Brian Winter - 1964

"I was a cheeky new kid, even to those that had started their first term in September 1963 as I joined in January 1964 aged 12, the winter of the great freeze with the fire brigade bringing supplies of water to the school as the main had frozen in the back courtyard.

My first classroom was in the stable block and the Form Master was a Mr Thompson, known to the class as "trougher". He was only a young chap in his mid to late 20's and held regular desk inspections and if he found any food he would dispose of it for you, hence the nickname "Trougher". Mr Thompson also had a soul mate in the Form in the adjacent block. Can't remember the name but they were like a couple of students most of the time, life seemed to revolve around troughing, pubs and the young ladies of Gloucestershire. At the tender age of 12 I could not see what the attraction was, I got the message a little later!

Mr Winn was my first Headmaster and left somewhat suddenly after what I heard was a disagreement with JHM. Thus the tyrannical period set in and that was the demise of Kings School unfortunately.

I have good memories of Mr Winn, especially as he let me and my mentor off the cane one Saturday after lunch. In those days if you got three detentions in a week you were for it after Saturday lunch. Your name would be called out at lunch time to go and stand outside the Headmaster's Study and then the school would parade out of the dinning room and passed the poor unfortunates waiting for a beating. I can remember the smug look of some boys as they went passed and whispering that the beating was going to hurt. Luckily Mr Winn had some compassion as the four boys in front of him had all work related detentions and said that had we been breaking school rules then the cane was within easy reach. A very close escape.

I also remember a form master by the name of Mr Watkins, his nickname was "Jet" all because he was a great fan of Jet Harris. He would occasionally invite boys into his cottage to be indoctrinated into the ways of jazz and rock. Mr Watkins cottage was in the back court yard opposite the ice house.

Mr Thomas was a great English teacher to be feared but knew his job, not that it did me a lot of good but I did get a B+ in GCE.

Somebody mentioned the large Turkish boy in one of their anecdotes, his name was Mokosian and built like a tank, also the boy who thought he was eating chocolate spread instead of marmite was an American boy called *Rector, both joined in September 1963.

I left Kings School in March 1966 aged 14 when it became clear that the school was on the way down because of the way JHM treated the staff and managed the school. JHM is lucky that he was a tyrant in the mid 60's and not now. He would have been locked up for the beating he gave one of my friends, a chap called Peter Roff who lived near me in Solihull. My memories of JHM are not good even though I was one of the better behaved boys at the time. Disregard the next paragraph!

However, I did go poaching the Estate pheasants and cooking them over a fire in the woods by the top playing fields next to "The Escape Route" A40 road. I even got shot at by the gamekeeper but I could run faster than Foxy the gamekeeper and he never got a clear view of who he was chasing otherwise I would have no doubt got the wrath of JHM. Also climbing out of the big dormitory and down the outside wall next to the Headmasters Study to go for midnight walks around the village to meet the village girls. Or that was the idea, the village girls were more often fast asleep and we spent more time dodging the local lads on their 125cc Bantams and occasional Triumph motor cycles.

There was also a foreign lad who did not have his own bike but made one up from all the parts he found around the bike shed. Unfortunately when he came out with a gang of us to Windrush, we all stopped at a junction with a very large Cotswold wall the other side of the road. It was then that he found he had put the break blocks in the wrong way round. The blocks flew out and he and the bike impaled themselves on the wall. The bike never again saw the light of day and the boy spent some while with the nurse getting his grazes swabbed with Dettol. I can still hear the screams!

A fond memory, Fussells condensed cream bought at the Windrush store and opening the cans with the obligatory penknife. Fingers stuck in the can and licked all the way back to school on a Saturday afternoon in the Summer of 1964.

I also played rugby for the under 14 side alongside Philip Blakeway who went on to play for England (mid 70's I think) in the front row of the scrum. Many times the games master would call on Philip and I to play with the first team on their games afternoons, much to the disgust and annoyance of the French Master whose class we were supposed to be attending. I never did get any grasp of French, hardly surprising. Philip Blakeway's family ran a wholesale fruit and veg business in Gloucestershire supplying a very wide area and into London I think. His great pal was a lad called Coulston who lived on a farm in the Gloucestershire / Oxfordshire area.

I was also a founder member, all four boys, of the Kings School Boat Club. JHM found out that I and Peter Roff could sail and found a very battered dinghy from somewhere to sail on the lake below the school. That came to an abrupt stop one day when the Estate shoot and gentlemen of Gloucestershire met us in the dinghy, under sail in the middle of the lake. We were told to get off the lake in no uncertain terms by the gamekeepers and to never come back although JHM said we had permission to be there. Possibly, not on the day of the shoot though.

* Clifford Jones(II) thinks this might be Kippy Redda

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