Batch 1944


The 1944  school photo is attached above and my brother David and myself are included. He is in the third row from the top, with fair hair just to the left of Mrs Sinker with the spiky hat (on the front row) and I am in the second row from the top also with fair hair and spectacles almost above Canon Sinker the HM. Some of our contemporaries  may recall that the school put on a performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “Lolanthe” and Mrs Sinker sang the lead role. I have many memories of events in the Dining Hall, both during meals and also evening preparation, and also remember being taken out by school monitors and beaten with a cane for some small demeanour! The food must have been reasonable as I am still running and have completed the last four Bristol 10K runs, now aged 81. With best wishes, Mark.
[Click the picture for an expended view]

BCS View 1944:

I was at BCS from end of 1940 to end of 1944. I expect you have all the complete school photos but in case you don’t I could send you the one for 1944. I am attaching one shot of the school in that same year and have some others from the same time if you are interested. The building looks much nicer now with the white paint! Best wishes, Mark Wood-Robinson


Photo provided by John Phillips

30 thoughts on “Batch 1944

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  4. Geraldine Grimshaw

    The photo of the school prefects in 1944 shows my father Douglas Horner. He often spoke with great fondness about his time at school mentioning friends called Witty White and Lumbo Evans. Sadly he died two years ago aged 85.

    Geraldine Grimshaw(nee Horner)
    East Cholderton

  5. Brian Walker

    The Photo is definitely 1944 as, in 1945 Mr Priestley was HM of the Prep School and would have been seated next to Mrs Sinker. They are Mr & Mrs Eccleston.Four along from the Ecclestons are the Priestleys with Mr Olliver a further two places to the left.The only ones on the right of the photo that I can identify are, 3 from Canon Sinker is Keith Percy, and myself seated on the front row squatting down second from the official party,(In the light gray suit.)I can’t identify many of the pupils though. It must be old age.

  6. Dennis Willey

    From Dennis Willey (Rivaz, 1941-43). I was fascinated to see the photos of the school in 1944, especially the Prefects, amongst whom is my brother, Edward Willey. Sadly he passed away several years ago. I have not seen these pictures before because I left BCS the previous year when I became
    caught up in WW2. Although my parents and brother remained in India for several more years, I was never able to return.
    While I was at BCS I took many photos which I still have- together with several School Magazines which my parents saved. I also have a copy of the whole school photo of 1942, with Lord Linlithgow sitting at the front.
    I must admit that I am now an old man (and so a very O.C.).To any of my contemporaries who are still around, I send good wishes.
    Thanks again for the memories.

  7. Editor Post author

    8th July 2012 UPDATE [an email exchange between Barry Williamson and Mark Wood-Robinson] :

    Dear Mark,
    Many thanks for the wonderful photos of BCS which I’ve only just seen. We’ve been in Bristol since we came back from Simla in 1968 as very young teachers. Are you in Bristol? I would love to see the other photos you have of BCS. One of our pupils from those days has written the history of the school and books about Simla so I know he would be interested too.
    All the best ( I envy your fitness !)
    Barry Williamson

    Hello Barry,
    Thanks for your Email about my old BCS photo. Unfortunately I have stuck the original down in one of my albums so I can’t see the back but I don’t think there is a date there. The photo was taken by Kinsey Bros of Simla, I think probably in the summer of 1944  as we left Simla to come home to Britain in the dreadful January of 1945. I say dreadful as the snow brought down the Simla rail station and we had to catch the Kalka train further down the line. Our train to Delhi was so delayed that we looked like missing our connection to Bombay, and then our boat home, and so my father, who was on the Railway Board, phoned through to Delhi and they held the train so that we could make the connection! Those were the days! Incidentally I have just discovered that there are internet references to Kinsey Bros, including: So the photographers changed ownership the next year. I scanned the photo myself and have also scanned some smaller ones taken at about the same time on my little camera, as attached. I think the shot of roofs must have been taken from our house in Chota Shimla, called Kirsten Hall, which my father rented, and where my brother and I went most Sunday afternoons during term time and also for the long Winter holidays of ‘43 and ’44. The two earlier winters of ’41 and ’42 we spent in New Delhi as in those days the Government, including the Railway Management, moved up and down for the Summers and Winters. However in 1943 my father, who was in charge of “Standardisation”, bringing all the disparate sections of the vast Indian Railways together, decided to keep his department in Shimla for the long cold winters. We learned to ice skate there!

