FRIDAY 1st JULY 1949

   At school I have now finished my oil-painting. In French we are doing entirely revision for the exams. In P.T. we played Skittleball on the new playing fields. In English we were given the results of the History test. Of course, I was bound to be bottom. In Latin we had a test.

   I came home on the Special Bus, did some homework, then put an hour’s work into the garden, trying to trim it up a bit. The garden looks really lovely now. There are a lot of flowers in bloom particularly the roses.

   The weather is still very hot & there is no sign of a break.

When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. Psalm 61:2–3


   In English this morning Mr. Parry was absent and Mr. Rees was absent for French, so a Temporary Prefect (I think sometimes they should be called “defects”) took us. I did my Art prep. in French!

   I came home through town then this afternoon I went to John’s birthday party [instead of going to the Scout rally at Handsworth Park. John was 14 last Saturday.] First of all we had tea at the “Cottage Loaf” café, then we played Cricket in Solihull Park. I scored 0, 0, 3, 21. The latter was the best innings I’ve ever had — I played one or two super strokes until Kipper bowled me. I also caught Kipper twice and John once, and bowled Kipper as well. We then had supper in John’s house [92 Shirley Road] then we played Snooker.

But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Hebrews 7:24


   This morning at 11.30 I cycled to Solihull Park and did some bird watching. I found one super spot “In a shady nook, by a babbling brook”. In the tree overlooking the brook were a pair of Great Tits. There were hundreds of butterflies — Whites, Graylings, and I also saw a Small and a [space left] Blue. There were a lot of grasshoppers and a few dragonflies about. In the field next to me were two or three cows which were drinking from the stream.

   After dinner I wrote my talk on Bird Watching which I hope will be accepted for “Midland Magazine”.

   This evening I played “Crib” with Dad in the garden [the end of a beautiful day which I shall remember all my life.

   The “super spot” in Solihull Park was enchanting, and I imagined a lovely girl standing there in all her naked beauty. “In a shady nook, by a babbling brook” (which Donald Peers sings) is the caption to a picture in Health and Efficiency which some of the boys pass around at school but never let me see. So I bought my own copy from the bookstall on New Street Station. I was very upset when someone stole it from my satchel.]

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. Ephesians 4:10


   Most of our lessons at School are spent in revision for the exams. In Geography Mr. Parry took us. We spent the double Chemistry period revising. There was no Choir practice. I only had two mistakes in my Latin prep. so I got a star for it. I collected 1s 10d Cot-Fund in “Scripture”. I came home on the Special.

   At 3.15, it suddenly started to rain, the first drop of rain since June 13th — exactly three weeks of drought, the longest since 1908 for early summer. Yesterday there were many prayers for rain as the position was becoming rather serious. Everywhere the grass was getting parched, and water supplies were running short. I hope we get more rain tonight.

The Lord shall guide thee continually. 1 Corinthians 15:20


   A little rain did fall during the night but only a little.

   Nothing much happened at School. In the afternoon I played for the form XI v Cl.U.M. Don Tipper was in no. 11 and got 5. First ball I hit a single then I got rapped on the finger. My third ball I drove for a two and I got a two on my next ball. Then a terrifically high ball, and I just held my bat up in the air to let it go by. To my surprise I was given out caught but I’m sure I didn’t touch it. I fielded as sub. for Cl.U.M. who won by about seven wickets.

   This evening I did a bit of Physics revision for tomorrow’s exam.

But now is Christ risen from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20


   The Examinations started today in Big School. We spent the morning revising. I played Cricket during the dinner hour.

   The Physics exam wasn’t very easy — I expect that I shall be about 80th in the block. The question is whether I shall go into L.V. [the Lower Fifth] next year. To avoid this I have to have an average position of under 57th and I think that I shall be about 55th. Anyway I ought to do fairly well — I’ve put in a lot of work since September last year.

