi
 and Bahrain.  
Unfortunately, his latter years were dogged with ill health as he had been a very heavy smoker.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, 4 children and 10 grandchildren. ( March 2017 )


We said goodbye in November to Keith Guy. Keith attended Southern Grammar School for Boys in Portsmouth and did his undergraduate degree at Imperial College London. He went on to have a colourful association with the Imperial chemical engineering department for the rest of his life. The high spot of his postgraduate career was to blow up his apparatus and spray mercury over the laboratory. This resulted in him and his co-researchers having to have their stomachs pumped!
His time at Imperial wasn't all about chemical engineering; he also helped manage the fledgling early musical career of Brian may before he moved onto the dizzy heights of Queen. After completing his doctorate, Keith joined Air Products where he spent 28 years and rose to be part of the senior management team as general manager sales director. Keith then decided to branch out independently. Over the years he was chairman of the Institute of Catalysis, chairman of Process System Enterprises, chairman of Process Asset Integration and management, chairman of HyRadix and managing partner of Esprit Associates (Europe). He was a world expert on the production and management of hydrogen for the process industry. As well as his day jobs Keith always gave generously of his time to the engineering profession.
He was, for many years, an advisor to the Imperial College chemical engineering design project, which is a significant challenge and carries a high proportion of the credits for the whole undergraduate course. Many Imperial chemical engineers owe their degree or at least the grade to Keith's support. He was a visiting professor at Imperial and for many years chaired the departmental industrial advisory board. Keith was also a major contributor to the work of IChemE. He was on many working groups, a member of the undergraduate course accreditation team and served two periods on Council. He
also served for five years as technical vice-president and acted as a judge for the IChemE annual awards. He was awarded the Council Medal for his exceptional contribution to the Institution. Keith was, until his death, chairman of the Chemical Engineers Benevolent Fund.
Keith was a member of the board of the government-inspired initiative YES (The Year of Engineering Success) and its successor organisation CPE (The Campaign to Promote Engineering) which was ultimately absorbed into the Engineering Technology Board. Keith was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and served on many of its committees and working groups. In his leisure time Keith enjoyed rebuilding and improving his French home
where he spent about half the year. He was also a keen sailor, having his boat and house in Cowes where he and his wife Liz were very much part of the local scene, serving as President of the Royal London Yacht Club.
Keith's enthusiasm, ability and energy for everything he was involved in was always in a class of its own, but he always did everything with a smile and an encouraging word
. He was truly one of the great personalities of, and contributors to, chemical engineering. I was proud to have known him as a friend and colleague and will miss his inspiring presence. Keith is survived by his second wife, Liz, and his daughters Emma, Rosa and Victoria .
(written by Keith Batchelor, FIChemE, owner of Nuffield consultancy. The obituary appeared in the Chemical Engineer Journal. December 2016)

Edward Fillingham (joined 1943 and passed away December 2016)

The following obituary has been produced by John Galley

The Fillingham family moved from London to live in Portsmouth in the late 1930s where Edward attended a local school. In 1943, when he was eleven years old, he passed the examination to the Southern Secondary School for Boys, which had by then evacuated to Brockenhusrt in the New Forest. He lived at the Mirimar, a large dwelling and one of the the school's hostels, in Milford-on-Sea and run by Mr Hitchins, our French teacher, together with his wife. This resulted in a meeting which developed into a friendship which was to last all of our lives.

I first met Edward when I joined the school in 1944 after retruning from the USA and taking the short 13+ examination. I think it was in form 2A in the Old School that we first met. We returned to Portsmouth in January 1945. It was obvious to us all that he had a natural leaning towards languages and it always stood out. Just after WW2 he invited me to spend a week with him in Brusesels, Belgium, where we were guests of his aunt and uncle and had the opportunity of visiting much of the country and testing Edward's languages.

It was no surprise that he was recommended to use these talents when he joined the Army Intelligence Corps and spent his National Service in Hong Kong where he made many friends - a trend that was to continue.  On returning to England he decided to join the international banking world where he qualified and quickly progressed into overseas management, a perfect combination to use his newly acquired banking skills together with his practical language abilities.

