This morning Dad knocked off work at 10.30am and then he and I had to take various exhibits down to Marston Green B.S.A. for today’s show.

   We all went to the show after dinner. Although it kept fine, the threat of rain kept the attendance down to a few hundred.

   I took Ginger in the Dog Show. She won second prize in the Sporting Dog class and first prize for coat and condition. She was also adjudged second best dog in the show.

   Dad won first prize for his six Dahlias, third with twelve gooseberries, second with four onions. first with nine shallots and second prize for three beetroot. Mam got a prize for her bottled tomatoes. Clarice and Julia each won a prize in the children’s races.

   Altogether it was quite a pleasant and interesting afternoon.

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15


   I got up first this morning and made the tea.

   Dad and I spent all the morning and afternoon in the garden. There was quite a lot of tidying up to be done. I did some weeding, hoeing and lawn cutting. Dad put a post in one corner of the new bed and I made an arch with a branch of the rose tree.

   We did not watch the T.V. or listen to the radio tonight.

Korean Diary for August 22nd–28th

23rd. Communists suspend talks pending “satisfactory reply” from UN over alleged bombing attack on conference zone.

25th. Accusation rejected by Gen. Ridgway, “obviously manufactured” he says.

27th. Communists ask for further investigation.

28th. UN Representative has brief meeting with Communist Liaison officer.

The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him. Deuteronomy 33:12


   This morning I went down the village to get a sack of straw for Ginger. I bought a 32–page book called The Coldwater Aquarium. It is really excellent value for 6d.

   This afternoon we all went to see Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man at the Olton. The story was really based on H.G. Wells’ famous tale. I doubt whether this was one of Abbott & Costello’s funniest pictures but we enjoyed it nevertheless. The supporting film Hollywood Story was very good and finished with the solving of a thirty year murder case. Apart from this there was a newsreel and the last episode of Superman so it was really a most enjoyable afternoon.

   It rained nearly all the evening. I took Ginger for her evening walk.

With Christ; which is far better. Philippians 1:23


   Straight after breakfast today I walked to Stratford Road and back to get some horse-meat. Ginger came with me.

   After dinner I spent over an hour in the Library. I got My Best Mystery Story, a collection of stories chosen by their own authors and I read a couple of these before going to Cubs tonight.

   Only six or seven boys turned up. Actually I only have thirteen on the roll so we will start recruiting shortly. We are putting the subs up to 2d per week and I have also suggested raising the joining fee to 9d. Unless we do something we shall soon be bankrupt!

Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. Romans 9:33


   This morning Mam took Clarice and Julia to town and not knowing what to do exactly I went to Sparkhill Swimming Baths. It cost only 1d and I had thirty-five minutes swimming. (It was the first occasion I had swum in anything but sea-water).

   This afternoon Mam took us to the Warwick and we saw Old Mother Riley’s Jungle Treasure. It wasn’t too bad but Paul Temple’s Triumph was by far the better film in my opinion. Paul Temple was played by John Bentley and Steve by Dinah Sheridan. The film had plenty of action and excitement and we really enjoyed it.

   On T.V. this evening I watched part of a World Championship Billiards match between Clark McConacky (N.Z. champion) and John Barrie (U.K. champion, 1950).

There is forgiveness with Thee. Psalm 130:4


   Clarice, Julia and I went to Sparkhill Baths this morning for an hour until 10.0am.

   At the same time I managed to get some horse-meat from Wheeler’s. There was none when I called there on Tuesday. I did not go out again until this evening when I went to the Hippodrome for First House at 6.15pm.

   Joy, Joy & Joy were first on the bill to provide some dance routines, followed by Peter Raynor, a ventriloquist. Then we saw plenty of action from the Acrobatic Botands; next there was a comic scene with Jimmy James, Bretton Woods and Dick Carlton. Last before the interval was Sally Ann Howes the film star who sang several songs. The second half included the Two Randows — comedy jugglers, the famous zither man Anton Karas playing some of the music he composed for The Third Man film, and Afrique, a clever impressionist. Taken as a whole it was a good all-round show. I enjoyed it.

