Category Archives: News

Newsletter 2017 and lunch invite


As we all look forward to our Annual OCA(UK) Lunch at the Bombay Brasserie on Saturday 24 June, I thought to give you a quick update on the Pupil Exchange Programme between BCS and Marlborough College.

With great effort on the part of Mr Roy Robinson on the one hand and the continued support and keen interest of Mr Jonathan Leigh, Master of Marlborough College, on the other, a final date has been fixed for the BCS boys, accompanied by Mr Dinesh Thakur, to visit Marlborough 20 – 27 May. The Grade 8 BCS boys will meet up with their counterparts in the Shell Class and get a good idea of life at a British public School.

I am planning to go to Marlborough with our Chairman, Kuljinder Bahia, for the boys’ last couple of days at the school and hopefully take then out for a curry dinner there.

Since attending the OCA (India) annual lunch at Mr D.C. Anand’s Company HQ in Hauz Khas, my time spent as a Governor of BCS has seen me involved in pursuing not only the Exchange but, with Mr Anil Mehra’s initiative and pressure, to see big infrastructure improvements of the kitchens and the completion of the new residential quarters for the staff. Kuljinder’s generous contribution to the school has seen new model classrooms and the refurbishment of the House Comm0n Rooms, starting with Lefroy House – naturally.

The school continues to have good grades in their academic results and keep their heads high in the Interschool Debating contests and sports as well.

With the young BCS boys coming over to England, we now look forward to seeing a lot of older OCs at the Lunch and as many of you who can make it to London. I am going down to Somerset to spend a couple of nights with Bob and Gilly Myers and being joined there by Col. Bill Dewan and wife Neelam as well as Paddy Singh and Daniela.

Sheila Reed very generously continues to host a lunch at her home where there is a good gathering of some 20 or so OCs with their wives.

These meetings of OCs during the year are so important to keeping us all up to date with the lives of our old school friends. Chairman Kuljinder himself, holds gatherings in London where those living there, or passing through, meet up.

I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.
With best wishes,
Gay Niblett [Hon. Life President OCA(UK)]

Dear Old Cottonians

The request goes out please come & join us for 2017 annual last Saturday 24 June at the Bombay Brasserie.

As a new comer to joining the Internet and with the kind assistance of the Web Master I have subscribed and followed two Reunion events. First in February OCA New Delhi & recently the Canadian chapter in Ontario, reading up, both splendid occasions. Shabash for keeping the Spirit of BCS. Our OCA(UK) London Reunions have always been a delight, joined by many from abroad adding that special fraternal togetherness. Even last year we had two consecutive years the Headmaster & Mrs Robinson attend. 2014 Mr Bhadwaj’s visit delivered his very personal moving speech. We have welcomed OCs from everywhere!

We full well know senior members are in decline and we call on younger members to remember…….from those who’ve gone before to those who’ve yet to come! From our chapter we lost Hashim Khan & Eric Waughray last April, Peter Travers in December & Ron Plunkett in February. Not forgotten but the personal memories we shared with them still remain.

And here is something I want to share – our stalwart Treasurer Puneet Singh has been blessed with a baby daughter – and congratulations Mum! OCA Nepal has opened a chapter in Kathmandu and celebrated dinners last year with visiting OC guests … Brilliant.

I have always felt a privilege and with pride my formative five years at dear Patina has illustrated for me our simple motto “Overcome evil with Good” does work & carries our Association into the future. Sharing news & experiences on the Internet is wonderful but the innocent simple luncheon meeting captures first place.

Well think it over – see you there

Yours fraternally
Peter Stringer Lefroy 1943-47

All OC’s and their family members are invited to attend OCA (UK) annual lunch, which is to be held on Saturday 24 June 2017 (11.15 am onwards) at the Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London (closest underground station is Gloucester Road).

