This Section provides information about the careers and experiences of former pupils and staff of the school.
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A 78 year-old friend and fellow member of my Probus Club, called Peter Griffin, served his National Service in the RAF and while there volunteered/was sent on a course to learn Russian. Who should he meet on the course but Jim Riordan! They became friends and served together listening to Russian intelligence traffic, translating it for the powers that be. After National Service when he joined the big wide world Peter worked at what is now the MOD where he met and formed a friendship with a chap called Ken Jenner.
That friendship remains to this day and Ken paid a visit to Peter in York late last year. Somehow the subject of the PSGS came up as Peter knew that I went to a grammar school in Portsmouth. He asked Ken if he knew me - he didn't any more than I knew him! Peter hadn't realised that there were two State plus one private grammar schools in Portsmouth. Peter went on to say that I knew Jim Riordan, whereupon Ken said that he also knew Jim and they were in the same class at school and, in fact, Jim had attended Ken's wedding in the 1960s.
This merely illustrates that our influence stretches far and wide in that a pensioner from Wakefield (that's on the outskirts of Leeds for the southerners amongst us!!) and currently living in York should independently know 3 Old Secundrians, any two of whom knew one another! What are the odds on that as Leeds is 350 miles from Portsmouth? How many more coincidences like that will involve Old Secundrians, I wonder? For the record, Ken currently lives in Salisbury.
Tony Laurie January 2013
Tony Laurie article re coincidence of meeting Old Sec's in unlikely places. And dear old Jim Riordan's name crops up again (bless him) Ed: We are everywhere - you can't escape us!
Patrick Anderson 1960-1967
At the Southern Grammar I was in 1S, 2F-5F, RemSciB, lower 6thB. I remember often sitting next to Richard Amey (adjacent surnames) and in a lively sixth form with David Pavey, Chris Savage, Colin Bishop, Jim Dallimer, etc. The latter seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth but I am in regular contact with Chris and know of the whereabouts of Colin and David.
RemSciB did not do well at Biology in 1967, for reasons that will be clear to members of the class, but I remember my classmates as pretty bright chaps.
I read Zoology at Southampton University - the only place that would have me! Mr Mills apologized to me for the reference he had written on my UCCA form! Since then I have had an academic career as an anatomist and neuroscientist, mainlyat University College London where I am Professor of Experimental Neuroscience in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology .
I married in 1973 and have one adult son. I have lived in Bromley, Kent since about 1987.
Douglas Arnold 1932-2006
Douglas was educated at the Southern Grammar from the middle 40's until 1951 when he entered Wadham College Oxford University to read history. Tall with a massive presence he was a useful cricketer (batsman) and rugby player (second row).
During National Service he learnt Russian (at the army's expense!!) and he became a keen photographer. He worked for the Financial Times as a feature writer and developed a reputation as an expert in Soviet affairs. In 1966 he joined Eastman Kodak in charge of public relations during which time he developed a very strong interest in the nascent space age - becoming a regular at Houston and Cape Canaveral. In 1974 he resigned from Kodak and set up his own business, Space Frontiers, as an advisory centre on matters spatial - and preferably photographic. His back garden in Havant became a cluster of huts full of amazing kit. He usually had just one carefully trained assistant and this afforded him the opportunity to start writing, once more, for the periodicals. In later life his new contempt for political correctness accompanied the familiar tendency of the elderly to lay down the law!!
Douglas sold Space Frontiers in 2000 and then pursued his interests beyond the claims of a career. His leisure interests ranged from Formula 1 motor racing and the Tour de France to following rugby and cricket. And in his last years he became fascinated by historical reconstructions, notably of the Romans. Indeed, there is in existence (although, alas, we do not have it) a photograph of Douglas in the full regalia of a senior Centurion in the Hampshire Legion, standing defiantly and proudly at the head of his troops in a very English hillock.
Douglas passed away on 27th June 2006. (With thanks to Terence Wheeler, this note has been adapted from an obituary by Pat Thompson [a tutor to Douglas} and which appeared in the Wadham College Gazette).
John Ayre (1950-55)
Having been educated at Milton Primary School I joined the Southern Grammar School in 1950, leaving after "O levels" in 1955.
I joined what is now BT [straight from SGS] and they put me through College. I qualified in Telecomms Engineering and worked in the UK, Europe, East Africa and USA.
I took early retirement from BT in 1991 [based in the City then] and worked as a Consultant in Telecomms / IT / Management from 1991-2006.
David Bailey (joined 1946)
I had an interesting start to my time at the SGS in that I actually failed the 11 plus exam! But, being on the reserve list, I was invited to replace somebody who had dropped out and I joined the school, in the botttom form 1D. By the time I got to the fifth year I was in 5A and top in maths which says a lot about the 11 plus exams in those days. At the end of the first year in the sixth form I decided that I had had enough and left. The Head, Mr Mills, wrote on my annual report, "David is about to make the biggest mistake of his life". I just wish he had been alive when, with just five O levels and after three years as a regular soldier, I joined a bank and eventually became a manager and an associate of the Institute of Bankers [ Ed : he would have been alive, David, so maybe he knew!]. I have been retired since 1992 but am still playing the bass trombone at 78 with the 50 plus Littlehampton Concert Band which, in recent times, has visited the Black Forest (twice), Paris and, last year, a weekend in Antwerp. I am also flattered that struggling local brass bands borrow me from time to time as a bass trombone is a rare beast and in short supply.
Sport was never my favourite subject but, amongst my memories, I do remember having to cycle to the Eastern Road playing fields to play football. Also, I seem to remember that the gym was at the western end of Devonshire Avenue. In my retirement I live in Angmering Village, Littlehampton.
David Bailey March 2013
Fred Baynham (Joined 1945)
I joined The Southern Grammar School when the school evacuation returned to Portsmouth. I joined class 1b and was promoted to 2a at the end of the year. I proceeded through the school until I got to the Upper Sixth. I was the vice captain at cricket (the captain was Geoff Sneddon; we met in later life but unfortunately he has now died), 1st X1 goalkeeper and the captain of blue house.
On leaving school I did my National Service and then joined HM Customs and Excise where I was honoured by the Queen and retired as an Assistant Collector.
Unfortunately due to old age I have had to retire from the sports fields and now sit and watch it all on the television. Because I now have Alzheimers I can't make it to reunions anymore.
John Bishop (joined 1960)
Geoffrey Bolt (1955 to July 1960)
After leaving school, I entered an apprenticeship as an apprentice compositor with W H Jervis and Son in Albert Road, Southsea, and attended both Portsmouth College of Art & Design and Southampton Art College completing my apprenticeship in September 1965 as Apprentice of the Year. I married my first with, Lynda Smith, just two weeks after the completion of my apprenticeship, and had three children, Michele in 1966, Karl in 1968 and Joanne in 1969. The marriage was ended in January 1981. After working at Holbrook & Son and Grosvenor Press both in Portsmouth, for a number of years, I moved into a position of Sales Liaison Controller and then Sales with Grosvenor Press.
In February 1977 I took up a 2-1/2 year contract with the Hong Kong Government Printing Department as Chief Printing Officer. I then moved to the Hong Kong Government Information Services department as Senior Information Officer for another 2-1/2 year contract. While in Hong Kong I learned to scuba dive, and it was on a diving holiday in the Philippines in 1981 that I met my current wife, and we were married in Hong Kong in November 1981. She already had three children, Jerry, 1971, Marienne, 1974 and Bryan, 1976. On completion of my Hong Kong contract in April 1982, we all moved to the Philippines where I was Vice President and then President of Demeter Communications, a small publishing company. When Ferdinand Marcos was forced from power, the country became very unstable and we all left to return to England and it was then that I adopted the three children.
I worked at Design & Print in Shoreham, Newman Thompson in Brighton, Ben Johnson's in Dunstable and Passmore's in High Wycombe. I was a member of the British Institute of Management and an active Member of the Institute of Printing which I had joined in 1969. I was editor of the Institut of Printing's journal, Professional Printer, for 3-1/2 years. One of my colleagues at the Institute of Printing was doing some consultancy work for a company in Bangkok, Thailand, and, to cut a long story short, I went there in 1990 as Plant Manager for a brand new company that was just a patch of mud when I arrived and we had built up to 420 employees by the time I left in 1995.
I was offered a position in printing sales by a Hong Kong company, but the position was based in Los Angeles, California, so we moved there in March 1995. I have moved to one or two different companies in the Los Angeles area, and started my own print brokerage there in 2006, which I will be closing at the end of June 2014.
After 53 years in the printing industry and 45 years as a member of the Institute of Papermaking, Printing & Publishing, of which I am now a Fellow, I thought it time to have a rest! I have also been President of the Long Beach-South Bay Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America for seven years and their newsletter editor for eight years. I was Southwest Region's Officer of the Year in 2007. I was an active member of the Cerritos Chamber of Commerce winning the Volounteer of the Year award in 2010 and Ambassador of the Year in 2013. Eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren later, Iin October 2014 we plan to move to Florida where the weather is just as warm as Southern California but the property is a lot less expensive.
Desmond Boswall (joined 1936)
(This note was written by Dorothy Boswall, Desmond's widow in April 2010)
Desmond was born in Portsmouth in August 1924 and passed the 11+ in 1936.
He enjoyed the sciences and chose to specialise in chemistry and eventually became an analytical chemist. At Brockenhurst he saw, on the Common Room Notice Board, a vacancy for a trainee chemist in the Portsmouth Analyst Laboratory. He applied, was successful, and a few weeks later started work there for £1 per week, with the chance to study at Portsmouth Municipal College (PMC).
I don't think he cared for football so did not excel in sport at school but became a very good hockey player while at college and still played for Barnet well into his thirties. It took some years of study but eventually Des gained his Inter and then his Associateship of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, and a few years later became a Fellow (he would never have mentioned this but I am proud of his achievements!).
In 1948 he moved to Kingston and worked for Surrey CC . He married Dorothy, one of the Loud girls, in 1950 a few months after he had moved to Southampton and to a lab in the Civic Centre. Three years later another move, this time into the private sector, took him to London, (for £900 a year!) In the mid 60s the government encouraged firms to move out of the City and his Head Office moved to a lovely village in Bedfordshire where his two daughters grew up. It was a small firm specialising in dried foods and was eventually taken over by RHM in 1979. He was obliged to move to Reading, from where he retired in 1985 and returned to Portsmouth.