During the next forty years or so his job required him to live in many countries of the world as he advised governments of new countries who were experiencing financial difficulties or established countries who were making political changes. Some were straightforward but others were less so and at times necessitated his quick repatriation. He advised diplomats, politicians and civil servants in countries on mainland and island territories throughout the Far East, Asia, and Africa and he was frequently on "the last plane out". Throughout his career he mixed with diplomats and met many heads of governmemnt and world leaders.

Edward married his second wife Lane, a Vietnamese lady, and they lived both in Vietnam and Cambodia. When he retired, some twenty five years ago, they set up home in Old Portsmouth.

Edward's funeral took place at Portchester Crematorium and a wake was arranged by his wife, a younger brother and a son, who lives in France, at the  Royal Albert Yacht Club in Pembroke Road, Portsmouth. His activity and popularity in the local acommunity resulted in both events being very, very well attended with standing room only. Representatives came from many clubs and organisations from the RNC & RAYC where he supported a wide range of activities including bridge (which he played to a very high standard), WAGS, where food and wine is taken very seriously, and as a quizmaster attracting large numbers of competitive players. More widely, he was part of a team who represented the city in its twinning with Canne in France. He belonged to an Equinox Club and held a number of degrees in Masonry both in this country and abroad.

He could be seen daily right up until the day before he died, riding a brightly coloured ladies' cycle around Old Portsmouth!!

John Galley ( January 2017 )

Additional note: Edward was a keen Old Secundrian and regularly attended the annual dinner - his last appearance having been in 2015. He was also an attendee at the quarterly meeting of the Brockenhurst evacuees. He will be sadly missed by his many Old Secundrians friends and acquaintances and our heartfelt condeloneces go to Edward's wife, Lane, and his family and friends (Peter Higgins [ January 2017 ])

Keith Guy

Graham Lock (joined 1957) It is with great regret that we report that Graham passed away in 2014 from heart failure (sadly, we have only just received the news). Graham was an extremely bright student at the Southern Grammar and had been a Professor for many years at a University in the Netherlands before returning to the UK in about 2009 and becoming a tutor at Oxford University . (March 2017)

Jon Harrigan (joined 1954) We are very sorry to report that Jon passed away peacefully on 12th February 2017 aged 75. Ken Hales, a former SGS pupil and a friend of Jon's, recalls that he was a very bright student and read chemistry at Birmingham University. An obituary written by Ken can be seen further diown this page . Jon's younger brothers Peter and Robert also attended the SGS. Jon's funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium on Tuesday 7th March. Our condolences go to Jon's family and friends. ( February 2017 )

Edward Barber (joined 1960) We are sorry to report that Edward passed away at the end of January 2017. Edward was a well known photographer and in particular for his work on the anti-nuclear protest movement in the 1980s. An obituary, printed in the Guardian newspaper can be seen at ( February 2017 )

David Stapleton (joined 1939) We are sorry to learn that David passed away in January 2017. Unfortunately, no other details are known at present. David's funeral was held at Alverstoke Church on 9th February 2017 and he was laid to rest in Milton cemetery, Portsmouth. ( February 2017)

Keith Guy (joined 1955) We are very sorry to report that we have recently been advised that Keith passed away in November 2016. An obituary to Keith can be seen lower down on this page. Our sincere condolences go to Keith's wife Liz and his daughters Emma, Rosa and Victoria.  (January 2017)

Edward Fillingham (joined 1943) We are very sorry indeed to report that Edward passed away in December 2016. Edward was a very keen Old Secundrian, an evacuee to Brockenhurst during the War and a regular attendee at the annual dinner. He will be greatly missed. Edward's funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium where there was a very large attendance. An obituary for Edward appears in the Obituary sectionfurther down this page.

Wilf Seymour (joined 1941) It is with great regret that we report that Wilf passed away suddenly at home on 18th July 2016 aged 86 years. Wilf was a regular attendee at the Brockenhurst evacuees" quarterly pub lunches and was a great jazz enthusiast, also playing in a local group which toured many venues. Wilf's funeral was restricted to family only. Our sincere condolences go to Wilf's widow, Joyce, and his family and friends. ( August 2016 )

Ron Sonnet (joined 1945 and former member of staff). We are very sorry to report that Ron passed away on 21st June 2016 at the age of 82. Many will recall Ron not only as a pupil but as a history master at the school for many years. Ron's funeral was held at Southdown Natural Burial Ground. Our sincere condolences go to his daughter Esther and son Matthew.