   Ginger is running tonight.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 1 Peter 3:13


   From 9.30 to 11.30 this morning we had the Geometry Exam and I think I did quite well in that. I did not come to school in J.T.C. uniform today. First of all, in J.T.C. we practised the “Port Arms”, then we had a section attack in which we were completely wiped out.

   Then this afternoon I played for the form team versus U.M.A. but although I opened with Tipper after L.M.A. had scored a hundred and twenty odd, I was clean-bowled for 0 by Wilkins on my 4th ball. I never even touched the ball once. Tipper was also out for 0 — caught. We lost of course.

   Brownhound was last, last night.

He careth for you. 1 Peter 3:13


   From 9.30 to 11.30 this morning we had the Art Examination. I think I did quite well. Break was from 11.30 to 11.45 then we had normal fourth period — English.

   During the dinner hour I played Cricket on the new playing fields with Tipper.

   This afternoon we had [the] Geography exam. It wasn’t very easy but I don’t think I did too badly.

   I came home on the Special Bus and got my hair cut.

   Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema as usual, and Bob has gone away for the weekend. Tonight I have been listening to the wireless and doing some work.

Ye have seen ... that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercies. James 5:11


   No exams today, thank goodness. We revised all the morning. I came home with John and Kipper through town.

   This afternoon Mam and Dad went out shopping so I stayed in and listened to the Cricket on the radio.

   After tea I went to the Olton cinema to see Bing Crosby, [William Bendix] and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in A Yankee at King Arthur’s Court and Dynamite. They were both very good films — the first (in Technicolor) especially. I didn’t get into the pictures until 7.40.

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. Psalm 34:15


   This morning Dad and I cycled to Mr. Burton’s farm about 12 miles away. We were going to Solihull Park but Dad thought it would be a good idea to try to find the farm. When we did find it we took some of Mr. Burton’s greyhounds for a walk, so we were there for an hour.

   After dinner I did quite a bit of revision for the exams tomorrow.

   This evening I played out in the street for a while.

   Today all Birmingham Corporation ’Bus Fares are increased. There are now no ½d Children’s fares — 1d Child’s is the minimum. The ordinary fare into town is 5d now. It will cost 3d [instead of 2½d] on the Special Bus.

And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him. Matthew 28:17


   We had to pay 3d on the Special Bus today.

   At school prayers were held in Big School for the first time since June 17th. From 9.30 to break we had English in our form room, then after break the Algebra exam in Room 160. I don’t think I did too badly but no one had enough time to finish the latter. I certainly didn’t.

   I spent the dinner hour doing revision for the History exam this afternoon. It was much easier than I expected and I think I shall be about 63th [sic] instead of 95th.

   It has been the hottest day of the year today. This evening I tidied up my drawers and cupboard.

Ye are the light of the world. Matthew 8:14


   From 9.45 to 11.5 today we had the French exam in which I think I did pretty well. I hope I did anyway. The Arithmetic wasn’t so nice but I don’t think I did exceptionally badly.

   This afternoon the form team played Lower Fifth. Lower Fifth scored 204 for 5 declared. Foulds scored 182. Their first 120 runs came in 35 minutes. We scored 33 in 70 minutes. I went in no. 8 and came out with my usual score — 0 (played on). Dale, Sanders and Rainbow also got 0. Davies and Tipper got 1 each. Jennens scored 19. We lost by 171 runs.

   The temperature reached 85 degrees at 3 o’clock.

Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. 1 Timothy 2:54


   The exams are over, thank goodness. This morning we had Chemistry in Mr. Whalley’s Geography room and Latin this afternoon. I ought to be about 75th in the first and about 90 in the Latin.

   Coming home on the S.B. we came into a thunder storm which reached Acocks Green at 4.15. All together I imagine we had about 0.65 inches of rain altogether [sic].

   The water position is now very grave. Elan Valley is losing 6,000,000 gallons per day by evaporation, not including continued heavy consumption by householders. The position is much worse than in 1947. In 5 weeks we have had only 0.04 inches of rain, which has all evaporated. The temp. was 122 degrees in the sun and 90 degrees in the shade yesterday.

