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Last Post: Archive material from Donald Plenderleith, killed in Burma during World War II; OA Gazette, Page 19

Old Albanian Club


MAY 2007

Garden Party – Sunday 10th June 2007 Annual Dinner – Friday 6th July 2007 Founders’ Day – Saturday 7th July 2007

OA CLUB President

Stephen Burgess 01727 867868 Secretary David Buxton 01727 840499 Treasurer Brian Sullman 01582 460317 Membership Secretary Roger Cook 01727 836877 OA SPORTS

RUGBY President

Ali Mills Chairman Richard Milnes Commercial Director Simon Heath Finance Director Chris Walker Admin Director Peter Lipscomb Fixture Secretary Darren Ead Director of Coaching Bruce Millar Director of Rugby Steve Bedford Mini & Junior Rugby Chairman

Rory Davis 01727 843538

Nick Chappin – Editor Andy Chappin – Design & Production Roger Cook – Membership Mike Highstead – Gazette Printing - Herts & Beds Printing 01923 234959 2


FOOTBALL Club President & Manager Simon Bates 07720 383600/01442 240247 Treasurer & Club Secretary David Hughes 07890 831315/01727 769237 Sponsorship Secretary David Burrows 07841 431614 CRICKET President Chairman Alan Philpott Andrew McCree 01727 845513 Secretary David Hughes 07890 831315/01727 769 237 Treasurer Denis King Fixture Secretary Julian Baines OTHERS Rifle & Pistol

Andrew Wilkie 01727 856857 Geoff Cannon 01582 792512 Royce Bryant 01727 863130

Angling Golf

OA LODGE John Williams 01438 715679


Address for correspondence: Nick Chappin 18 The Pleasance, Harpenden, Herts AL5 3NA Telephone: 01582 461674 (home) 07980 565645 (mobile) e-mail:





History in the making

pickers may suggest that for this to be true these earliest old boys must Maybe it’s an age thing. But as I have left the moment the School was approach my half-century, I find founded rather than waiting until myself taking an increasingly keen they’d completed the medieval interest in my personal history: the equivalent of GCSEs). “But it is people, events and environment that interesting to reflect that Old have shaped who I am today. An old Albanians probably fought at friend of mine is an avid amateur Hastings, Agincourt and genealogist and has been tracing my Bannockburn, sailed into battle family tree – or at least my father’s against the Armada, served under side – during the abundant downNelson at Trafalgar and helped time on the oil rig to which he pioneer America, Africa and Asia,” disappears every other month. The he continues. “We also know that an results are fascinating, if Old Albanian was the only unsurprising – like, I suspect, the Englishman ever to become Pope. majority of the population if you go This was Nicholas Breakspear who, back far enough, I’m from 1054 to 1059, was descended from a long Pope Adrian IV and after The history of line of rural peasantry; whom one of the School the only blue blood in houses was named.” Britain and its my background is the Thus the history of varicose veins in the Britain and its empire empire must, in labourers’ legs from must, in some small part standing around in fields at least, have been all day. And like most of some small part, shaped by former pupils their contemporaries, my of St Albans School. have been shaped Concrete evidence, forebears weren’t great travellers. The furthest however, has only been by former pupils of available for the last 120 most of them managed was moving from years or so as the Old Harpenden to Redbourn, St Albans School Albanian Club was not although one intrepid formally organised until branch did actually the late 19th century, reach the outskirts of St Albans – when a number of local old boys albeit the Harpenden side. decided to form a dinner club. The It was with great interest, first recorded committee meeting therefore, that I began to read an minutes were dated May 1892, yet a early draft of Membership Secretary recently unearthed excerpt from the Roger Cook’s history of the Old Herts Advertiser of February 1887 Albanian Club. As he points out in (see page 24) shows that informal his introduction, there have been Old reunions (and I use the word Albanians since 948 (although nitadvisedly given the apparently






President’s Notes until 1919 that the current name was formal nature of the occasions) were adopted. already taking place at least five Roger Cook’s magnus opus is years earlier. What this does currently a work in progress, and demonstrate, though, is the dearth of should be available in all good reliable information available. This bookshops (or at least on the OA labour of love is the result of an website) soon. We shall be including exhaustive trawl through the extracts from the history in future committee minutes and other editions of the Bulletin. In the available documentation, but there meantime, Old Albanians are are inevitably gaps in the narrative and Roger would be delighted to hear continuing to make an impact in all sorts of spheres across of any additional the globe. One of our historical sources which most noted former One of our most may add to our pupils, Professor Stephen understanding of the Hawking, visited the noted former origins of the Club. School last autumn, and You’ll find his contact the current crop of pupils, Professor details on page 17. pupils continue to This early dinner at St Stephen Hawking, deliver the highest levels Albans Town Hall was of academic and sporting attended by such visited the School achievements. We also luminaries as the bid a sad farewell to Reverend F Willcox (who several Old Albanians, was to retire in 1902 after last autumn including well-known 22 years as headmaster) photographer John and A H Debenham, Timbers (see obituary on page 19). another noted OA after whom a On a lighter note, the OA sporting School house was also named. The clubs continue to flourish, and the gathering was chaired by Charles cricket club is looking forward to Woollam, perhaps the School’s another highly successful summer. greatest benefactor and the first The Annual Dinner on Friday 6th President of the Old Albanian Club. Among the other nuggets mined from July returns to the Woollams the committee minutes of subsequent clubhouse after a two-year sojourn at the School pavilion (see the booking decades are the registering of the form enclosed), followed by Club colours – “a crimson ground Founders’ Day the following day. with black stripes intercepted by a It is always a pleasure to hear from narrow stripe of gold” – in 1909, and Old Albanians of every generation, so a proposal, put to the AGM in 1912, that the name of the club be changed please make the effort to contact me either direct or via OAConnect. from old boys club to the Old Nick Chappin (75) Albanian Club. The motion was Editor defeated by four votes and it wasn’t

Good to be back  Having returned to the OA Club Committee 18 months ago, new President Stephen Burgess reflects on the progress made in recent years and looks forward to an exciting future for the Old Albanian Club A tribute to Andy Barnes I feel that as the new President of the Old Albanian Association I should rightly pay a tribute to the past president Andy Barnes for his three years of hard work. This has been a period in which membership, with the co-operation of the School, has become free to all School leavers and to existing members. This has been funded by the School, which makes an annual grant to the Old Albanian Club. While this makes some aspects of life easier for the Membership Secretary and Treasurer of the Club, there will be more people to keep track of and no payment can mean looser connections. I am sure, however, that this will be a beneficial development both for the Club and the School. Andy and our Membership Secretary Roger Cook have also worked hard on the OA Connect site and the OA Club’s internet site. We hope to develop these further. Andy has also helped to further connections with younger members, an area in which I would also like to take initiatives. The president of the Old Albanian Club becomes an ex officio governor of the school and in this capacity Andy has done a lot of work on a new project about which I hope to be able to give you further news in due course. He has also initiated the Summer Garden Party, an excellent social event which I aim to continue. In all these activities Andy has worked diligently to ensure their success and I thank him for his sterling efforts.

New President Stephen Burgess

Back to the Committee I have only returned to the OA Committee in the last 18 months, but I served on it from time to time from the mid sixties to the early eighties and did a several year stint as secretary to the Ground Sub Committee that ran the club at our previous Beech Bottom home. I was also on the Rugby Club Committee for nearly 15 years, so in being elected to the presidency I feel I am returning home and very proud to be in this office. At 63 I am perhaps one of the older presidents of the club – and certainly so in the last 30 years – but I have maintained connections with many branches of the Old Albanian activities and sports clubs and thus I believe I can provide continuity from Andy’s stint and that of Andrew Mills-Baker who preceded him. Andrew Mills-Baker Three years ago Andy Barnes paid tribute to Andrew Mills-Baker’s presidency and the tremendous work he undertook over the development of Woollams and the move to the new club grounds. Andrew has continued making a major contribution as Chairman of the Sports Association which oversees the day to day activities of the club, ground and constituent sports activities. This has required a considerable commitment on his part, which he has



unstintingly given. He has now stepped down as chairman of the Sports Association and has handed over to the new Chairman, Mike Peters (82). Fortunately for us he will continue as a trustee of the Sports Association, and of the 948 Charity as well as a member of the OA Committee. I am personally very grateful for Andrew’s valuable work over many years and hope that he continues to serve on these committees for many more years. A School Governor As a governor of the School I was delighted to join two other members of my A Level History set: Ian Jennings, Chairman of the Governors, and Professor John Barber who represents Cambridge University. Two other members of the Governing Board are old rugby colleagues of mine in Andy Barnes and Peter Dredge. It is a strong Governing Board, and a lot of hard work is undertaken by its members. As President of the Club and as a Governor I am sure I will have frequent business and social interaction with the headmaster, Andrew Grant. I will let you into a secret: both Andrew and I are members of the Verulam Cycling Club, and we frequently gasp at the top of Hertfordshire’s cols and swap notes during elevenses at the inevitable garden centre. We know some of our respective strengths and weaknesses, which get tested over 50 to 60 miles on Sunday mornings. The Dinner: Friday 6th July, 7.00 for 7.45pm The last two dinners have been held in the School pavilion due to other events taking place at the Woollams clubhouse. We are grateful to the School for providing their fine facilities, but I am glad that we are


returning to the Woollams clubhouse this year. The cost of the dinner includes a drinks reception on the terrace. I am sure we will enjoy a fine evening and an excellent dinner. I believe attendance will be up this year and urge you to contact me a soon as possible. As usual, the dinner will be followed the next day by Founders’ Day with a service in the Abbey and an afternoon of sport at Woollams. For those of you who live away from the area, why not make a weekend of it? Please complete the form included with this Bulletin. By popular demand this year’s dinner will be lounge suit order. The Garden Party: Sunday 10th June, 1.00pm The fourth garden party will be held at the Woollams clubhouse with drinks, canapés and a light buffet. Come along and enjoy yourself and see a good game of cricket. A form is provided and the cost is £15 a head, a very reasonable price for a good afternoon out. Roger Cook I have mentioned earlier in these notes that I sat on the committee in the early 1980s. I recall that Roger Cook had taken over as Membership Secretary, and I have now returned to the Committee and Roger is still here doing his diligent work. He has a record of over 3,500 OAs and, of course, these records continue to build. Well done Roger, and thank you. Roy Bacon I feel I should say a few words about Roy Bacon, who after a long while on the Committee has stood down partly through indifferent health. When I left school in 1962 and joined the Old Albanian Club and Rugby


OARFC President Ali Mills entertains the guests at the VPs’ Lunch before the Bishop’s Stortford match

