The Old Philologians Association

Archive for 2011 

Derek ("Titch") Downham (1945-1952)

The Association, and the Editor in particular, is very sorry to advise the membership of the sudden passing of Derek on 13th December. For those of our era, we will remember him as an excellent long distance and cross country runner who represented the school and Beeching House with distinction. He was a gritty First XV scrum half and a slow bowler for the First XI. After leaving school he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery during National Service and subsequently joined British American Tobacco Company serving that business in Aden and West Africa. On his return to the UK, he joined the National Westminster Bank and became Manager of their Chesterfield branch.

Our sympathy goes to his children Kath and Jonathan and to his grandchildren..

The funeral will be in Chesterfield on 28th December 2011.


                                                                 D R J (Roy) Porritt (1935-1940)
The Old Philologians Association is sad to announce the passing of Roy, who died on 8th December 2011. Roy was a keen sportsman and played regularly for the O.P.s' cricket team. His best performance was 7-34 including a hat trick.
There is to be a memorial service at St Maryís Church, Walkern, which is near Stevenage, at 12.15 on Thursday 22 December.

Our sympathy is extended to all his family including Mavis, Jenny, Sue and David.


I am delighted to advise members that an updated Membership List has been posted and can be found by clicking on the Link to the left of this page. Omar Harmon has worked hard tp produce this and the Association is indebted to him.


Patrick Hutton
Past Headmaster of St Marylebone Grammar School

Ruth Parry, the daughter of Patrick Hutton, has just had published "Letters from Achimota" which is in the form of an e-book.

I can do no better than quote directly from her e-mail to me :-

I am Patrickís daughter, and after his death in 2006 I discovered a box of letters, including three yearís worth of letters that he wrote when he was teaching at Achimota School in Ghana from 1956 to 1959.

I know Iím biased, but I found them simply fascinating Ė they contain detailed descriptions of life at the school, comments on the politics of the country which was of course in a major state of change becoming independent in 1957, and hilarious anecdotes about his many and various pets. I didnít know what to do with the letters, but typed them up just to keep them safe, and then they sat on my PC for a few years. A couple of weeks ago I was reading a book about an archive of letters on my Kindle and I had a eureka moment Ė archive of letters + Kindle. So, I have now published them as an e-book on Amazon, and I thought that some of the Old Philologians might be interested.

The book is called "Letters from Achimota" and can be found at: :-

If you do not have a Kindle there is a free application that can be downloaded from the Amazon web site, which will enable you to read an e-book on your personal computer.

The download price for "Letters from Achimota" from Amazon is £1-71.

Enjoy the read - I am !!




GERALD E. G GIBSON M.A.(Cantab) B.Sc.(Lond)

Born 20th February 1911

Gerald Gibson taught Maths at S.M.G. S. from 1934 till 1954, with a six year break for War Service. When he left, he was appointed Head of Maths at Trowbridge Boys' High School and, later, became Deputy Head. After he retired, he stayed in Trowbridge and now lives in a bungalow in Victoria Road. His wife, Barbara, died early in 2010 after 73 years of marriage. Earlier this year, Gera1d celebrated his hundredth birthday with a family luncheon, followed by a tea-party for 250 guests. He has recently written an account of his life entitled "A Cornish Innings". (He was born and brought up in Truro and was always passionate about cricket.) He is well looked after by a full-time carer and his son and still has many memories of S.M.G.S.






'Stay the Distance: The Life and Times of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham'.

Sir Michael Beetham was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School and regularly attends our Old Philologians Association annual dinners. His biography has just been published by Frontline Books and I am delighted to say that the publishers are giving Old Philologians an opportunity to purchase it at a discount price. Please click here for further information.

The School Magazine
Your webmaster has started to electronically scan those copies of "The Philologian" he has in his possession By scrolling down the menu on the left hand side of this page and clicking on School Magazine you will be able to access those copies currently available.

The Annual General Meeting of the Old Philologians will be held at 248 Marylebone Road, which Abercorn School is kindly allowing us to use, will be held on Wednesday 13th April at 7.15 p.m.. The notice for the meeting and the Minutes of the 2010 AGM can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here



The Old Philologians' Annual Dinner is rapidly approaching and will as normal be held at the RAF Club in Picadilly. The date for the dinner is Wednesday 26th October. This is an ideal opportunity for you to meet up with old class mates, and have a wander down memory lane with them. This year our main speaker will be Timothy Hands, head master of Magdalen College School and son of Rory, our President Emeritus.Full details and a booking form can be downloaded by clicking here.


Annual General Meeting Wednesday 13th April 2011 at Abercorn School by kind permission of the Head Mistress. This school occupies part of 248 Marylebone Road, which was of course originally St Marylebone Grammar School. This is a once- a- year opportunity to revisit the scene of our youth and to meet up with old friends. Wine and light refreshments will be provided but more importantly there is the need to elect committee members of the Old Philologians Association , to contribute ideas as to how the Association can be improved, and finally to approve or otherwise the financial statements.

The Association is also seeking a new Treasurer and a volunteer would be welcome.

Forest Green Pilgrimage. This will be on 5th June 2011. We hope as many as possible will be able to come this year. The walk up Leith Hill is not compulsory! Click here for the invitation form

Annual Luncheon at the Savile Club. The date for this increasingly popular event has now been finalised and will be on Tuesday 12th July 2011. The speaker for the lunch is currently being approached and further details will be announced shortly..Click here for the reservation form

The Mill Forest Green Working Weekends. The next working weekend of 2011 will be held on Friday 24th June to Sunday 26th June 2011. The one after is provisionally arranged for Friday to Sunday October 7th to 9th.

Further details can be obtained from Omar Harmon by e-mailing him on

Please let me know if you have any items you wish to raise and I will pass these onto the Committee.


Dick Durran.