Early last evening I took a call from Arthur Jones (L 43-48) who lives in Cambridge to say watch BBC2 at 8 pm & follow Michael Portillo – Indian Railways journey – Amritsar to Shimla.
Very nostalgic as both Arthur & I used to make the journey from Lahore (now Pakistan) along the same route.
Rehearsing through the programme starting at the Golden Temple at once brings to mind, on a visit to Indiaaah, how kindly obliging OC Santosh Singh in Amritsar arranged for Napinder Singh (C 43-50) & I to visit the beautiful Temple & later to watch the Tamasha at the Border Gates at Wahga Wahga.
Then a day or so later to be joined with Nappy’s late wife Parvesh spending the afternoon & lunch with Sukinder Singh’s Sister in Amritsar – onto Ludianah stopping to have lunch at a well known Dubba (restaurant).
That Railway line from Kalka to Simla rests in each BCS schoolboy’s memory forever – through Barog tunnel and for me the Ghurka band playing when the Sesquicentennial Special pulled in and stopped for a puri-tac lunch & on to Simla.
Finally, Portillo talking with OC Rajah Bashin who’s legendary knowledge of the town’s history filled me with proud pleasure. Reminded me once again of Old Cottonian hospitality when Rajah invited Maggie & me to a late reception for the wedding of his niece in the basement banqueting hall of the famous Gaiety Theatre.
Memories – memories how can any Ole boy forget?
Peter Stringer (Lefroy 43-47)
(click for larger view)
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)
School stories of the 1940 era, by: Peter Maidment. Rivaz 89 years / Jim Lee. Curzon 90 years / Dick D’Abreu. Curzon 88 years.
I have some very precious memories of my years at BCS Simla between 1941 and 1943. I was in Rivaz House when Peter Rollo was House Captain. We became very good friends, so much so that I was relocated to a bed adjoining the Captains cubicle in our dormitory overlooking the tennis courts. Our mutual friends Andy, Ken and Jim would often meet in the dormitory. Andy and Ken are now deceased, but Jim and I still correspond and talk with Dick D’Abreu (a later mutual friend) on Skype. Jim, Dick and I recently resolved that we had some good cause to be included in the Old Cottonian news that is still forwarded to members past and present, hence this account.
One of the regular incidents that occurred in those halcyon days was the surreptitious and sneaky nocturnal visits to the Pictures after lights out. The four good friends would get dressed up in Indian garb and walk all the way to the City to see the chosen film. On one occasion we were half way to our destination, when coming towards us were two House Masters who somehow recognised we were not the locals. To forestall this surprise discovery I involuntarily spoke a few garbled Hindustani words to make us seem authentic. It so happened that my House Master was one of the staff who recognised me and reprimanded me for setting a bad example as the then House Captain. I was given a firm lecture the next day and promised I would not commit the act again.
As a child being lead along the beach on the back of a pony was the only time I had ever been in a saddle. Pete, Ken and Andy desperately wanted to go horseback riding and persuaded me to join them one weekend. From a stable in Simla we rented the horses, and my request was for a small gentle horse because of my lack of experience. When the groom and his assistant brought the four horses into the courtyard, all saddled up, he walked over to me with an animal that must have been well over 16 hands. It was huge compared to the other three horses. He overcame my protests by telling me, that despite its size, the horse that he had picked for me was an old animal, very gentle, well trained and not a fast runner. My buddies assured me they would walk their horses alongside me to make sure I was alright, which they did until we got to a straight stretch of road known as “Ladies Mile.”It was the only area where a rider could gallop his mount. As we approached Ladies Mile my friends suggested that I let my hoprse graze on the shoulder of the road while they went around the corner and galloped to the end and back. That was fine with me because I was certainly not comfortable or confident to gallop on ‘the giant’I was astride. Away they went assuring that I would be ok until they returned. Well, it did not quite work out that way. When my horse heard the thunder of galloping hooves it raised its head, put its ears forward, and turned the corner in hot pursuit of the others. I was not prepared for the sudden burst of speed, and tried to stay in the saddle as best I could, pulling down on the reins and calling for help. I didn’t make it. I seemed to slide forward in the saddle and rolled to the ground off the horses neck. The horse stopped and just stood over me. The three ahead heard my desperate cries and turned to help. It was an embarrassing long walk back to school after returning the horses. I was shaken and bruised, but what hurt the most was my pride.