Details of our 2017 annual reunion are as follows –

Date ​​24 June 2017 (Saturday)
Time ​11.15 am onwards
Venue ​Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London SW7 4QH
The closest station is ​Gloucester Road
—————————————————————————————————-
1. Bombay Brasserie will charge us £32.50 per person for food. Please therefore pay in advance by telegraphic transfer (preferred method) or by cheque.
Telegraphic Transfer
Lloyds TSB Bank
Sort Code ​30 93 84
Account Number ​00126972
Reference ​Please insert your name (plus number of guests)
Cheque
Please make your cheque payable to OCA (UK) and send it to our treasurer Mr Puneet Singh, 6 Sheridan Court, 47 Belsize Road, London NW6 4RY. Please write your name on the reverse of your cheque. OC’s can also contact Puneet on 07841590990 or puneetsingh932@hotmail.com
** Any donations to OCA (UK) would be greatly appreciated.
2. You will have to pay additional for your drinks (prices are approximates and might vary).
a. ​Bottle of house white / red wine – £24.20
b. ​125ml glass of house white / red wine – £6.60
c. ​Beer – £6.60
d. ​Soft drinks – £3.30
3. If you have any questions about the reunion, then please get in touch with Mr Puneet Singh using the details shown above or Mr Gursant Sandhu on 07788716525 or gs@notarypublicgs.co.uk.

First Class Cricketers killed in World War 2 & Some distinguished OCs from 1926-1928

Dear All,

I am taking the liberty of forwarding an interesting piece of correspondence concerning an Old Cottonian, Vivian Chiodetti who passed out in 1912. Please read the exchange of mails that follows this note.

I happened to glance through the list of names from 1864-2004  http://www.oldcottonians.org/ocs1863-2004_listing.htm A quick read is interesting and lists some very distinguished people.

For the year 1926 it lists the name of Dewan Ranjit Rai (for more go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewan_Ranjit_Rai)  father of Arunjit Raiwhose mother lived just after First Bridge ahead of East Bourne. She was the half sister of our dear friends Sukhinder and Mukhinder Singh. Dewan Ranjit Rai was awarded the Mahavir Chakra posthumously and is listed as one of the officers who saved the Kashmir Valley for India in 1947.

I quote from Wikipedia ”  He was the first officer of the Indian Army after independence to fight a battle on October 27, 1947. He was the first officer to be awarded the Mahavir Chakra. He died on October 27, 1947 in a paddy field near Pattan. Five generations of his family have served in the Indian Army, including his grandson Maj (retd) Shivjit Singh Shergill and great grandson Faridjit Singh Shergill”

The list for 1927 includes the name of Rustom Feroze Boga. I wonder if this gentleman was in any way related to the legendary sports person, Jal Boga, in the 1950’s. Jal Boga is an unusual Parsi because they have produced some of the best academics, lawyers and doctors but rarely an athlete!

That year also lists a few other interesting and charismatic people who made a name for themselves later in life. The Batra brothers both with the same initials R N with one being Rabinder and the other  Rajinder. One of them became a General in the army and it was his son who was in Curzon house having finished in 1966 or 1967. The Batras carry the long life gene!!

This was a distinguished class because it also consisted of Mr E A Cuzen who was the Lefroy Housemaster in 1954 when I joined School. I just discovered that his first name was Edward. He left BCS in 1957 and I am informed his son, Neil, joined the Royal Air Force. They also had a daughter Glenda. Never really heard much about this family after they left BCS. Mr Cuzen taught history and was quite a distinguished batsman and a decent hockey player.

Leslie Sawhny who distinguished himself in the corporate world, leaving the army prematurely, was the brother in law of J R D Tata. Leslie Sawhny, based on the history of the Tatas was intuitive in bringing about the selection of Darbari Seth of Tata Chemicals. Leslie Sawhny was also the man who turned around the fortunes of Taj hotel in Bombay which was at one time considered a white elephant by bringing in a band of good people that included Ajit Kerkar. Leslie Sawhny’s untimely death on the golf course was a body blow for JRD who depended on him almost completely in developing and shaping the Tatas at that time. There are several institutions today named after Leslie Sawhny and it is said that his departure was deeply felt by JRD and the Tatas for a long time.