Be still ... I am God. Psalm 46:10


   Nothing much happened all this morning. This afternoon I had to go to town for Mam and at the same time I went to Snow Hill Station to enquire the times of the London trains next week. (I hope to visit the Festival of Britain). While I was in town I bought a catfish for the aquarium. They are interesting if rather peculiar creatures. They are especially useful as scavengers.

   This evening Mam and Dad went to the cinema as usual.

   Tonight I watched the Newsreel, “Looking at Animals” (feet), “In the News” with Lord Hailsham, W.J. Brown, J.B. Hynd M.P., and A.J.P. Taylor, and a quarter of an hour of Arthur Askey.

The love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Ephesians 3:19


   This morning I went to see Dr. Gough about my knee and so used my National Health card for the first time!

   This afternoon we all (except Ginger) went to the B.S.A. Festival of Britain Gala Day at Golden Hillock Road. The weather was much better than last week and there were about five thousand people present. The novelty races were rather boring but a parade of products was interesting enough. It included everything from olden-day “penny-farthing” bicycles to the modern motor-bike. There was also a PT display by the W.R.A.F. and another by the Police Equestrian team which was most spectacular. These were just a few of the events because there were other displays, an open-air concert, torchlight tattoo and firework finale. We did not stay for all these though & we got back for a somewhat belated tea at 8.0pm.

I have loved you, saith the LORD. Malachi 1:2


   Before breakfast this morning Clarice and Julia came with me to give Ginger a run in the park.

   Nothing else happened all morning and afternoon.

   This evening Mam, Dad and I went for a walk at 6.30. We took Ginger with us. We walked along Yardley Road, Coventry Road and through Small Heath Park, finally up Golden Hillock Road past the B.S.A. Ground. This was illuminated. We came back by 44 bus from Baker Street and arrived home at about 8.30.

Korean Diary for August 29th–Sept 4th

29th. Gen Ridgway rejects “Red” demands for further investigation into alleged attack on Kaesong.

31st. Heavy fighting on Eastern front.

3rd. Gen. Van Fleet estimates 800,000 Reds in Korea.

4th. Build-up of forces suggests possibility of new Communist offensive.

The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16


   Nothing much happened this morning. After dinner, Mam and I went to town. I have decided to go to London on Wednesday, all being well, so I bought my Rail ticket [15/3d, half the adult fare. I got £1 5s 0d out of my Midland Bank account earlier in the day]. I could not obtain an advance ticket for the South Bank Exhibition.

   Tonight’s television was quite varied. After the Newsreel at 9pm, we watched a Battle of Britain Week Variety including Sam Costa and Avril Angers. This lasted for 45 minutes. I took Ginger out then and got back in time to see “What’s My Line?” with Frances Day, Jerry Desmonde, Elizabeth Allan & Gilbert Harding. Eamonn Andrews saw fair play. This programme is rapidly becoming one of T.V.’s best but it’s a pity the womenfolk haven’t quite the same sincerity as Gilbert Harding.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. John 15:18


   This morning Clarice and Julia started back to school. I got up at 10.0am, listened to “Mrs. Dale’s Diary” and the morning story as usual, and then went down to the Library to read today’s newspapers. At the moment there is a great deal of excitement concerning tomorrow’s Big Fight at New York between Randolph Turpin and “Sugar” Ray Robinson. Robinson is favourite to win back the title he lost on July 10th. I think Turpin will retain the title though.

   This afternoon I watched an exciting film on T.V. I did not go to Cubs tonight as I had to get one or two things together for my visit to London tomorrow and get my school things ready for Thursday.