Club, Roy was an active and busy member organising fixtures for the Rugby Club, working on the fete and serving on the Old Albanian Committee. Roy’s commitment covers well over half a century. His advice was always sound and his company excellent. Thanks to you as well, Roy. 948 Charity This charity was established by the Club some five years ago to provide help for young people in sport in St Albans and District. Money has been provided both to our own sports clubs, to St Albans School and to other schools, clubs and some individuals in the district over the last four years. Over £100,000 has been distributed so far and the charity is by far the largest in the area providing sporting grants. I am proud of the work the trustees do and of the benefits the charity can provide in the Club’s name. If you know of a club or sports organisation in the district which could benefit from some help, please feel free to contact the secretary Mrs Julie Dekker at Woollams (telephone 01727 864476) or the chairman of the trustees, Geraint John, on 01727 857682. Finally, I look forward during my

presidency to meeting old friends and new acquaintances. The Club is in good health and we have wonderful facilities at Woollams. If you have not visited the new Club I urge you to do so. The Cricket Club is doing very well and the terrace is a great place to watch a game. The Rugby Club has finished mid-table in a highly competitive division just below the national leagues and the quality of play is excellent. There is a thriving Tennis Club with plans to grow and prosper, and a well-equipped health and fitness centre. The ground is used by the England Women’s Rugby Team as their ‘home’ pitch and Saracens Rugby Club plays its ‘A’ team home fixtures on a Monday evening. This is a tribute to the quality of the facilities, the welcome extended by the staff and, I’d like to feel, some of the tradition flowing through from Old Albanians of the past and continuing into the present. The Committee can organise events but it is up to you, the members, to take advantage of what is on offer. Get together with friends, come to the Dinner and the Garden Party, and enjoy yourselves. Stephen Burgess President, Old Albanian Club




Headmaster’s Notes

A brief history of term

provided – in George Goldberg, Gordon Tveito-Duncan, Nick Goldberg and Gerald Flahive, the individual silver medalist – the  A superb production of Beauty and the youngest team ever to have won the Open Beast, record GCSE results, 100 rugby wins competition in the English Schools’ Ski in the season and a visit from one of our Championships. most famous former pupils, Professor For the first time in our history, School Stephen Hawking. Headmaster Andrew rugby teams reached the magic total of 100 Grant looks back at some of the highlights of wins in a season – 111 in fact – and a record the winter and spring terms overall win rate of 79%. The First XV lost It was a pleasure to see a good only three matches, for a 77% tally and the Second XV and Under 16s both kept an number of OAs in the Abbey entirely clean sheet. Among the block for the Carol Service that fixtures en route to these statistics, we had closed the autumn term and a clean sweep against Bancroft’s, University to hear the Choir absolutely College School and Verulam on top form. A week earlier, the and came within one match of hilarious Beauty and the Beast whitewashing Haberdashers’, For the first time had played to full houses, Merchant Taylors’ and ensuring an eventful term Stamford, so well done to all in our history, closed on a high note. our rugby players. The term’s successes were Some notable scalps were School rugby many and varied. If the biggest taken by the netball team and coup was unquestionably the teams reached the there were some good wins in visit of Professor Stephen badminton, while in swimming, Hawking, to address a Hall full of our students and those from magic total of 100 all the teams made a good start to their Herts League 16 other schools, there were campaign. plenty of other highlights. wins in a season The cross country squad Though “highlight” is hardly retained all the term’s trophies, the term for it, the steady beginning with an individual win in the trickle of upgrades following appeals Abbots’ Langley 5km race for Dominic against, particularly, some outrageous Easter and ending with a particularly GCSE results in English, brought us to the impressive run in our own Geoffrey Pryke point where the 2006 GCSE results are now, relay. Meanwhile, in the Varsity Match, 2004 ironically, a record for the School, with the captain Matthew Grant won his Cambridge proportion of A*/A grades nudging 68%. Blue in helping the forces of light (blue) to Our team of Sixth Form Economists, vanquish the Dark Side. Jason Suares, Heather Wong, Jessica This year’s round of Oxbridge Roberts, Jake Watson and Paul Sopher, won applications brought 10 offers; three from their regional heat of the Times/Bank of England Target Two point Zero interest rate Oxford and seven from Cambridge. After Christmas, among a number of new competition, though they did not get beyond arrivals on the staff, we welcomed our new the regional final, whilst St Albans also


Professor Stephen Hawking, OA, addressed a Hall full of students on a recent visit to the School

Bursar, Derek Todd, a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, whose previous role was as Deputy Chief Executive of the Thinktank Trust and the Millennium Point Trust in Birmingham, the largest lotteryfunded project outside London. Following Ryan McIntosh’s defection to Haberdashers’ as their new Director of PE and Games, Martin Langston joined the permanent staff as our Deputy Director of PE and Games, having taught full-time here during the summer term 2005 and continued

to coach hockey and cricket for us since then. Martin is a former England hockey international and an international coach, and adds to a wealth of hockey expertise in the PE department. The season began well for the First XI, with a win in a triangular tournament against Gresham’s and Oakham on the first weekend of term. Thereafter, things went off the boil a little, before a mid-season rally that saw them go from strength to strength to finish with crushing victories over some of our strongest rivals of recent years (5-0 v



for one of the most exciting finishes the Hitchin; 9-1 v Stamford) and an overall win event has seen. Despite having to settle for rate in excess of 75%, the best in recent second, the team ran the fifth fastest time in memory. the history of the race; only three other By the end of the spring term, our schools have ever run faster, so as defeats intermediate swimmers had won the Herts go, it was an heroic one. League, with the Juniors and Seniors each St Albans finished the season in fine taking second place. style, taking the Senior South Eastern Our basketball and badminton players Schools Championship ahead of old rivals had some successes, as did our football Judd. Individually, Dominic Easter won teams, particularly at more junior levels in both the county championships for which District competitions and our U12 rugby he was eligible; he and Lucy won South of players came close to sweeping all before England Championship silver medals and them. Dominic, captaining Hertfordshire, went on In orienteering, Adam Bennett, who also to silver in the National Inter-Counties runs for South East England, finished championship and fifth place in second in the Senior League, the English Schools whilst James Harrison and Championship in his first year The choir and Craig Lye finished second and in the age category. third respectively in the Junior Just before the end of term, orchestra gave an League. the whole School community The cross country squads was shocked and saddened by assured completed their season with the untimely death of Anthony some excellent performances, James, a member of the performance of the senior boys’ only defeats Economics Department, after coming in the two events that attract a national entry: the great works in the which the intense activity of the end of term, and the holiday Knole Run at Sevenoaks (won itself, provided a welcome by Judd) and the King Henry choral repertoire opportunity to refocus. VIII relay in Coventry (won by Anthony’s students in the St Anselm’s, but with Judd well Business Enterprise Group converted their down). In both cases, St Albans took second planned balloon race to a memorial event place and Dominic Easter, this year’s 948 which raised something in the region of scholar, was individual second fastest. £1,000 for Oxfam, his favourite charity, with Both races were also notable for the the furthest-travelled balloon being reported success of a combined St Albans girls team, in North Yorkshire. led by Lucy Yates to third place at the Grayson Jones’s final Joint Schools Knole and a win at Coventry, where for the greater part of the day, both boys’ and girls’ Concert before he moves in September to take up his post as Director of Music at races were being led, unprecedentedly, by Guildford High School for Girls took place the same school – St Albans. A unique in the Abbey before a full house. The choir double appeared to be on the cards, but in and orchestra gave an assured performance an epic boys’ race, our last runner, Chris Graham, was caught 50 metres from the line of some of the greatest works in the choral



repertoire, and can be proud of their evening’s work in giving Grayson a fitting farewell to this particular event. Author William Nicholson, known both for his world-wide best-selling fantasy trilogy The Wind on Fire, and also for the screenplay of Gladiator and the play Shadowlands, visited to speak to Lower School pupils about creative writing and followed this with a book signing in the library. This was the beginning of a feast of literary activity for the First Form, who, a few days later, had their annual Creative Writing Day, on which pupils come dressed as their favourite characters for a day of workshops led by professional writers. Thus it was that writers Dominic Mieville, John Mole and Sandy Brownjohn were met by numerous Alex Riders, several James Bonds and a woad-stained Nac Mac Feegle, the competition for the most impressive outfit being won by a very impressive Mock Turtle from Alice in Wonderland. The Drama department had a busy end of term with assessed performances at GCSE, AS and A2, each providing an entertaining evening in their own right, and the Lower

Sixth offerings of two Joe Orton plays, Loot and The Erpingham Camp, delivering particularly high octane – not to mention high camp – comedy performances that were very funny indeed. The holiday was almost as busy as the term, with more than a third of students and staff involved in School activities of some sort over the break, including the music tour to the Czech Republic; a Classics trip taking in Rome, Ostia, Sorrento, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius; a CCF Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition in the Peak District and an RAF Easter Camp at MOD St Athan, South Wales; a ski trip to Vars and four days of coaching and competition at Windmill Hill for our Tennis and Golf players. At the time of writing, the cricket season, rather unnervingly, is getting off to a start in the sort of weather for which one hopes, almost always in vain. There may be some interim benefits to global warming. Let us hope it continues to Founders’ Day, when I hope to see a good many of you up at Woollams. Andrew Grant Headmaster






OA Lodge

A warm Wellcome  Secretary John Williams welcomes new younger members to the OA Lodge and looks back at Freemasonry’s proud tradition of philanthropy, charity and care The Lodge is looking forward to May when the new Master, Dr Maxton Pitcher MA, MD, BM BCh, FRCP, who was elected at the March meeting, is installed in the Chair by the outgoing Master, Rodney Bendon. This will be followed by the appointment of the Lodge Officers for the ensuing year. It is invariably the best attended meeting, and dinner jackets are the norm – although this is entirely optional. Max, who left School in 1981 and graduated from Oxford in 1988, is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at Northwick Park & St Mark’s Hospitals, Harrow. Among his other pursuits, he is a superb violinist and was leader of the Herts County Youth Orchestra and Oxford University Chamber Orchestra. It has been an excellent year and the Lodge is in good heart, with two young initiates and also a joining member who is both an Old Albanian and the son of a former member. One of our young members is studying at university and the United Grand Lodge of England now runs a Universities Scheme. If you are a current student or postgraduate, you may well find that there is a specific lodge associated with your institution, such as Apollo University Lodge in Oxford or the Isaac Newton