By love serve one another. Galatians 5:13


   We had quite a bit more rain since last night, bringing yesterday’s total to 0.585 ins. at Edgbaston. Elan Valley hasn’t had any rain yet though.

   This morning in Physics we did some experiments with prisms and in Art we went to the Music Room where Dr. Willis Grant played us a gramophone record and spoke about String Quartets.

   In J.T.C. we had drill and then a briefing for Field Day tomorrow.

   I came straight home on the 1A bus. It was a change not to have any prep to do this afternoon.

   It rained a little this evening.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers. 3 John 5


   The rain was pouring down when I got up this morning. It looked as if it would entirely spoil “The Battle of Windmill Hill”.

   At 9.15 we had a parade then at 9.30 we set off in a “Nash’s Luxury Coach”. It was drizzling when we arrived and the visibility was poor and would therefore help the attack.

   I was posted in a hedgerow which was saturated. It was hardly fun trying to make oneself comfortable in prickles and wet undergrowth. My vest soon got wet. My nearest companion, apart from a horse, was some 60 yds. away.

   Eventually I sighted an enemy platoon & I moved off towards Coy. HQ., defending a sunken lane en route. I killed about 5, then afterwards, after more firing in which I killed 2 others, I was one of the last to be shot, and so we lost at about 1.50pm!

So will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13


   At School today, the Head announced that the Half Holiday that Lieut. Gen. E.W. Simpson asked for as a reward for the fine display given by the C.C.F. when he inspected us on June 9th will be on Monday afternoon. (What a sentence!)

   Nothing much happened at school. I came home with John and Kipper through town. It rained nearly all the afternoon but I was down the village with Mam for over an hour.

   I spent the evening listening to the wireless or reading.

With me. Luke 23:43


   I got up first this morning and made a pot of tea then after breakfast I played in the front room until the rain stopped, when I went out to play.

   After dinner we went to the Mission where Mr. Harkness was the speaker.

   This evening I played Cricket in the street with the boys until ten past eight. It is 8.30pm now. I am just going to bed.

Jesus. He shall be great ... and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:31–33


   Nothing worth recording happened at School. In French we finished reading a story, La Sans Chevaux, and in Geography we read comics or magazines.

   As it was a half-holiday I came home at 12.25 via town.

   This afternoon I went to see Mrs. Wright at Hartfield Crescent [Junior School, my teacher until I left in July 1946]. I read to the class for about three quarters of an hour.

   This evening I read [in the Birmingham Mail] the story of the first day of the trial of J.G. Haigh accused of shooting a Mrs. Durand-Deacon and disposing of the body in a drum of Sulphuric Acid!

The LORD is their strength. Psalm 28:8


   Mr. Craig was absent this morning so Mr. Nicholson took the Maths period and read to us. Nothing else happened at school.

   This afternoon while Mam was taking Clarice and Julia to the clinic I washed up and then cut all the front lawn including [trimming] the edges, weeded and dug the garden. That took me two hours at least.

   After tea I played some gramophone records then went out to play for a while.

   It was Bob’s birthday today so I bought him a small present.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Titus 2:11


   In Maths today we did puzzles. Mr. Rees talked to us in French as did Mr. Parry. In Latin I read a comic. I didn’t do a scrap of work all day except in Art.

   The Special Bus did not turn up so I came home on the 1A with John.

   My order in the exams was as follows:—

   My final position is 65th — pretty awful. Next year there will be no L.V. and I shall probably go into V.C. There will be V.S. (Last School Cert) and also V.X.
So great salvation. Hebrews 2:3


   We did no work worth speaking about at School today. In J.T.C. a presentation was made to Lieut. Barlow who is leaving the Corps. Afterwards we cleaned rifles.

   This afternoon [Mam’s friend] Mrs. Palmer came.