Boz loved being near the sea again. He had always enjoyed sailing as well as golf and music. As a young lad at school he played in the orchestra for the G&S productions (he said it was either the orchestra or a girl in the chorus!) However, he must have enjoyed the school experience as he took part in 'Pirates' when at PMC! After 12 years back by the sea we moved to our present home in a lovely friendly village between Bedford and Milton Keynes and just a few miles from one of our daughters.
After almost another 12 good years of retirement, and 58 years of marriage, he died in August 2008 just before his 84th birthday.
[ Ed: there are more images of Desmond on the Evacuation page of the website]
David Brown (joined 1943)
Fortunately, ICT (a forerunner of ICL) had a large presence in Putney and wanted to make it larger. My application was successful and my remit was to define and implement the principles of validating software before it reached the end user - basically, ensuring that it did what it said on the label. That took the next five years and the pioneering work was recognised by the British Computer Society which elected me as a Fellow. Then I was head-hunted to be Director of Programming Studies, a very pleasant task whose major element was training graduate recruits in the art or science of computer programming. After that my posts grew less technically oriented and more managerial, including liaison with Universities and the Department of Trade and Industry.
My CV says, though, that in 1986 I proposed the introduction of new technology allowing all [the company's] libraries to interrogate each others databases and permitting the [local] library to access other databases anywhere in the world. Do I hear whispers of internet and Google? Funding was refused and the idea came to nothing.
For my last few years as a permanent employee I returned to my first love - programming - and in a team of four helped to create a management information system based on PCs. Then, to my delight, the company declared me redundant not realising how much it would cost because back in the dark ages my period of notice had been agreed at one year. I set up in business as a technical author and had a happy four years of contract work in a variety of enterprises but wasn't too sad when the opportunities ceased to appear and in 1993 I retired from employment gracefully.
We moved to north Norfolk to be close to my wife's remaining relatives and have lived here happily now for over eleven years. She goes to Yoga and does voluntary work for the RNLI, I play Bridge, we both help run the local group of the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship and enjoy dining out with friends. We visit Southsea occasionally because some of my family still live there and I wallow in nostalgia looking at my old homes in Highland Road and St Augustine Road and at the old school gate where as a Senator I recorded the names of latecomers every school morning.
If you should wonder what I looked like then, refer to the football first XI photograph for 1949/50. Depending on your age you may remember more clearly one of my two brothers - Peter (P.J.) on the 1945/46 photograph or Michael on that for 1959/60.
Derek Buckle (1957-1963)
I joined the school from Highland Road Junior and Infant School where all of the boys in our class passed the 11+ . Others from Highland Road School who were 1957 entrants included, Michael Stewart, Timothy Julnes, Robert Bradley and Terry Baker. Terry became a Maths teacher, but sadly died in 1988. I am still in regular contact with Michael Stewart.
In the first year my form master was Mr Westfold (Science). Other form masters I experienced were Mr Hitchins, Mr Blake, Mr Butterworth and Mr Rogers. I left the school after O Levels and decided to do A Level studies as a student at the new Highbury College - here I met Mr Chatterton, as my A Level Chemistry lecturer! He asked why I had decided to leave the school since part-time study for A Levels was hard work. He was right. Mr Dunthorne taught me A Level Zoology at the college - and I thought I had escaped from the Southern Grammar staff. I saw Mr Watson in the college canteen. He asked me whether I was sure that I wanted to teach. I said that I was and....I spent my whole working life as a teacher and enjoyed it thoroughly.
After Highbury I went to Leeds and Carnegie College and trained to be a teacher, qualifying in 1969. Chemistry was my main subject but I also studied Physics and Biology. However, although I was expecting to work in secondary schools I missed my interview for a post in a Leeds secondary school as I had Scarlet Fever so took a post in a primary school - intending this to be temporary.
I spent 39 years teaching in primary schools in Portsmouth, Nottingham. Andover and Basingstoke and ended up as a primary headteacher in a 400+ pupil school. I retired aged 59 in 2005, but immediately went back as a peripatetic acting headteacher working part-time for short periods in six Wiltshire primary schools for three years. In 2008-2009 I taught parts of the foundation degree course for primary education as a visiting lecturer in Wiltshire College.
In 2009 I joined many other retired primary headteachers and became a part-time Link Tutor for Winchester University looking after student teachers on Teaching Practice. I am still doing this today (autumn 2011).
I have been happily married for nearly 40 years to Lin, also a primary school teacher (retired) and we have a grown up daughter who lives in Cardiff - where she went to university. We have lived near Salisbury for many years.
The following are snippets from my memory of times at the school:
Buller Jefferies and his wonderful stories!
Holy Joe (Mr Webb) and the Jungle Doctor books. Ugh!
The power of Stan Davies' cane - only once though
Not completing the cross county run - hiding on the shore line of Langston Harbour
Dr King falling asleep in his Geography lesson while we wrote notes from the board
Forging Mr Watson's signature on the inside page in my Physics text book
Understanding calculus with Commander T R Smart, MA, B Sc, OBE, AMIEE
Derek Buckle November 2011
George Butterworth (1960-65)
(With thanks to Roger Harding for drawing this to our attention - Ed)
From the Sussex University website:
George Butterworth , Professor of Psychology, died unexpectedly on Saturday 12th February, 2000, aged 53. George was an authority on infant development, and internationally respected for his scholarship, for his commitment to research and for the energy he brought to fostering infancy work both nationally and internationally.
After completing his D.Phil at Oxford, George took a post at Southampton University, moving to a Chair in Psychology at Stirling in 1985, before coming to Sussex in 1991. He was appointed Honorary Professor, University of East London, in 1996. His contributions to the discipline include founding both the British Infancy Research Group and the Journal Developmental Science, as well as heading numerous groups ranging from the Scientific Affairs Board of the British Psychological Society to the European Society for Developmental Psychology.
George's research interests were broad, encompassing topics as varied as the origins of self awareness in human development and evolution, and children's understanding of geographical features of the earth. But his most distinguished contribution was his work on the origins of thought and perception in infants, a field in which he was a world authority. His work on infant pointing and its role in cognitive development is on display in the Science Museum in London.
A man of strong opinions, pursued vigorously, George could be controversial. But his passion for his subject was infectious, and his warmth and generosity in supporting others' work will be a lasting memory.
The University has lost a distinguished scholar, and a genuine character. Our sympathies go to his family.
Paul Carter (joined 1958)
Whilst studying for my 'A' levels in 1962, I answered an advertisement for aircrew to join the RAF; amazingly, after a 5 day selection process, I was successful! The 'A' levels were exchanged for a course in boot polishing and marching; the aeroplanes came later!
After an 8 year short service commission, I emigrated to South Africa for a job with the national airline; the contract ended after 3 years but I stayed on in the country for another 5 years flying for various companies, sometimes in somewhat dubious circumstances! This was the time of sanctions.
I returned to the UK in 1980, and worked for a variety of airlines both at home and around the globe. During this period I did find time to get married and produce a son, who right now is completing his Masters in Civil Engineering at Surrey University.
At the age of 50, I decided it was time to get a job with a 'proper' airline; shortly afterwards, I found myself in Taipei, Taiwan where I spent the next 15 years as a captain on Boeing 747's (jumbo jet!).
I have been extremely lucky to have pursued a career which was actually a well paid hobby. Retirement sees me spending time both in the UK (home is in Essex), and South Africa where we have a game lodge.
John Cave 1958-60
I attended the school for just two years, but have never forgotten my time there. Halfway through the summer holidays following my second year, my father was transferred from Portsmouth to London with his job and I never saw the Southern Grammar, or my friends there, again. I completed my secondary education at Ashford Grammar, in Middlesex, and followed that by attending the school of architecture at Kingston College of Art (now part of Kingston University).
I graduated from Kingston in 1971 and qualified as an architect in 1972. After a short time in several local architectural firms, I decided that London was not for me and moved to Bath, where I joined a small firm specializing in restoration work. It was there that I met my future wife, a physical therapist student. After we married, we stayed in Bath for a year or so, before moving on to jobs in Swindon and living for a time in Wootton Bassett.
While still living in Bath, a chance meeting with an American student rekindled a curiosity that my wife and I had always had in living abroad. In 1976, we took the plunge and visited our American friend in Oregon. We spent three weeks traveling down the west coast on Greyhound buses, and we fell in love with the country - especially Oregon. One year later, we emigrated to the USA.
We settled in Corvallis, Oregon, where we still live. I spent several early years in local design offices, in order to get the experience and qualifications necessary to obtain my architectural license in Oregon. After a brief period as a sole practitioner, designing houses, I joined a multinational engineering and design firm based in Corvallis, and have now been with the firm for 25 years. Over the years, I have obtained additional licenses in North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, and Arizona and have designed buildings in each of these States - providing many opportunities for travel.
As I said earlier, I have never forgotten my time at the Southern Grammar. I have a strong recollection of the Baffins buildings, and many staff and pupils. Of the staff, I particularly remember Mr. Mills, Mr. Davies, Mr. Jeffries (Art), Commander Watts (Math), Mr. Hitchins (French), Mr. Roebling (English), and Mr. Naysmith. Some pupils that I remember include David Martin, Timothy Stretch, and Messrs. Cates, Carter, and Hart. David Martin, who lived near me in the Drayton area, is probably the same David Martin that attended the Old Secundrians Dinner in 2008 and 2009.
David Coppard (joined 1956)
After leaving school I was offered 4 jobs, but joined Portsmouth City Council Treasurers Department at the Central Depot (it was adjacent to the Eastern Road Ambulance station) because it meant I still had more or less the same bike ride each day as I had had at school!! Probably not the best reason to take a job! I later transferred to the Town Clerks Department and became a 'time and motion' man. Once qualified, I moved to Bournemouth Borough Council, then Chichester City Council and subsequently Chichester District Council where I qualified as a Personnel Manager (now Human Resources). Although on Senior Officer grade I had had enough of Council work so left at the ripe old age of 40 and took up taxi driving!! I developed a successful chauffeur business which I later sold.