It was 36 years before I mounted another horse, my daughter Jennifer’s horse Quinn, and wouldn’t you know, I was bucked off even before Quinn took a step. After this second indignity I resolved I would confine my horsey activities to feeding the horse and cleaning the barn!.
As Peter in Sydney Australia, Jim in Langley Canada and I in Perth Western Australia chat for an hour once a week on Skype, we thought it would be nice to write a few lines on our interesting and happy days at Bishop Cotton School Simla in the 1940ies era.
From an early age of five years old my parents gave me a horse to ride of which I was able to manage very well. I used to ride the horse to my kindergarten classes on week days before I was sent to BCS as a boarder in 1936 in class Lower 1. My father worked on the Great Indian Peninsular Railway as a senior Interlocking Engineer while we lived in Jhansi. My parents would drum into my sister Grace and myself that they were making big sacrifices to send me to BCS and my sister to Auckland House so as to have the best of education. I took a while to adjust to boarding school in those early days as I could hardly dress myself, or tie up my shoelaces. A very kind servant that cleaned our shoes every morning saw my plight and used to assist me in getting dressed for class every day. Many a time I would cry on his shoulder. It never took me long to make friends, as our PT instructor Baby Hawkes taught me the finer points of boxing. At four stone in weight I was one of the flee weights.
In my latter years in school while in the senior classes I became good friends with Derek Blewett who also loved horse riding . Together we would go down to the stables at the Lower Bazaar on a Sunday to hire horses which we rode out to Auckland house to visit our sisters. My pocket money was a generous Rs 3.00 a week, the cost of hiring the horse was 8 Annas for two hours. The rest of the pocket money would be spent on Kurram’s tuck shop to buy peg tops and paper kites. We also used to spend it at Kurram’s sons place adjacent to tuck shop eating samousas and cups of tea. Freddy Brown who was a Cottonian in my early days at school returned after he left school as my Curzon House Master. He was a great person.
One Sunday on our visit to Auckland House on the horses, my horse that was tied up to the bench overlooking the girls playground came loose. It ran on to the playground, despite the girls and teachers chasing it the horse eluded capture. It was over an hour after which I took out some of my gelabbies to eat, (Indian sweets) which I had bought wrapped in brown paper, when to our surprise the horse came trotting up to see what I had. I was able to ride it back to the Lower Bazaar and promise to pay the syce the extra 4 Annas the following week.
In March, 1941, when I was 7 years old, Bill and I had to go away to boarding school at Bishop Cotton’s School in Simla. My mother took us on the first journey by train to Calcutta, an overnight stay in a hotel and then two days of trains up the Ganges valley to Delhi, Ambala and Kalka to ride finally for several hours up the ‘Kalka – Simla Express’. This was, of course, a light-hearted name for the mountain railway which climbed through endless hairpin bends, over 100 tunnels and beautiful forests of rhododendron and deodar to reach Simla at over 7,000 feet above sea level. We made this trip three more times for subsequent school years and it was always spectacular. The train used to make a stop half way up and people would get out and buy food. The upward trip was always in mid March and as we neared Simla there were often occasional banks of snow to be seen. Simla itself had a back-drop to the North of the high snow-clad peaks of the Himalaya.
My mother delivered us to the school for our first term and left after sad farewells. Bill was quite stoical about the whole thing, but I was absolutely distraught! For about three weeks I followed his footsteps like a lost puppy, longing for my mother, when suddenly the metaphorical skies cleared and I found my feet.