    You mention a pupil who wrote books about Shimla, not Raaja Bhasin, I suppose, who wrote the marvelous book “The Summer Capital….”

    Well I could go on, but must dash as life is very full at present!
    With best wishes,

    Mark Wood-Robinson. 


    Click these pictures for a larger view




  9. Anil Advani

    I recognize my uncle, RAM ADVANI, in this picture. He is seated 14th to the right of Canon Sinker. Ram Advani later left BCS to resume his interest in literature and to re-start his text book supply business which he still runs now. “Ram Advani Booksellers” is really quite famous in Lucknow.
    There appears a mix-up of dates in the article on Ram Advani though.

    Ram Advani wrote back in confirmation and his comments:
    Thank you Anil. This photograph is memorable. I recall most of the members of the staff and a few others. I am there as well. In fact I went over and brought Lord Wavell in the liveried school rickshaw. I recall Bishop Sinker asking me to write down a speech and I told him I don’t know shorthand. Thank you, this is a valuable addition to my photograph album.

    I will be asking him to assist list out the names of the others he can identify in the photo and will post a follow-up message.

  10. Michael Wetherfield

    My 4th (and probably final) comment: I think I have identified one more pupil in the photograph, namely Donald Crowhurst (1932-69), 2nd boy from the right in the 2nd row from the top.

  11. Michael Wetherfield

    (Comment number 3)
    This is a correction to my previous speculation about the presence of Rev. Frank Eccleston (headmaster of BCPS) in the photo – I thought he might be sitting next to Mrs.Sinker, but it seems more likely that, if he is present, he is three places further along to the left, next to the clergyman with white hair and beard. I hope someone who was at BCPS in 1944 may confirm (or refute) this!

    Regarding my own subsequent career – I worked in the computer industry until retiring in late 1991. A description of an early part of that employment is to be found in my article entitled “Personal recollections of programming DEUCE in the late 1950s” which appeared in the November 2010 issue of “Computer Journal”.

    Programming is still my hobby in retirement. Some of the work I have done more recently is referred to in Amrik Singh Nimbran’s article, entitled “On the derivation of Machin-like Arctangent Identities for computing Pi”, published in the Indian journal “The Mathematics Student”, Vol.. 79, Nos. 1 – 4, (2010), pages 171-186.

  12. Vijay Khurana

    Hello Brian,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. I have hunted all over this site to locate your article but could not find it. If you have easy access to a soft copy, would you please be so kind as to mail it to me at My thanks. I am certain it will make interesting reading.

    My thanks.

    Vijay Khurana

    1. Editor

      The articles from Brian remain online. A simple Google search found them…. I have given the links under Brian’s message above.

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  14. Vijay Khurana

    It would be nice if these wonderful gentlemen were to give an account of their respective lives. Those were tumultuous times culminating in our independence. There was a considerable movement of populations, during those years, seeking newer pastures. I am not referring only to the partition but also to those Britishers and others who were affected by the war and then went on to build different careers, a lot of them outside the services. Their stories would be interesting, I presume. Well, here is an invitation to them, on behalf of the OCA, to share their lives with us!! My thanks

    1. Brian Walker

      Hello Vijay, Your comments regarding our lives beyond BCS..
      I was in India from 1938 to 1949 and have written a book about my life and thoughts of this time. From this book here was a BCS chapter on your website along with a few photos of the Prep School but the BCS Prep School section seems to have disappeared from sight. I can’t find it. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.
      Let me know how to find it again if you can.
      Regards Brian Walker