I am my Beloved’s and His desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 7:10


   Today has been most exciting. I caught the 8.0am train from Snow Hill station. It was pulled by Castle Class No 5088 [Llanthony Abbey, which as a train-spotter I had seen many times before]. Two stops only were made — at Knowle and Leamington — and it was exactly 10.15 when we drew into Paddington. To get to the South Bank I had to travel by the Bakerloo Line to Waterloo. This being my first visit to London, I had never had experience of the Underground. It was something quite new to me. I bought my ticket and stepped on to the escalator. I then found myself in a sort of tunnel and almost immediately into the platform came the electric train. It seemed to rattle at breakneck speed all the way to Waterloo.

   The South Bank Exhibition turnstiles were opposite Waterloo Station. The admittance fee was 5/- adults, 2/6 children. The first things I noticed [and photographed] were the Skylon and Dome of Discovery. There were twenty pavilions. No. 1 illustrated “The Land of Britain” showing how it has taken millions of years to make our land. Then there were “The Natural Scene” showing aquaria, butterflies, animals, birds, insects, flowers. A screen showed pictures of British Birds. When a picture lit up, the song of that particular bird was heard. Next was “The Country” then “Minerals of the Island”, “Power and Production” and “Sea and Ships”. The “Transport and Communications” included John Cobb’s Napier Railton Car, and several B.R. locomotives.

   The other main pavilion was the Dome of Discovery showing how our scientists & explorers have increased our knowledge of the earth, sea, sky and vast outer space. The downstream pavilions were “The People of Britain”, “The Lion & the Unicorn”, “Television”, the Telecinema, “Homes & Gardens”, “The New Schools; Design Review”, “Health”, “Sport”, an 1851 Centenary Pavilion, a Shot Tower and the “Seaside”. It was really wonderful. I brought home two Festival Crown pieces. At 4.0pm I went down the Thames by boat to the Pleasure Gardens at Battersea Park from Rodney Pier. I saw many famous buildings on my way up the river including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, New Scotland Yard etc. [Telephone No. Whitehall 1212].

   The Pleasure Gardens too, were delightful. There were flowers, fountains, shops, an aviary, fun-fair, shows, hundreds of things, but it had to come to an end all too soon. I went by bus to South Kensington, then by the Underground to Paddington. I caught the 7.35 train. It got into Birmingham at 11.5 and I was home by 11.45.

   It had beem a most wonderful day.

I came not to judge ... but to save the world. John 12:47


   Back to school again once more! I am now in the Science Division and amongst the other thirty boys in the form are Kipper, “Bill” Petch, Bryan Peters, and Clasper, Smith and Trafford-Willey from U.V.C.

   There are several new forms — a Geography Division, a Lower Division, one Upper Fifth and a new low level Shell C (will they be pensioners next year?) instead of Remove D. This last case would seem to indicate that more boys are gaining admission direct from private & primary schools instead of Grammar Schools.

   The new prefects include D.C. Ward, P.H.R. Mercer, R.B.W. Price, T.H. Wilden, N. Sankarayya [who was the only coloured boy in the school], D.H. Benson [who later became a master at the school], O.S. Wheatley [who later captained Glamorgan at cricket], J.L Eaton, M.C. Dodd.

   Sugar Ray Robinson won back his title from Randolph Turpin in New York yesterday. The referee stopped the fight eight seconds before the end of the 8th round.

My peace I give unto you. John 14:27


   I cycled to school today. First period was Maths (Mechanics) with Mr. R. Cook followed by P.T. in which we played basketball. After break we had more Maths with Mr. Cook and then English with Mr. Cooke.

   In the dinner hour I went into the Park and saw a Black-necked Grebe. I went in with Stephen. After this I played football.

   This afternoon we had Pure Maths with Mr. Hurrell and then double Chemistry with Mr. Gess. After school I paid the 3/- for my locker. I also have a Science locker containing various apparatus upon which I put a 5/- deposit. Our timetable includes 8 periods each of Physics, Chemistry and Maths, 3 French, 2 English and a single period each for Divinity (Mr. Meerendonk), P.T. and Current Affairs (Mr. Osborne). I am in the Lower Set for Science and Upper Set for Maths.

