Speech Day Friday, July 18th 1947.
The proceedings opened with an inspection of the
Guard of Honour by the principal speaker of the day, Major-General Sir Cyriac
Skinner, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., after which everyone assembled in the
The number of visitors was so great that all boys, except those to receive
prizes, had to be content to hear the speeches through loudspeakers on the
From the chair the Chairman of Governors, W.H. Healey, Esq., J.P., C.A.,
welcomed Sir Cyriac Skinner and spoke of his family's long connection with the
County. He referred to the new conditions created by the Education Act 1944,
especially the matter of providing public money for boarding places.
He hoped that the next public function would be the official opening of the new
Boarding Houses and looked forward to a big day school with a boarding side.
(Ed note: The new boarding houses were Tylerswood and Uplyme.)
He announced the establishment of the School Memorial Fund which it was hoped
would provide some such amenity as a Swimming Bath or Library as a memorial to
the Old Boys who died in the war.
In his Report, the first on such occasion since
the visit of General Eaker in 1942, the Headmaster (E.R. Tucker) referred to the
growth of the School both in numbers and academic successes.
Between 1932 and 1947 the number in the School had grown from 320 to 700, of
Higher School Certificate candidates from 3 to 42, of boys in the Sixth Form
doing advanced work from 10 to 102 and of boarders from 13 to 79.
As a result of the award of an Open Classical Scholarship at Balliol College to
D. W. H. Crutchfield in 1942 he was able to report his election to the
Headmasters' Conference. Since then there had been a consistent flow of
Classical Scholars: H.A.B. Lesser to Jesus College, Oxford in 1943, P.J. Scally
who became the Senior Classical Scholar at Balliol and R.J. Fredericks an
Exhibitioner to Jesus College, Cambridge in 1944, C.J. Fletcher an Exhibitioner
to Christ Church in 1946. Meanwhile O. Roith and D.H. Wintach, both
mathematicians, went up to Cambridge and became open scholars of their colleges.
Subsequent results showed continuing success: First Classes were obtained at
Oxford by Lesser and Scally, at Cambridge in the Mechanical Sciences Tripos by
Roith and Winstch, in the Anthropology Tripos by E.J. Miller and at London in
Engineering by Goodearl.
Roith in his second year becam Captain of Cricket at Caius and Heather rowed for
Jesus College, Cambridge at Henley Regatta.
Of others who had since entered public service, four had obtained posts in the
Civil Service of Principal at least and one Keith Oakeshot, was amongst the
first of the new entrants to the Foreign Office.
In spite of the successes it had to be said that
the war years had not been easy. The School had suffered many changes in Staff,
Twenty-four temporary Assistant Mistresses and thirty-four temporary Assistant
Masters had at various times taught during that period.
In this connection the Headmaster paid a special tribute to the work of Mrs.
Allan Jones, to Mrs. Redington who had taught in the School in both 1908 and
1945, to Mrs. Kernicks's splendid work with the Preparatory Form and to the work
done with the Sixth by Miss. Pollard, Miss Baker and Miss. Ross.
Among the men he wished to record his personal debt to his old Tutor, Mr. P.A.
Seymour, to Rev. W. Richardson and Mr. E.J. Somerset all of whom helped create
the present reputation of the Classical Sixth during the absence of the
Classical Staff. Finally he offered thanks to Mr. Claude Elliot, the Headmaster
of Eton, without whose help in providing instruction in Verse Composition our
Classical Scholars of 1943 and 1944 would hardly of succeeded.
The Headmaster expressed his gratitude to those
few masters that so nobly held the fort while the rest were away: to Mr. Brand
who retired in 1946 after long service as Second Master and effective head of
the OTC, to Mr. Morgan who had taken his place as Second Master, to Mr. Jones
and Mr. Grant who had both fortunately now recovered from bouts of illness, to
Mr. Johnson who had served the Boarding House so well for more than six years
and to Mr. McQueen for whom he wished a long and happy retirement at the end of
The great service of the Old Boys of the School
to the nation was clear from the very long list of those who had served,
especially in the RAF. It was a source of pride that these efforts had been
crowned, in the closing months of the war, by the award of the Victoria Cross to
The memory of those 77 who gave their lives would be revived at the
Commemoration Service to be held in the Parish Church on the evening of Speech
To the parents of the boys about to take up
advanced work the Headmaster said that the School was now stabilised at 700 and
the Local Education Authority committed to the eventual provision of adequate
The Ministry of Education hoped to see every boy in the Grammar Schools staying
onto the age of eighteen and these schools the feeding ground for considerably
increased Universities. It was important to take full advantage of the very
considerable opportunities now available.
Referring to the other activities of the School
the Headmaster called attention to the outstanding contribution by the OTC and
ATC to the country. H3e commended the attention given to rugby and cricket and
the success achieved by teams in the athletic field. He was pleased to record
the return of the School to a Shakespearean tradition in play production and the
great impetuous given to the musical life of the school by the appointment of a
full time music master.
He was glad to be able to say that the Governors
and the Education Authority, in taking over from him the responsibility for the
boarding side, had decided to enlarge and extend it until it would be a very
significant and important part not merely of the school but of educational
provision of the County as a whole.
Though he and Mrs. Tucker were sad to see one of their responsibilities passing
to some extent from them, they were happy to know that, in the changing
functions imposed upon the School by the new Education Act, the new function
might very well be more important than the old.
If the School were to continue to be treated as an individual entity as of old,
the new Education Act might be not merely the end of one epoch by the beginning
of a greater.
After the Headmaster's Report the certificates,
prizes and cups were very kindly presented by Mrs. W.H. Healey whom everyone was
very glad to see on this school occasion.
After the presentations Sir Cyriac Skinner
delivered a most inspiring discourse on the theme of England, the book everyone
can read. He drew, with great wealth of illustration, a portrait of our
unusually rich national heritage of which records can be interrupted in every
part of the countryside, no less in the landscape than in the architecture to be
seen on every hand.
We had the most beautiful scenery and the finest climate in the world. It was an
inexhaustible source of pleasure to those who were prepared to give time to its
study and he commended to the boys the advantages that were freely at their
disposal in the land in which they were born.
Votes of thanks were proposed by His Worship the
Mayor, Councillor C.W. Lance, J.P., and seconded by Councillor R.P. Clarke, M.P.,
B.C.L., and the Chairman of the Boarding Committee.
After the proceedings visitors were entertained by a Physical Training Display
on the School Field. Tea was served in the School Hall and Junior Building.