From the Royal Marine cadet band (where I was a drummer) I joined the RM Reserves and attained a commission. I retired as a Lieutenant as it began to conflict with my civilian job in Bournemouth.
In 2007 I had a 3 month holiday in Australia but shortly after was diagnosed with Lymphoma and stopped working in 2008. I officially retired in 2009 and am pleased to say that as of this week (February 2010) I have been given the all clear after only 6 sessions of chemo. In fact, having lost several stones in weight and on an improved diet, I am probably fitter now than I have been for some years!
I have been married to Joan since 1972 and have a son and a daughter in their 30s. I live in Bognor Regis in Sussex.
Alan Cowley 1949-1956
On leaving the Southern Grammar, I was fortunate to win a Portsmouth Major scholarship and was accepted into the Faculty of Physics at Imperial College, London. I needed to fill in the time between the end of school and starting at University and to earn a few pounds to augment the Grant. I somehow found myself on the Isle of Wight for the summer holidays in the role of resident photographer at one of the island's holiday camps. This was good fun and would have been even more fun had I been more worldly-wise at the time. "If youth only knew, if age only could."
Following Graduation in 1959 I was successful with two job applications. One was with the Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell and the other was with the Automation Systems Division of Ferranti Limited at Wythenshawe, Manchester. I chose the Wythenshawe option and have never for an instant regretted that decision. The Automation Systems Division was bent on converting the Bloodhound ground-to-air missile control computer into an industrial process control system. I joined a small group developing the circuit cards and logic for this new computer, called the 'Argus'. I was initially trialled in the circuit design team and found wanting. I was then grilled by Dave Butler, the lead designer of the machine, and found that I had an aptitude for Boolean Logic. I spent two years in this field, designing various sub-system controllers and a monster of an automatic rack-wiring production test system.
Sometime in 1960 a co-worker, Don Whitehead, invited me to make up a foursome with Meg Swinburne, one of his fiancé's nursing colleagues and in September 1962 we married at St James church in Meg's hometown of Whitehaven, Cumbria.
The following March we emigrated to Australia on the ten-pound scheme. This was intended to be the first step in a project to see the world. We had a naïve view of the size of the world in those days and this project is still a work in progress.
After a few short-term problems in getting settled I found myself in the Development Department of International Computers Ltd (ICL) in Sydney. Here I was responsible for engineering and industrial automation applications of digital computers. In 1966 I was able to get ICL to bring the Argus computer into Australia. Our first major contract was with Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited in Tasmania and I was Project Manager for the installation of an on-line control system for a counter-current pulp digester and a fine paper machine at their Burnie mill.
In 1969 the Marketing Director of ICL, Ormonde Browne, left the company to form one of the first software houses in Australia - International Programming Pty Ltd. One of the first enquiries that IP received was from a gelatine manufacturer. They were about to build a brand new plant to satisfy a firm contract to supply pharmaceutical grade gelatine to the USA. The industrial engineers who were retained to design and build the plant could not see how the timetable for completion of the plant could be met since the process was still under development in the client company's research laboratories. They rang the newly launched software house to see if it might be possible to use the new technology of computer control to separate the hardware of the control system from its logic, which was not yet finalised.
Ormonde rang me (still at ICL) and asked it I could have a look at the problem. I did so and concluded that it could be done using the recently released PDP-8e mini-computer. In no time I had joined IP. With Roger Worthington, a talented real-time systems programmer who had come out to Australia to work on the paper machine project with me, we were engaged in a five month project to design, build and commission the system. We were successful, primarily due to Roger's creation of a high-level industrial control environment that was in fact one of the first programmable logic controllers in the world.
I became a director of IP in 1972 and remained with the company until it was bought out by Price-Waterhouse in 1982. After a short and unsuccessful stint with Computer Sciences I joined the Industry Marketing Division of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1984. My initial work was related to a major push that Digital was making at that time into manufacturing industry, from resource management to artificial intelligence and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). From there I migrated into DEC'S management-consulting group from which I took early retirement in 1994.
Once retired from corporate employment I continued to work as a freelance consultant, initially with International Data Corporation and then with the US-based Automation Research Corporation. In 2000 Meg and I finally retired to the Southern Highlands of NSW where we bought a run-down 1920s timber cottage in the village of Bundanoon. We restored this cottage to its original glory and five years later we sold it and bought a half-acre of land just outside the village. We built a new home here in 2006. After five years the gardens and trees are coming along nicely and we expect to be here until the work of maintaining it becomes too much of a burden.
I have happy memories of my years at the Southern. My path through the school was rather erratic, starting in 1d and moving to 2c, 3c, 4b and 5b before moving to Remove 6 - joining a group of students who were a year younger than myself. My memories of names of fellow students are scattered. My final year friends included Derek Shaw, John Monkman, Tony Carr and Tony Hardacre. Derek unfortunately died in 2009 but I am in touch with the others. Other people I remember include Ron Smith, Desmond (DJM) Smith, David (DJ) Smith, JET Townsend, Allan Tuck, Jim Cleaver, Kevin Greene, Colin Dyer, Peter Gallagher (still in touch) and Dave Ellesmere (Sp?).
Of the teaching staff I particularly remember Messrs Fulwood, Tooze, Pallant, Fox, Jeffries, Steed, Hore, Cummings, Thomas and of course HJ Mills!
I well remember Mr Fulwood explaining the research work done in the field of sound waves by the German physicist Cundtz. One of the class (was it Kevin Greene?) asked several questions about Herr Cundtz and his apparatus, the Cundtz Tube. He deliberately used the English phonetic pronunciation, causing us a lot of mirth. Mr Fulwood, completely straight faced, gently explained that the correct German pronunciation was 'Koonts'. Happy days indeed.
I remember my last interview with Mr Mills on leaving school. Three questions stick in the memory;
"Who is your favourite author?" Steinbeck.
"What do you consider to be your greatest strength?" Logical thought and reasoning.
"What is your greatest weakness?" After flirting with the option of saying that I couldn't think of a great weakness (which would have provoked a deep frown) I told the truth: I'm inclined to be lazy, Sir.
Nothing much has changed since that day.
Philip Creighton (1959 -1966?)
I recently received the 2013 Dinner Invitation but living in the USA it really has not been practical to get there. As I get older I looked back over my early years and most of my memories of Southern Grammar seem to be of all the things I did wrong to earn the wrath of Mr Mills, Chatterton and various other members of staff. Between finding places to have a quick cigarette and hiding my Lambretta in the allotments it seemed I was always on their bad side. I remember while waiting to get caned by Mr Mills (one of the times) that he took salt in his coffee which I always felt was strange. I actually remember knocking on his front door as one of a group of young carol singers soon after I went to Southern grammar (I cannot fathom out however why I was in this group) and the stark realization of who came to the door that night (had no idea it was his house).
I enjoyed my time there, found out that I wasn't any good at soccer or climbing ropes, got on the cross country team for one event, probably on the strength of my buss pass on the return run along Langston Harbour. I was on the library committee which gave us a little room to hang out in to cover books or just hang out. Lunch time brought good days (roast potatoes) and bad days (swede) - sitting close to the hatch for seconds and the small bottles of milk if they had any left from the morning. The little sweet shop up the road by the bus stop sticks in my memory too.
I know I was in the CCF as I remember polishing boots etc, rifle range practice, rubber dinghies in Langston harbor and a day out military exercise somewhere on the Downs. Lots of firing blanks on a miserable wet day and more reprimands for ambushing the other side - not sporting I suppose. Although I never was involved in it I remember a mock battlefield in the Rifle Range with plastic model tanks etc in a big sandbox. I think I might have missed the real target on occasion and hit a model tank! The CCF photograph in the CCF section looks awfully familiar and would have been about the right time - just not good enough to see faces.
Somewhere in all that was O and A levels - probably not as good as I could have got if I studied properly and about that point the family moved to Leicester so I ended up at Loughborough College of Technology doing an I.M.I. Motor vehicle course and getting involved in Motor Racing with a group of friends up there. I remember Alan Pascoe at the University up the road and Phil Read but pretty much lost touch with most of the Southern Grammar classmates. I did hear from Roland Clarke (in my class) a few years ago and he is living and working in Birmingham. The rest, I don't know.
From there after a spell in London working for Esso and running racing cars as a sideline I was recruited to run a team in the USA in 1978, packed up the wife and dog and have been here ever since. The dog died and I got divorced along the way - I miss that dog as the old joke goes.
I have stayed with racing professionally as the importer for various English and Italian racing cars and currently own a workshop in Atlanta GA that looks after a number of historic and modern racing cars. Unfortunately the annual dinner is usually just before the Sebring 12 Hour race for LeMans cars that I usually am involved with.
My website is at creightonmotorsport.com and my longtime girlfriend, partner, racing car engineer and driver is at manfrinato.com
Philip Creighton (March 2013)
Colin Dowsett (1960-67)
After spending the first five years at the school in the lowly S form, I somehow managed to make it into the Sixth Form. I think Mr Mills let me enter because he was rather taken with the idea that I would be the first boy in the school to take Spanish to A Level. My teacher was Mr Farrand who amused himself no end by saying "Do sit down Doosit!" whenever I came into class! But the work was serious, including reading Cervantes and Lope de Vega in the original. I also took Economics and had a brilliant and engaging teacher in Mr Horton. Perhaps of greater significance for my future career was that I was able to study Russian with Mr Carrick, which I did to O Level. I have to confess that, while working quite hard on my Sixth Form studies, I wasn’t a naturally brilliant pupil and was, moreover, distracted by the guitar and girls at that stage!
On leaving school with only two A Levels I couldn’t get into University so decided to enter the working world. I joined an insurance broking firm as a trainee but, after four years, decided it wasn’t for me and that I really wanted to resume academic study. I had maintained an interest in Russian language, culture and politics and in 1972 I enrolled in the CNAA BA (Hons) degree in Russian and Soviet Studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic. In 1976, I obtained a first class degree and went on to Essex University to complete a masters degree and then took myself to Canada where I graduated with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto in 1985.
