Harrow County School for Boys

Reminiscences of life in the D Forms at HCS 1940-45

by Jim Moore

1. The bubbling inkwells stinking with gas from the calcium carbide some joker had put in them. If I remember rightly, we were instructed to put on our gas masks (which, being wartime, we had to carry with us at all times) and take the offending inkwells to the toilets to wash them out. The memory of a procession of gas-masked schoolboys proceeding along the corridors, each bearing a foaming, stinking inkwell will not be forgotten!

2. Arthur (Affy) Hilton mentions Peter Doe's Dodo magazine; this was just another manifestation of two factions that sprang up in the form for a while - The Doeites, headed by Peter Doe, and the Toddites, led by Tod (Ian?). Nearly everyone in the class favoured one or the other.

3. Two of the more colourful members were Nigel Swallow and Alan Neal, who were always in trouble (I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't one of them responsible for the stinking inkwells jape!). I remember one long-suffering master saying once: 'If Swallow would swallow Neal and Neal would kneel on Swallow, how happy we would be!' I remember Alan Neal sitting behind me in class, and poking me with a ruler. I finally lost my temper, snatched the ruler from him, and laid into him with it. Of course, I it was that got into trouble!  I was saddened to learn, from the Old Gaytonian, that Alan was killed in the 1952 Wealdstone train crash.

4. I can confirm Jack Hackman's prowess at hurling the board duster at misbehaving boys - I seem to remember a few near misses myself!

5. I can also confirm diving under the desks during the 1944 GSC exams when we heard a V1 'doodlebug's' engine stop, meaning it was about to dive to earth and explode. I don't know if the marking standards for the exam were lowered that year, but I was pleasantly surprised with my results; I was sleeping during that time in the Anderson shelter in our garden!

6. I did not share Arthur's talent or affection for Rugby. I was picked to be hooker, apparently because, at that time I was smaller than most. As far as I could see, that meant being nearly crushed to a pulp in the scrum, having my ears rubbed off, and my shins hacked mercilessly by the other 'hooker'! When not in the scrum I ran aimlessly about the field, trying to look as if I knew what I was doing!

Jim Moore - 2003


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