We first attended the Junior School which, as I recall, started with kindergarten and had four other grades called 1a, 1b, 2a and 2b. I was started in the kindergarten, I think because of a misunderstanding about my ability to read and write. My only memory from that class is of the way we had to greet the Headmaster’s 6 year old daughter when she arrived each day. Her name was Beatrice Sinker, nicknamed Beachie. We all had to chant in unison “Good morning, Beachie” as she walked in.
After quite a short time I was moved to 1a where the class teacher was a Miss Shilcock. I remember her as a rather gray woman, perhaps in her 40’s, though I don’t think I had much ability to judge age! Rumor had it that she wore no underwear, but no amount of standing at the foot of the stairs as she went up threw light on the story.
One of the things we spent a lot of time on was penmanship, using the old-fashioned copybook approach – a row of linked cursive a’s which we would take up to Miss Shilcock for approval. If she passed it you went on to do a row of b’s. I enjoyed this activity and my handwriting still shows the style I learned from her. I was moved up to 1b about half way through that first year and was from then on in the same class as Bill.
Kindergarten, 1a and 1b were housed on the ground floor of the same building as the dining room and the dormitories. 2 a and b were in the upper floor of a separate building whose ground floor housed a small auditorium. In between were some covered walkways and open unpaved areas which served as playgrounds. One of the favorite games was with string-driven spinning tops. Some of the boys were very skilled at tricks with these tops. A dry dirt bank at the back of the buildings was where we used to carve out roads and push around our Dinky Toy cars and trucks. We would also use the dirt almost like modeling clay to make buildings and other features. This mud was called ‘khakh’ which is the same word as the color khaki or mud-colored. One boy had a toy army truck made completely of lead! It was quite detailed and big and you could bend it to some extent. What a fit the government would have had today at the thought of all that lead, but we were all quite covetous of it.
Another popular game, apart from organized sports, was kite flying. Some boys came with bought kites but most of what we used we made ourselves. The design was simple with struts of light bamboo or perhaps balsa covered with tissue paper which was then painted with model airplane ‘dope’ to toughen and shrink the paper. There were almost constant up-currents from the bottom of the valley and we were able to get our kites tremendously high. It was almost a function of how fine and strong a twine you could get and how much you could manage on a spool.
Marbles were very popular, usually played on an area of hard, firm sand. We would mark a circle in the sand and put a number of marbles in the circle. You would then place your master marble (I don’t think we had a name for it) against the pad of your left middle finger, draw back your finger as far as possible with the other hand and release the finger and the marble with all the force you could muster in the direction of the circle. You won all you could knock out. We would ‘toss up’ for who went first. Since we rarely had any coins, tossing up involved getting a flat pebble, spitting on one side, spinning it in the air and calling “land or water” instead of “heads or tails”. As the stone was in the air we would make rather idiotic calls for the desired result – “water, water, be my daughter” or “land, land, beat the band”.
We mostly flew kites at the end of the playing field where we were almost directly at those up-currents. The same place was a favorite for trying to catch butterflies. Many of the larger and faster-flying species used to cross the playing fields from up the hill and fly low over the end of the field down into the valley. We would wait there and swish butterfly nets at them with limited success as they went by! The greatest catch was a ‘mappie’ or map butterfly, which looked quite like a road map with rather jagged edges. They were rare and very fast and elusive, so not many were caught. I don’t remember any boys having any skill at setting and storing what they caught, so I fear that this hobby was more destructive than scientific!
The school year was divided into three terms separated by two 10-day breaks. We were not allowed to go home during the 10-day holidays but parents or relatives could come to visit and take us out. In those days there was no air conditioning and ‘the plains’ became so hot and unhealthy that it was considered better for children to stay in the mountains. Because of the distance and the travel time my mother only came up to Simla once for a 10-day break. We went to a concert at which a buxom contralto sang a song called ‘Flamingo’. I think she gave me a dislike of fruity contraltos which has lasted to this day.
