"My arrival at the school can very accurately be dated for May the 9th, 1950, for the immigration officers’ stamp at Folkestone gives May 8th as entering the country. We, my Father and Christopher with me as a cargo, took the trip from Switzerland by car in my fathers wonderful new Alfa Romeo. It was Christopher driving practically all the way – of course. We stayed in a small hotel in Northleach overnight, and Mr. Mosey joined us for dinner. Next day was the hard truth!
A chap by the name of Paul Burgh - KS 1949-50 (he was made “Prefect” just before I left) was assigned to me as some kind of an assistant, since I did not know or understand one word of English and he, Paul, knew some German. It was quite an experience to be remembered all my life.
I was only 16 years old then and didn’t know what to expect within the new surroundings, having no knowledge of the language and the people whom I would meet, the pertaining rules, how would boys and masters react towards my helplessness, etc., all psychological. So the immediate truth in those respects was actually not at all as “hard” as I had imagined, having nevertheless remained “cold blooded” a realist as we had fortunately been taught to be from the beginning.
A small example will amuse you. Only 4 or 5 days after my arrival, there was an exercise in dictation in the class I had been put in. I wrote down every word, the way I heard it phonetically, and how, 'to hell with it' I thought, it would be spelled. Believe it or not, the Master – I think it would have been Mr. Thompson (?) – corrected and marked in red ink every single word of it. The sheet looked like a battlefield! After collection, the sheet was shown to the class with an explanation, also with some kind of a challenging smile but including an enigmatical warning that there was nothing funny about it. Nobody laughed !
After class, the boys actually made me understand that they thought it was a jolly good show and a brave try. It would have been the contrary in my country! I tell you this episode – of many others similar to this one – that for me it was an example of what I consider up to this day to be British fairness and – humour. It is one of the elementary reasons for me to have become somehow “British minded”. All later acquaintances, friends, business partners – and there are quite many in the UK, and quite a few in other countries where I had to do with “Britishness”, wanted to know what made me so “British”. So, amongst other things, they heard this story, and where it started all. Such wondrous “legends” might bore today’s deteriorating generation. To put it bluntly in a good old British like philosophical way with regard to the young generation: I feel like a frustrated fly on a wrapped lump of sugar.
I left Kings School in September 1951, on my father's request, him seeming to have other plans.
|The photo which was taken during a trip to Scotland together with my brother Christopher and one of his friends when he came to fetch me at KS the day I left the school. It was the autumn 1951. The car was a 2.WW amphibious Volkswagen! I was wearing the Scouts outfit then (I had joined the Scouts under Mr. Thompson). Actually I`m still looking for a cap with the Scouts insignia as I`m waering on this photo. Can anyone help?|
|I took JHM with me and my wife on a trip to the French Riviera during his trip to Switzerland. This was in the summer of 1957, the picture being taken in Juan-les-Pins out of a 16mm film.