Tag Archives: OCA Australia

School stories of the 1940s era

School stories  of the 1940 era, by: Peter Maidment. Rivaz 89 years  /  Jim Lee. Curzon 90 years / Dick D’Abreu. Curzon 88 years.

Peter Maidment:-

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.

Jim Lee:-

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!.

Dick D’Abreu:-

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.


Editor: Here are some earlier stories by this trio

OCs get-together down under

30th April 2010 Perth:

Further to Peter Rollo’s letter regarding Peter Johans’ visit to Perth from Switzaland on Friday 30th April. I email the photo of the happy group. It was good to catch up with Peter Johans and his wife on their visit to Perth. He was in BCS only a few years after we left, but when recalling his memories of the old school nothing seemed different to when we were there in the 1940’ies. All of us in Perth W.A. wish him and his wife well. 

Dick D’Abreu 

Here is peter Rollo’s email referred to by Dick:

Dear Anil.   Just made contact with an OC, who you may not have on your list of OCs.  His name is Peter JOHANS.  He entered the Prep school in 1944 and the main school in 1947. He left BCS in 1948.  He is married and lives in Switzerland.  He is coming over to Perth West Australia later this month for a visit, will find out more about him. He was there after my time.  Hope you and the family are all keeping well.   Regards   Peter.

First Roll Call…

I well remember my first roll call as an eight year old at Bishop Cotton School when I was  placed in Rivaz House. This was before we had a prep school in Chota Simla.

After a tearful parting from my mother, I was introduced to the Rivaz Housemaster. He showed me to my place at the Rivaz House dining table for the evening meal. When we were all seated, the House Captain of Rivaz stood up and read out the roll call. The first name on the roll was Abreu. As he called out this name, no one answered. He repeated it once again. I then replied, that if the name was meant to be me, I was known as D’Abreu. ” The roll book says you are Abreu…You will answer to that name” said the House Captain. “Yes sir I am present” I said. “You do not call me sir, I am a School Prefect and your House Captain…” . “Yes sir Mr. Prefect, I am present“. He addressed me again. “You need to say Adsum when answering your name” “Yes Mr. Prefect, Adsum I am here.. ” He then carried on with the roll call. I really felt terrified for the rest of the evening meal.

I can still recall some of the names on that roll 73 years later.  They were:- Abreu.. Advice…Bannon 1 ..Bannon 2 ..Bains … Bapty… Bennigall …Brooks…Coats 1… Coats 2… Dorgey… Edwards… Grant 1….Grant…2 …Greenway… Hemmingway… etc etc.. I often wonder if some of those I can remember are still around today.  In 1938 we younger students were put into the new Prep School. When I returned to the main school I was placed in Curzon House. I was in the 3rd Form, and a lot older. I was able to enjoy my school days. I could well distinguish a master from a school prefect, so able to keep well out of trouble.. 

Dick D’Abreu
Curzon House


Dear Editor,

I have been induced by recent correspondence with some of my  contemporary OCs to write a few words that can be shared with those who remember me during my years at BCS. It was a priviledge to have spent time at the School in those halcyon days during the early ’40s. I have had the good fortune to keep in touch with Peter Rollo and Jim Lee over several years and just recently have been reaquainted with Arthur Allan Bapty.

The contact with the school through articles in the Old Cottonian Magazine on the Internet is now an important part of my life and I sincerely hope this will continue in the future.

My sincere thanks to all those involved with keeping this essential vehicle alive.

Yours very sincerely,

Peter  Maidment.
At BCS 1941-1943

BCS Living Treasures in Australia

An exchange of emails from OC’s in Australia, initiated by Rishi Rana:

Michael Pratt Lefroy( 1943 – 1951)
From: Michael J Pratt
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 9:05 AM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: Re: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

Thanks received your recent e-mail enquiring whether we had received the earlier message regarding the 150 year reunion in October, well I think I received it and I responded to enquire the best way to travel from Melbourne. with particular regard to whether any any approved travel agent had been recommended.
There are several who arrange tours around the area but I am not really to interested in travelling around on buses.

Michael Pratt


Peter Maidment Rivaz( 1941 – 1943)
From: Peter Maidment
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 9:21 AM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: Re: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

 Hi Rishi,
I received it. Sorry I’m unable to attend.

Peter Maidment. Rivaz (1941 – 1943)


Peter Rollo Rivaz( 1934 – 1942)
From: Peter Rollo
To: Rishi Rana
CC: manjulrana
Subject: Celebrations.
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 10:48:11 +0900
Hi fellows…Many thanks for your circular. It is indeed great to hear from you and to know how things are progressing. Unfortunately, age has caught up with me and I am not in any position to be able to join in. However, as a very old Cottonian I would on behalf of all Aussie OCs wish you the very best of luck and hope that everything will turn out 110%…..
By the way Rishi I was Captain of Rivaz in 1941/42. That’s a long, long time ago. Wonderful days.

Cheers and God Bless.

The Rollo Family

From Peter (Rollo) 1934 – 1942.