I first came to New Zealand in 1986 when I was appointed Lecturer in Russian and Soviet Studies at the University of Otago. Subsequently I moved on to become Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington. A promising teaching and publishing career came regrettably to an end when the axe fell on university funding and Russian departments were closed. My wife and I came back to the northern hemisphere in 2000 and we ran a chambres d’hotes in a small village near Dinan in Britanny. At the same time, I was studying for and eventually obtained a BSc degree in herbal medicine. We returned to New Zealand in 2006 where I pursue my current career and also work as a musician, playing guitar in a gypsy jazz quartet with my violinist wife Pamela.
I have many vivid and mostly fond recollections of the Southern Grammar School and hope soon to be sending some memories of my time at the school and the teaching staff back then.
Michael Dummer (Joined 1946)
My stay at the Southern Grammar ended before it should have done. It had always been accepted in my family that I would go into the Dockyard and endeavour to become a draughtsman like a member of my family before me. It was considered to be an achievement to do so. There had been numerous precedents to this course at the school as I was to find out, and others would follow. I had never expressed a desire to aim for any other occupation, the truth being that I had tended to let the stream take me where it willed. There was no talk or enlightenment at the school about careers.
I took the Dockyard entrance exam during my first term in the Fifth Form in late 1950 as a trial and was surprised to come top. There didn't seem any point in staying any longer so I told the Head I was leaving. He was not at all happy, told me I would regret it and said that I was not supposed to leave until I was 16, but he didn't stop me. So on the 15th January 1951 I started as an apprentice at the Dockyard (quite a shock) and became a part-time student at the Royal Dockyard School. I found that the headmaster was W.G. Burrell, former pupil of the Southern Sec. from 1900-1902, who was in his last year before retirement. I had barely completed my first year there when I went down with T.B. which kept me away from my tools and books for 14 months. When I went back, the R.D.S. had been renamed Portsmouth Dockyard Technical College and there was a new headmaster, (renamed Principal), John Goss, who had been a Southern Sec. boy 1919-1923. I also found myself amongst other Southern Grammar boys who had followed me, including Brian Andrew who sadly died in 1998. A striking difference to the Southern Grammar was that the staff always addressed us as Mr -, or later used our first names.
A move into the drawing office led to a one-way ticket to the Admiralty/M.O.D. in Bath, where I have remained. I have been lucky to have been involved in some great projects including Polaris, Type 22 Frigates, Type 42 Destroyers, the Navy's first electronic machinery control system and finally Trident. It was during this last project that a desk arrived in our office from store for a new member. In the drawer was a copy of an old book, Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Boys. “Anybody want this old book?” asked the new member. Lucky me! Also on this project I made the acquaintance of contracts officer Ken Priddy, who had been a lofty Fifth Former in the back row of the 1947 photo when I was a snotty nosed First Year in the front row. Ken had a copy made of the photo which he very generously gave to me. He died in 2009. I retired as a Senior Professional and Technology Officer in 1993.
[JOHN] RUSSELL FINCH [1961-1968]
After not being a spectacular success in sport or games and a late surge academically I went to Queen Mary College, University of London in 1968, graduating with average marks, in 1971. I returned to Hants, was articled to the Clerk to the Fareham and Gosport Justices, and was admitted a solicitor in 1974. I then moved to Aylesbury and worked at the Magistrates` Court there until 1979. I was successful in applying to the Director of Public Prosecutions, where I worked until 1988. The DPP dealt with all the most serious cases in England and Wales and I had a diet of homicides, rapes, big frauds and criminal allegations against the Police (which had to come to us by law).
There was a complete change of scene then in 1988 when I got a job as a specialist criminal lawyer in the Chambers of HM Procureur (Attorney-General) for Guernsey. I had to requalify as a Guernsey Advocate, which included 6 months at Caen University and vivas (viva voce - the continental system of oral exams) in France.
The Crown Prosecution Service came in in 1986 and I was decanted to be the chief prosecutor at Clerkenwell and Thames Courts.
After being designated Crown Advocate with responsibility, in the main, for criminal matters I was then appointed Magistrate and Coroner in 1997. In 2005 a new post was created - Judge of the Royal Court and I was appointed; it is based on an English Circuit Judge. My diet is crime (I`ve had two murder trials, one which went all the way), divorce and some civil cases.
I married my optician in 1991, a Guernsey lady, but Anne is now, very sadly, incapacitated with MS.
My teachers would be surprised to see me up on the bench, rather than crashed out on one. I kept up my interest in history, getting an OU degree and then an external MA from Sheffield Hallam.
In the 2017 Birthday Honours I was awarded the OBE.
John Gibbons (1947-54 [pupil] and 1960-67 [staff]
I was a pupil at the school from 1947 -1954 during which time I played for the First X1 cricket team from 1951 to 1954. I was also member of the senate being pro consul in1954. After university and two years teaching in Watford I returned to teach chemistry at the Southern in 1960 until 1967. During this time I ran some junior cricket teams and also the r ug by side in the last two or three years of my stay.In 1967 with my wife and daughter I emigrated to teach in Canada; however we returned in 1969 and eventually ended up in Dover where we still are today. I taught in a secondary school in the neighbouring town of Folkstone where I was deputy head from 1973 until I retired in 1994.
Alan Guy (1961-69)
Now Director of The National Army Museum: http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/
Stephen Guy (1959-68)
Went off to North Staffs Poly to study nuclear physics,
Certificate in hand and having no clear idea of what I wanted to do, I did a variety of jobs whilst, song writing and playing in rock bands and producing jingles for TV ads.
After two unsuccessful recording contracts, I made my home with Italian company Pirelli Cables, first running the mechanical engineering laboratories, and ending up as the Chief Engineer in Pirelli Submarine Cables UK.
Having worked all over the planet for 20 years, I left to set up my own consultancy business, and am now mostly involved with the offshore oil and gas production industry and the offshore windfarm industry.
I have just received a contract to work in Korea, for a minimum of 12 months, probably starting in April 2010.
Paddy Haycocks (Joined 1961)
Over the past thirty years, work in print, radio and television has allowed Paddy to play a variety of significant roles within the industry: journalist, reporter, researcher, scriptwriter, producer, director, presenter, editor and executive producer.
His work, both on and off camera, has included programming for the BBC (both television and radio ), ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky and a number of digital channels. As a specialist in factual programming, he has had extensive hands on experience in news, features, consumer and documentary output. Having worked on both live and pre-recorded programmes, he has detailed practical and editorial knowledge of studio, location and post produced material. Paddy has also written countless articles and overseen several thousand hours of broadcast programming designed to investigate or illuminate key factual issues. Having left talkbackThames in 2006, where he was Senior Executive - Factual Programming, Paddy now works on a freelance basis across a whole range of broadcast, corporate and training projects.
Peter Higgins (1957-63)
Now retired after 40 years in the Civil Service (HM Customs & Excise) where I spent a very happy and interesting career (on the whole anyway!!). I was Head of National Operations for Detection at the point of retirement and, just previous to that appointment, had spent 3 years on secondment to the Home Office as Director UK Immigration Service.
Now enjoying retirement in a variety of ways; golf (what a frustrating game it is!); as chairman of the Old Secundrians Association; running this website (yes, folks, it's all my fault!); developing my garden; and making toys for my 5 grandchildren (what a delight they are - you can play with them and then hand them back for the not such nice tasks!). After retiring, I did some consultancy re Government Departments and Border Controls which was an excellent glide path into proper retirement but that has now passed me by and I now spend more time with the important things in life such as golf and putting the world to rights (watch out for my fairly regular letters in the Daily Telegraph!!). I live in West Wickham, Kent with my wife Pamela - and my 3 sons all live reasonably close by (but not too close though!).
Jason Hill (1959-67)
After leaving school in 1967, I went to Keele University to read Politics and Economics, graduating with a BA (Hons) in 1971. After a gap year, I spent a year at Madeley College of Education, doing my Postgraduate Certificate of Education. I taught at various schools in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire until 1990, when I went back to university full-time. I studied Special Education (Visual Impairment) at Birmingham University, and gained an MEd, as well as becoming a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired. I returned to teaching, working with blind and partially-sighted children, and eventually became the Advisory Teacher for Visually Impaired Children for the Stoke-on-Trent education authority. I retired in 2007, and now live in Stoke-on-Trent with my second wife Gwyneth.
Throughout my career, I have also worked part-time as a musician, mainly playing with ceilidh bands. I was a Labour councillor in Stoke-on-Trent from 1983 to 1991, and have in the past served on the Executive Committee of the Musicians' Union and the National Council of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
In 2011, the National Union of Teachers presented me with the Blair Peach Award (for exemplary contribution to equality and diversity) in recognition of my work campaigning against far right organisations.
Walter Johnston (joined 1955)
"An "army brat", I attended many schools in my time, some for only short periods. 'Portsmouth Southern' was one such. Because of the many schools, it is sometimes difficult, as old age overtakes me, to be entirely sure that my memory is not playing me false. But down to details:
We came to Portsmouth from tours in Germany in, I believe, November 1955. Immediately prior to this, I had been at 'King Alfred's', a Forces boarding school, and I still wore my green blazer with the red 'Wyvern' badge on the blazer pocket. In fact, I never actually acquired a 'Southern' school uniform because by the following summer, we moved to Southampton and this apparently being 'on the cards' for much longer than I knew, my parents did not kit me out to blend in locally. I forget their excuse[-s!].
The Army dumped us into a flat in an old Navy barracks behind 'Portsmouth Grammar School'. It thus seemed natural that I should attend that particular grammar school, only to find that this institution did not share our view. They appeared to think that we should pay for the privilege. As my parents did not agree with this rather curious concept, I was forced to undertake a daily journey on a trolley bus [a trolley bus!] through Southsea to PSG, with the result that my arrival times were not always by the approved time. But more of this later.
I remember little of my schooling here: the buildings seemed dingy, ( Ed: Unlucky Walter because in the summer of 1956 - just as you left [see below] the school moved to its posh new buildings at Baffins!]) my classmates none too matey [I only remember one, mainly because he too had been abroad, in South Africa, and could speak Afrikaans, which I found very impressive], and the canteen food, after boarding school, dire.