  15. balwant(bunny) rao

    Its so nostalgic to see our school building with its rough-hewn stone, now plastered to a 5-star finish.Our Headmaster Mr Fisher and the impeccable Mrs Fisher- the dreaded teacher of the Third-Form and my early mentor.Freddie Brown ,my House Master, who took over from Mr Fisher; was an inspiration in the class-room and on the playing field to all.
    What an honour for the school to be visited by the Viceroy.
    Thank you for the memories

  16. anil soni

    Sir,They are amazing photos and we thank you for sending the same, for us to see our School of older and more cheary times.
    1969-76 (I)

  17. Michael Wetherfield (BCPS 1942-3; BCS (Curzon) 1944-5)

    More comments on the fascinating 1944 BCS/BCPS photo:

    1. My revered teacher, Mr. Murray, MAY be seated three places to the left (in the photo) of the master in military uniform.

    2. I am almost sure that Mr. Vincent Priestley is seated two places to the right (in the photo) of the uniformed master, and that the lady seated between them is Mrs. Ethel Priestley (who my mother met, quite by chance, in London a few years after this photo was taken).

    3. I suspect that the master on Mrs. Sinker’s right (left in the photo) may be the Rev. Frank Eccleston, the headmaster of BCPS (I never once saw him wearing a clerical collar).

    4. Sitting 3 places to the right (in the photo) of Canon Sinker is (I think) Mr. Keith Percy, the senior master who, on retirement, sponsored the “Keith Percy General Knowledge Prize”. Thanks to the handicapping system which applied then, and I gather still applies, it is possible for a boy in a low form to win – in fact I was the first winner, in 1945, my prize being presented to me by Mr. Rajagopalachari who I believe was a senior member of the Congress party.

    5. I have still only been able to identify one other boy in the photo, apart from myself – that is the late Robert Reed, 9th from the left in the second row. down.


    I was able, with my wife, to revisit BCS on one day in October 2008, during a brief holiday in India; after tea with the Headmaster, we were shown round the school by a very courteous young Cottonian. So much has changed, yet so much remains. Inevitably, as I was only at BCS for two years, and left at the age of 12, I regard the school I attended in England from 1946-51 as my true “Alma Mater” – but seeing the 1944 photo has revived many memories; I look forward to reading about many more “identifications”.

    1. Geraldine Grimshaw

      Hello Michael,

      Just found this website last night and saw the photo of my father Douglas Horner on the 1944 Prefects photo. Wonderful.Did you know him ?

      Kind regards, Geraldine

  18. Vijay Khurana

    Two points.

    First, all these lovely people coming out of the wood work, as it were, could you very kindly send us your records and details of other OCs you might be in touch with. I wish we had connected with you gentleman for the 150 years celebrations. We would still like to keep in touch and meet when the opportunity offers itself. This is a general comment because the OC address book should be constantly updated. Your assistance would be appreciated and this comment applies to all OCs in general as well. Thank you.

    Second, Manjit Dayal’s comment about the sloping roof reminds me of the innumerable times stuff like, shoes, shorts, stinking stockings, towels, games shirts etc were flung on to those roofs by some mean old senior or the resident bully!!. It was scary scrambling across those roofs to retrieve your belongings. Thankfully no one ever got hurt!! However, the guys had guts without a thought to a possible injury. When the rains came these roofs drained tons of water and that was a pleasant sight for the little boys who sent down their paper boats!! Small, idle memories!!

  19. Michael Wetherfield (BCPS 1942-3; BCS (Curzon) 1944-5

    What a fascinating photo – many thanks to Mark Wood-Robinson for enabling it to be posted on the OCA website!

    The only boy I can identify in the photo is myself (aged 11), in the row next below the top row, second from the end on the left of the photo (I had much more hair then than now!).

