Henry Roberts Memories

The Secretary’s newsletters continue to bring a sense of regret that I have never been able to keep up with some good friends – anyway Bellamy’s letter roused something and my wife said that I should pen something similar – so woe betide you here goes!

I left Woodfield in 1939, Henniker-Gotley had just taken over from Lucas as both Head and Housemaster. I should say that my Uncle Tertius preceded me at Woodfield and his only son, Noel, was there at the same time as myself. He was unfortunately killed in the Far East whilst serving as an Air Gunner in the R.A.F.

The masters must have changed jobs a bit since Bellamy’s time, for L.J.C.Day took us for Geography, JAR for Latin and Ernie Jeffs, a great chin stroker, made Maths an interesting subject. I seem to remember he came to school in a green Morgan.

Cornwell I’m sure was like the author and spelt with an ‘e’ – we used to argue about the pronunciation of the word ‘b*st*rd’! Another Ernie – Gaussen, who was the Housemaster of Bury Hall, took Physics and Chemistry, but was also the man who taught Rugby. I shall always be indebted to him for making me see what a good game it is.

We had good sides – I remember in the Colts beating Tettenhall College 79 – 0 in the spring of 1936, I think. Cole, Bache and Jones were other members of the side. Bache and Cole were Scrumhalf and Standoff and Jones was a Prop to my Hooker.

Phillips, Housemaster of Sebright was the cricket master and we were fortunate enough to have a Bursar who played for Middlesex County Second XI, I think I’m right. He was a great help to me in the nets where he helped my spin bowling, his name was Wheatley.

The aforementioned Jones and I used to open the bowling for the school (summer ’39) and Mason a dayboy was the third bowler, we had a very successful season.

Other things that come to mind are Harry N. Oakes and ‘Gilbert and Sullivan’ Garrard (hope I’ve remembered the name correctly) who was instrumental in raising my interest in Dramatics, which has been my hobby ever since the war (’39-’45).

I’ve been back twice to the old school, in ’39 I cycled up from Hampstead and stayed with Cole and again in 1980 approx. to find the old place all locked up – very sad. With any luck – and a following wind – you should get this before the Dinner. I shall drink a toast that night to you and all Wolvernians.

With kindest regards,

Henry Roberts, Meopham, Kent.

Leave a Reply