Our move to Southampton must have occurred in the summer term 1956. On the day my parents chose to tell me the news, I was yet again late to school. As I recall, the headmaster had his office on the first floor of a gatehouse over the school entrance and it was his habit to call up any pupil coming late for a swift swish with the cane [am I making all this up?]. On this day, I was delighted to be able to inform him that I should shortly be leaving his establishment for Southampton. Somewhat to my surprise, this made him quite chatty, he recommended that I must attend 'Taunton's School 'without fail, only that being good enough for one of his ex-pupils. [This instruction was to prove more difficult than one might expect and resulted in my being kept away from school for a period until the education authority agreed that I might attend 'Taunton's' which, perversely, was at the end of our road and about three minutes walk away. Clearly the LEA found this proximity disturbing.]
My attendance at 'PSG' would appear to have been from winter 1955 to [early?] summer 1956. Now, given that all this time I was running around in a green blazer, does anyone remember seeing me? Or did I actually attend a completely different school? [ Ed: Must have been pretty distinctive 'cos not too many boys would have been attired in a green blazer surely?!!]
Walter Johnston (November 2012)
Fritz Koerner (joined about 1943 until about 1950)
The following Obituary appeared in The Guardian Newspaper and is reproduced by kind permission of the Newspaper and the author William Barr.
Roy Koerner, more commonly known as Fritz, who has died aged 75, was one of the four members of Sir Wally Herbert's British Transarctic Expedition which, on April 5 1969, stood at the North Pole. It was the halfway point of their dog-sled trip across the Arctic Ocean from Point Barrow, Alaska to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, a total distance of 3,620 miles. The first surface-crossing of the Arctic Ocean, theirs was only the second confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole. Data collected from Koerner's later work on polar ice characteristics has been used heavily in the recent climate-change discussion.
Back in 1968, Fritz and his companions had left Point Barrow on February 21, and the entire crossing took 16 months. It was supplied by airdrops from the Royal Canadian Air Force that allowed them to camp for the winter on the sea ice at a location where, conveniently, the ice drift carried them steadily towards their goal. For Fritz this was more than just a headline-seeking adventure; as a glaciologist he was studying the sea ice, and the result was the first detailed, continuous survey of its thickness and characteristics.
Born in Portsmouth, Fritz Koerner attended Portsmouth Southern Grammar School, and gained a degree in geography at Sheffield University in 1954. After a brief spell as a teacher, he joined the Falkland Islands Dependency Survey (FIDS; the precursor of the British Antarctic Survey) in 1957 for two years as meteorologist at Hope Bay (now the Argentine station of Esperanza) at the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula. Like almost all FIDS personnel at that time, he learned to drive dogs, and made extensive trips across the sea ice and glaciers; thus, his passion for glaciology was born. It was there too that he first met Herbert.
In 1961 he joined the Arctic Institute of North America's multi-disciplinary Devon Island Expedition as glaciologist. Having spent a reconnaissance season on the island's ice cap (covering roughly 3,600 square miles), he wintered at the expedition's base camp at Truelove Inlet (along with Alan Gill, who would later join him on the Transarctic Expedition), and in 1962 set out a radial network of mass-balance transects, stretching hundreds of miles and covering every corner of the ice cap. Such studies are aimed at determining the ice cap's "budget", whether it is growing, shrinking or stable. He would repeat most of these transects annually for more than 45 years, along with similar studies of the Agassiz ice cap on Canada's Ellesmere Island and much smaller Meighen Island ice cap in later years.
On the basis of his mass-balance studies of another Canadian ice cap, that of Devon Island, Koerner received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 1968. While in London he met his future wife, Anna Kowalczyk, and after she returned to her native Poland, he reached a decision, got on his motorbike and rode to Warsaw, where he proposed to her. They were married in 1964. Anna accompanied Fritz and assisted him on Devon Island.
Having joined the Institute of Polar Studies at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in 1966-67, he was a member of a team that spent the Antarctic summer season at the remote Plateau station near the summit of the Antarctic ice sheet in Dronning Maud Land at a height of 12,000ft. Here he concentrated on snow stratigraphy, and later received the US Antarctic service medal. He was one of the few people to receive Britain's polar medal with both Arctic and Antarctic clasps.
In 1969 he and Anna moved to Ottawa, where he joined the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP), a logistics and research arm of the Canadian government, to pursue his glacier studies in the high arctic; he became head of the project's ice core laboratory, and later transferred to an identical position with the Geological Survey of Canada.
At PCSP he made oxygen-isotope studies of ice cores, extracted from the Agassiz ice cap, the cores extending from surface down to bedrock. A study of summer-melt layers in the cores revealed summer temperatures from as far back as 11,000 years ago. It is his ice-core data that has been widely used in recent exchanges about global climatic change.
After his retirement in 1999 (although he continued his research as an emeritus scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada), Fritz escorted children on Students on Ice Polar cruises. His wickedly irreverent, iconoclastic sense of humour appealed to his young audiences. In the Arctic he also took the Inuit children of Grise Fiord in southern Ellesmere Island on field trips to one of the local glaciers.
A regular competitor in the Ottawa-Montreal ski race and keen jogger, Fritz was always very fit. Anna died in 1989 after a prolonged illness.
The author of more than 70 scientific papers and chapters in books, Koerner missed only a couple of field seasons from 1961 until 2008, when he felt unwell and returned to Ottawa, where he died from colon cancer just two weeks later. From his hospital bed he consulted with his colleagues to ensure that his various research projects would continue. Fritz is survived by his daughters Eva, Davina and Kristina, and son Justin.
Roy Martindale "Fritz" Koerner, explorer and glaciologist, born July 3 1932; died May 26 2008
Copyright Guardian News & Media Ltd 2008.
Martin Laker (joined about 1950-1956)
We are sorry to report that Martin passed away after a short illness in July 2011. See the entry in the obituaries page.
Peter Lover C.Eng FRINA RCNC (1934-39)
Peter died in December 2005.
Peter was awarded the Whitworth Medal in 1943. He trained as a naval constructor at the Royal Naval College Greenwich and worked for some time at the Admiralty Experimental Works at Haslar. He was appointed to Bath in 1955 but returned to Haslar in 1965 where he became Chief Superintendent before retiring in 1981.
During Peter's career he was involved in the design of the Oberon Class submarines, HMS Fearless and research into the hydrodynamics of propellers.
Harry Maber (Joined 1940)
The following (edited) version was submitted by Harry's younger brother, Charles [known as Biff] , in 2006.
Harry joined the school in 1940 as an evacuee at Brockenhurst and was in digs until 1943 when, by chance, our mother was able and willing to take over the running of a mini-hostel in part of a large house called St Andrews, owned by the honourable Mrs Heinson. Mum looked after her own two sons and five other boys all the same age as Harry.They were Peter Bolt, Gordon (known as Gus) Blackman, Ken Heard, Tony Masson and Peter Upton. The first three are still living in or near Portsmouth but I have lost touch with Tony and Peter.
I was the baby of the family being three school years younger than the rest. In fact, because my mother took over the running of the hostel I attended the local Cof E primary school in Brockenhurst for a term before I was old enough to join the Southern Secondary School in September 1943.
When Harry left school he joined the firm of accountants Morris Crocker who were then in Victoria Road and went on to become a Chartered Accountant himself. His career was interrupted by two years of National Service in the RAF which was mostly spent in the middle east.. In fact he was in Palestine in 1948 when the British Mandate ended and the new State of Israel proclaimed.
Harry worked for various companies including for a time in Ireland. But as well as his full time business he also helped his wife set up at first a dress shop and later on a newsagents and general store. He, of course, did the books and was also a dab hand at window dressing. He also had the less pleasant job of chasing bad debts.
Later on, when most of us are thinking of retirement, he worked from home as a consulatnt which he continued to do until his death.
Harry was both a keen Portsmouth Football Club supporter and a long serving Rotarian. One of his associates who has an involvement with the rebuilding of Fratton Park intends to arrange for one of the bricks to be inscribed "Harry Maber - Friends of PFC". A nice touch, I feel. Above all else, Harry was quintessentially a family man with a strong sense of humour and of fun. He will be sorely missed by his wife, three daughters, one son and their families.
Harry was a frequent attendee at the school dinner up until a few months before his death at his home in Cousdon, following a short illness, on December 20th 2005.
Charles Maber 2006
Colin Maddison (1960-68)
When I left School in 1967, there were several false starts in career terms. These included several years in domestic banking in London which I didn't really enjoy. I did eventually kick start my brain and managed to gain an HND in engineering and later followed a professional membership in Logistics.I eventually joined MOD in 1974 and have worked for them for 35 years, and still do. Much of my earlier MOD career was in RN logistics at various locations in UK, overseas and afloat but I did not work for MOD in Portsmouth until I got posted down here in 1994. Over the years I gained some HR experience and eventually changed completely over to Civilian HR, subsequently specialising in complex casework which is what keeps me busy now
I was fortunate enough to be granted the freedom of the City of Londonin 1987 (Ed I look forward to watching you drive sheep over London Bridge in the rush hour!) I live on the Isle of Wight with my wife, Sue, and our two pampered cats but commute across the Solent each day to an office in the Naval Base. (Ed: see also Colin's recollections on the "Pupil's page).
Tom McCanna (joined 1957)
1964-68 Leeds University studying French, Russian and also Music; 1968-69 College of Librarianship Wales, studying librarianship of course. 1970-73 On library staff at Nottingham College of Education.1973-2005 Music Librarian at Sheffield University.
2006 Retired to Tywyn in West Wales.
Publications include editions of the score of Ruddigore (Gilbert and Sullivan) and Gold and Silver Waltz (Lehar), and the entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on the composer Albert Ketèlbey. Provided source material and wrote the accompanying notes for 5 CDs of Ketèlbey's music issued by Naxos.
1972 Married, daughters born 1976 and 1985 Main interests - amateur music making, fieldwork for the British Trust for Ornithology.
Terry Miller (joined 1949)
Terry left SGS in 1955 and left the UK as a purser on a cruise liner at the age of 19. He later emigrated to the USA and currently lives at Lake Oswego, Oregon. Terry would like to contact former classmates (and others from his era) in particular David Hartfree,
George Mortimer (1972-1979)
I was one of the last intake years into Portsmouth Southern Grammar School, as the merger which formed Great Salterns, took place about four years into my time at the school.