During these breaks we used to go to the movies and Simla had three move theatres – the Ritz, the Regal and the Rivoli. We tended to like the Rivoli which was probably a ‘flea-pit’, but which always showed exciting mysteries. The other two tended to show romances and such, the ones with the top Hollywood stars and slushy stories that left small boys bored to death. Anyway the Rivoli was the cheapest!
We played three major sports, soccer, cricket and hockey (field hockey in the USA, but in India there was no other hockey!). Each term featured one sport as the principle game, though we also had swimming, boxing, athletics, and gymnastics. I don’t remember being particularly good at any of them, though I may have been on my share of teams. I do remember being railroaded into boxing in my second year, 1942, and losing my one bout after an undisciplined whirlwind of fists. In 1943 I won three bouts to get into the final at my weight where I was beaten by a boy called Goswell. I’m not sure I ever really enjoyed boxing, but it seems I had some aptitude for it which had the important consequence that I didn’t usually get hurt.
The entrance to the junior school involved a sharp turn off the main road, going about 30 yards down the driveway to a hairpin bend and then another 30 yards to a gate set between two large stone pillars. At the hairpin bend was the sanatorium, the ‘San’. In the best of Victorian traditions, we had to have our insides purged at regular intervals. Each month we mustered at the San and were given a dose of senna which tasted absolutely disgusting and had a very rapid effect on the bowels. Immediately after taking it, we used to rush down the hill and through the gates to the bathrooms to sit until the first violent whoosh was over. On one occasion I began to lose my balance as I was tearing down the hill from the San and couldn’t stop myself from running into one of the gate posts. I got a huge bruise in the middle of my forehead.
Another of the activities sponsored by the school was boy scouts and, for the juniors, wolf cubs (cub scouts in the USA). We had at least two wolf cub packs which used to enter a local jamboree each year (‘Jamboree’ is for scouts and there may have been a different word for gatherings of cubs.). We learned about tying knots, lighting fires, tracking, camp cooking and many other activities of that type. Each time we met, we used to go through a ritual which had many elements drawn from Kipling’s Jungle Books. First we would squat in a circle with the two forefingers of each hand, formed into an upside-down V, pointing to the ground between our legs. We would chant together “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and King; to keep the law of the wolf cub pack and to do a good turn to somebody every day”. We would then chant “Akela, we will do our best” and the pack leader would say “DYB, DYB, DYB.” The pack would respond “We will DOB, DOB, DOB, DOB.” DYB stood for “Do your best” and DOB stood for “Do our best”. I think that was the whole ceremony and then we would get up and start whatever activities were planned for that meeting.
One of our activities was something I have never heard of other cub packs doing. We learned several ‘dances’ again heavily based on Kipling. The only one I really remember was the dance of the python, Kaa’s Dance. It was simple, involving a sort of conga line, literally snaking around. I’m sure there was also a dance of the monkeys, the ‘banderlog’, but I have no idea what it consisted of.
When we went to the jamborees, we were always better equipped than the other packs and each of our members was always loaded with badges. We seemed to win most of the competitions for knot tying, pitching tents, lighting fires, making tripods to hang kettles on and so on and we always got back to school with loads of trophies. I can remember thinking that perhaps we had an advantage over the other packs, coming from the only British school in the area and almost certainly far the best financed. But we did work hard for our successes.
Two days after I wrote these last words, the BCS web site published a group photo of the wolf cubs with their trophies. Several faces were labeled “unknown” and I was immediately able to e-mail the webmaster and identify two of them – Bill and myself. A psychic might say there was ESP at work!
I think it was in 1942 that I had a role in a school play about pirates – I forget the name of the play. I only remember that the pirate captain’s name was Don Jose Bilbaino Bustamente y Corrosco of the good ship Boca del Dragon. Years later, when I learned Spanish, I learned how badly we mispronounced those names! The following year I was to have a lead role in another play called, I think, The Court Jester of which I remember nothing because half way through rehearsals we had a measles epidemic. I had quite a bad attack and remember darkened rooms, a very fuzzy head and the school matron tut-tutting over high readings on thermometers. There was a lot of fear of damaged eyesight in those days, so my convalescence was for two or three weeks in a darkened room.