University Lodge in Cambridge. There are many other lodges associated with universities and it is possible to visit them on a regular basis whilst at university. For full information please contact the secretary at the address below. At the forthcoming Installation meeting the Lodge will be donating a further £5,000 towards the Hertfordshire Provincial Fund for 2009 ‘Festival’ Appeal in support of the Grand Charity, which Hertfordshire is hosting. This will bring the total sum transferred by the Lodge to date to a magnificent £25,000, with two years to go to meet our target of £40,000. The Grand Charity is the central grant making charity of all Freemasons in England and Wales. All the funding for the Charity comes from donations by individual Freemasons and their families. The provision of ‘Masonic Relief Grants’, which provide assistance for Freemasons and, after their death, their widows and other dependents in need of financial help, is still one of the primary activities of the Grand Charity. Financial support is also provided when needed to the other three main Masonic charities and to non-Masonic charities. Indeed, since 1981, more than £30 million has been given to non-Masonic charitable causes under five main headings:  Medical research;  Vulnerable people;  Youth opportunities;  Hospices; and  Emergency grants for disaster relief, both at home and abroad. Hospices in England and Wales

receive support every year and since 1984, over £6 million have been donated. In 2006, individual grants ranged from £500 to £7,000, and totalled £500,000. And, of course, this is in addition to the considerable sums raised by Freemasons around the country in support of their local hospices. This year an additional and separate allocation of £100,000 solely for children’s hospices has been made. There is also very widespread support in the Craft for the fantastic life-saving services of air ambulances and last year a grant of £180,000 was given in support. Emergency Grants for victims of floods, earthquakes and other disasters around the world are authorised by the President of the Grand Charity throughout the year as the need arises. Much of the relief work, supported by the Grand Charity's Emergency Grants, is undertaken by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Such grants were made following the Kenya Floods, the Indonesian Earthquake, African Food Shortages, the South Asia Earthquake, Flooding in Carlisle, Tropical Storm Stan – Guatemala, Hurricane Katrina, the Niger Aid Appeal and the London Bombings. Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals. Amounts contributed by individuals are entirely confidential of course. From its earliest days,

Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. Notable among Freemasons of the 19th century was Dr Thomas John Barnardo (1845–1905), nicknamed ‘The Doctor’, a leading reformer on a par with Sir Robert Peel, Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. Single-handed, over a period of four decades, he improved the life of hundreds of thousands of destitute children. His first home opened in the East End of London in 1870. At his death, in September 1905, there were nearly

Caring: notable Freemason Dr Thomas John Barnardo, founder of Barnardo’s Homes






Membership Secretary’s Notes 8,000 children in 96 of his residential homes. The influence on Barnardo to become a Freemason may have emanated from his friendship with Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936) the American-born British pharmaceutical entrepreneur. Sir Henry was a dedicated and very active Freemason, whose closeness to Barnardo was, at a later stage, greatly enhanced when, in 1901, Wellcome married Gwendolin Maud Syrie, Barnardo’s daughter. Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936) was a remarkable man with many facets to his complex character: a scientist, businessman, philanthropist, archaeologist, collector and Freemason. He left behind a legacy that has immortalised his name in each of the fields in which he excelled with equal success. His philanthropy is manifest in The Wellcome Trust, established as an independent research-funding charity, as required in his will, on his death on 25 July 1936. Following the very successful Lodge visit to the historic city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia after Easter last year, this year a visit to the Palatine Lodge, Mannheim in Germany has been arranged over four days in late June. Staying at the Goldener Hecht Hotel in Heidelberg overlooking the Old Bridge and the River Neckar, the schedule arranged by the English Secretary of the Lodge includes:  A champagne reception in Hambrücken;  Dinner in the student pub Zum Roten Ochsen in the Old Town of

Heidelberg – with members of Palatina Lodge and their wives/partners;  Palatina Lodge ‘Johannisfest’ meeting;  A guided tour of Heidelberg including the castle;  A drive down the magnificent Neckar valley to the ancient spa town of Bad Wimpfen - a fortified hill-top town which has not changed for 700 years.  Guided tours of the historic church of St Mary The Virgin, the Blue Tower, and the Emperor's Palace;  A visit to Maulbronn Abbey (a World Heritage Centre). This is an 11th Century Cistercian Order Abbey and altogether quite magnificent and almost unchanged since it was built. The Lodge meets only five times a year on the second Saturdays in January, March, May and September and the first Saturday in November. All those connected with the School, including fathers of past or present pupils are welcome to apply for membership, for which purpose the first approach should be to any Lodge member, the Secretary as below, or Nigel Wood Smith or Alan Smith at the School. Members of other Lodges, be they OAs, parents of past or present pupils, staff or Governors, are encouraged to visit the Lodge whenever they wish, and the Secretary will be delighted to hear from them. The Lodge website address is: John Williams Secretary

Check your details!  OAconnect now has well over 1,000 registered members – but please go online to check that your contact details are correct, says OA Club Membership Secretary Roger Cook OAconnect site Over 1,030 members have registered with the OAconnect site. If you have not yet registered, please do so now! OAconnect is an online system that enables you to update your records whenever you so wish. I would therefore ask that you access the site (via the OA website is the easiest way) and check that your information, especially your e-mail address, is correct. There are currently many incorrect e-mail addresses on the site, which negates the site’s main objective of enabling your friends and the Club to contact you! Don’t forget that the OA website and the OAconnect site are not the same. The former is managed by the OA Club, whereas we pay an independent company a significant fee to run the OAconnect site for us. A summary of the results of the autumn questionnaire has been sent to all registrants. OA website: There have been one or two contributions to the personal information page – why not provide a short item that you feel may be of interest to other OAs or use it to find lost friends? Just go to the news page

and follow instructions. The site also provides links to all other OA sites. OA Bulletin This Bulletin and previous issues are available on the OA web site. As you know, we do make a nominal charge for postal delivery of a hard copy Bulletin. The cost is £18 for three years, and the year when your Bulletin subscription becomes due is shown on the address label. If you are one of the original ‘life members’ of the Club, you are entitled to a free postal copy. However, it would help our postal expenses if such members could make a contribution towards the postage, and I would like to thank those of you who have already done so. Alternatively, you may be willing to forego the hard copy and view the Bulletin on the OA website – if so, please let me know. Waifs and strays As reported in the last Bulletin, I have divided the ‘waifs and strays’ into two lists. This issue contains the names of those who left school before 1985. Ties I still have a stock of OA ties (£12.50, silk or £15, bowtie; postage free). Roger Cook Membership Secretary

1 Pondwicks Close St Albans AL1 1DG Telephone: 01727 836877





Waifs and strays We have lost contact with the following OAs – can anyone help? Year


1979 1967 1979 1925 1947 1971 1978 1977 1977 1976 1933 1957 1943 1936 1970 1932 1938 1976 1978 1970 1975 1979 1977 1962 1927 1981 1977 1967 1974 1955 1924 1979 1984 1968 1976 1954 1979 1977 1970 1971 1971 1980 1980 1932 1978 1975 1979 1975 1975 1980


Last known location St Albans Luton Leyton Harpenden Sandbach New York Heybridge Welwyn Garden City St Albans Maresfield Shefford Desford Cuckfield Wolverhampton Harpenden Welwyn Garden City Leighton Buzzard Edinburgh Middlesbrough Bricket Wood Knebworth Shenley Windlesham Harpenden Redhill Germany Brookmans Park Lyndhurst Luton Harpenden Potters Bar Southsea High Wycombe Harpenden

Hitchin Newbury Luton Bristol St Albans Hemel Hempstead Bristol Tring St Albans Barnet Flamstead

1968 1963 1977 1934 1979 1900 1970 1980 1980 1981 1928 1944 1976 1956 1981 1984 1982 1977 1949 1974 1965 1918 1955 1900 1971 1984 1964 1977 1979 1900 1938 1967 1974 1977 1970 1964 1900 1972 1983 1979 1959 1978 1958 1976 1900 1981 1978 1972 1923 1983 1931 1981 1942 1983 1982 1980 1980 1979



Bury St Edmunds St Albans London Wimborne Rickmansworth London St Albans St Albans Peterborough St Albans Cranbrook Hove Glasgow Harpenden Ulverston Boscombe Keighley South Africa East Grinstead Walthamstow Kirkcudbright Blackboys St Albans Harpenden Harpenden Abergynolwyn Crewkerne St Albans Canada Borehamwood St Albans St Albans Harborne Newcastle under Lyme

1960 1979 1948 1984 1978 1980 1979 1978 1942 1981 1977 1980 1983 1900 1973 1966 1982 1978 1977 1970 1979 1980 1984 1982 1976 1979 1977


Herts Harpenden Radlett Harpenden St Albans Chislehurst Great Stukeley London SW7 Beaminster St Albans St Albans Belgium Market Lavington

1978 1977 1939 1974 1971 1900 1983 1944 1980 1952 1941


Eccles-Aylesford St Albans Harpenden Slip End Harpenden

Stevenage Edgware Farnham Royal Berkhamsted Slip End Hitchin Cockermouth St Albans New York Twyford Hatfield Balham St Albans

If anyone can help with the present address of any of the above, please contact me. Roger Cook

Kirriemuir Welwyn Garden City Wheathampstead London St Albans

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WHO TO CONTACT Please address your correspondence to the following people – you’ll find their contact details on page 2. OA Bulletin Nick Chappin, Editor Comments, letters, photos Subscription/membership enquiries Roger Cook, Membership Secretary Change of address, notification of deaths OA Gazette Mike Highstead, Archivist Member news, obituaries, School archive and museum




De fortunis Albanorum  Justin Pollard (86) had his book The Rise and Fall of Alexandria – Birthplace of the Modern Mind published on 19th October 2006.  Howard Clark (99) has achieved a PhD in Civil Engineering at Southampton University.  Matthew Scase (96) has been offered – and has accepted - the post of Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Maths at Cornell during the time he is there on his Fulbright Scholarship. He went to Perth, Australia in November 2006 to deliver an invited lecture.  Nicholas Ireson (04) has been awarded a postgraduate place at the Royal Academy of Music to study the horn.

Deaths It is with regret that the following deaths are announced:  Lancelot Peter Baenzinger (20s) died on 17th February 2007.  H L B ‘Len’ Moody (37) died in March 2007. His brother Brian Moody (43) writes: “Born in 1919, Len Moody went to St Albans School in 1929, the last year of Montague Jones’ headship, and left for Cambridge in 1937 having been Deputy Head Boy to J C McDonald. The most abiding things he acquired at school were a love of mountains and open spaces, especially the Lake District where the School held regular walking holidays, and also a love of choral



singing. His last year at School was my first, but the only time we actually met was at the official opening of the new Science Block by Dean Henderson in November 1936. During the War he managed to find some more open space when he joined the Long Range Desert Group of the Royal West African Frontier Force, spending much of this time patrolling the African desert. On returning to St Albans from overseas, he became English master at Haberdashers’ Askes’ School, and Secretary of the St Albans Bach Choir, where he worked closely with Peter Hurford, them Master of the Abbey Music. Meanwhile, his Viennese wife Johanna taught German at St Albans School, and also organised the library. In the 1960s Africa called him again, and he joined London University and later the British Council, to become an overseas teacher of English as a second language. He started as Professor of English at Ife University in Nigeria, and over the next 20 years carried out similar work in other countries of West Africa and South America, and once even in distant Wales. In retirement he lived on the Yorkshire moors near Bentham, and spent much of his time guiding local walkers and singing in local choirs. At his March memorial service in Settle they were all there, to remember the inspiration he had given them in various ways.”  Robert P Judges (40) died on 15th January 2006.

