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  #1  
Old 14-06-08, 13:31
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Default High school memories

My old high school headmaster has returned to haunt me....Frank Farmer. He used to mention to us at morning assemblies, remarks of his POW days ..He survived a ship sinking .. the ship was taking a load of POWs to Japan and it was torpedoed by a US sub.. At the op shop yesterday, I found him detailed in a book called 'Return from the River Kwai' .. Amazing . He was incredibly lucky to have survived .. only a handfull made it onto rafts . He was a slave on the Thai railway .


He was a strange man.. he would come into a class , just barge in unanounced and pick some kid out and slap the kid across the face .. I witnessed this myself .. he hit a girl in my class .


He had snowy white hair ... about 60 .


Mike
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  #2  
Old 14-06-08, 14:19
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Geoff Winnington-Ball (RIP) Geoff Winnington-Ball (RIP) is offline
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Ah, the good ol' days... mine were from '65-'71 here in Toronto. My English master doubled as the cadet battalion (we paraded 500 on average) Bren Gun instructor and also happened to be an English tank commander captured in Normandy. He had some pretty amazing tales when you could get him sidetracked, but what I remember most was both the classroom and field instruction for his ignorant, fledgling Bren teams (we had six in total). He was the same guy who appointed me Battalion Armourer & Range Officer for my last year at the college... I had to range qualify all 500 of my mates and had the only other key to the armoury, which held six Brens, a dozen No.7 Rifles, about 150 No.4 Rifles (including two complete sniper equipments), 10 C1A1s, about a dozen C1 SMGs and several hundred training rifles. Between chasing women and spending my time in the armoury and on the range, I'm surprised I even passed that year...

Our Latin master/rugger instructor was a British Royal Marine who was involved in the U.S. Marines' retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in Korea - a short, jovial, fireplug-type who had a biting wit which hid the fact that he had an underlying mean streak a mile wide - the phrase "cheerful penchant for violence" seems to apply here. I idolised him.

There was another chap in the infantry who lost a leg late in the war but that never stopped him, although he didn't teach, just did admin at the school. Our PT master was another Royal Marine, again barrel-chested and bound and determined to make you do what he wanted.

There were more as well, although those three are the ones I remember best.
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  #3  
Old 14-06-08, 16:21
Alex Blair (RIP) Alex Blair (RIP) is offline
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Wink Teachers

When I started school in '49 at the tender age of five ,I clearly remember lining up in the school yard in classes and marching into school ,directly to our class room...I can't remember his name but I'm sure he was ex-military,teacher..
Brush cut ,high and white..ram rod straight and could bark at kids across the yard and make them pee them selves from fright...patrolled around the yard while waiting for the enter bell with a wooden pointer under his arm,much the same way as the RSM carries his pace stick..
The method of disciplining kids that he caught unaware by coming up behind them,would have him in jail today..He would grab a pinch of hair ,high on the offenders neck and give it a jerk upward..
He could hang knots on your head faster than you could rub them...with his one center knuckle..he would bring tears to the eyes of kids that were friggin' around,with a quick snap of his fingers to the center of ones forehead..much like one would flick a booger or a fly...one sees stars and tears come to the eye..
I'm sure he was a great teacher,but I know he was a disciplinarian from the old school..
It's too bad that kind of discipline has gone out with modern "Political Correctness"...If we had that man today ,and a million more like him ,running our schools,we would never have a problem with our kids on the street..or any where else..

Later in high school we had a teacher that came from Cape Breton..His whole family worked the coal mines for generations and he told us his story ..He too worked the coal mines after high school..the first in his family to do so..
He saved enough money to go to University and get a teaching degree..and escaped the coal mines forever...Taught us English..He was a huge man..Had to be 6'6" if he wqas an inch..when he stood at the front of the class and read from what ever play we were studying that day,you could only see the odd corner of the book sticking out from his monstrous hands..
IN the late fifties and early 60's we all wore black leather jackets ,of course and although I didn't witness it ,heard that my brother ,a few grades ahead of me was friggin' around in his English class and annoying MR.Big...well sir,..That man covered the distance between them in about two step and had my brother by the shirt/leather jacket/front and pulled him out of his desk and slammed him into the wall...They say my brother had at least three feet clearance between his feet and the floor as he listened to Mr.Bigs voice on full volume,just inches from his face,telling him how he will act in HIS ENGLISH classes...