Each Sunday we used to be marched down a narrow hillside path to the chapel at the senior school for Sunday service. The acoustics in the chapel were interesting, with a bit of echo which made the choir sound rather like singing in the shower – I mean that quite positively – I loved the sound to the extent that it gave me goose bumps. I recall in particular a short anthem the choir used to sing in the ante-chapel before processing in. It was “Lead me Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make my way straight before thine eyes. For it is thou Lord, thou Lord only that makest me dwell in safety”. The choir also sang a setting of the Nunc Dimittis which I loved and once, perhaps at a concert, a setting of ‘Consider the lilies of the field’ which may have been by Handel and which still comes to me from time to time. The one love I still have for the Anglican service is the choral singing.
At weekends we used to go outside the immediate school grounds to explore and play. Mostly we would go down the ‘khud’, the steep terraced hillside below the playing fields. Sometimes we would find small patches of ripened corn-on-the-cob and we would light a fire and toast a few. We called the cob “bhutta”.
One of our destinations was a private estate called Brockhurst, about half a mile down the road that ran past above the school. It always seemed deserted, though I have no idea if it really was. It had a main drive and many pathways among what might once have been formally laid-out grounds. It was a perfect place to play Cowboys and Indians. On one occasion we found that a huge tree had fallen and two men were cutting it up. They had already taken off the upper branches leaving a main trunk about 15-20 feet long hanging out over the hillside, with the end about 8 feet above the ground. The men had a long saw. One stood on the trunk and the other below it and they were cutting it into planks about an inch wide. As the trunk was about 3 or 4 feet in diameter, it was slow work, but they went at it with a steady rhythm for as long as we were prepared to watch.
In 1943 a party of boys (I think it was actually the wolf cubs in uniform) were marched to Government House to join in on ‘lining the route’ for the departure of Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy, who was giving way to Lord Wavell. We had to wait quite a while and then hold a salute as he drove by in a limousine. It was one of those ceremonial occasions that leave a clear picture in the mind.
In March 1944, Bill and I moved up to the senior school. I think we were in Curzon House. As we were not there very long I don’t have many recollections. It sticks in my mind that the toilets had no doors! The fact that this caught my attention so strongly suggests that the junior school’s toilets were more modest – though I don’t know why they should have been different! The school shop used to sell a variety of sweets and snacks and I once bought what I think was called a ‘puri’. It was a sort of wrap of unleavened bread filled with slightly spicy vegetables. It was delicious, but it went through me rather quickly.
In 1942 I took piano lessons for some weeks, the teacher being, possibly, Mrs. Priestley. (Bill and I met her again in Shrewsbury in 1949 or 1950). My reactions to these lessons were mixed. On the one hand I disliked the discipline imposed by the teacher, yet there was great satisfaction in being able to produce a tune! I got as far as taking an exam which earned me a certificate, but I must have given my mother a clear understanding that I wasn’t very happy with the process, because I was released from that discipline after about one term. A few years later I began to regret not having continued, but I had done enough to understand how to read music, for which I have always been grateful.
At the beginning of 1943, when Bill and I moved up to the top class in the junior school. We were told that there was a choice to make between learning French or Urdu. That being India and we being very practical, we both chose Urdu. It took a week or two for word of this to get to our parents and for the response to come back that we were to switch immediately to French. In those weeks, we had learned the Urdu alphabet and one or two of the characters. I can still recite something like the alphabet, though I would probably make several errors.
One year we had a piece of excitement for a few hours – a swarm of locusts which came up the valley, passed over the school and went on its way. For part of the time that it was passing over we were out of class and we rushed around with sticks, flailing at them with no visible impact on their numbers. They really were thick enough in the air as to slightly darken the sky for several hours.
