The Old Philologians Association

2012 Archives

Henry Doughty   

The following Email was received from John Larke :-

"I attended the rememberance service for Henry in Truro Cathedral on 7 December and represented the OPs. The Cathedral was full and Canon Perran Gay gave a moving address which captured Henry's contribution to the world of music and us all. A copy of the address is attached and I will l not attempt to summarise any of it. I have been in touch with Henry's son Paul ( by email) , and he is happy for us to circulate/use the eulogy. He also said ::- " I know that Dad had a great time at SMGS and much of what he started there formed a basis for what he did later at Truro School, particularly the camps at Forest Green, as well as finding a wife there.He has been in touch with a few OP's recently, including Norman Rogers and Colin (?) Gibson (Gibby) to name a few. .I have suggested to Paul that there might be quite a few OPs who have happy memories of Henry which they would like to share with his family. Paul said he would be happy for us to circulate his email address which is With seasonal best wishes John"

Mini-Working Weekend Report

Our mini-working weekend November 16th - 18th, was thoroughly enjoyable, despite Allan and me being targeted almost non-stop by particularly irritating midges..... The four of us (David, Jack, Allan and me) assembled at the Old Mill, Forest Green on Friday to enjoy each other's company while we constructed a bridge over what is usually a dry ditch that separated our former cricket and tent fields.

During the main working weekend in October, Omar had opined that a bridge over this ditch would be quite useful during maintenance at the south-west end of the Estate and during the Old Boy's recent Annual Dinner in Piccadilly, the four of us agreed to carry out the project in advance of next March's working weekend.

Saturday morning breakfast was prepared by Allan and shortly afterwards we commenced work. Jack had transported a large quantity of redundant timber from his home to The Mill last week, more than enough for the job. Allan and I dug out the bridge bearing abutments in the now very wet ditch. Indeed the whole of the site is extremely soggy from this year's prolonged rainy seasons. Jack brought all his tools including the very useful circular saw and planer. By the day's end on Saturday the bridge was almost complete and after showering and pre-dinner drinks, we walked to "The Parrot" for a delightful dinner served by friendly attentive staff.

Back at the Mill we discussed the day's events over a few glasses of wine and decided that another "mini" working weekend would be nice at about mid-January. On Sunday the bridge hand-rails were completed and the thresholds concreted. I'll go to Forest Green in the next few days to strike the timber formwork. All in all a super time with congenial company.... Peter Woodman


The 2012 Annual Dinner

On Wednesday 31st October the Old Philologians Annual Dinner was held at its now traditional venue, The Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly. Just over eighty Old Boys, their wives and guests attended and sat down to an excellent meal of Pea and Mint soup, then steak, kidney and mushroom pie, followed by sherry trifle, coffee and petits fours.

Sir Brian Vickers, our Honorary President, gave a short welcoming speech at which he extended his best wishes to a group of eleven, who joined the school in 1944 and 1945, and were using the occasion to celebrate the sixty years since the departed for good the hallowed gates of St Marylebone Grammar School. A number of these worthies had met up earlier in the evening at "Ye Grapes" public house in Shepherd's Market and were in good spirits.

The Chairman for the evening was Gerald Margolis who gave a short introduction to our speaker, John Turner who joined the school in 1945 and in his subsequent teaching career as Headmaster of Alcester Grammar School in Warwickshire.

John started his speech with the explanation of why he had joined the school in the fourth form. He had been evacuated under a government scheme called the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB) set up to evacuate children abroad. There was at that time, August 1940, a fear that many young lives would be lost due to heavy air raids by German bombers in the South of England. These young evacuees were going to be moved to various commonwealth countries with Canada taking the majority. John embarked on the SS 'Llanstephan Castle', an 11,000-ton ship of the old Union Castle line. It was to become his home for the next four weeks. This evacuation scheme was swiftly abandoned when, on 17 September 1940, a German U-boat sank the City of Benares en route to Canada and tragically eighty-one child evacuees died

John was nine years old at the time of his arrival in South Africa where he lived with relations for the next five years. On his return to England, in 1945, his parents applied to St Marylebone Grammar School for his entrance but as he had no recognisable examination results it was difficult for Philip Wayne to decide in which form he should be placed. Consequently he was interviewed and questioned by various masters to determine his academic standards. He was finally placed in the fourth form, one year behind that age group. He was accepted John felt by his ability to play the piano to grade six level and some knowledge of Latin.

John reflected on what the school gave its pupils over and above the normal curriculum. There was, of course, the camp at Forest Green but, in addition, there was music and art appreciation, cultural visits, and sport. His memories of the school and its masters proved very popular with his listeners and he received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

A full transcript of his speech can be viewed by clicking here.

The evening ended with the traditional toast to the memory of Basil Waters with a more than passable glass of port.


1922 School photo

Courtesy of the son of a former pupil at St Marylebone Grammar School the photograph shown below is of the boys who were at the school in 1922. There are a number of interesting points :-

Clearly there was no school blazer in existence at the time

The headmaster is George Steven Penny. This probably the only known image of him. He was later convicted of the murder of his young daughter The verdict was guilty but insane.

The first master on the left hand side looks like Reg Willis but this needs to be checked

The first master to the right could be Claude Snape

The crest of the school has a crown superimposed on it. Perhaps we were still under Royal patronage.

The number of pupils at the school was significantly lower then


D.B. (Brian) Evans (1950-1958)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Brian Evans on Sunday 20th May 2012 after a long battle with Motor Neuron disease. The Association's sympathy is extended to extended to his family.


2012 Annual General Meeting
The Old Philologians Association held its 2012 AGM at Abercorn School on Wednesday 4th April 2012. There was a disappointing attendance with only nineteen present. The refreshments were ably organised by Mike Springate. All the reports were received nem-con. The three officers were re-elected and Gerald Milch became a member of the committee. The proposed amendments to the rules were accepted. We now elect two members each year to serve for four years and the quorum for a committee meeting is now four. It was agreed that the term 'auditor' be replaced by 'Examiner' and that we would appoint only one.

Henry Doughty and Gerald Gibson were elected with acclamation as Honorary Members.

Circulated at the meeting were the various reports from the officers and the 2011 accounts. These can be downloaded by clicking here


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

I know I’m biased, but I found them simply fascinating – 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 didn’t 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 – 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


For news go from previous years go to Archive Page and click on required year.