 Anthony Holdham (41) died on 26th October 2006.  Donald Plenderleith (41) OA Club President Stephen Burgess writes: “In the May 2005 Bulletin we published an obituary of Robert Plenderleith DFC, a distinguished pilot who was my wife’s stepfather. In going through his papers we found some interesting items relating to his brother Donald who was killed just short of his 21st birthday in Burma during an attack on a heavily defended Japanese position. Donald was an officer in the 1st Gurkha Rifles and the material included a photo of Donald in his Gurkha uniform as well a photo of the 1940/41 prefects and a photo of drums and bugles by the War Memorial. There was also an Albanian of January 1941 listing the prefects. The only one I know for certain is O M A Butler, second from the left in the front row. Donald was a prefect but I cannot

pick him out in the picture. Perhaps of most interest were a series of tributes from his fellow officers in the 1st Gurkha Rifles, including a tribute from a fellow officer in the attack who would appear to be the only officer to survive the action. It is a touching tribute but there seems to be some doubt as to how Donald died, from a grenade or a sniper. Mrs Plenderleith, Bob Plenderleith’s widow, would like the papers to be held in the School Archives.”  John Timbers (50s) died on 14th October 2006. He was an eminent photographer. The following extracts are taken from his obituary in The Independent, 27th October 2007: The humblest item claimed on expenses by the photographer John Timbers was ‘Eggs, 32 pence’, yet it led to one of his most iconic shots. Commissioned by the Radio Times to produce an egg-themed portrait of Delia Smith for her 1978 television cookery series, he had tried various approaches, from breaking and beating to whisking and separating, but nothing worked until the future grande dame of British cuisine picked up an egg and held it against her face. “It was the simplest shot, and certainly the best,” said Timbers. Timbers also laid claim to another sub-cultural icon of the day, Edna Everage’s gladdy. In 1973 he was

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commissioned to photograph Barry Humphries for Harpers & Queen, and came up with a double portrait of “a vertically challenged Barry, timidly proffering a single gladdy to a domineering Edna”. The gladioli theme became an integral part of Edna’s act, and the sitting marked the beginning of a 30-year friendship with her creator Barry Humphries. Known principally for his outstanding theatre work, John Timbers was always the most collaborative of photographers, producing pictures which grew from his knowledge of the stage and his friendships with those who trod the boards. As he was fond of saying, he worked with performers and not for them. John Timbers was born in London in 1933, in Tottenham, where his grandfather made footballs for the Spurs team. After National Service with the RAF in Germany, he studied at the Regent Street School of Photography (now Westminster University). “Imagining that I knew everything”, as he put it, he applied for the job as photographic assistant to Antony Armstrong-Jones, who, having satisfied himself the applicant could “handle a knife and fork in the proper manner”, asked him to start work next day. He joined ArmstrongJones in his miniscule Pimlico studio at the un-princely salary of £6 a week. Then, one Friday afternoon in 1960, Armstrong-Jones gathered his small staff together and announced his engagement to Princess Margaret. “The studio was closed with immediate effect and everyone was

kept on full pay until they found other jobs,” said Timbers. In 1975, Timbers married the stage manager Belinda Barr, daughter of the actor Patrick Barr. Their relationship was strengthened indissolubly when their first son, David, died at just 10 weeks old. They had two more sons, Will and Tom, who grew up in the convivial family home near Wandsworth Common, complete with a darkroom at the end of the garden. In his spare time, Timbers was a keen amateur cricketer, describing himself as a “slow left-arm bowler of mediocre talent” though he proudly remembered playing for a president’s side that included the actors David Hemmings, Robert Powell and John Alderton.  Anthony James, teacher of Economics, died in March 2007.  Pauline ‘Pip’ Michell died in March 2007. She had been a teacher at Heathlands School for Deaf Children and came to St Albans School for several years to accompany a deaf boy from Heathlands, acting as a translator of the lessons into sign language.

Museum and Archive  The family of Anthony Holdham (41) has passed on several items relating to him and to his brother Jack Holdham (37). These include a Black Book with many staff signatures, programmes of the 1938 Sports Day and the play Badger’s


Green and Gaudy, and class lists of the time.  David Morgan (46) has given a book entitled St Albans Abbey which shows the architectural detail of the Abbey and has fascinating details of stonework and carvings. Originally the book was one of a limited edition and this particular copy was presented to the Earl of Verulam in 1877. Plans for the museum are progressing, so please keep items flowing in. Ian Pratt

The class of 1982  Mike Peters, the Chairman of OA Sport, writes “I am trying to rally troops who left the school in 1982, 25 years ago, to attend the dinner at the OAs on the 6th July. We already have several confirmed including David Varty, Andrew Bird, Mark Knighton, Mark Tant, Richard Mumford and Steve Thorndike. If anyone from that year is interested in joining us can they contact me via e mail:”

Wight side of the law  Ian Pratt (70), senior partner of RJR Solicitors on the Isle of Wight, has just finished his year as President of the Isle of Wight Law Society. He sends us an extract from his closing speech “One year ago I was elected the President of the IOW Law Society and I have really appreciated my year in office.

I have particularly enjoyed representing the legal profession on the IOW at various conferences and dinners around the south of England, and meeting many people, from humble solicitors in private practice to university professors, Law Society Presidents, judges, senior bishops of the Church of England, well-known newspaper legal correspondents, and finally the Lord Chief Justice. My greatest disappointment during my year was being involved in a fourhour traffic jam in Oxfordshire and consequently missing the BB & O Law Society dinner at Blenheim Palace. However, this was more than made up for when a week later I met and chatted with the LCJ Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers at the Dorset LS dinner and last summer had the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the bishop of Winchester as my dinner guest at the Hampshire LS dinner in the Great Hall at Winchester.”

Please send all items for inclusion in the Gazette to: Mike Highstead, 33, Cornwall Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 4TQ




Where are they now?  The 1961 School First XV remained unbeaten – but where are they now, wonders OA Club President Stephen Burgess Ian Jennings and Stephen Burgess, both members of the 1961 1st XV, were talking recently about the unbeaten team. They were pleased that they have been in touch with many of their team-mates over the years, but wondered where a few of them are now. Stephen and Ian have been firm friends ever since leaving School and quite regularly see Jimmy North, who divides his time between Sussex and the Florida Keys. Chris Goddard played for the OAs before moving to Sussex, where he refereed and played for Heathfield. He spent his career in the pharmaceutical industry and is now happily retired. He is a regular attendee at Twickenham international matches where he meets up with Ian, Steve, and Brian Short (61). Bruce Campbell lived in St Albans for many years before moving to California as head of research for a large pharmaceutical company. They believe he has retired and is now back in the area. They would like to meet up. Dennis Dugwell was awarded a PhD at Sheffield University and is now Professor of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. Steve recently met up with him.


David Canning went to Cambridge where he read Engineering and he now attends events such as the London Drinks Party and Founders’ Day. He lives in Early, near Reading. His brother Paul, the youngest member of team, spent his career in the police service but neither Ian nor Steve has seen him since he left School. The half-backs were Malcolm Ogle and Ricky Collinson. Ricky, an estate agent and surveyor, still lives locally and is seen at the Club from time to time. He also played rugby and cricket for the OAs in the sixties and early seventies. There is no knowledge of where Malcolm Ogle is now. He qualified as an accountant and played hockey and cricket for Welwyn Garden City but thereafter, nothing is known. The centres were Phil Yetton and Paul Cooper. Paul Cooper moved to Cheshire in his early twenties, and still lives there running a thriving business. He occasionally visits St Albans but Phil Yetton has not been seen by Steve or Ian since he went up to Cambridge. He was awarded a half blue for judo but it is not known where he went after Cambridge. Jon Ron Oliver was tight-head prop. He also went to Cambridge where he gained a golf blue, but again nothing is known to Steve or Ian since he left university. He had a younger brother Christopher, who was also at the School and left in 1962, whereas Jon Ron left at Christmas 1961. The last two members of the team, Jon Cohen (who became Head Boy)


and Andy Chambers, have recently attended OA events. Jon worked in the city after Cambridge and is now involved in private equity, while Andy Chambers qualified as an accountant after graduating from Durham and has had a fine career as a management consultant as well as involvement with City University Business School. Andy and Jon meet up from time to time. Captain Ian Jennings felt that the team, and particularly the forwards, were very tough, yet five went to Oxford or Cambridge so there was also a strong cerebral element. Of those who did not go to Oxbridge, two were awarded doctorates. To complete the picture, Ian spent his career at Vauxhall Motors. His work meant he spent various spells around the England and Scotland before returning to St Albans, and

1961 vintage First XV: back row, left to right – S Burgess, B Campbell, C Goddard, D Dugwell, D Canning, P Canning, M Ogle, R Collinson. Front row, left to right – J Oliver, J North, P Yetton, I Jennings (Capt.), P Cooper, J Cohen, A Chambers over the last ten years he was head of UK marketing communications. Stephen left school and spent the whole of his career in fund management, spending the last 18 years with Newton Investment Management where he was director of Segregated Pension Funds. Ian, of course, is now chairman of the governors and as President of the OA Club Steve is also a new governor of the School – full circle.”

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Early dinner  Brian Moody (43) uncovered this fascinating snippet from an 1887 copy of the Herts Advertiser, which may represent the earliest known recording of a formal OAs gathering “I photocopied the enclosed Herts Advertiser item by accident, when I was actually recording something in the next column! It seems to be recording an important point in the Woollams story (the history of which I am currently studying in detail). I was surprised to learn that the Old Boys were so well organised at such an early stage, and I wonder if there are any other records of their proceedings in the Archives? I also wondered whether it might be of interest for readers of the OA Bulletin to learn how their predecessors used to carry on. I am always interested to find a reference to Mr Isaac Newton Edwards, the then Town Clerk, presumably an Old Boy himself. Incidentally, Charles Woollam soon changed his mind about ownership of Belmont Hill; in 1890 he would be handing the freehold over to the School.” Herts Advertiser, Saturday 12 February 1887 The old boys of the Grammar School met at a dinner in the Town Hall on Thursday evening, when over 40 sat down. The reunion was a most pleasant one, speeches being made and songs indulged in after the


removal of the cloth. Mr C Woollam occupied the chair and Mr F R Webster the vice-chair. “The Queen and Royal Family” and “The School” were given from the chair. The health of “The School” was proposed by Mr L Lipscomb and responded to by the Rev F Willcox (headmaster) and Rev R E Faning (deputy headmaster). The last named gentleman the proposed “The old boys”, the Mayor of St Albans and Mr A Josling responding. “The old masters”, having been proposed by Mr A H Debenham, the vicechairman proposed “The health of Mr and Mrs Woollam”, which was drunk with musical honours. In response, Mr Woollam announced that he had purchased Holywell Meadow, and that after the frontages had been sold for building purposes, he intended to allow the remainder to be used by the school for a playground; and although he should not actually give the ground, he should make arrangements for it to be always at the disposal of the School. He also mentioned the fact that Mr A H Debenham had given £100 towards draining the field and putting it in proper order. The Mayor proposed the health of Mr I N Edwards, who, in responding, suggested that a subscription should be raised in the room for a challenge cup, to be called the “Jubilee Cup”, to be held for a year by the boy who won the greatest number of events in the proposed Grammar School athletic sports. The sum of £14.14s was subscribed.