   After tea tonight I cycled to Holder Road [where there is a coach tours company] to see if there were any remaining seats for Blackpool on July 30th.

   Now, I am listening to “Twenty Questions”. I would place the radio shows in this order:—

1. Ignorance is Bliss90%
2. Ray’s a Laugh85%
3. Welsh Rarebit82%
4. Hi! Gang, 194975%
5. Twenty Questions75%
6. Clay’s College70%
7. Stand Easy55%
I think the Saturday night programmes are awful.
I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8


   I caught the Special Bus as usual this morning. Mr. Parry took the French period in which we just read comics. In Gym we played Skittleball on the playing fields.

   At dinner time I played Cricket. Nothing else happened.

   I went down the village on Bob’s bike at 5.0pm. After tea I played Cricket with Clarice and Julia.

   I am writing my diary at the table as usual at 8 o’clock. Mam and Dad are at the cinema [to the Warwick to see Betty Grable in Springtime in the Rockies], and Bob went home today and is going to France next week.

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20


   When I woke up this morning I found that I had almost completely lost my voice. I had a sore throat yesterday and now I’ve got a proper cold.

   In English we had two talks given by Rainbow and Willey [P.C. Trafford-Willey]. I was a critic. As usual we did little or no work. Mr. Craig was unable to take us for Maths. so we just amused ourselves playing noughts and crosses or something similar. I came home on the 1A ’bus.

   This afternoon after listening to the 3rd Test Match until 4.0pm I went to Don Tipper’s birthday party [at 57 Hazelwood Road; he was 14 on Thursday]. We had a very nice tea. We played in the garden all the time until 9.30pm.

The LORD is thy keeper. Psalm 121:5


   My voice was a bit better this morning but my cold was a little worse. After breakfast I cut the front lawn and part of the back. We only had a small dinner today. I didn’t do much else for the rest of the day.

   I played Cricket after tea for am hour.

   Last night Ginger was last. Her time was 31.49.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love. Song of Solomon 2:4


   My cold seemed somewhat better this morning. At School, House meetings were held at 10.30am. This was the last meeting of the House as a whole as next year the House will be divided into Copland’s and Porter’s. I shall still be in Copland’s though [which I am very pleased about; he was my form master in Rem. C. last year].

   In the dinner hour an auction raised 17s for the Cot-Fund. I felt rather ill so I did not go.

   In the afternoon there was a concert by the Element String Quartet in Big School. The pieces played were:

1. Molto Allegro, Mozart

2. Nocturne, Borodin

3. Quartet in F, Op. 96 (The Nigger), Dvorak.

The concert ended at 2.45.

Jesus, the Son of God. Hebrews 4:14


   The holidays are round again. This morning we went to form-rooms until 9.30 then we assembled in Big School for the breaking-up ceremony. After prayers the Head read out block positions and then left Big School, whereupon Mountford, the School Captain, remarked that he and the vice-captain [J.R. Charlesworth] had done very little work that year and proceeded to give out the Chronicles. The July 1949 issue is a particularly good one. Apart from the usual items there are Cricket records. In 1887 at Eastern Road, Warwick School scored 4. INSERT REPORT (full page)

   This afternoon I worked in the garden. Grandad came for dinner and tea.

Be not afraid. Mark 6:50


   Before breakfast this morning I cycled down the village to get a newspaper. Later on, after I had washed up, I went out to play cricket.

   After dinner I read for a little then I played outside again. The L.M.R. [London Midland Region] Luggage Van collected the trunk during the afternoon. [It is going ahead of us to Blackpool where we shall meet up with it again on Saturday.]

   This evening Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema [to see Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (A) and Barbara Hale in The Window (A) at the Olton]. I have been listening to “Holiday Night”, a variety from Blackpool. It is very nearly nine o’clock so I am just off to bed.

   P.S. Ballingetty 5th. 31.07.