I have very fond memories of the school as it was when I joined, although sadly a number of the school institutions such as the Senators were lost when the Grammar School status went.
After I left at the end of the VI Form, I went on to read zoology at the University of London, and since then have spent the last 27 years working in financial services - to take full advantage of my understanding of animal behaviour! I worked for Schroders in Portsmouth for a number of years, but have spent the majority of my career in London at a number of different firms. I was a Director at a big four accountancy firm until 2007 when I left to take up my current role as the C.O.O. of a new asset management business.
I took my professional exams via the Securities & Investment Institute (the successor to the old stock exchange exams) and now help the institute by sitting on one of its examination panels.
Peter Oxley (1965-1972)
After leaving school I obtained a BSc in Zoology, an MSc in Nursing, a PGDE and various other professional mental health nursing qualifications. I have been a mental health nurse for almost 35 years. I ended my full-time career as a lecturer in mental health nursing at the University of Southampton and now do locum work as a mental health nurse to keep myself busy. I have been married to my lovely wife Celia for almost 32 years and have two wonderful adult children, Vicki and Mark. Teachers I remember well are Commander Watts, (a brilliant maths teacher), and Mr Williams an equally excellent English teacher. Mr Dunthorne got me my biology A level and Mr Watson my A level in physics despite the fact that I wrote mainly about Andrews Liver Salts and CO2 production when dissolved in water!! I remember Mr Watson making tea over a bunsen burner in a glass beaker and him looking over to the Langstone railway bridge for the Hayling Billy steam engine to see if it was on time - despite the fact that the line had closed 4 years earlier!! In 1970 I somehow got an O level in geography by writing about Yeti hunting in the Himalayas. Pupils I remember very well are Danny Milne, Noel Thorpe, John Joinsen, David Ainsworth, John Langham Brown, Paul Woods, Jaffa Jaffa. I should be delighted to hear from friends from my school days.
David Palmer (joined 1949 and member of staff from 1961)
Friends and former colleagues will be sorry to learn that David passed away in 2010. Please see the note about David by Irene, his widow, on the Former Staff page
Alan Pascoe M.B.E. (1959-66)
Commonwealth Games gold medalist (hurdles) and Olympic silver medalist. Chairman of Fast Track sports consultancy company in London.
Alf Pink (1956-60)
Just 4 short years at the Southern Grammar in which I discovered that I liked football but not studying!! During the school summer holidays in 1960 I found a job as a trainee draughtsman and never returned to school. Hence, I never took O or A levels but gained a Masters Degree in the University of Life!!
The trainee part of draughtsmanship proved to be making tea and cleaning offices so I left that job and obtained a post in a solicitor's office working in litigation - invaluable in learning a commonsense approach to problems. But eventually, fed up with litigation and still playing drums in a group (1961-71), I moved to a recruitment company called Manpower; this was where I found my niche and by the age of 23 I was manager of two branches. At the ripe old age of 24 I decided to set up my own agency which proved to be very successful - so much so that in 1984 I sold out and retired. But married with 2 young sons Jonathan and Elliott and ruled by their school routine I returned to work in 1986 and started a leisure group. In 1994 an expensive divorce came along and in 1998 I decided to return to the employment industry which had been so good to me. But whilst running the leisure and employment businesses old age overtook me (poor old bugger - Ed!!) and I subsequently sold both businesses.
Having escaped to retirement for a second time I have made the most of this wonderful time from my home base in Fareham. Sharing my life with Christina, my younger [and much better looking - Ed!!] second wife, our time is spent playing tennis or golf most days, lots of holidays and motor boating. Best of all I bought a drum kit again after 25 years and for the past 3 years (2008) have been doing about 15 gigs a year - what a buzz. I also act as Treasurer for the Old Secundrians Association (no link to Alf's life of luxury - Ed!!) and attend the Association's annual dinner every year.
Hope the ticker keeps going because this is a great life!!
John Powell (1941-9)
(The following contribution was made by Roger Watts after consultation with John's brother and friends)
Friends of John Powell will be sad to learn that he passed away in August 2008 after a short but severe battle with cancer.
John attended the Southern Grammar from 1941 to 1949, spending several years in the New Forest area under the evacuation to Brockenhurst. At school he was enthusiastic in debating and drama.
Following National Service with the Royal Engineers, which took him to Germany, John embarked upon an extremely varied educational career. After qualifying as a teacher at Winchester he taught at Albert Road School. Later he pursued a mixture of studying, teaching and lecturing which took him to Bristol, Manchester, Dublin, Canada, Canberra, Papua New Guinea and Sydney
His long and happy marriage to Jocelyn, a New Zealander and botanist, established them in New South Wales, where they not only taught, sailed and fished, but also made a powerful contribution to environmental and local history. There was a series of books, many about the Hawkesbury River, and ventures in publishing. John's remarkable work was recognised in 2007 with a Heritage award by the Hornsby Council.
Always something of an entrepreneur, John funded his academic studies with unusual enterprises. In Bristol he ran a paraffin delivery service and at other times he could be found operating speedboat hire and harbour cruises from Southsea beach. Throughout his days he was liked and admired for his imagination and keen sense of humour. Fittingly, he was a lifelong fan of the Goon Show.
See also John's recollections of the evacuation years and his memories of staff.
Ian Rawlings (joined 1952)
I was a pupil at SGS from 1952 until December 1955 when my parents took me to Australia where I still live (Myrtleford, Victoria).
Peter Rendle 1959-1965.
Both my brothers, Steve and Alan were also at the school and my sister attended the Southern Grammar School for girls.
I have lived in Sydney, Australia for the past 34 years and still follow the mighty blues through an organization known as 'Pompey Down Under”. I was at Wembley last year to watch them lift the cup.
I represented the school at Athletics and made the Portsmouth School's athletic team, running in the 440 yards in Southampton. I also played football for the Intermediate 'C' first team and we won the Haynes Cup in around 1962. The team included Colin Arnold in goal, Stu Scoble, Vic Thorpe, Dave Buckley, Chris Vincent, Brian Hewson and Maurice Aylward. I have a team picture somewhere.
As a member of Collier House, I was privileged to run in the same relay team as Alan Pascoe. Alan played in goal for the school second eleven, never quite good enough to oust Colin Arnold the first team goalie. However he discovered his natural sprinting talent at the 'house' athletics meeting. I remember being the third leg of the relay for Collier House and when I received the baton we were trailing Stuart, Blake and Windsor (I think they were the house team names) [Ed: Walker, Parks and Jones] by a country mile. I handed over to Alan and within a few strides he had blitzed the field and led Collier House to a memorable victory. It was no surprise to me that he later became the GB athletics team captain.
These days I work for a magazine publisher in Sydney and I am and have been for the past 12 years , the advertising sales manager for three sailing magazines, Australian Yachting, Australian Sailing and Cruising Helmsman magazine. I occasionally write articles. I also sell the advertising for the web site www.mysailing.com.au
I have sailed for many years in this country following on from my introduction into sailing as a member of the 28th St Cuthbert's Sea Scouts, Copnor a troop led by the late Commander Walter Scott.
I have three daughters all of whom know my passion for Pompey and the place I was born and bred. One of my great friends, Graham Laker is actively involved in the Old Secundrians. We were both in 3G, 4G and 5G before my father insisted I leave school to 'get a job'. Great memories.
John Shaw (joined 1957)
I keep reasonably fit playing tennis of the social variety and keep busy with the usual social round plus my duties as Chair of Governors of a Southampton school. Thinking of taking up golf as the joints get ever more resistant to any sudden movement - all advice/tips welcome [Ed: The most frustrating game I have ever played - but just one really good shot in a round ensures you go back next time!].
Very keen to contact the following - all of whom joined the school in 1957 - David Carter (lived in Reginald Road); Max Grierson (Languard Road), Ron Hellyer (Milton Road).
John Shaw (November 2012)
Tim Skelton (1966-71)
My only claims to any form of achievement at school were in my cricket endeavours, being captain of my year and (I think) the youngest boy to play for the First XI, and, thanks to the late, great, Mr. Williams my involvement with the school plays. It is thanks to Mr. Williams that I am now and have been for the past twenty-four years a struggling and monumentally unsuccessful actor after a stint of eight years in the R.A.F.
After wasting five years, academically speaking, I left the Southern in March '71 prior to taking my 'O' levels and went to work in Pompey Dockyard serving for five years in the Port Auxilliary Service as a seaman on tugs, fleet tenders, coastal freighters and the mooring and salvage section.
On leaving in 1976 I dossed around during the glorious summer of that year and the next and then in '78 I joined the R.A.F., again as a seaman, serving on the Air Sea Rescue launches of the R.A.F. Marine Branch.
One of the positives that came from my time at the Southern Grammar was a passion for the theatre; this was initially inspired by Mr. Williams in the school production of 'Coriolanus' and grew after he suggested I join the Portsmouth Youth Theatre. My main motivation for joining was, I confess, the ratio of girls to boys - about five to one - but, in time, under the influence of Len Russell and his wife Jean who ran the youth theatre, I came to love acting and the theatre in their own right and was consequently heavily involved in 'am-drams' until leaving the R.A.F. in 1986.
In the service however this hobby did not always sit too well. In Plymouth where I was stationed I belonged to several am-dram companies and this resulted in my being investigated by the S.I.B. branch of the service police for being gay; their reasoning being - "social contact with homosexuals means you must be one". It seems farcical now but it was quite scary at the time. Also, I was always trying to duck night duties or detachments away as they interfered with rehearsals and this was frowned upon.
So, on leaving the mob in '86 (I took redundancy after the branch closed as a result of defence cuts) it seemed the obvious thing to do, as a professional, what I loved most. I was lucky enough to get my equity card at the Plymouth Theatre Royal doing rep for a couple of years, then moved to London in 1988 and have been scratching around in the business, without any great success I must admit, ever since. However, my love of the theatre, set in motion by Mr Williams all those years ago, has never waned and there is still nothing I'd rather be doing.
I attended the Southern Grammar School from 1956 until 1961. My last class was 5B.