Simla was filled with monkeys – langurs. They were potentially quite dangerous, but they rarely came anywhere near us, spending most of their time on the rooftops or in the trees. They were so much a part of the scene that we became hardly aware of them.
As the end of each school drew near there would be increasing excitement and boys would start to chanting the poem familiar to all young boarding school boys.
No more Latin, no more French, No more sitting on the hard school bench.
No more spiders in my bath Trying hard to make me laugh.
No more beetles in my tea Making googly eyes at me.
If the teacher interferes Knock him down and box his ears.
And there was probably more which I don’t remember. At BCS we also had a song, to a tune roughly based on ‘Riding down from Bangor’. We didn’t wait to be actually on the train but began to sing it weeks before school ended. It went:
Riding down from Simzee on a Simzee track,
After nine months’ mugging and eating puri tack.
See the train go puffing oh see the train go by.
Home sweet home is coming and home sweet home is nigh.
Then there were one or two more verses which I forget, and a final verse that went
When we’re nearing Kalka we hear the vendors shout “Pan, biri, cigarettes” and then we all jump out.
The Wolf Club 1943, photo provided by Brian Moray.
Preparatory School Cubs with their Trophy in 1943.
Back row – Brian Niblett, Corbett, David Mitchell, Jimmy Collins.
Centre row – Bill Mitchell , unknown, unknown, unknown, Kruschandl.
Front row – Robert Reed, Simpson, Mr Cyril Murtough, Aldridge, Michael Wetherfield).
OCA EDITOR: The article above, by David Mitchell, was first published at the OCA website in May of 2006; to which Gay Niblett responded:
Here are the stories of :
– Richard D’Abreu
– Peter Maidment
– Jim Lee
as a bit of nostalgia of their school days.
Peter Maidment, Jim Lee and I have been corresponding by email and chatting on Skype for about three years and we decided that it would be a great idea to write to the Old Cottonian Association to give the readers an insight into some of the humorous and serious aspects of our time at BCS. We like reminiscing with each other of the period in the early 1940ies when we attended the school. Here is a short story I always will remember.
In my days at the school from 1936 – 1946. All classrooms had ink wells placed in the right
hand corners of the students desk. We wrote with pens that had to be dipped into the ink frequently. Blotting paper was then used to dry the ink on the page before turning it over. Some of the students when feeling bored in the classroom would play a prank by folding a piece of blotting paper in half and soaking it in the inkwell, then winding it on to a strong rubber band, hold the soaking blotter in between the teeth and then stretching the band, would release the blotting paper and hit the back of the students head in the desk in front. On one occasion at a Maths lesson Bill Kelly who was in the desk behind me, decided to play such a prank on me. He aimed his missile soaked in ink at the back of my head, however Boozer Pickering a friend of mine saw what was coming and yelled to me to duck. The missile elevated past my head with such force, it struck our Maths master, Mr. Hogan, who was at the blackboard, on the back of his head, dripping the ink down his neck. Turning around he shouted “Who was that?”Quick as a flash Bill pointed at me. Mr Hogan was in no mood to argue, I was marched off to the Staff Common room and copped 4 of the best with the cane. It stung quite a bit and a bit of blood oozed onto my trousers, so down I had to go to see Sister McLeen who applied a liberal dose of iodine to the cuts.. On going back to the classroom, I asked for permission to stand as it was quite sore to sit down. Permission was denied. As we had an unwritten rule amongst the students never to report the person who did the wrong deed, I had to get my revenge back on Bill my own way. It was unwise for anyone to know your birthday, as if this date was known to other students, the birthday boy would be taken down to Tipu’s Drop which was on the road past the old Bogs and the second playing ground. It was a drop of just over a meter, where at the bottom was a thick bed of stinging nettle. The birthday boy would be dangled by his legs and let go into the nettle below. Now I happened to know from Bill’s mother that he had a birthday the day after he fired the missile missing my head, so he was marched down past the old Bogs to be dangled down into the nettle…Happy birthday Bill…..