Acting the fool  Martin Evans (59) sends us two pictures of satirist, writer and OA Tony Hendra as he developed his comic talents at the School in the 1950s “Reading the piece about DW Holman and Julius Caesar, in which I appeared (very briefly) in the first scene, I dug out the attached which I

think was the year before directed by J Finlay. I have no idea of the title, though my character (with the sword) was called Arslan, I think! The real point of the picture is that the guy on the right with the lampshade on his head is Tony Hendra of ‘Spinal Tap’ fame. Amongst the prefect line-up, there he is again second from left front, acting the fool as ever.” The birth of satire: Tony Hendra hones his comedic skills (above right, and second left, front row)





A gentle jibe  Stan Armstrong (41) shares some anecdotes about St Albans School “I have two items which might amuse some of the Old Albanians. My son was married in Massachusetts some 20 years ago and after the wedding my wife and I toured New England. Visiting St Albans, Vermont, I was talking to the lady behind the counter in the Post Office and mentioned that I had been at St Albans School. She said “Really? I didn’t know we had any English guys there.” “No,” I said “ I was at St Albans School in England. It was founded in 948” She said “Oh! Ours is older than that, it started in 1922.” “I didn’t say 1948, it was 948!” and all she could reply was “Oh! My gawd.” A few years ago, when I was still a barbershopper, I came to a Harpenden BHC teach-in at School. Sitting in the large lecture room the group was amused when I said: “This is where I learned most of my physics.” About 15 years ago I brought an American client to St Albans to entertain him. In the evening we came to the School and engaged a sixth former in conversation (there had been something on in the Abbey). He told me of his ambition which was to do better than his sister. He planned to achieve that by getting to Cambridge as she had ‘only’ gone to Oxford. I asked him which college she was at and he said Magdelene. “Oh, well! You can’t do better than her!” was my gentle jibe.

I came to the new playing field one weekend a few years ago but saw no one I recognised. I also met John Willé about 15-20 years ago but he could not remember me. That is part of a much longer story which is best told over a pint!”

Owers indebted  Colin L Owers (31), one of our most senior members, writes: “Many thanks for the latest copy of the OA Bulletin. I am always interested in the goings-on at the old School; I think my parents must have been among those contributing to the sports funds, as they attended most of the fund-raising events whilst I was at the School. At that time the swimming bath and tennis courts were top priority – neither of which unfortunately appeared before I left! I recall that we were advised to try and get our fathers to buy you life membership of the OA Club as he would no longer have to pay school fees. In my case it did not work, but I did eventually become a life member and it must have been one of the best investments I ever made!”

The Summer of ’37  Cyril Mobbs (42) writes from Ontario, Canada, recalling the summer of preparations for life at St Albans School while war clouds gathered “There had been a number of national events in the previous two


years: the jubilee of the reign of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935 and, a year later, the death of the King together with a large state funeral. We expected Edward VIII to ascend the throne, but that was not to be, culminating in his speech by radio of his intention to abdicate in 1936. This was followed by the accession of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and their subsequent coronation on 12th May 1937. Momentous times indeed! And the weather cooperated, too! Amid all this celebration, I received a very formal notice that I had been accepted into St Albans School as of the following September, so there was much to be done. First of all, the acquisition of a three-piece dark ‘clerical’ grey suit with long trousers (from Burtons at the corner of Chequer Street and London Road... made to measure to boot!), plus white shirts with semistiff detachable collars (from Marks and Spencer!) complete with back and front stud and cuff links. A School tie and cap (from Andrews in the High Street) completed the transformation to adult St Albans Schoolboy. On the first Monday in September I walked to School (I lived too close to be able to cycle), assembled in the ‘playground’, and was eventually called to the Main Hall where the stage was already occupied by a large number of gowned persons now to be known as ‘prefects’. We were called to order by ‘The Head of School’, and the Masters filed on followed by WTM, all displaying their various

degrees. Prayers, led by the Headmaster, were followed by notices and then the ‘New Boys’ were allocated their Form Room and Form Master which, in my case, was 2 Lower A – situated in the upper right side of the ‘Lower’ School – led by the well renowned R O Sanders, a veritable gentleman indeed! The majority of the time in those days we stayed in the form room and the Masters came to us, one in particular making a very impressionable initial entrance. He was ‘Froggie’ Garnier, a man of relatively small stature but loud voice with a large collection of books etc. usually held tightly under his right arm. “Ouvrez la fenetre!”, he exclaimed, followed immediately by “Fermez la porte!” I believe that we were all transfixed and a silence ensued! After that, we all knew who was in charge! Other Masters came including A J Coles for Latin, ‘Harry’ Schofield for Maths, and ‘Johnny’ West for geography (if my memory serves me right). We did, however, visit ‘Bob’ Tanner in the Art room – adjacent to the Gateway – for sketching and painting, ‘Ernie’ Nightingale in the ‘New’ Science Block – since demolished – for Physics and Chemistry and, last but not least, Sgt Major ‘Charlie’ Argent who conducted Physical Training in the Hall, and who introduced us all to his helper ‘James’ – who ‘helped’ me many times vault from the springboard and fall over the wooden horse! The changing room was in the Cloisters where we hung our coats,




and outside were placed the House notice boards. We soon fell into a routine of proceeding in file from the School to the Abbey first thing on Tuesday and Friday, and Assembly in the Main Hall the remaining four days each week. Tuesday and Friday afternoons were allocated to ‘Corps Training’ under RSM Charlie Argent, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons to Rugby football (usually at The Causeway at Verulamium and supervised by Charles Bloxham), Athletics in Spring and Cricket in the Summer at Belmont Hill (sometimes swimming in the pool afterwards – bright red bathing costumes for those who had not passed their two lengths and black when completed), the remaining time being spent in our Home Room. Examinations took place in December and the following June, the results of which determined which ‘stream’ you would be placed in September, when another intake of new boys replaced us. A very full six days of education which became quite enjoyable after the initial adjustment, going up to the Third Form in the room by the side entrance to the Hall in ’38. But war clouds were on the horizon!”

Getting on  Dave Varty (82) sends us some memories triggered by the last Bulletin – and contemplates greater future involvement with the Club “It was interesting to read Andy


Barnes’ comments in the October 2006 Bulletin. Whilst some celebrate 50 years of intake, others could celebrate 25 years of leaving. A different perspective I know, but a milestone nonetheless. So now we face the daunting task of seeing if really we can get everyone together… let us leave that for a review? I enjoyed Nick's discussions of Acronyms. A few years ago friends of mine actually registered TLA as a company name! As far as I know it is still there. Despite having the London Drinks party in my diary for the best part of a decade, I have singularly failed to attend – this time due to an overrunning conference call with my new employees in San Francisco. Not working in the City it begs the question as to whether others like myself would be more able to attend a ‘Christmas drink’ at Woollams? So, now I am getting old I think I need to register for my Rugby VP licence and encourage more old farts (of which I am undoubtedly becoming) to mutter into our beer. Where do I register my willingness for more involvement? Especially now that Mike Peters has reached such dizzy heights for which he must be congratulated. However, whilst he captained every team I think I beat him to some extent. Starting in 1981 and playing my final game for the Vets on the final day at Beech Bottom and playing for every team and with such luminaries as the Chappins and Mills. (However, I don't suppose Mike's familial links will


deny me this one!) I remember that I was in a Sergeant's Mess with the CCF the night everything broke loose in the Falklands. Having just recently played rugby for the School against St Albans College Buenos Aires, and hosted some of their players the year before, we should not forget more recent conflicts and also those on both sides caught up in something of which they had been innocent sportsmen and students until shortly before. I also note with interest the retirement of some familiar names and the continued involvement of others. Despite a peripatetic existence over many years, perhaps time is right for me to commit more time to a Club who through rugby provided me with many memories. If you think a distant member can be of help please let me know.”

Out of Africa  Chris Smith (65) looks back on his time at School – and how it prepared him for varied and successful working career in Africa “Hells bells! It’s 42 years since I left the School and I remember so clearly all those good intentions to ‘keep in touch’, join the OAs and generally support School activities. Now it is time to look back and reflect. A serious retrospective coming up! I only get one chance at this, guys. A tense period followed waiting for A-level results; university, a thick sandwich course, an apprenticeship

with a thin sandwich or was I to follow my father’s advice and get a management training position with one of the many expanding technical firms? Well, much to everyone's surprise, especially mine, I scraped together passes in Maths, Physics and Chemistry and despite the rotten grades I found myself at Manchester University in the Metallurgy faculty. And there I was, a revolting student amongst hundreds of similar such animals are set free from the constraints of parents and discipline ready to set the world alight with our brilliance. And yes, many of them did ‘speak funny’ although I could understand most and no, nobody in Manchester was wearing clogs! This was the first time I had to stand on my own two feet, alone, with no immediate fallback support. A nerve-racking time! How was life going to work out? Well, the purpose of this article is provide some perspective as to how the School built upon my pre-school life and prepared me for this moment and beyond. How successful this was I shall leave the reader to make judgement as it is difficult from me to be objective! But, now aged 60, I'm sitting at my desk in a pair of shorts in front of my computer with all its technical wizardry. It is a late evening, absolutely quiet, about 23°C with a gentle breeze and when I look out of the window I can see a brilliant swathe of stars all across the sky. At sunrise I can look out at the mountains rising to over 7,000 feet, wildlife periodically wanders through





the river-bed below and a couple of houses are just visible in the distance. The occasional drumming of a distant locomotive will disturb the early morning silence but then will be heard no more and the only annoyance will be aeronautic fleas transporting tourists to their dream destinations! And, of course, in these days of technological achievement I don't even have to sit and write or even tap away at the keyboard to produce output; speech to text software rules! How did I get here? Well, my first year at university proved everyone right, I was never destined for academic brilliance. But beer, rugby and girls made life bearable and no doubt contributed to my failure in Chemistry! And it soon emerged that my course was not relevant to my ambitions. I wanted to go into the business of extracting metal from rock and was not terribly interested in crystallography, dislocations and dendritic growth in steel! I wanted to work in a place with big smoky chimneys and the bright flow of molten metal. An ambition derived from a ‘black sheep’ uncle who periodically materialised from far destinations (also an OA) and from seeing a dirty old steelworks in northern France while on a trip in Europe with the Senior Scouts. The inner world moves in mysterious ways! Somehow School careers advice, my ambitions and Manchester University Metallurgy faculty failed to meld. An awful lot of fellow students had the same problem and