This is My beloved Son: hear Him. Luke 9:35


   I went to school on the S.B. this morning. I have switched over to the Medical Division. I really think that seven periods of Biology will be of more use to me than eight of Maths alone, especially since I have a quite considerable interest in Biology. Mr. Monkcom is my form master. John Winrow and Peter Jennens are two of the sixteen boys in my new form. The full list is:—

I.O.A.D. Brodie, D. Donaldson, D. Gompertz, M.F. Grayson, R.W. Griffin, A.W. Harris, S.A. Nairn, W.R. Plimbley, C.J. Roberts, G.N. Stringer, C.R.B. Tickell, D.K. Waterfall, J.L. Wilkins, B.D. Williams, T.H. Willietts, J.R. Winrow. Total 16. There are 687 boys in the school.

   Today’s periods were Chemistry & then Biology (Mr. Monkcom), French (Mr. Leeds), and Physics (Mr. Mathews). I came home through town.

   On T.V. this afternoon I saw a Festival Rugby Match between D.W. Swarbrick’s XV and A.M. Rees’ XV.

   I also heard a commentary on the St. Leger. I picked Talma II to win. It won by ten lengths from Fraise du Bois II. Medway was third.

   Tonight we watched “Music Hall” and Treasure Island.

Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37


   This morning Dad made a lamp for the aquarium. It works off the main light switch and “shows off” the aquarium very well.

   Nothing much happened all day.

   On T.V. tonight we watched a play by H.E. Bates, “The Day of Glory”. Irresistably [sic] it put one back in the war atmosphere of 1942. It was hardly a “comfortable” play but it was superbly done.

Korean Diary for Sept 5th–15th

6th. Gen. Ridgway proposes to Communist leaders that a new site be set up for Armistice talks.

11th. UN command admits that an American aircraft attacked Kaesong by mistake. Communists refuse to change site of cease-fire talks.

14th. UN troops advance.

15th. Continued heavy fighting.

We which have believed do enter into rest. Hebrews 4:3


   It was raining this morning so I could not cycle to school. Today’s subjects were Physics, Chemistry, English, French, then this afternoon double Biology and Maths. In English with Mr. Parry we started to read Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma which I saw televised on July 22nd. weather

   I am quite weighed down with Science Books. We have no less than six text-books and two note-books for Physics, three Chemistry text-books and four for notes, and for Biology a 700–page text-book [Animal Biology by Grove and Newell] and two note-books.

   There was a Choir Practice at 12.30. I wanted to sing Tenor or Bass this term but Dr. Grant is keeping me as an Alto. John North & Kirkby have gone up to the Tenors.

   I spent all the evening doing prep apart from watching “What’s My Line?”

To you is the word of this salvation sent. Acts 13:26


   The first House Meetings of the term were held this morning after Hymn Practice. Mr. Barlow is the new House Master in place of Mr. Burgess.

   Today we had French, Physics and a double period of Practical Chemistry in which we did some analysis. All the necessary apparatus is contained in our Science lockers.

   Our House Rugby Practice was held at Eastern Road this afternoon. I tuned up of course. R.B.W. Price is Captain of Football and M.C. Jones is Vice-Captain. I doubt whether we have enough players for two teams.

   I had a very pleasant surprise this morning. I have been promoted to L/Cpl. I can hardly believe it. John [Maund] has also been promoted. J.T.C.

   I did not go to Cubs tonight. T.V. paid a visit to the Pleasure Gardens from 9.35 to ten. I spent over two hours doing prep.

Salvation belongeth unto the LORD. Psalm 3:8


   Our subjects today were Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Biology, and Practical Physics all afternoon. I played football during the dinner hour and scored a couple of goals. We did a couple of experiments with magnets.

   I came home on the Special Bus. In the Children’s Newsreel we saw part of the B.S.A. Gala Day which we attended on last Saturday week.

   I spent almost all the evening working. I did however watch the first of a new series of “How do you View?”, Terry-Thomas’s show. It wasn’t too bad.

