Recollections of an Old (but young at heart) Oswestrian, circa 1952 - EPISODE 48, EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY!

Sports Day 1960 - this final of the 220 yds held at Park Hall Stadium

Behind every photograph lies a story of some sort; what, or who is the subject, where was it taken, and who was the character behind the lens? These are the questions running through my mind when I see a camera shot.

One of my favourite photographs is the one above which tells a story of sibling rivalry as succinctly as any number of words can do. Each of us claimed victory, but much to my chagrin Bernard was deemed the winner. I think it was either Jack Greves or perhaps Bruce Morgan, both prominent members of the Photographic Society, who snapped the moment, and Grevo said he thought I had won it. No doubt Bruce, who was a friend of my brother's, would have come down in favour of Bernard! This would all have been irrelevant if Tony Hughes, our very talented Captain of Athletics, had been running, but we were only allowed to take part in so many races and he had decided to drop out of this particular event which he had won in 1959.

Official, and unofficial result of the 220 yds Senior race

At the end of the day I brooded that if it was so close it would have been more equitable to call it a draw and, at the side of the results Bernard had posted in his official copy of the event, I duly made my point by adding that we had tied the event. I see also from the notes I made in my Diary that day that my version differs from the official one in that my recollection was that we were joint 1st!

I did get over it... eventually.

The next photograph is a permanent reminder of Jack Greves, one of my best friends at school, and Edward Goff; both are now no longer with us sadly. I think the picture was taken during a home match on the Maes-y-Llan against Whittington who were skippered by Ed's father.

(Left to right) Grevo and Edward Goff

This was at a turbulent time in the history of Oswestry School, and I recall here having a lengthy running battle with Headmaster Frankland about various controversial matters. At this particular time he had banned me from putting Ed Goff in the 1st XI as he suspected Edward was at the centre of a group of boys responsible for defacing notice board photos taken during the recent Speech Weekend. I disagreed vehemently with him as he had no proof and, ignoring his wishes, put Ed's name down for the next match. Frankland was furious and threatened to demote me from the Captaincy. This did not happen.

Round 2...

Round 3!

I spent several fun weeks of my summer holidays with Jack and his family, and what is missing from the photograph is the colour of his hair which was a vivid ginger. I remember a middle aged couple coming up to us as we were sunbathing on a beach near Barnstaple and asking Jack if his hair was dyed. Grevo was a bit miffed at this unwanted personal comment and he surprised me, and them. by retorting, "You must be joking, and everything matches!" 

The colour of their faces slowly turned bright red and, as Jack threw back his head and roared with laughter, the couple slunk away along the sandy beach and disappeared out of sight. Turning to me with an impish grin on his face he quirked, "I bet it is the last time they ask anybody that particular question!"

I have now used more than 350 photographs on these pages, and am indebted to the many Old Boys who have either wittingly, or unwittingly, been the source of quite a few. It is always interesting to speculate who was behind the lens and I suspect that a good few of my pictures have found their way to me via ex-members of the very popular Photographic Society, of which I myself was a keen member. It is more than probable that I have acquired some indirectly from Bruce Morgan, who began selling photos to boys throughout the school to supplement his pocket money. I cannot remember what he charged. Bruce was pretty handy with his camera and he won 1st Prize in the annual photography competition held on Speech Day 1961.

Diary entries for 10 March 1960/61/62

Grevo fancied himself as a bit of a 'David Bailey' character, a popular fashion and portrait photographer at the time, and set himself up in business as Studio 2 taking portraits for which he charged 2/6 (two shillings and six pence in old money). 

The entry for 1961 refers to letters I wrote to Mike Prestwich (OO) and Duncan Felton. I was still playing regular football in 1962 and I remember that this was the only time I lost my composure during a bad tempered game in which boots and fists were flying all over the place. It was never like this at school, matches were much more gentlemanly and even under extreme duress, such as when losing heavily against our nemesis The Boys' High, we never resorted to fisticuffs.

The winning relay team (1960)
(Left to right) 'Cobber' Walton, Richard Fuller, Tony Hughes (holding the Victor Ludorum)
and David Bebb

Another picture which brings back memories of all kinds is the one above. It is not just recollections of this Burnaby winning team but of some of the individuals who formed part of it.

Micky 'Cobber' Walton was the class clown usually up to some nefarious activity, and he provided us with many hilarious moments, many of which I have already documented. Tony was also a friend and classmate who regularly invited us to his nearby farm in Trefonen for Sunday lunch and tea, and the extract from my Diary is typical of an afternoon spent at his place. As usual we were having such a good time, the hours having sped by, that it looked like we could be on the minutes getting back in time for a second tea. "Don't worry," Tony said, "it's only three and a half miles."

We covered the distance in a seat gripping, white knuckle ride of four and a half minutes, and I doubt if I could have eaten anything even if we had made it to the dining room in time. Jack and I went for a walk to calm our nerves!

It would not be the last time I experienced fright when driving with Tony (who several years after leaving school swapped his fast feet for fast cars) and in company with Richard Jeremy (OO), who was also into motor racing. At some point in the near future, with his permission, I would like to have more to say about R A Hughes as he has several interesting stories to tell; that is if I can tease them out of him.

An invitation to lunch and tea