Ian Claridge Lefroy( 1943 – 1944)
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:38:18 +1100
From: ianbev01
To: manjulrana
Subject: Re: FW: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

Thank you, Rishi for all the info,

I will try to pass it on to the few OCS members I have had connection with in Australia.

I am now aged 73 but am still active in a number of things – still working as an Accountant from an Office under our house.

My wife Beverley and I go to the Indian Tea and Curry Restaurant, Pacific Highway, Turramurra (20 minutes drive from here) for an informal meal (2nd Tuesdayof the month) as Present or Past Bellringers and Partners at St James Anglican Church, Turramurra. We had been going for a year before I discovered that the owner Nana was an Old Cottonian! In fact a few years ago we had an Old Cottonian Dinner at which regrettably we could only muster 4 OCs – very few seemed to have settled in Sydney.

I actually went to BC Prep School in 1943 for a year after my mother died in Shimla. I then moved to Rawalpindi to live with my uncle who became my Guardian My father died in Ajmer in1936, a year after I was born and my mother became Housekeeper to a number of Viceroys – we lived in Viceroy’s House, Delhi and Viceregal Lodge in Shimla until my mother’s death.

In 1945 I and my Uncle’s family moved to England and I lived there until I was 16 when I moved to New Zealand (on my own) and lived there until 1959 when I came to Australia where I married a local and I’ve lived here ever since – interrupted fr ten years by a divorce, after which I re-married someone else and have lived in Sydney since.

Seven years ago we went to India and spent three days in Shimla, visiting BCS where Col Diwan found the page of the Registration book where I had been enrolled at BCPS – it was quite an emotional moment for me!

Kind regards,

Ian Claridge
19 Merlin St, Roseville NSW 2069


Dick D’Abreu Curzon( 1936 – 1946)
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 16:10:24 +0900
From: bpbb9334
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

G’day Mr Rishi,

Thanks for the email in regards to the Bishop Cotton School 150th celebrations that will take place in Simla. I was forwarded your email through George West whom I am in regular contact with in Perth Western Australia. I was in school with Malcolm Petters. Peter Rollo and George West, and we have been in close contact for many years as we live in W.A. My time was from 1936 to 1945. And I enjoyed a happy school life. My working life was with the Australian Army and Air Force from 1946 t0 1976. I had 30 years of ‘Service Life’ and left with my superannuation and a war disability allowance. At 81 years of age, although I live a reasonably healthy life, I am unable to travel long distances by air any more. I would have loved to say that I would be over for the school celebrations, as even though I left school 64 years ago, it all seems like yesterday. We have also had kind invitations to attend the celebrations in the U.K. By the OC’s committee there, many of the older boys I still remember. I regrettably had to decline.

I wish you and all the OC’s organizing this big event every success. I am pleased to know that the school traditions and standards are much the same as when I was a boarder there.

My best wishes, Dick D’Abreu.


Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2009 17:29:50 +0900
From: bpbb9334
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

Hi Mr Rishi,

Malcolm Petters is the oldest of us in W.A. He and Fred Brown were good mates in school and played hockey together for the school team. I knew Fred when he was an older boy in school from 1936 to when he left in 1939. He then came back as my House Master of Curzon in my last year of school. Malcolm left school in 1939, when he joined the British Army in Deolali, (not too sure of the date) I met up again with him in Perth W.A. Malcolm is not very well these days as he is getting on in age. His wife Evelyn looks after him at their home in Perth. Peter George visit him frequently, while I try to visit him from Bunbury whenever we come down to Perth. His email address is petters@xxxxx His wife Evelyn now answers his mail for him…a very nice lady. Peter Rollo can be reached at COP007@xxxxx  He is going quite well, but like me has slowed down quite a bit. George West is at gdwest33@xxxxxxHe was a few years younger though I knew him in Curzon House in 1945… 
In my younger days!!!


At age 81!! 

Hope this can help your research… Cheers, Dick.


William Cartwright Rivaz( 1941 – 1944)
From: william cartwright
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: E-MAILS
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 22:29:23 +0900




Hitesh Uberoy Rivaz( 1948 – 1955)

From: Hitesh Uberoy 
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 7:38 PM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: RE: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

Hi Rishi.

Glad to learn you are in Adelaide. I’m in Sydney. My Mobile No. is xxxxxxx. Both my sons are here. Elder Vikas is working as B.D.M with Avnet, an American Security Software company, his wife is in Medicare. Younger Vishal is with Dyno Nobel, the explosives Gigiants and his wife is in Railcorp.

Yes I knew R.K.Simha, Prashida, Prabal {who was a year my senior and Om who was my batch mate. They were all Rivazites. Next year we were together in Delhi University.

I have just returned after a 3 months holiday in India. In Delhi, 12 of us OC’s got together for Lunch at the Golf Club.

i have a couple of relatives & friends in Adelaide. One is a Deputy Director at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr. Yugesh Caplash.

Do keep in touch.

Warm Regards,