Thou art a God ready to pardon. Nehemiah 9:17


   We had Biology, Chemistry and Physics this morning. In J.T.C. I am one of four Lance-Corporals with 10 Platoon. The other three are Cole, Hateley and Stewart.

   I had only five minutes of instructing. I taught a section of recruits about the rifle — safety precautions and cleaning.

   I came home through town and called to see Bob [Vitoria] but he is on holiday. I went to have a look round the Arms and Industry Museum in Newhall Street. It was quite interesting.

   I played football this afternoon with Kipper, Phil, Ian [Hunt] and Connie [Hugh Constable] at Olton, my first game this season. [Philip, Ian and Hugh left school last term but are going to remain lifelong friends.]

   Tonight I saw Jack Young (Edinburgh) win the World Speedway Championship. There was a triple tie between Young, Waterman, and Biggs who each had 12 points but Young won the runoff by four lengths from Biggs.

He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger. Joel 2:13


   We had a double period of Biology this morning. We are studying the Histology of tissues. After break we had Mr. Ballance for Divinity, then English.

   P.T. was first period this afternoon. We had some wrestling and then a game, with Mr. Cotter. I had a hard tussle with [Roger] Plimbley which I lost. [Two years later he was to ask me, “Do you believe in the Trinity?”, and also to threaten me over his girlfriend — but those are two other stories!]. Last two periods were Practical Chemistry. We did a titration.

   This evening I watched the Newsreel and “Looking at Animals”. I switched off then, and apart from listening to “Educating Archie”, I spent the remainder of the evening writing notes.

   On Wednesday, the Prime Minister [Clement Attlee] in a 9pm broadcast said that there will be a General Election on 25th October.

   [Grandad Smith was 60 today. He was born on 21st September 1891 at 109 Alma Street, Aston, and was only 2 when his father, Esau Willis Smith, died on 4th January 1894. His elder brother, Frank, lives in Canada. Mam often tells me about “Gran”, her father’s mother. She was Sarah Jane Grainger before she married Esau Willis Smith. Grandad has several half-brothers and sisters, including Uncle Tom at Hall Green, and Aunt Doll at Kidderminster.]

God is love. 1 John 4:16


   I cycled to school this morning. Nothing much happened.

   This afternoon I watched some of the racing on television. Grandad came at 3.45pm.

   This evening at 7.30pm we saw Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh attend the World Premier of The Lady with the Lamp at the Warner Theatre, London. Then we saw the fifth part of Treasure Island. Later in the evening I listened to “Once a Crook” in Saturday Night Theatre.

   Blues won their first match since August 18th today when they beat Everton at Goodison Park by 3–1. Centre forward was Tommy Briggs, bought yesterday from Coventry in part exchange for Don Dorman. At outside left was Wardle from Blackpool. Berry was transferred to Man. Utd. over a fortnight ago. [In 1956 he was a survivor of the air crash at Munich when eight Manchester United players were killed]. Blues’ record: P10, W2, L3, Dr5, For 10, Agst.14, Pts.9, Posn.15th.

My God will help me. Micah 7:7


   I have spent all this morning and afternoon doing homework.

   After tea we all went for a walk to Olton. It was dark when we got back at 8.30pm.

Korean Diary for Sept 16th–22nd

18th. UN Command agrees to attend another meeting at Kaesong.

21st. UN launch new attack in Central Korea.

   Today, the King underwent a major lung operation for lung resection. [He recovered from the operation but was a very sick man and died 4½ months later.]

Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God. Psalm 17:5,6


   I went to school on the Special Bus this morning. The weather was very dull again on the whole. weather

   Nothing much happened all day. There was a Choir Practice as usual.

His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me. Song of Solomon 2:6


   The weather forecast which preceded the 8.0 o’clock News this morning said we would have occasional showers but there would be widespread bright periods. So I cycled to school. An occasional shower started at 9.30 and kept on until the late afternoon. Such fun. I got a little wet on the way home! I completed my first hundred miles since fitting my cyclometer on 11th August.