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructeth him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. Deuteronomy 32:10


   I bought the Sports 1949–50 Argus Football Annual this morning [from Wells’ newsagents in Warwick Road]. It’s a super little book. Later on in the morning I went to Tyseley. Clarice and Julia came. On the station we saw twenty-six locos., thirteen of which were “cops”. One “cop” was 6028, King George VI, which somehow seemed to illude [sic] me for the past four or five years.

   I spent all the afternoon finishing the back lawn and trimming up the garden. The front bed has been one mass of bloom just lately. The tall Gladiolas were especially beautiful. Grandad came for tea.

   Mam and Dad have had my school report:—

ENGLISH   Has the ability to write clearly and well. Sometimes by careless thinking he allows himself to stray from the object. A little more determination needed. (Mr. T.R. Parry)

HISTORY   He has not shown enough determination to grasp the details. Could do very much better work. (Mr. T.R. Parry)

GEOGRAPHY   His written work is very good, but he must try to learn his work. Examination result was very poor. (Mr. W.L. Whalley)

FRENCH   Works well and makes fair progress. (Mr. W.D. Rees)

LATIN   Fair. Disappointing exam. (Mr. F.L. Kay)

MATHEMATICS   Still rather weak, but quite a good result in arithmetic. (Mr. N.J.F. Craig)

PHYSICS   Rather weak, but always tries & his work is commendably neat. (Mr. O.M. Mathews)

CHEMISTRY   Has worked well and made satisfactory progress. (Mr. J.B. Guy)

ARTS & CRAFTS   Satisfactory progress: he has worked steadily. (Mr. J.B. Hurn)

FORM MASTER   A very lukewarm effort. He lacks determination to overcome his weakness or even do any solid learning: he likes to skate over a subject. (Mr. T.R. Parry)

HEADMASTER   He must always grasp the nettle firmly. T.E.B.H. (Mr. Howarth)

I quite like Mr. Parry and was very pleased when he signed my “Birthday Scripture Text Book” against his birthday, 6th March 1917. I am sorry he doesn’t like me though.

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth even for ever. Psalm 125:2


   There is nothing much to record today. This morning we again went to Tyseley. One loco. we saw was no. 7903, Foremarke Hall, almost the latest engine in service. [I believe it is shedded at 81A Old Oak Common.]

   This afternoon we played Cricket for a short time.

   Tomorrow, all being well, we shall be in Blackpool, and as we intend to catch the 6.20am train from New Street we shall get up at about 4.30! I am going to bed at about 8 o’clock this evening. It is 7.15 now. I have just had my bath and got one or two odd things together in readiness for tomorrow. I hope the weather will be fine.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8


   We got up at 4.30am today and arrived at New Street Station with half an hour to spare — the train left at 6.30. Although it was a non-corridor train we had a very good journey and arrived at Blackpool at 10.20am. There were hundreds of people both arriving and departing. We caught a tram to Cleveleys and arrived at the “Roy Guest House” (11, Graham Road) half an hour before dinner, served at 5 o’clock. After dinner we went out but it rained for the rest of the day so we stayed in during the evening listening to the radio.

   I went to bed at 10.30pm [sharing a bed] with Grandad. We have three bedrooms between the six of us.

They shall prosper that love Thee. Psalm 122:6


   For my [14th] birthday today I had The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams as a present from Mam and Dad. I was up early and I got a newspaper then went down to the beach before breakfast at 9 o’clock. It was raining and apart from the hundreds of birds there was no one on the beach.

   Apart from us there are six other children and three adults. After breakfast we went to the central beach. I went into the sea. It was good to hear the screaming gulls, to feel the salty spray on our faces and to taste the salt on our lips again. A cold wind blew continuously.

   This afternoon we walked towards the Tower and after tea we visited the Pleasure Beach. [Photo: Dad, Grandad and myself.]

I will never leave thee. Hebrews 13:5

Previous chapter || Next chapter || Index || Search
webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30