I was not very successful with my GCE’s so decided to leave and joined the Royal Marines at the age of 16. In 1963 I was serving in Borneo during the height of the Confrontation until 1965. Then I had 2 subsequent tours, based in Singapore, until 1970. I retired in 1987 after 26 years of service, as a Captain.
During my time in the Royal Marines I was the Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the Corps and played for the Royal Navy at Basketball with one memorable game against England. Other representative sports I was involved with during my time in the Royal Marines were cricket, rugby and athletics.
My second career started with a four year contract operating out of Dubai, in 1988, where I was the Co-ordinator for maritime security for oil tankers during the Iranian/ Iraqi war. In 1992 my ten year tenure in the Balkans working for the FCO commenced with being based in Belgrade. I was “on the ground” throughout the war and was located in Banda Luka and Mostar during the height of the troubles. My final contract, in the Balkans was in Pristina, Kosovo. Subsequently I was awarded the MBE for services rendered.
In 2004 I was approached to head up a team to go to Banda Aceh because of the tsunami that occurred on Boxing Day of that year.
In 2005 my final contract was 2 tours in Afghanistan in an active war zone.
Since my retirement I had taken up Golf and Bowling where I represented Devon last year.
Ron Sonnet (joined 1945)
I joined SGB in 1945, i.e. 65 years ago (my granddaughter goes to school in the same building!), joined the staff 42 years back to work with some of the men who had taught me, and Deputy Head 36 years ago - some of my former teachers were still there! I join you all in saluting them and thanking them for making my career possible and rewarding. We shall not see their like again.
Ron Sonnet February 2010.
Ed: Sadly, Ron passed away in 2016. See Obituaries page.
Jonathan Such (joined 1959 )
I am currently living in Johannesburg.
I am a very fit GrandMaster marathon runner and actually weigh slightly less than I did at school!!!!!!!!! At 63 years of age I am still doing the half marathon regularly in close to 90 minutes and am entered for this year's Great North Run. [Ed: Blimey - doesn't that make you green with envy?!! Fortunately, Jonathan doesn't have his Senator's blazer any more as he knows it would still fit him! How many of us could say that?]. (Posted in 2011)
Update from Jonathan Such (March 2012) Jonathan is pleased to report his continuing progress as a competetive Grandmaster Runner (Over 60 yrs). Now that he has retired he can devote as much time to train as he likes and when he likes. Most days he runs about 10 km and cycles 15 kms. The cycle training means that he can work out extra kilojoules without stressing his joints and tendons that road running is so hard on.
He visited the UK last September 2011 to run in the Great North Run Half Marathon. This race attracted a huge field of 50 000 runners with
1000 over 60 year olds included. Jonathan finished in 5th place overall in his age group recording 1h 35 mins for the half marathon.
This year 2012 he has been competing seriously in South Africa and has been 1st in his age group on two occasions, 2nd on four occasions and 3rd once.The picture attached shows him receiving his gold medal for 1st place in the Dischem race in Johannesburg in January. Presenting the medal and a cash prize is the one and only Zola Budd. She is currently in South Africa training for the Comrades Marathon in June and is hoping to do well in the 45 year plus age group.
Update from Jonathan Such (May 2017): Recently I was admitted to a most exclusive club. The 100 000 lifetime miles club (160 000 kms). This comprises a small group of lifetime athletes who have logged accurately every mile they have run in training and racing throughout their lives. To run 100 000 miles or as I prefer to record my own efforts 160 000 kms required me to average over 10 kms a day every day for 43 years.
I did not start running on a regular basis until I had left school, finished Varsity, married and was expecting my first daughter. This was in 1973. I soon realised that I had a natural talent for distance running and joined Tipton Harriers as I was working in the Black Country. On moving to Warwick I joined Leamington Cycling and Athletic where I became best friends with Cavin Woodward, a world champion ultra distance runner of that period. I started running marathons and ultras an activity which I stopped in 2000 though still maintaining my running at shorter half marathon distances.
Even today as I approach 70 I still can run a half marathon in under 2 hours and frequently win age group prizes. My fastest ever marathon was 2h 30 minutes and my best half was 1h 12 minutes, times I can only dream about now. My total continues to rise and is currently 167 000 kms or four times round the world.
Nigel Surry (joined 1949)
The whole course of Nigel Surry's life was irrevocably set after two terms at Paulsgrove Secondary Modern School for Girls (over which a veil shall be drawn, o gentle reader) [Ed: I thought how lucky Nigel had been to have attended a girls' school for two terms until I realised he'd been there as a member of staff!!!]. This baptism of fire for which even two years National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals, and three years at Oxford, left him singularly unprepared, eventually led to Portsmouth College of Technology in 1965, where he began lecturing in history, as well in the early days, teaching English to catering students.
Many years later, in 1987, he took early retirement from the Polytechnic (voluntary redundancy on a bad day), after which he devoted himself to his first love, eighteenth century England, resulting in an exhibition, George Beare 'Eminent Face Painter ' (fl.1743-1749) at Pallant House, Chichester in 1989, the publication of 'Your affectionate and loving sister,' the correspondence of Barbara Kerrich and Elizabeth Postlethwaite 1733 to 1751 (Larks Press 2000), and most recently, A Portsmouth Canvas: the Art of the City and the Sea 1770 to 1970 (Fortune Press 2008) - to the unalloyed delight of a discerning public.
Nigel Surry looks back with unashamed nostalgia to his years at the Old School, above all for his time in the Sixth Form, where he benefited from the brilliant teaching of Richard Fox, Sid Parnell and Saxon Walker, and of equal importance, the companionship of those choice spirits, Frank Harfield, Jim Riordan and Terry Wheeler.
Ed: Nigel has also written a book entitled A Portsmouth Canvas The Art of the City And the Sea 1770-1970 and encourages others to consider doing similarly - pointing to membership of the Society of Authors , and Anna Crosbie's How To Publish Your Own Book (Oxford 2006) as useful starters. See also, Nigel's contribution in "Former Staff" relating to Mesrs Jeffries and Downing.
Roger Tollervey (joined 1956)
Having left school with a few O levels and little ambition I worked as a lab assistant in the Technical School leaving for somewhat better prospects in what was then called the Royal Navy Scientific Service at the Naval Aircraft Materials Laboratory Fleetlands. After some 10 years of work and day release education I spotted an advert for a job with the RAF in Cyprus and although not knowing much about the Island I figured it could not be worse than Gosport so applied. I then spent nearly 4 years as chemist in charge of the Fuels and lubricants laboratory in RAF Akrotiri with my first wife Marion. It was a great experience marred only slightly by the Military Coup and Turkish Invasion.
On return to the UK I was posted to Harefield (London Borough of Hillingdon) where my two children Jonathan and Rebecca were born. On closure of the laboratories I moved to the HQ of the MOD quality assurance laboratories in Woolwhich which was when I realised that there were worse places than Gosport. After 3 years I asked for a career interview with Personnel Management and came out with the offer of a new job - in Personnel Management. One of the main attractions of the job was that it was in Bath but the work was both interesting and challenging. The post was time limited and after 3 years I was required to seek a new post, I was advised that the MOD were short of explosives technologists ( I should have asked why) so I was sent to the Royal Military College of Science for 7 months to do a post grad diploma in explosive ordnance technology. From there I was posted to work in the Chief Inspector of Naval Ordnance organisation at Ensleigh north of Bath.
Initially the work was clearing any explosive ordnance from RN sites scheduled for disposal but there was increasing demand for broader site investigation looking for other contaminants on a Departmental level so it was back to school again, this time a part time MSc in contaminated land management. This resulted in the most rewarding years of my career with the MOD, building and managing a team of specialists to undertake site investigations and clearance work. It didn't hurt my promotion prospects either and I retired from the MOD in 2008 at deputy director level. From then until now (Dec 2012) I have worked part time for an environment consultancy in Bristol but my contract has now ended.
Having divorced in the mid 90s I married my second wife Barbara in 2002 and live in Midsomer Norton some 10 miles south of Bath. My son Jonathan works as a web developer and Rebecca is a patent lawyer. Barbara also has a son, Peter who is a producer for CBS news and a daughter Jane who is a barrister.
I am trying to overcome a compulsion to collect things (with a great deal of encouragement from my wife) and ebay has benefited from downsizing my collections of watches, cameras, pens etc which collectively Barbara calls junk. I also decided that I would like to play a musical instrument and took up the banjo at the age of 65, another first for me is the restoration of a classic 1972 MGB GT - not sure which one the neighbours prefer. (Dec. 2012)
Chris Vincent (1959-1966)
I have been teaching PE in Havant area for 35 years, now moved over to Admin as Exams Officer and Cover Administrator at Warblington School in the town.
Living in Langstone, not yet ready for retirement but still a cricket fanatic. Interested in classical music and theatre going. Married 34 years to Lesley and with two children, Laura 25 and James 22.
As a member of the Old Secundrians committee keen to get as many of my year together, particularly at the dinner, but also an informal `do` in, say, November of each year. [Ed: First of these meetings was held in November 2009 and repeated annually since then - see Message Board. For more information contact Chris Vincent (via Peter Higgins or Clive Williams in Contacts) - updated September 2015.
Richard Wall (1965 -1972)
I joined form 1K with Commander Watts as form master.
After 'O' Levels, I stayed on for 'A' Levels in Pure Maths, Applied Maths and Art, eventually leaving in 1972.
I recall a school visit to a naval computer in Gosport where, having seen a series of punch cards fed into the computer and come out of the other end full of holes, I was singularly unimpressed, as schoolboys are, and decided that there was no way I was ever going to work with computers.
Inevitably, almost my whole working life has been with computers in IT, as a developer, designer and project manager and, for many years, my current role as a business analyst.
I worked most of that time for Eastern Electricity in Ipswich although for over two years I commuted daily to Farringdon in London and for about two and a half years I commuted weekly to Bracknell in Berkshire. Last year I started with my present employer, the Baker Tilly Revas (part of the accountancy group), back in Ipswich.
I live in Kesgrave, a village that became a town with the arrival of the new millennium. Kesgrave is in Suffolk, between Ipswich and Woodbridge, on the A1214.
I am married with three children. My wife, Claire, was a veterinary nurse when we met and now works in the operating theatres at Ipswich Hospital.