The following year, 1928, lists the name of Narottam Sahgal better known as the former husband of Nayantara Sahgal, the writer and daughter of Mrs Vijay Lakshmi Pandit. Narottam Sahgal was well known in Bombay as the Managing Director of Ciba-Geigy and he accomplished a major job in handling their  pharmaceutical business and persuading the Swiss multinational to establish a research centre in Bombay when R & D was still not a fashionable word!!

So, we have quite a heritage of distinguished people and there are several others waiting to be written about. It would be a good idea to catalogue the lives of some of these legends. We always feel nicer by association when you have little to crow about !!

Warmly,

Vijay

—– Original Message —–

From: OCA Webmaster

To: Aditya Sondhi

Cc: Ajay Thiara ; Praveen Dharma ; Sukhinder Singh ; roy.robinson7@gmail.com ; vk@devats.com

Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 12:28 AM

Subject: Re: Fw: Fist Class Cricketers killed in World War Two

Dear Aditya

Mr Praveen Dharma who is an Old Cottonian himself and is a Staff Member at BCS Simla was able to look up the records of admission (called the Dooms Day Book!) and found that Mr Chiodetti was at BCS for just one year in 1912. Records appended to this email.

Yes, we are aware of your family Lambas who were at BCS.

Best regards Anil

On Mon, 10 Apr 2017 at 6:26 PM Aditya Sondhi  wrote:

Dear Anil (if I may),

Thank you for writing back. I’m sure this will take Nigel’s efforts further.

It would be a pleasure for me to send your OCA a copy of my book on the alumni of BCBS (http://penguin.co.in/book/non-fiction/the-order-of-the-crest-2/) as also a copy to BCS Shimla. Would the School address be apt for both?

Incidentally, my dad grew up in Shimla but schooled at your rival St. Edward’s. Several uncles (Lambas) went to BCS though.

Warm regards,

Aditya

———-

Aditya Sondhi, PhD
Senior Advocate
Additional Advocate General
State of Karnataka

On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 10:47 AM, OCA Webmaster <webmaster@oldcottonians.org> wrote:

Dear Aditya

This is fascinating.

Yes, Mr. Vivian Chiodetti is listed as being of the 1912 BCS Batch.

You can view the listing

http://www.oldcottonians.org/ocs1863-2004_listing.htm

We do not have any photos on file though, and therefore am copying Bishop Cotton School Headmaster Mr Roy Robinson to seek his assistance. It could be possible that Vivian Chiodetti is listed on one of the School Honor Boards.  I’m hoping that Mr. Robinson can depute one of the school boys to go look up the Boards and then send us a photo of the same. Maybe a photo of Mr. Chiodetti will also be found in the School records of class photos from for these do date back to 1912…

Best regards

Anil Advani

Webmaster for oldcottonians.org

On Mon, 10 Apr 2017 at 10:14 AM Aditya Sondhi wrote:

Dear Shimla OCA,

Please see the mails below. Would you be able to help?

Warm regards,

Aditya

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

From: Nigel McCrery Sent: Monday 10 April 2017 00:28

To: Aditya Sondhi

Subject: Re: Fist Class Cricketers killed in World War Two

Dear Aditya, Many thanks for the reply. Yes if you know anyone that could help that would be wonderful. It would be a shame to go to print with just that photograph missing. He played several sports for the school including cricket, so I am sure there must be a pic somewhere. Nigel MCcrery

From: Aditya Sondhi <>
Sent: 08 April 2017 08:33:45
To: Nigel McCrery
Subject: Re: Fist Class Cricketers killed in World War Two

Dear Mr McCrery,

A pleasure to hear from you and to hear about your upcoming book. My research suggests that Vivian Chiodetti is from Bishop Cotton, Shimla while my old school is Bishop Cotton, Bangalore. They are not sister institutions, though they are founded and inspired by the Bishop, respectively.