A tribute to Ron, written by John Carrick, is shown further down this page .( July 2016 ).

Laurie Moore (joined 1940). We are very sorry to report that Laurie passed away on 15th May. Laurie had not been well for a long time but with the help of his wife, Frances, was able to attend the quarterly pub lunches of the Brockenhurst evacuees. Laurie's funeral was held at Portchester crematorium. Our sincere condolences go to Laurie's wife, Frances, family and friends. (May 2016)

Peter O'Leary (joined 1940). It is with great regret that we report that Peter passed away on 24th February 2016. Peter was one of the evacuees to Brockenhurst during World War ll and was the first school Consul appointed by H.J.Mills. Our sincere condolences go to Peter's wife, Margaret, and his four daughters. An obituary, written by Roger Watts and approved by Peter's family, can be seen further down this page  ( June 2016)

Stewart McIntyre (joined 1939). We are very sorry to report that Stewart McIntyre has passed away. Stewart was a keen member of the Association - and particularly so in respect of the Brockenhurst evacuees, of which he was one. He was a regular attendee at the annual dinner until ill health prevented that in recent years.Our condolences go to Stewart's brother, David, family and friends. Stewart's funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium .( April 26th 2016 ) NB An Obituary for Stewart has been produced by Ian Owen - see further down this page.

Geoff Owen (staff - joined early 1970s),
We are very sorry to report that Geoff passed away on 22nd March 2016. Geoff joined the school in the sports department in the early 1970s. He was a keen sportsman - playing soccer for Ryde Sports, cricket and hockey for Havant (where he was President and a former captain of the cricket team). Our sincere condolences go to his wife Pam, son David and daughter Deboragh. (March 2016


Alan (Al) Cornick (joined 1959). We are very sorry to report that Al passed away on 4th March 2016. He had been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis in February and, despite a very brave fight, he finally succumbed. Al was an attendee at the Old Secundrians dinner for a number of years and was a keen golfer (a former club captain at both Petersfield and Lee-on-the- Solent golf clubs); he will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. Our condolences go to his wife, Pauline, and family. Al's funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium. (April 2nd 2016)

Irwin Rowland (joined 1936) We are very sorry to report that Irwin passed away in July 2015. An obituary, based upon the eulogy at his funeral and produced by Irwin's son, Mark, is posted further down this page . Our sincere condolences go to Irwin's family and friends. ( January 2016 )

Bill Handyside (joined 1939) We are very sorry to report that Bill passed away in October 2015. Unfortunately, we don't have any other details at the moment. Our sincere condolences go to Bill's family and friends. ( December 2015 )


Dennis Beckett (joined 1938 ) - passed away December 2015

Keith Thomas (joined 1934) - passed away January 2016

Ken Matthews (joined 1939) - passed away March 2016

Steve Williams (joined 1966) - passed away April 2015

Brian Greenaway (joined 1945) - passed away December 2013

Colin Campbell (joined 1940) - passed away May 2013

Paul Mizen (former staff 1966-73) - passed away July 2015

Mick Hoolahan (joined 1936) - no date known when he passed away

Edward Young (dates of joining and death unknown).

Our sincere condolences go to family and friends of all those who have passed away.Obituaries - and more information if known - may be sent to Peter Higgins or Clive Williams (see Contacts )




Leonard Alfred Russell (joined 1934)

This obituary appeared in the Portsmouth News and was slightly adapted by Martyn Robinson.

Len was born into a humble working -class family and received his secondary education at the Portsmouth Southern Secondary School for Boys, joining in 1934. After school he was intelligent and diligent enough to pass the Civil Service Examination and entered the Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth as a clerk. The enemy air raids of 1940 on Portsmouth so incensed him that he wanted to join the RAF and bomb Germany, but he was prevented because he was in a reserved occupation. The terrible losses of air crew in those early years of the war caused the restrictions to be lifted and Len joined the RAF, was posted to South Africa, where he learnt to fly and then, instead of returning to Europe, he was posted to the Far East. He flew a Liberator B24 bomber in raids over Burma and later the Dakota C 47 transports, preparing to assist in the liberation of Pacific Islands from Japanese occupation. When Japan surrendered in 1945 Flight Lieutenant Russell was appointed Army liaison officer in Thailand and was present at the ceremony when Japanese officers gave up their swords. He treasured a memento of that historic occasion, a RAF flag which had been flown on the parade ground at the time. The friendships he made during his war service endured to the end of his life and he kept in touch with his air crew colleagues and their families to the last. He was a proud member of the Burma Star Association and attended their reunions regularly. On more than one occasion in his later years Len read the famous Kohima Epitaph at the Remembrance Day Service held annually in Portsmouth Guildhall Square.