These educators are gone now...and we are the worst for it...bless the hard men that survived the war and came home to teach us the difference between right and wrong...
Our Veterans..
Bless 'em all..
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Old 15-06-08, 01:05
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Default Teachers

What a great idea for a thread Mike!

A lot of us are from a generation where our teachers were WW2 vintage. In my case we had several ex-RAAF types who would even regale us with stories. One of our teachers was the school chaplain who was a Catalina pilot. I caught up with him many years later at a school reunion - he was almost deaf as a result of flying - he told me of a chant he learned doing funeral detail on his second day of flight training at Temora in 1943. This is what they said as they marched the coffin into the graveyard:
"I saw him crash, I watched him burn; he held off bank in a gliding turn"

There was one exceptional army man in the form of Henry Byron-Moore who was in the mould of Alex's teacher - he taught biology and commanded terrible respect from we students although we also enjoyed him immensely.

The biology classroom was on an upper level reached by a steel staircase. Once class had started you could hear latecomers walking up the stairs. Henry would wait behind the door and with a bellow "You're LATE, Matey" ringing in his ear the surprised boy would find himself propelled into the room by his hair.

Like you said, this wouldn't happen today, more's the pity. It certainly taught there were consequences to be considered by one's actions.
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Old 15-06-08, 01:13
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Default Speaking of old teachers

My wife went to boarding school had an interesting one - a Scottish lady who had been a policewoman (not sure whether she had war service as well but was the right vintage)...

One evening she came into the dormitory pretending to be a dog urinating on the leg of each bed.

She was gone the next day without any explanation from the school.
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  #6  
Old 15-06-08, 05:28
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Geoff Winnington-Ball (RIP) Geoff Winnington-Ball (RIP) is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith Webb View Post
My wife went to boarding school had an interesting one - a Scottish lady who had been a policewoman (not sure whether she had war service as well but was the right vintage)...

One evening she came into the dormitory pretending to be a dog urinating on the leg of each bed.

She was gone the next day without any explanation from the school.
We Scots can be a bit peculiar that way.

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Old 15-06-08, 05:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Winnington-Ball View Post
We Scots can be a bit peculiar that way.

Och Aye.
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  #8  
Old 15-06-08, 12:02
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Default more

Reading the responses , it is interesting , the different experiences .. those days do shape us .

One teacher at my school, the PE instructor , was verging on being taken away and locked up, he was of German or Dutch heritage , not sure which. Anyway, to give you an example .. we were all given leather cut - offs from a cricket ball factory .. we plaited them together to make skipping ropes ( I've still got mine here ). This guy would pick out three of us , and time us over a minute , skipping ... Now , you had to count how many times you skipped over the minute ... he would then ask one out of the three , "how many skips did you do?" On one occassion my unfortunate classmate got it wrong and MR... laid into him with his leather skipping rope, right across his legs , the soft part, the calves. The poor kid was jumping around in pain , like a western movie scene it was , shooting at someone's feet.

The said PE fascist, had a wicked temper .On bad days , he would round up any boy in sight and we went on forced runs around the suburb..in full school uniform.. wearing winter jackets .The boys in front would yell out " You bloody NAZI " . He loved humiliating anyone he thought wasn't good enough.. " go over there" ... then " come back here " to some kid , the kid would walk back and forward a few times .

Best thing at high school, the dancing classes with the girls in your class, in the assembly hall.... of course Mr. Neurotic PE man, put a stop to that , when he arrived. I almost had nightmares over this guy each Wednesday night.. the PE classes were on Thursday ... straight after lunch.

The Melbourne High Cadet unit , had a bren stolen .. it endup up in Ireland with the IRA .. true story .

Mike
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Last edited by Mike Kelly; 15-06-08 at 12:04. Reason: spelling
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  #9  
Old 15-06-08, 16:40
Alex Blair (RIP) Alex Blair (RIP) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kelly View Post
The Melbourne High Cadet unit , had a bren stolen .. it endup up in Ireland with the IRA .. true story
How Much did you get for it...????