My House Master at the time was Fred Brown, whom I knew as a senior Cottonian from 1936 to 1939, he left school and returned a few years later to be on the staff. As he wished to make me a House prefect, I had to explain to him why he should still make me a House prefect after I had done such a prank on the Maths teacher. He was aware of the unwritten rule we as students had not to put anyone in, and as I was not the perpetrator, I was made a House prefect of Curzon house.
Thanks for reading….Richard D’Abreu.
I have some very precious memories of my years at BCS Simla between 1941 and 1943. I was in Rivaz House when Peter Rollo was House Captain. We became very good friends, so much so that I was relocated to a bed adjoining the Captains cubicle in our dormitory overlooking the tennis courts. My other friends were Andy, Ken and Jim Lee.
Andy and Ken are now deceased, but Jim and I still correspond and talk with Dick D’Abreu, (a latter mutual friend) on Skype. Jim Dick and I recently resolved that we had some good cause to be included in the BCS news that is still forwarded to school members past and present, hence this account.
One of the regular incidents that occurred in those halcyon days was the surreptitious and sneaky nocturnal visits to the Pictures after lights out. The four good friends would get dressed up in local garb and walk all the way to the city to see a choosen film. On one occasion we were half way to our destination, when coming towards us were two House Masters, who somehow recognized we were not the genuine local people. To forestall this surprise discovery I involuntarily spoke a few garbled Hindustani words to make us seem authentic. It so happened that my House Master was one of the two staff who recognized me and reprimanded me for setting a bad example as the then House Captain. I was given a lecture the next day and made to promise I would not commit the act again.
I attended BCS from 1941 to 1943 and was in Curzon House. My closest friends were Peter Maidment, Ken Magnoni and Andy Gilmour. Sadly, Ken and Andy are now deceased, but Peter and I are still in touch, he in Sydney, Australia and me in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Richard (Dick) D’abreu, who lives in Australand, Western Australia, is another OC that I am in touch with. Dick and I were at BCS at the same time but because he was a couple of years behind me we moved in different social circles and I didn’t know him then.
Peter, Dick and I correspond by e mail regularly, and also enjoy a weekly three way conversation on Skype reminiscing about the happy years we spent at BCS. We decided we would share some of our experiences through the newsletter.
This is one of my moments of glory!
I was thrilled when, in 1942, I was selected as goal keeper of the school hockey team. There were four or five schools between Delhi and Simla against whom we used to compete on an annual basis in each sport.
Our strongest competition came from the Lawrence Military School (LMS) in Sanawar. In 1942 our hockey team headed to Sanawar for the annual match, with the knowledge that LMS had been victorious over us, and the other schools, for the previous three years. We went onto the field as the underdog, but determined that we were going to play our hearts out. We had a large cheering section that came with us from BCS, and naturally LMS had the whole school cheering for them. Once the game started the noise from the stands was deafening. At half time the score was one all. The second half started with each side pressing to take the lead. Half way through the second half we scored our second goal from a corner. Our cheering section nearly brought the stands down. The urgency now caused the LMS team to find their second wind, and they turned their game up a notch. They had possession of the ball more than we did from that point on. However, our defense, including me in goal, foiled every one of their attempts to equalize. When the final whistle blew with the score at two to one in favour of BCS our cheering section rushed onto the field and lifted our team shoulder high. What a thrill! That was my moment of glory, and I know that every member of the team felt the same way. We had beaten the mighty LMS who had dominated hockey for the previous three years. When we returned to Simla we were greeted and cheered by the rest of the school, and at supper that evening the Head Master gave us a congratulatory pep talk, to the applause of the whole assembly. Years later, in 1981 when I revisited the school, I was surprised but thrilled to see the photograph of our team still hanging in the headmaster’s office. It brought back many memories