   I spent all the afternoon and most of the evening doing homework. I wasn’t able to go to Cubs.

The LORD is merciful and gracious. Psalm 103:8


   I again cycled to school today. Fortunately it didn’t rain once. Nothing much happened. I am still unable to partake in any practical Biology because my microscope is being repaired. I was rather behind with my notes but this has enabled me to get up to date.

   I played football at dinner time. In Physics all this afternoon, we did magnetism experiments. After school I attended an Alto practice in Big School.

   I did prep this evening. At 7.30, the T.V. cameras went to the White City for the inter-city athletics match between London & Gottenburg (Sweden). London won by 84pts to 63. The London team of G.W. Nankerville, A. Webster, F. Evans, H.J. Parlett in the 2-mile relay, set up a new world record with a time of 7 mins 30.6 secs., a terrific race!

Thy sins are forgiven. Luke 7:48


   Nothing much happened at school today. In J.T.C. I had to teach a section of recruits how to do various turns, salutes etc. weather

   This afternoon I played my first game for the House 1st XV v Williams’s. We were two men short — Squire was absent ill and another mindless person did not turn up. The first quarter of an hour was played in pouring rain. At the interval we were 17–3 down. We managed to pull up to 17–12 but we eventually lost by 23–12. There were two main reasons. First, with two men short, we had no proper three-quarter line; secondly, Williams’ slightly heavier pack pushed us off the ball in the scrum. I didn’t have a very good game because there seemed to be so little support from the middle & back row forwards. M.C. Jones was our best man without a shadow of a doubt. His fine tackling repeatedly saved the side. rugby

I will rejoice in the Lord. Hebrews 3:18.


   In Biology during the first two periods this morning we made slides of blood and examined them under the microscope. We had an interesting discussion in Divinity on several topics. In English we continued The Doctor’s Dilemma.

   I played football after dinner. In P.T. with Mr. Cotter, we did exercises and team-work & then had a game. Unfortunately we couldn’t have showers afterwards — there were no towels. In Practical Chemistry we did some further analysis.

   I came home on the S.B. When I got home I went down to the park with Ginger to get some water-weed. Later I gave some to John for his aquarium, and kept the remainder to take to school tomorrow.

   I had so much prep to do this evening that I haven’t watched T.V.

He leadeth me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2


   I took a jar of water-weed to school this morning and put it in the school aquarium during Biology. I got home for ten past one.

   After dinner, Dad and I cycled to Grandad’s & then went on to St. Andrews where Blues were playing Southampton. Blues team was:— Merrick; Hall, Martin; Boyd, Badham, Warhurst; Stewart, Purdon, Briggs, Ferris, Wardle. Briggs, who scored the third of B’ham’s goals at Everton last week, was making his home debut. I was also seeing Purdon and Wardle for the first time.

   The game resulted in a 1–1 draw. Southampton took the lead in the first half when centre forward Dudley scored. Blues attacked continuously but it was not until ten minutes from the end that Tommy Briggs got the equaliser. Grandad came to tea. [He must have come direct from the match. It was my parents’ 17th wedding anniversary].

   We watched Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss on T.V. tonight in “Turn It Up”.

There is no fear in love. 1 John 4:18.


   I got up first this morning and started doing prep as soon as I had made a pot of tea.

   I spent nearly all the day doing prep. This evening we watched the Television play. It was “Shadow Scene” by Sheila Hodgson. It tried to draw a comparison between a young man joining a small seaside “rep”, and another man of the same age in hiding after his burglaries. The acting was good, very good at times but the production lagged lamentably in the middle.

   At 10.0pm we saw the closing ceremony of the South Bank Exhibition. The thousands of people present were led in community singing by Leslie Woodgate, then the flags were lowered and the lights were out and the Festival of Britain was over. Over eight and a half million people passed through the South Bank turnstiles.

He healeth the broken in heart. Psalm 147:3

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