    Some of the masters I can identify – firstly the headmaster, Canon Sinker, next to the lady on Earl Wavell’s left (i.e. to the right in the photo). I think the “spiky hat” worn by Mrs. Sinker (on the Viceroy’s right) was probably a mark of academic distinction! The master to the left (in the photo) of the master in uniform is, I think, Mr. D.E.Oliver, who was in charge of the senior form at the Prep school (BCPS); when I was at BCPS, F.M. (“Freddy”) Brown ran the next form below – he (I think) is seated 9 places to the right (in the photo) of Canon Sinker. FMB took over Curzon House while I was at BCS, but whether that was in 1944 or 1945 I can’t remember. In the 5th and 6th places to the right (in the photo) of Canon Sinker are Mr. F.H. Fisher and Mrs. Fisher (she, I think, taught at BCPS).

    Canon Sinker later became Bishop of Nagpur. He was a fearsome, but kindly, man. I remember seeing him shed tears as he left the chapel at the end of his last service in 1945.

    The master who I respected most at BCS was Mr.M.H.Murray, who was my form-master when I entered BCS in 1944 (he was possibly the best teacher I ever had, which is saying a lot). Unfortunately I cannot identify him in the photo.

    I took part in the production of ‘Iolanthe’ mentioned by Mark – there was probably no escaping this, as I was one of the trebles in the BCS choir, and ‘Iolanthe’ involves a “Chorus of Fairies”. I played one of the more senior fairies, named Celia. In a professional production “Celia” would have sung a solo, but we did not have the confidence for that, so all the trebles joined in! The choir was trained by Mr Vincent Priestley (once, I believe, Leader of the Viceroy’s private orchestra – he was later appointed Headmaster of BCPS), assisted, as always, by Mrs. Ethel Priestley. Mr. and Mrs. Priestley may be in the photo, but I cannot identify them – had the photo been in colour, Mrs. Priestley’s flaming red hair would have stood out! Mr.Priestley composed a “Sung Eucharist”, of which we (the BCS choir) were inevitably the first performers. I remember we all had to sign the manuscript before it was posted to Novello’s in London for publication – we trebles were at the age when we all practised rather fancy signatures! The high point of Mr. Priestley’s career as a chormaster was probably the performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ by the BCS choir (the soloists also being members of the choir) which was broadcast on All-India Radio in (I think) 1943.

    One of the songs sung by the “Chorus of Peers” in ‘Iolanthe’ includes the line: “When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte …” (it goes on “the House of Lords throughout the war did nothing in particular”). I remember that Canon Sinker patriotically altered this line to become “When Montgomery thrashed von Rommel” (this was of course during World War II, and the Battle of Alamein had already been fought and won). In our production, the Guardsman (Private Willis) was played splendidly by Peter Chisholm, who is in the prefects’ photo.

    Like Brian Walker, I also received a prize from Earl Wavell!


    Thankyou Thankyou for sending these beautiful pics of r school infact this is exactly how MAIN SCHOOL looked when I joined in the year 1953 with the sloping tin roofs from the dorms n the seniors room right in the centre which unfortunately r non-existent today hwvr., its remarkable that you have preserved these pics till date !! Its my year of birth 1944.

  21. Brian Walker

    Thank you for posting the great photograph of BCS in 1944. It included the Prep School pupils. I’ve been looking for this one for years as the copy i had was lost somewhere over the years.

    Seated in the middle of the official party is the then Viceroy of India Earl Archibald Wavell (in the dark suit) as this was for the annual prize-giving and he presented the prizes. One to me.

    I was at the Prep School and am squatting in the front row, on the right of the photo, second boy along in the light suit.

    Thanks again as you brought back some priceless memories.
    Brian Walker (in New Zealand).

  22. B.M.Singh

    The OCA (INDIA) would love to have all the old pics for our archives. Please do send them.