was, to some extent, the cause of incredible waste as students ‘dropped out’. Later experience showed that the real problem was that schools and universities were quite out of touch with a rapidly changing world and its job needs. But the beer, rugby and girls did make life bearable! And these were the days, when as a driver after 10 pints of the dreaded liquid, you staggered to your car and the local ‘plod’ came up to you and requested, oh so politely, “please drive home safely, Sir.” How life has changed! Fortunately, my tutor was in touch with the real world and directed me down the road to John Dalton College of Advanced Technology that specialised in Extractive Metallurgy. So I spent a year as an underage truck driver to make some money, met my wife-to-be and found an employer who would both provide practical training and put me through a thin sandwich course at the CAT. And pay me. So I trundled off to Bootle and a tin smelter squeezed between the canal and rows of cramped terraced houses, and a world that my upbringing had hidden from me. Bootle was tough country, poor, violent, cohesive, heavily unionised and full of social ills which I didn't even know existed. On my first day at work I got a punch on the nose as a "stuck up snotty southerner"; in retrospect, it was probably the best life lesson I ever got! But something I had learnt along the line kicked in; I have a feeling that it was the self-discipline and self-


confidence the School had somehow and miraculously instilled in me. Whatever it was it worked and from that point on I found I was able to quickly adapt to different situations. This characteristic has stood me in good stead in many future events. The smelter moved to Kirkby, some 20 miles away, and I became accustomed to the delights of feral teenagers, mindless vandalism and the impact of social engineering, something for which the UK is still paying dearly. The onset of kids, the insanity of Liverpool industrial relations, permanent hypothermia and my wife made the decision to leave the UK very easy. My wife wanted somewhere close to the sea, somewhere politically stable and lots of sunshine. So we moved to mining camp in the mountains of Western Uganda. Well, there was plenty of sun but then we had chosen one of the wettest places in the world, although to be fair, most of the rain fell in the period between finishing work and the evening meal. Thus everyone descended upon the Mine Club and watched the rain through a haze induced by cheap local gin. So far, so good. Unfortunately the sea, as we were in the middle of Africa, was not quite on our doorstep and political stability was disrupted as Idi Amin came to power the week before we arrived. May we live in interesting times! But again the School had provided me with the tools to cope, plus I had a wife who came from a British Army family and had experienced

lively conditions; this turned a difficult situation into one that turned out to be great fun. Indeed Africa, from this point on, despite or maybe even because of its difficulties, was fun. Certainly in such environments the experiential learning curve is steep and one gets access to many areas of activity, that in a UK environment, would be impossible. The eviction of the Asian community just added to this experience. The atrocities in Uganda opened my eyes. By now I had grown confident in my chosen career and has begun to realise that life’s rich pattern was a result of a general plan significantly influenced by occasional chance moments, which if capitalised upon were catalysts to enrich that pattern. Writing this article has recalled many such moments, some of which were missed, some of which were mishandled and several of which proved to be significant milestones in my progress through life. I was also discovering that in Africa it is not possible to sit on the fence when it comes to expressing opinion; it is not possible to sink into secure comfort zones and hide amongst the masses and bureaucratic ooze. In Africa you are visible; mediocria firma, the old School motto, does not work! There is no middle road. It was also about this time I became interested in politics (note, small p), economics and

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especially monetary theory; and how I struggled with the latter until I realised how simple it was! Another lesson learnt. Uganda set the scene; the School, the Boy Scouts, my parents and ‘out of comfort zone’ experience created the armoury for the future. Chance moments were providing the thread of future direction and Uganda added additional dimensions through incidents that most people will find difficult to believe. Directing Libyan officers to suitable gun positions to thwart the imminent arrival of a British aircraft carrier on Lake Victoria or Idi Amin’s effective industrial relations actions would have most people severely doubting my credibility (or sanity)! But such situations opened my eyes to the realities of the world, the cynical indifference of the international community and political patronage and self-interest. A chance moment, while on leave in the UK, led me to Botswana as part of a commissioning team for a large mine and innovative smelter complex. In those days Botswana had but 11 km of tar road and the Okavango Swamp was still virgin territory. From this developed a love of overland travel, the bush and a return to my latent love affair with motorcycles. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi became long leave destinations; three kids, a Land Rover, the ski boat and a well paying contract opened up the world. The kids thrived in an environment of bare feet, the freedom of the bush and a need to create their

own amusement (no TV). But kids do grow up and by now I realised that good secondary education was critical to their development; equally I was becoming bored with my job as all was running so (technically) smoothly. Time to move! And another chance moment lead to me to, what was then South West Africa, eventually to become Namibia. That was 26 years ago! I moved to Tsumeb in the north of Namibia, technically a war zone in the struggle for Namibia’s independence from South Africa. Out of the frying pan, and into the fire! Here was an environment where there was absolutely no middle road, especially being an English speaker and part of the senior manager team. But I went into this with my eyes wide open and although by now my views on life were fairly well sorted out, it was, to use an overused political word, ‘challenging’. I also learnt the importance of avoiding the constraints of membership of political parties, professional institutions and issue groups; visible independence of thought and action based on rational, but carefully presented, argument was essential and eventually paid dividends. My direct association with the mining industry ended abruptly when the US company I worked for sold out to a ‘local’ company. During my time in Tsumeb I had changed my career towards an emphasis on the strategic; I re-read many of my old books with new eyes and found myself involved in M&A negotiations, and I embraced the start of the small


On the road again: Chris Smith and his trusty Honda

computer age with enthusiasm. My eyes were further opened to the world of finance and skulduggery (my opinion!) – the land of the quick megabuck. After the transfer I left rather noisily as it was quite evident what was going to happen, and it did. After a token effort and heavy dose of PR the company shut down amidst a flurry of excuses! The indifference of financial players to people was noted. Anyway, by now the kids were in the final stages of their education and setting out on their own roads. New doors opened. My departure from mining coincided with Namibia’s Independence (1990) so I became a self-employed ‘consultant’ – loosely under the heading of ‘management terrorist’! There was plenty of work, both private and public, in our new country. Oh, and I became a Namibian Citizen. It was then I realised the invidious and corrosive nature of ‘aid’; the reams of advice of transitory outsiders, some with good

intent, but most with an eye to lucrative short term contracts; the ‘Boeing and Going’ brigade. A combination of tragedies (the death of two kids in separate incidents/countries) and chance encounters took me into the inner sanctum of government, the Cabinet Secretariat as part of a ‘Policy Unit’ (1997). I took a brief to change the budgetary process of government (all 30 ministries) so as to integrate outcome based performance, national policy and planning and resource allocation, to change mindset from ‘how much we spend’ to ‘what are we trying to do and how are we doing’. Only Africa could offer such a challenge and such access! With help from the UK Civil Service in practical implementation the job was done and transferred to the Ministry of Finance as a going concern by 2004. Another fun time but time to move on again! Now aged 57. Where to now? I had already done a Windhoek to





Cairo to Europe trip solo on my trusty Honda in 2003 and the bug had bitten! The bike was a great way to think (very Zen), it kept me fit and I wanted to explore the more inaccessible parts of Africa, find out the real truth and write! So I did. That is another tale – but the threeday trip on the old ship up Lake Tanganyika was great. Rwanda is one of the most friendly places, and on my return to Western Uganda an old guy recognised me from 34 years before! And I found a little island called St Helena, and its mailship, the RMS. Africa has got so many things right but… The planned three “geriatric gap years” are up this month. What to do now? Don’t worry, there is plenty in the pipeline, I think! But the purpose of this tome was to reflect on the School and its influence. What did it give me and were there areas of failure?  It gave me self-confidence, selfdiscipline and a latent ability to think and rebel!  It gave me a broad educational base that has stood me in good stead.  It taught me to be both aggressive and moderate – mainly through the rugby field and the CCF.  It failed in career guidance but gave me the tools to manage the future.  It failed to alert me to the nastiness of some of the world but somehow gave me the mental toughness to survive and thrive!  It taught me how important a

good secondary education is for kids – but this is only realised after your own kids reach that age!  It taught me mediocria firma, well it isn’t! Who were the stars of the School who influenced me so well? The old art teacher, Bob Tanner, who got me to understand subtlety and to see the hidden message (he also taught my father!); one Findlay (?) who taught Divinity and got my brain cells ticking (eventually) and opened up avenues of radical thought; DyerLynch, who bashed numbers and maths into my head, got my quantitative juices flowing which gave me competitive advantage in the job market, and finally; one G Pryke who ran the CCF, with whom I normally had a running battle, who through some feat of magic gave me self-discipline and presence. And there were others but the School gave me a good start; I took the road out of the comfort zone and have no regrets. I am sure those who took other routes have fared just as well. Thanks School, thanks Africa and especial thanks to Namibia.”

Old Bangers  Explosive revelations from Alan Bridgman (58) as he describes the bomb-making activities of the Secret Society of Berts The origin of the name “When we arrived as new boys at St Albans School in September 1951, two of us were soon singled out by my


form master ‘Joey’ Webb. He insisted for some strange reason that I should be nicknamed ‘Bert’ because my surname began with B. I soon found that he had little imagination because he had also designated another lad in 1C as ‘Bert’ B as well – after the music hall song ‘Burlington Bertie’. The two of us decided to make a merit out of this mockery and formed the Secret Society of Berts with members Bert 1 and Bert 2. Bert 3’s bolt bomb Bert 3 really recruited himself after the following exploit in the same year. He arrived at School one morning and showed us a large metal nut with a bolt screwed in each end. He had spent the previous evening scraping all the heads off a box of Swan Vestas matches and put the resulting powder into the middle of his metal contraption. The next thing we saw was Bert 3 dropping this missile down on to the stone steps between the upper and lower playgrounds. There was a huge bang and the missile disintegrated. We scarpered, but Bert 3 was caught by the Prefects and sent ‘up-Pres’. Chemistry connection It turned out that we all had an interest, and indeed ability, in chemistry. This interest lasted throughout our School careers and on into University. But the reason that the Berts were a secret society was our decision to specialise in making explosives – a very glamorous objective for 11-year-old schoolboys!