My daughter achieved a first in Visual Studies at what is now the Norwich University College of the Arts where she also achieved her MA and now works as the Digital Video Workshop Manager.
My elder boy has a degree in Sociology with Drama and is doing a masters part-time whilst working as a teaching assistant. He is off to Leicester University for his PGCE later this year.
My younger boy is in the final year of a Film Studies degree, also at the Norwich University College of the Arts.
Incidentally, my daughter exhibited, alongside Old Secundrian Christopher Le Brun, at the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail in 2009.
I also watch football. I have watched live football from park level to internationals since the early 1970's, when I was still at the SGS, and haveseen all or part of over 10,000 matches since. My first non-league match was Moneyfield Sports v Winchester City. My first park match was Havant & Leigh Park (now Havant & Waterlooville) v Hillside at Great Salterns in Havant's last ever match as a Sunday League side. My best match was when I watched Portsmouth win the FA Cup at Wembley, something I never expected in my lifetime.
Richard Wall 2010
Roger Watts (1942-47)
Roger Watts attended the Southern Grammar from 1942-1947 and under wartime evacuation was part of the Arnewood community. He was no sportsman but acted in school plays and debated in the school's Athenaeum.
In 1947 he joined HM Customs and Excise at Southampton and two years later entered the Inland Revenue. During seventeen years with the Revenue he served in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and his work included spells in liaison with the Republic of Ireland, auditing and fraud investigation. In 1967 he moved to Glasgow with the Post Office Savings Department where he later became Controller of the National Savings Bank and Capital Bond Office.
He retired in 1991 and still lives in Glasgow with his wife June. They met and married during his National Service in the RAF. Since retirement Roger and June have done volunteering work with Operation Raleigh, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, The National Trust for Scotland and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Roger's love of geography was inspired by his teacher's (Mr Stocks) enthusiasm and led him to five years as Chairman of Council of the RSGS. His work was recognised by an Honorary Fellowship in the 1990s and by the award of the Scotia Medal in 2006. Nowadays time is divided between grandchildren, gardening, volunteer guiding with NTS and giving historical and travel talks.
Derek Webb (1963-68)
Born in Kent, and brought up in Portsmouth, left SGS half way through A-levels, Derek spent many years working as a copywriter and Creative Director in a a variety of major advertising agencies, before becoming a freelance scriptwriter and director in 1996.
Since then he has produced a steady output of stage plays. His first play, Dog Eat Dog, was produced by the South London Theatre in 1998; his second Bringing Back the Bluestones was premiered in Pembrokeshire in 2002. He has also written three other full length stage plays, Mind Games , Ad Nauseam and Out on a Limb , as well as several one-act plays - a number of which have been performed in various venues including the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and the Grand Theatre, Swansea.
Derek has dramatised a large number of children’s books for audio, including The Minpins and Esio Trot by Roald Dahl; several Enid Blyton ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ stories; and 80 minute dramatisations of children’s classics.
Now lives in Pembrokeshire with his wife and son, having moved from Surrey in 2001 to get away from the M25. Living in the shadow of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire he is writing plays, video scripts and children's books. His first 'Is' about a girl who thinks she is Isambard Kingdom Brunel (who was born in Portsea!) reincarnated, is due to be published by Parthian on April 9 2010 – Brunel's birthday. See Waterstones.com or Amazon.com for more details. www.derekwebb.co.uk
Colin White (1949)
David Williams (1962-68)
After a career in teaching, latterly as Deputy Head of Chichester High School for Girls, I took early retirement in 2010 and now live in Marlborough, Wiltshire. I have continued my interest in amateur drama and am involved with groups locally, both as director and actor. Those early experiences on the SGS stage in the 1960's, directed by my father (Macbeth, The Tempest, An Enemy of the People) have never quite left me!
Arthur Roy Wrapson (1932-1936)
Known at school as Roy. I attended Southern Secondary School between 1932 and 1936. My brother Tony also attended the school, from 1935 to January 1940.
On leaving school I began an apprenticeship in motor engineering at Wadhams in Clarendon Road, Southsea. In the pre-war years I also attended Portsmouth Municipal College on two half-days a week for engineering studies.
I joined the Territorial Army when I was 18; hence I was called up for war service on 1st September 1939. I spent the early part of the war in northern France and then much of the remainder of it in the Middle East, including a secondment to the British Military Government in Cyrenaica during 1943. Most of my war years were spent in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), where I ended up as a Staff Sergeant at 7 Base Workshops in Alexandria, Egypt.
I married in 1949 and immediately after a short honeymoon my wife and I took over the Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, newsagent and general store, which we later expanded to include a Post Office.
In 1953 my wife and I bought tickets for the sea journey to New Zealand and arrived here, via a stopover in Sydney, at the beginning of February 1954. We have lived in the Auckland area since that time, apart from a 10 year break from 1964-1974 when we returned to the UK. During those years both our daughters attended Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls, which by then had taken over part of the land on which the boys Secondary School had been situated.
I have been retired since 1987, when my wife and I had a trip back to England and Europe for 3 months; in 1989 we had another trip for a similar period. Unfortunately my health has not allowed me to make any more return visits since then. However, we keep in touch with happenings in Pompey via relatives, friends and the internet.
[Editor's note: Sadly, Roy passed away in 2012]
Leslie Yeo (Joined 1929)
The following contribution was sent to us by Leslie's daughter, Anthea, in 2006:
At school he excelled at in sports and represented the school on many occasions particularly in swimming, athletics (he was an outstanding sprinter) and soccer. At school he met Victor Blackman and although they went their separate ways they met up again in the 1950s while they were both in the navy and remained friends thereafter.
On leaving school he entered the Portsmouth Dockyard School as an armament fitter apprentice in 1934. However, with the threat of war he decided to terminate his apprenticeship and in April 1938 joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinance Artificer. During the war he was engaged in active service in many parts of the world including taking part in the Russian and Maltese convoys. He remained in the navy for 28 years coming out in 1966 to take up a post as a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Highbury Technical College until his retirement in 1983.
Leslie married Vera in 1941. Sadly, she passed away in 1983 . He had four children , two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In retirement Leslie enjoyed gardening and being with his family. He became very involved with freemasonry and held many offices at the various lodges of which he was a member.
Sadly, Leslie passed away in March 2005.
Chris Wrein (1965-72)
I started off in the City Treasurer's Department at Portsmouth City Council having left Southern with 3 (not very impressive) 'A' Levels which qualified me to become a trainee accountant. Some of the work was quite interesting but I had great difficulties with the exams and so eventually moved on to the Housing Department in the Housing Applications Section. The idea of working where I could help people appealed to me.
What an eye opener that was! In my naivity I had always thought that, if you were looking for somewhere to live, you would approach your prospective landlord with a bit of courtesy. Swearing and threats (from the public - not my colleagues!) were the order of the day. I suppose you get used to it but I found it really surprising at the time.
Luckily, after a couple of years, I did have some success in my Institute of Housing exams and became a Housing Assistant at the Paulsgrove office which I quite enjoyed as it meant going out onto the estate and meeting people even if it was to chase rent arrears and sort out neighbour disputes. The people were the salt of the earth.
However, the money wasn't all that good and I and my then wife were looking for somewhere decent to live so I applied for and got a job as a Housing Management Officer in Eastbourne (1978). We were also provided with a flat which was great. Work-wise this was the happiest time of my life. I managed the same estate for seven years and was well known in the area for scooting round in my light blue mini car. "Oh Christ! - it's the bloody rent man again", they used to say to each other over the garden fence. It must have been an amusing sight as I am over 6'3 tall and, in those days, made Rodney Trotter look like Mr Universe!
Although Eastbourne was a comparatively sedate place, there were always loads of things going on around the Council estates, both funny and dodgy. Some of the Irish tenants were hilarious and I still laugh today at some of the things they did and said. They were real characters and always nice to me. I liked them very much. One old chap described to me the time he had a heart attack - not a nice subject but his description was brilliant. "Aah bejasus, me auld hairt was goin' loike de hammers o' hell!"
During this time I had divorced and then met my current wife and our first daughter was born in 1985. She had a terrible infection at birth which led to septicaemia and has resulted in severe hearing impairment. It was a difficult time but we got through it. Many people have it a lot worse than us but it teaches you to value your children and their health.
I'm still in touch with pals from Eastbourne who were so supportive during the difficult times and can never be thanked enough.
I think I was fairly popular with the tenants on the estate in Eastbourne but time came to move on, particularly as I now had a small family and needed a bit more money to get onto the property ladder. I got a job in Gosport in early 1986 as a Senior Housing Officer - my first job as a manager! Suddenly all the things that used to happen automatically, I had to ensure happened.
Well, I stayed in the Gosport Housing Department for about 16 years and then, following a impending redundancy situation, moved on to Democratic Services in the same organisation where I still am. The job basically involves sending out agendas of Council committee meetings and taking the minutes. In reality there is a hell of a lot more to it than that and, in fact, it's quite interesting with plenty of adrenalin rushes. I even got a promotion!
I also did a Saturday job as a postman in Portsmouth from 2001-2008 which was fun and provided a completely different working environment, a good bit of exercise and some welcome extra income. Our eldest daughter, Vicky, was soon to start at Sussex University to study French and Spanish so the extra money came in handy.
I suppose, all in all, I have been a bit of a disappointment career-wise for a chap who was in the K form and did his 'O' and 'A' Levels a year early. However, more importantly, I have three daughters who have all been to or are at university.
Our middle daughter, Mandy, is close to finishing her studies as an Operating Department Practitioner, spending most of her time at Southampton Hospital. The youngest, Charlotte, is studying Spanish at Portsmouth Uni. This means that we speak four languages in our family with me speaking French and German, the only subjects I was any good at and which I have pursued since leaving Southern.
My wife, Hazel, is from Northern Ireland and still uses a lot of expressions that I have never heard of. When she first visited me my flat in Eastbourne she asked me where the hot press was. I thought, "Great! She wants the ironing board and is going to do my shirts" but apparently the hot press is the airing cupboard and she was just being nosey.
I am immensely proud of all my children and glad also that my wife and I have been able to support them during their studies despite being financially not very well off.
Chris Wrein 2010