  23. Vijay Khurana

    Dear Mr Mark Wood-Robinson,

    On behalf of the OCA our grateful thanks for your lovely mail.

    In the recent past we have received some delightful mails from boys who were in BCS in the early 1940’s. Typically, all these mails have been accompanied by photographs and, pictures always have a story to retail!! They add life to the times and those of us who arrived at BCS in early or mid 1950 can recollect and actually relate to some of the descriptions that you refer to.

    I joined BCS in 1954 and the Main School building was exactly the same when you were there in 1940-44. Repairs did occur to keep the stone bricks and mortar in place but changes to the Main building were effected around 1958-59, largely for the Centenary celebrations. The make over occurred due to the largesse of four brothers (Ravijit, Mohinderjit (Minnie), Daljit (Chikoo) and Inderjit (Badal) Singh) from Lefroy whose father owned the Dholpur Stone Company, a large and well known producer of red sand stone. Their sand stone today covers the Presidential Estate, Houses of Parliament and a lot of other prominent buildings in New Delhi where this stone can be found. They also gifted the fountain in front of the main porch in 1959 and there is a tablet that commemorates this welcome change. Of course there were murmurs that the heritage status of the frontage had changed but then we were reminded that the Main building had in some very distant past been burnt down. At first we were not so happy with the red sand stone but, I think, the inclusion of the School crest, again their gift, replacing that projection (there was a bed in that area, usually occupied by a prefect!) was a wholesome change. It does, indeed, look very good even after 50 years and more !! It is now more regal and there is a compactness, inspite of its length, that makes it the most distinct building on the estate. The Headmaster’s house has more flavour and we all loved it because it was “out of bounds” ! Some did eventually get in one night to raid the Head’s fridge (pitifully empty) but that is another tale!!

    From the photograph, and I tried hard to enhance its size, the only notable person I can recognise is Mr Fred Brown. His personality came to play a distinctive part in the affairs of BCS for the major part of the years from 1953 to about 1961 when he finally left BCS. His departure was tearful because he was one man who contributed so much to building the reputation of BCS during those years. Mr Dick D’Abreu has referred to him in one of his mails but I know there are a lot of us who remember him for the tall figure he was, literally and metaphorically, in our lives. An amazing influence!!

    One major difference that I can observe from the photographs from our time is the absence of the sola topee. It never existed when we were there and I think it went out of fashion by 1945 or thereabouts. I have not seen any reference to this hard hat in any pictures in the later years. One more difference. Playing on that ground, the first flat, was totally not allowed. No chance. No ball ever got bounced in that area!!

    Being whacked by the prefects continued as a culture but the preferred tool was the bathroom slipper or the gym shoes (not the sophisticated Reebok, Nike or Adida of today!!) It was a compelling habit mainly to emphasize authority and the smallest misdemeanour was a convenient excuse!

    Rev Sinker’s oil portrait hangs in the Irwin Hall with a lot of the other headmasters but his is, perhaps, the most striking one for the colours employed and for the stance of the subject – very imperial!

    These are obviously the comments based on the memories of a single individual and it would be useful if other comments came in to either confirm or add to these observations. After all some of these events happened a long time ago!!

    Any more pictures and stories of your time to help establish the culture of BCS of those days would be more than welcome. Thank you.

    With best wishes

    Vijay Khurana
    (Lefroy 1954-63)

  24. Dick D'Abreu

    Thank you for sending us over the lovely photo of the whole Senior School taken in 1944. It included the Headmaster Rev Sinker and all the staff at BCS. The school nursing sister, Sister MacLean can also be seen. I am one of the 19th from the right of school’s Auxiliary Force India. (Simla Rifles). Some of the boys stood on dining tables and also bench forms at the back row. All credit to the photographer that took the picture with a large format camera, covering his head with a dark cloth to look into the view finder. My thanks also to Mark Wood-Robinson for sharing the photo with all of us.

    Best wishes….Dick D’Abreu.

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