Information and supplies I had a mentor in a boy called Pat Coker, who lived in Beaumont Avenue, St Albans and was one or two years ahead of us. Coker was also interested in chemistry and with his more advanced knowledge was very useful to us. I think that we all had chemistry sets at home and we used Mellor’s Modern Inorganic Chemistry, paperbacks on explosives, encyclopaedias and St Albans Public Library (at the top of Victoria Street) to further our research. Of course, this was nothing compared to the enormous information source of the Internet today, but it did teach us how to research a subject properly. The main advantage that we did have in those days was access to chemicals – some from local chemist shops (my main shop was located near to the Clock Tower in the town centre and there was another one in Beech Road) and some by mail order from companies like Becks. The proprietors of the local shops were always suspicious of boys buying unusual, dangerous or concentrated chemicals, so we had to think up some ingenious reasons for our purchases. We were nearly caught by Mr Roberton, the first year science master, who became rather suspicious of our activities. Malphate Our first project, in our first year or possibly our second, was to make an

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alternative to gunpowder. We decided that gunpowder was not a very efficient formulation, so we worked out the function of each gunpowder component and replaced it with another chemical that would, we hoped, work better. After a certain amount of experimentation we concocted a new mixture which we called Malphate. The name was derived from the beginning, middle and end letters of each of the components of the mixture. Bert 3 can even remember the proportions of each chemical, but in this day and age of political correctness it would be inadvisable to publish the details. Malphate remained our regular explosive for the rest of our school careers. We usually ignited it with Jetex fuse wire, which we could obtain from most Model shops. Malphate burned very quickly so we could get a satisfactory bang even if it was only contained in cardboard. In a stronger container, for example a piece of gas piping, the explosion would create a very satisfactory crater. A cigar tube full of Malphate could be guaranteed to blow a large bush out of the ground. A cast iron pipe of the stuff – whew! Nitrogen iodide When we progressed to the 2nd Year, all three of us were in Form 2B. Our classroom was situated immediately at the top of the side steps into the old Assembly Hall from the upper playground. We were now being taught proper Chemistry by ‘Hot Arse’ Warburton (‘Warm Bottom’!). I can’t remember how we found the


formula but one very exciting compound was nitrogen iodide. It was made from 880-ammonia and iodine crystals. After mixing the two chemicals together, you poured the resulting mixture through a filter paper. The filter paper contained the solids, which were perfectly stable when wet. However, as soon as the powder dried it would explode at the slightest touch – even a fly landing on the paper would set it off. There was one Master, whose name we cannot remember, who always came into the classroom and immediately straightened up the furniture and desk contents before starting the lesson. It could have been Westgarth Walker (Geography) or G F Jarry (Latin), ‘Froggie’ Garnier (French) or ‘Doc-a-Doc’ Coles (Latin); it wouldn’t have been Geoffrey Pryke (too dangerous!) or ‘Beery’ Webster (too nice!). We made a fairly large amount of nitrogen iodide and scraped it off the wet filter paper next to the corner leg of the desk away from the door, after having carefully skewed the desk on the podium. Sure enough, when our unsuspecting Master came in, he went through his usual ritual and CRACK – the nitrogen iodide detonated with a cloud of purple iodine vapour! As there was so little evidence left, I think that we actually managed to get away without punishment. Expansion of the Berts As you can imagine, the Berts’ notoriety made them the School group that everyone wanted to join. But we held out and only invited a


few close friends to join, despite the general clamour. The Berts never exceeded seven members, each of whom was given a unique Bert number. This article is the result of five of the original Berts pooling their recollections in several very enjoyable sessions at The Fighting Cocks and Woollams. Our last recruit was the son of one of the Masters in the School. Bert 7 was a very good craftsman and made a series of beautifully designed model cannons in brass. He was the only Bert to use Malphate to fire projectiles at a target – the rest of us just used it to fire projectiles, without bothering about targets! Our Big Bang period During our Second and Third years, Bert 1, who was the best chemist among us, went into overdrive and was the main experimenter, although the rest of us helped in the research whenever we could. Bert 1 manufactured the weedkiller explosive – sodium chlorate and sugar. He then went on to create nitro-glycerine (exploded by heating), dynamite (nitro-glycerine plus kieselguhr), copper and silver acetylide, mercury fulminate and gun cotton (exploded by hitting with a hammer). He failed to make Cordite and he probably would have made Semtex, if it had been invented then! An amazing achievement, in view of the fact that he didn’t blow himself up… or his family… or the school!

working rocket. After all, if Von Braun could make a V2 rocket, what could be so difficult? Bert 3 dissected several firework rockets to see how they were made. He then made a special rig that allowed him to pack a cardboard tube with gunpowder (Malphate was not so good as a rocket fuel!) but leaving a conical hole in the middle. He tied string around the bottom to constrict the tube, then sealed it with paper and inserted our very reliable and consistent Jetex fuse to light it. And, amazingly, it worked! Bert 1 took Bert 3’s instructions and started launching his rockets from an angled tube across the road outside his house into a friend’s garden opposite. This missile launch programme came to an abrupt halt when the last rocket claimed a direct hit on a parked soft-top MG Sports car! I, as Bert 2, decided not to build a rocket from scratch but modify an existing commercial firework. I spent a lot of my pocket money on the largest rocket I could afford. I took the top off and emptied out all the coloured balls. I pushed a cork with grooves cut into the sides into the bottom. In each groove I inserted short lengths of Jetex fuse to link the propellant chamber with my modified top. I filled the top chamber with our trusty Malphate and sealed it with the cardboard cone. I launched this missile late at night,

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when the neighbours weren’t looking, from the bottom of the garden. To my amazement the rocket flew beautifully but instead of finishing its flight with a gigantic bang, there was complete silence! Just when I thought that the missile had failed, there was a tremendous boom at rooftop level over the houses in Fleetville. I had miscalculated the speed of burn of the Jetex fuse, or the speed of descent of the spent rocket! Needless to say I kept a very low profile in the area for a few days. Upper School activities Our explosives work took a back seat in our final years at St Albans – academic studies, CCF involvement and sport took precedence. I was made School Armourer in the CCF on the recommendation of the previous occupant of that post, Pat Coker! Why on earth RSM “Killer” Kilpatrick would put a Bert in charge of all those weapons and ammunition is a complete mystery to me! The thunderflash effect My position as Armourer was usually able to provide the Berts with a few army thunderflashes when the occasion demanded. We usually got together on Guy Fawkes Day to create a bit more mayhem. Our favourite meeting place was The Wick, a piece of rough ground opposite Beaumont Avenue, across Sandpit Lane. There were the remains of an old road in The Wick and this still had had its drain covers in place. We discovered that if


you lit and then dropped a thunderflash into one of these drain holes, the resulting explosion physically lifted several other castiron drain covers further along the road! This shocked all the people standing close by, but it wasn’t possible to attribute the cause to us because a thunderflash, from memory, has about a 10-second fuse! A reunion of the Old Bangers! When we left school in 1958-9, we all went our separate ways – on to London, Keele and Cambridge Universities and other careers. The Berts were no more and our explosives hopefully buried safely in some long-forgotten place. We often scared ourselves silly, but looking back, it was amazing that none of us was badly hurt or killed. Bert 3 did manage to burn his face and was off School for a week or so, but otherwise we survived unscathed. It wasn’t until 2005 (47 years after we parted) that five of the original Berts met again, thanks to the Old Albanian Club and the November Drinks party in London. There have been several subsequent meetings and hours of reminiscences, only a few of which appear in this history of the Berts. I haven’t been able to include stories about many of the Masters that we remember – P R ‘Happy’ Heather, ‘Rocket’ Stevenson, ‘Beery’ Webster, ‘Slab’ Marshall, and many others. Happy times, a great School and excellent science masters – it just shows what a good education can do for you!”






Pushing the boundaries  A new Aussie fast bowler, four sides in the Herts League and a flourishing junior section – just some of the reasons to look forward to another ground-breaking season for the OA Cricket Club, reports Honorary Secretary David Hughes It is a sunny Thursday evening at Woollams. The wicket is firm and very dry – abnormally so for April. The first fixture of the season is now just days away and the umpire’s coats hang washed and pressed; the boundary rope is stretched back to the very edges of the field. The energy, excitement and passion of a new cricket season are waiting in the weeks and months ahead. OA Cricket Chairman, Andrew McCree, continues to oversee a motivated and lively management team that is committed to delivering success on the field and driving the Club beyond its existing boundaries off it. The highlight of the successful 2006 summer was the Herts League campaign of the Saturday 2nd XI, who remained undefeated throughout the season, guided by captain David Goodier, eventually finishing as champions. The season also witnessed two key underlying developments for the Cricket Club. The first was the introduction of a coach, and the second was a significant increase in the number of people playing on a regular basis.

The Club was incredibly fortunate to secure the services of Mike Dale as coach, with further luck bestowed when he agreed to represent OACC in a playing capacity as well. Mike is one of the leading coaches and batsmen in Hertfordshire, and had an enormous impact throughout the Club in his first season. The Club has identified Mike’s continued involvement as integral to its development and is proud to announce that he will be captaining the 1st XI during 2007, as well as continuing his coaching role. OA Cricket has also announced that it will be fielding four sides in the Herts League on Saturdays during 2007. Additionally, the Club will continue to enter two teams in the Chess League on Sundays. Club Captain, Tom Preest, explains: “The aim is to provide League cricket for players of all abilities. We had many new players join the club last year, which made fielding a regular 4th XI a happy necessity. Luckily, they all had a great time and we are now fielding six league sides each week. It is hoped that between them these six sides can match or better the two promotions that were achieved last summer.” OA cricketers and supporters have been buoyed by this summer’s overseas acquisition: 6’6” Aussie fast bowler, Chris Hussey, who arrives fresh from grade cricket at the famous Essendon Club in Melbourne. The Club’s leading run scorer in 2006, Mark Winchester, is following up his impressive debut season by






31 Dalmatians  As he stands down after a record eight years as OARFC President, Alastair Mills looks back at another successful campaign for the Club – and looks forward to the end of season tour to Croatia

OACC’s new overseas player, Australian fast bowler Chris Hussey (left) with 1st XI captain and coach, Mike Dale taking on the captaincy of the newly promoted Saturday 2nd XI. Tony Perkins will continue to provide reliable leadership of the Saturday 3rd XI and David Hughes will lead the 4th XI into their debut season in the Herts League. At the junior end, another year of exponential growth for the colts section is reflected in the entry of a multitude of teams in the Herts Leagues at U10, U11, U13 and U15 levels, and the availability of ‘Kwik’ cricket at U7, U8 and U9 levels. And so, the moment has arrived to build on the successes of last summer. A mild winter and some prolonged spring sunshine have


created a delicious expectancy for the forthcoming months. Not even England’s less than glorious accomplishments at the recent World Cup can rain on this field of expectation. David Hughes Honorary Secretary, OACC

“The time has come, the walrus said," and this is my last report to you as I will be standing down as President at the end of this season after eight years in office. I never set out to break any records but it has been very important for the Club to have continuity over the period of transition from dear old Beech Bottom to the quite wonderful facilities that we enjoy now. London League One rugby and the increased playing membership have also brought new challenges for our organisation and administration, which are being met with enthusiasm and endeavour by the Committee.