Possibly your old teacher could have been Dutch....A "Nazi" is possible the worst thing that a Dutch person could call any one...even worst that calling them a "Lawyer" or a "politition"...and with very good reason..
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Old 15-06-08, 18:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Winnington-Ball View Post
Ah, the good ol' days...the same guy appointed me Battalion Armourer & Range Officer for my last year at the college... I had to range qualify all 500 of my mates and had the only other key to the armoury, which held six Brens, a dozen No.7 Rifles, about 150 No.4 Rifles (including two complete sniper equipments), 10 C1A1s, about a dozen C1 SMGs and several hundred training rifles.

Between chasing women and spending my time in the armoury and on the range, I'm surprised I even passed that year...
I'm more surprised that you didn't deliberately fail, in order to do the whole year over again!
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Old 15-06-08, 18:56
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Sad to say, but there were no dashing GI Joes or ex-Biggles moonlighting at our school. We did have an old cleaner who shuffled about the school in a world of his own. Easily in his late 60's, we mostly assumed he was some kind of village idiot, because of the almost total lack of teeth and resulting speech impediment made it quite hard for bright young 13 year olds to understand even a word he said, and the wild wispy hair barely covered the misshapen depression in the side of his skull. The fact that he had one leg much shorter than the other and that shoe was built up like something that Elton John might wear was uproariously funny to smart young boys. Despite the mocking and tittering, he would patiently walk around the schoolyard picking up rubbish we would be too lazy to place in the bins. One day, this tomfoolery was overheard by one of the Teachers, who simply exploded. Not because we stupid boys were making fun of of someone with a disability (which was of course, totally inexcusable), but because this brave man was actually an ex-student of the school who had gone to war. It was simply all too much beyond our comprehension to guess that this old gent was a Veteran. During the evacuation of Greece, he had protected and helped wounded men in his unit until they were hit in an Artillery barrage. While many of his mates were killed, some survived. They managed to find a small boat and several of them sailed down the coast to Athens, but by the time they neared the the city, it was plain that events had overtaken their escape, and they continued to Crete. The small craft was harassed by German aircraft for over a week. When he arrived on Crete, it was feared that the head wound would eventually kill him, and the shattered bone in his leg might become gangrenous. Despite the odds he survived, and escaped, but would never be the same man again. Upon return to Sydney, he was given much help from another school Old Boy and Syrian campaign veteran, (later Sir) Roden Cutler VC, and found employment in the school grounds. They met in a hospital in Egypt, where Sir Roden was recovering from an amputated leg.

The true measure of the man is not what he endured in Greece, but the fact he endured at least 40 years of sniggering from snotty brats who didn't know any better. As we progressed through our school years, we observed the stoic way he continued on, while each year a new batch of students would treat him the same way, until reprimanded by a teacher or senior students (and God help you if it were a Cadet doing the reprimanding). If school taught me nothing else, it was the moment of enlightenment you get when you realise what a complete immature wanker you've been , and how you could be made to feel like the smallest piece of insignificant s***.

On occaisions, Sir Roden Cutler returned to the school as a VIP. Not only was he one of the most stellar Old Boys about (VC, Knighthood and Governor of NSW!), but he was also fond of his old school and a patron of the Cadet unit. When he would talk in an address about courage, bravery and excellence, he would say that not himself, but his old pal, our school cleaner was amongst the most bravest, couragest men he had ever known (And Sir Roden had a VC!!). As impressionable young youths, this had quite an emotionally proud effect on the Seniors, while he Junior boys were gobsmacked.Who needs six years of school, when the greatest lesson you could learn hits you from out of left field in less than a minute?
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  #12  
Old 15-06-08, 22:55
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Default Wow

Tony, that's one of the most interesting and poignant stories I've ever read, and so well told.

What a great insight into real courage and endurance.

Thanks so much for sharing it.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-08, 03:36
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Our modern languages master returned to teaching in 1946 after serving in the British Intellegence Corps. I remember him being asked what he did during the war, to which he replied..not much..just shuffled a few papers. Upon further questioning he did admit to spending some time in Quebec, Canada where he ran around looking for suspects alledged to be aiding German U-boats off the coast. Never did hear whether his mission bore fruit. What are the facts ? Brian Mendes

Last edited by alamotex; 05-07-08 at 03:38. Reason: Spelling
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