Would you like to try contacting the alumni association of BCS Shimla ? I have an email id for them from some years ago and hope it still works – ‎webmaster@oldcottonians.org

I would love to get hold of your book once it’s out. In my book – The Order of the Crest – sent to the MCC, I do refer to ‎Old Cottonian cricketers martyred in WW1. Should I come across names from WW2, I’d be happy to share them with you.

Do take a look at the book if you find the time.

With warm regards,

Aditya

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

From: Nigel McCrery

Sent: Friday 7 April 2017 21:29

To: aditya

Subject: Fist Class Cricketers killed in World War Two

Dear Sir, Your name has been given to me by the MCC. They think you might be able to help. I am just finishing a book on Fist Class Cricketers killed in World War Two to be called, “The Coming Storm” To be published by Pen and Sword this July (Cover attached). I am trying to get information on an old boy of the Bishop Cotten School, a school I understand you are an expert on. His details are,

Major Vivian Alexander Chiodetti. he served with the 2nd Manchester Regt attached to the 3rd Burma Rifles when he was killed on 17 January 1942. He was also a First Class Cricketer playing for Hyderabad. I am looking for any information on this man and especially photograph. I have been in touch with the school but they have not been very helpful and are I feel a tad confused about what I want. With your links with the school I was hoping you might be able to help, fingers crossed. He was born in Rawalpindi on 31 May 1905 and joined the army in 1925. He played cricket for his school I understand. Any help very gratefully received.  Many thank. Nigel McCrery

 

Canada OCs get-together 2017

13 OC’s along with their spouses and guests met at Bombay Palace Brampton Ontario. The food was sumptuous, the energy exhilarating, the atmosphere kinetic as every one was eager to catch up and rekindle old relationships.

The local channel blessed the event by showing Tamasha, starring Ranbir Kapoor the same day which shows BCS for more than 20 minutes.

John McLaughlin drove more than 6 hrs to share his stories and reminisce about his time and exploits at BCS. Jal Boga, healthy and hearty full decked in OC regalia talked about his time at school.

In the 17 years that I have been organizing our events, it is interesting to see boys just graduating from university and now becoming movers and shakers in the corporate world, getting married and becoming parents.

After dinner, the young at heart, headed to clubs to dance, some headed home. As usual Gurpreet invited us to a classic Punjabi chai and Provender, Gurpreet’s dad who was born in Simla, shared some amazing stories.

Two female guests remarked to me that how come all the guys are so cheerful. I told them it is the water we drink, the common ethos we live by of overcome evil with good.

Jerry

Letter from Peter Stringer

While I was Secretary of OCA (UK) for over 25 years, I regret now, for not being Internet connected. Slowly catching up with OCA web news I find to have lost opportunities to gather & exchange interesting contacts.

Now old news comments & views from Mike Weatherfeild who was a class mate, in Prep School – we called a ‘nib’ because he was so clever. Is he still around?
I also find – Sept2013- Geraldine Grimshaw whose father Douglas Horner (School Prefect ’44) mentions Douglas often recalls Whitty White & ‘Lumbo’ Peter Evans & the Willy Brothers. A direct ‘late’ response with regard to Lumbo Evans who often asked did I have any news or whereabouts of the aforementioned.

This may be of interest to some readers.

On invitation I often attended the very cordial Auckland House School London Reunions. Introduced to lady visiting from Australia, who at once informed me Peter Evans was her brother. Peter had moved to Holland after losing his wife, lived with his partner & Sheila would be visiting him before returning to AUZ. Peter wasted no time & was in touch with me.
He & Elisabeth came over & stayed with us & we exchanged many visits when he attended our London annual Reunions.

Sadly now Peter passed away 11 March 2012. Gay Niblett, Catherine & John Phillips, Arthur Jones & his daughter Julie, Maggie & I attend his funeral at Muiderberg.

I also have many interesting photographs – BCS connected if you might like to share

I shall be most obliged if you would be kind to post on the web.

Peter Stringer (Lefroy 1943-47)