Since I last reported, the 1st XV recorded some great wins in the run up to Christmas, most notably against then top of the table Ealing, and Shelford away. The early New Year brought more scalps against the likes of Guildford and Haywards Heath away, but our form then deserted us again as we slumped to defeats against Richmond, Portsmouth, London Scottish and – worst of all – Bishop's Stortford. However, we recovered some form to get good results against Staines and Barnes before succumbing away to Worthing, who just failed again to get promotion to the National Leagues. Nevertheless, a mid-table end of season position is still something that the Club can feel very satisfied in this most competitive of leagues. Such concentration of effort on the League resulted in our dismal loss to Stevenage in the semi-final of the County Cup, after trouncing Tabard on the way to that stage. For cups and awards, we had to Greg Botterman goes over for a vital try in the win over league leaders Ealing

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rely on the Colts and Junior Sections to make up for the disappointments of the 1st XV. The Colts won their league and beat Bishop’s Stortford in the County Cup Final, the U17s won their league, as did the U16s. The U15s won the final of the National Lexus Tournament, held at Woollams, and they also won their league. Not to be outdone, the U14s won their County Cup final, with the U15s again featuring as runners-up. Once again, we have fielded five regular sides as well as the Development Squad and the Colts, which is testament to the enthusiasm and hard work of the playing committee and captains. In January of this year, we even had a weekend tour to Barcelona for the 3rd XV, which your President felt obliged to attend. We had a wonderful time, playing in the Olympic Stadium under lights and enjoying fantastic weather, sitting outside for our Sunday Lunch and then doing a bit of site-seeing! The women’s section has enjoyed another good season (see report right) and has provided one international to the Italian Six Nations team – our congratulations to Nadia Brannon. The girls have fielded two regular XVs throughout the season. The Club was once more honoured with hosting two RFUW Internationals this year, England v Scotland and England v France, both won by England. The Club has been holding the Saracens 2nd team home games, which have very much become a feature of our season. There is nothing like watching

exciting games under the competition lights, with a cold beer and a burger on a freezing Monday night at Woollams! As the season draws to a close, we are looking forward to our traditional end of season tour this year to Croatia and yes, your President feels obliged to go! Why end the habit of a lifetime, and where is Croatia anyway? A party of 31 is lined up to go and with a bit of luck, 31 will return. Unfortunately, we did leave one player behind in Barcelona, but that player is on the Croatia trip, with the one proviso that we don’t leave him behind again! Watch this space. Somehow, I cannot believe that I will not be doing this slot next season but I know my successor will keep you amused with news and views about the Club’s progress. As for me, well my wife has arranged for some counselling sessions for me in how to cope with life after standing down! Unfortunately for you all, I am not disappearing off the planet and look forward to catching up with you all next season at Woollams – and maybe see you on tour! As always, we look forward to welcoming new OAs to Woollams, the home of OA Rugby. Alastair Mills President, OARFC


Saints march on  The women’s section of OA Rugby has made huge strides forward in recent seasons. OA Saints Press Officer Alexa Ransome looks ahead to an even more successful future OA Saints – the women’s section of OA Rugby – has made a significant impression on the Club since its creation in 2002. The original squad was an established women’s side invited that was invited to join from St Albans RFC when OARFC moved to its new Woollams ground – hence the name ‘Saints’, which the OA women’s section bears with nostalgic pride. Since 2002, the membership has

leaped from 25 to well over 50 registered players aged 17 to 37 (maybe older!) along with a committed body of supporters. We run two squads, and also managed to set up a junior squad for 12-17 yearolds at the start of the 2006-07 season. The Saints’ 1st XV has made excellent progress and is now in its third season of league promotion, moving up into National Premiership Two from South East League One with a 100% home record. Matches against teams such as Clifton, Leos of Leeds, Waterloo and Plymouth, as well as rivals more local to home such as Wasps IIs and Saracens IIs, make the season both tough and enjoyable for player and spectators alike.

Supported by their A Team colleagues, the England XV lines up for the national anthems prior to the match against France at Woollams in this season’s Six Nations Championship




Last season saw the establishment of a second string for new and developing players, meeting a growing demand for women’s rugby in the area and catering for many who were completely new to the sport. The Saints 2nd XV squad romped though their first season last year to win their league outright and gain promotion. The team has maintained its presence in South East North League 3 this season, facing teams from the greater London area including Romford, Hammersmith, Teddington, Ealing and Bracknell. This year OA Saints has achieved three international honours. Nadia Brannon received two caps for Italy during the Six Nations Championship, and Sarah McKenna and Hannah Clark were selected for England’s U19s squad. High standards of rugby on the

pitch are matched off the pitch with a very active and energetic social calendar. OA Saints have succeeded where many clubs fail in balancing serious rugby for any level of player with a serious social life! Be it race nights, Hawaiian evenings, slave auctions, or indeed any opportunity for fancy dress, OA Saints are usually there en masse to support and raise funds for the Club. OA Saints are always looking for new players of any age, size or experience – from complete novice to would-be international – to join our fantastic Club. We are home to players from Greater London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. Our committed squad of players travel far and wide to be part of the OA Saints family! Alexa Ransome Press Officer, OA Saints


Going up  New faces and a new reserve team – OA Football Club Secretary David Hughes celebrates promotion and the most successful season for several years In the end, it all came down to the last day. OAFC had done enough to edge into second place in Division 3 of the Review & Observer Herts League, and needed third-placed Cottonmill to lose in order secure


second and automatic promotion. Cottonmill duly did the gentlemanly thing and against all expectations snatched a 2-0 defeat from the jaws of victory, leaving OA Football celebrating promotion and a successful season. Promotion was a fitting reward for a season of rebuilding and restructuring for manager Simon Bates, following relegation last year. Many new players joined the club, while OA veterans found form to record the most successful


The newly-promoted OAFC First XI season for some years. The Club made strides by fielding a reserve team for the first time, which provided strength in depth for the 1st XI squad and increased the Club’s income. The joy of promotion was further enhanced by the news that the 2nd XI had been accepted into Division 5 of the Review & Observer Herts League. Highlights of the season included a six game winning streak in September and October, during which time the OA team scored 24 goals. This was in no small part down to the goal-scoring prowess of Dave Hagen and James Crane, who

finished the season with 38 and 15 goals respectively – with Hagen contributing an astonishing six hattricks during the season. Bates is looking forward to a summer of rest before plotting next season’s double campaign: “It is a long time since we first kicked off this season, last September. It was close at the end, but we just made it over the finishing line – and it has given us something to build on next year. We have been posting our progress on the OA Football noticeboard at Woollams and will keep this up-to-date with developments. Watch this space!” David Hughes Club Secretary, OAFC

Final Standings Review Herts League Division 3 Radlett ‘A’ Old Albanians Cottonmill Warriors Skew Bridge Rothamsted ‘A’ Crown Reserves King Harry George, Harpenden Marquis of Granby Phoenix ‘A’ Gate

Played 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18

Won 15 10 10 9 7 6 7 5 5 2

Drawn 1 4 2 2 4 6 1 3 3 2

Lost 2 4 6 7 7 6 10 10 10 14

Goals For Goals Against Difference 96 36 +60 60 42 +18 67 47 +20 57 50 +7 39 49 -10 60 50 +10 32 49 -18 33 53 -20 35 69 -34 25 59 -33

Pts 46 34 32 29 25 24 22 18 18 8






Strumpshaw to Agincourt  OA Angling Society Secretary Geoff Cannon reports on a varied winter of coarse fishing from the Norfolk Broads to northern France The members of the Club have enjoyed the winter season commencing in the autumn with a weekend at Geoff Cannon’s barn in Strumpshaw, Norfolk. A social and piscatorial time was enjoyed by all the participants. The winter weather has been very variable from extreme cold to flooded rivers, which made prearranged visits difficult. However individual fishermen took advantage of the favourable periods and visited the Norfolk Broads, Kennett and the Nene, fishing mainly for pike. On one occasion, a member was fishing for roach with a 2 lb breaking

strain line and landed a 12 lb pike, which had engulfed the small roach he was landing. Social events were the Fishwives Supper held again at Potten End, and a Club outing to France attended by nine club members. We stayed at Montreuil for the night. No fishing took place but in order to justify the visit, a cultural visit was made to Agincourt. The coarse fishing season has now ended and the members are looking forward to the trout and salmon summer season. As usual, anyone interested in joining our merry band will be welcome and should contact: Geoff L Cannon Hon Secretary 14-16 Church End Redbourn AL3 7DU Tel: 01727 861622 (daytime) 01582 792512 (evening) Fax: 01727 861623 E-Mail:


Shooting stars  David Buxton reports on a successful winter season for the OA Rifle & Pistol Club, and an encouraging start to the summer season Herts Winter League 2006/7 Our team of four (Owen Simmons, Andrew Wilkie, Andrew Moore, Moray McMillin) competed in


Herts County Teams Winter 2006/07 Three from the Club (Owen Simmons, Andrew Wilkie, Andrew Moore) were selected for the County Reserves C team, competing in Division 9 of the National postal leagues. As at round 6 the team were lying in first place, having won all their matches so far. Bisley Summer 2007 Our summer season at Bisley started with great success on Saturday 14th April 2007 with victory over the Old Lawrentians – the first for many years. Our team of four (Owen Simmons, Andrew Wilkie, Andrew Moore, Moray McMillin), shooting at 500 yds and 600 yds on the Century ranges, achieved a team score of 362 and 21 V bulls, versus the Old Lawrentians team total of 352 and 18 V bulls. Individual scores were:  Owen Simmons 90.4  Andrew Wilkie 92.7  Andrew Moore 91.5  Moray McMillin 89.5 Anyone wishing to find out more about the Club should contact one of the following:

Division 3 of the Herts postal leagues this winter. We won three, tied one and lost six to finish in fourth place. The individual averages were:  Owen Simmons 93.7 – highest score 97  Andrew Wilkie 95.3 – highest score 98  Andrew Moore 94.8 – highest score 98  Moray McMillin 93.4 – highest score 97

Hon Secretary O L Simmons 2 Honeymead, Welwyn AL6 0EG Tel: 01438 840674 Hon Treasurer A Q S Moore 69 Long Fallow, St Albans, AL2 3ED Tel: 01727 830344 Captain A W B Wilkie 5 Batchwood Drive, St Albans, AL3 5RZ Tel: 01727 856857


OA Bulletin - Spring 2007 Edition  

OA Bulletin - Spring 2007 Edition