After the war Len married and returned to his pre-war occupation in the Dockyard, However, when he learnt that he was to be transferred to Malaya, he resigned his position and trained to become a teacher at King Alfred's College, Winchester. (When that institution became a university in 2005 Len was proud to be awarded a degree certificate retrospectively.)

Len taught in various secondary schools in Portsmouth, rising to become acting Head. He also ran the Air Training Corps in a school in the early years. He joined an amateur dramatic company, The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, and over the course of fifty years he played many leading roles and acted in every one of the plays in the Shakespeare cannon at least once. He became a trustee of the company and was awarded honorary life membership.  


He and his beloved wife Jean founded and ran the Portsmouth Youth Theatre. They participated in the twinning initiative that linked Portsmouth with the Germany city of Duisburg and took Youth Theatre productions over to Germany as reconciliation after World War ll. He also founded, with some other SSA friends, the Arena Players in the 1960s, which produced plays "in the round" rather than on a proscenium stage. When the Portsmouth Arts Festival was started in 1971, Len was on the committee that organized the Literary and Drama section. He directed a series of plays for that festival between 1971 and the last festival, held in 1975.

Len had a fine, expressive speaking voice and read aloud beautifully. He became a member of the Birthplace Branch of the Dickens Fellowship and served for some years on the committee and as vice -chairman and chairman. He was still attending meetings regularly in his final year and gave many entertaining talks and readings. The last was in May 2017 on "What was going on in Portsmouth in 1870" (the year of Dickens' death).

It is a testament to Len's sterling, reliable and generous character that, when the societies with which he was deeply involved, the SSA and the Birthplace Branch of the Dickens Fellowship, ran into difficult times, it was he who came forward to "steady the ship" (perhaps one should modify the phrase and say "aircraft" in Len's case) and pilot them through the crisis.

Len lost his beloved wife of 68 years, Jean, in 2014 and bravely survived his cancer until 19th of February 2018, dying just six days short of his 95th birthday. He is survived by one son, John, and a granddaughter, Maeve and great grandson, Sorley to whom we extend our sincere condolences. (April 9th 2018 )

Ed: What a character - and a colourful and full life!! A copy of Len's stirring speech to the Old Secundrians can be seen on this website in, appropriately enough, the 2016 Old Secundrians dinner page.


This page last modified on Thursday, July 12, 2018


John (Syd) Cooper (joined 1949) 

Friends and former colleagues of John will be saddened to learn that he died in July 2009 at the age of 71. John joined the Southern Grammar School in 1949 and became an integral part of the school's rugby 1st XV; his academic success saw him gain a place at Birmingham University where he gained a BSc. After working at Dunlop for many years John joined his wife, Diane, in running the family's successful florist business in the Brighton area. John was hugely loved by Diane, their two sons and daughters together with the rest of the family. A very sociable and kind man who loved life to the full and with a particular love for golf, John had many, many friends. He was diagnosed with cancer and after a short illness passed away leaving behind not only his immediate family but so very many people who truly valued his love and friendship.

Peter Higgins (cousin)

Additional tribute from Tony Laurie :

John/Syd and I were friends both in and out of school for about 5/6 years until life took us in different directions with the inevitable result that we lost contact. I was however recently privileged to read the tributes and memories from family and friends at his funeral. The John/Syd I remember was the one described in the funeral order of service (notably - kind, gentle, smiling, great company, a true gentleman and greatly loved by so many). Anyone who knew the grammar school boy knew exactly what the man was like. I can think of several personal memories of him which were reflected in the memories made by his friends 50 odd years later.

I only regret we lost contact but may his family take comfort from the fact he was a popular schoolboy who developed into a very popular man.

Tony Laurie (1951 intake) [ July 2018 ]