In English today we finished reading Arms and the Man.

   I did some French prep during the dinner hour. In Chemistry we did analysis.

   This evening I watched the Newsreel, “Kaleidoscope”, “Camden Town” and “In the News”. This week’s viewer-competitor in “Kaleidoscope” was from Moseley and we saw some quite admirable pictures of the district. In the Newsreel we saw Princess Elizabeth and the Duke wave farewell to the King and Queen and Princess Margaret at London Airport yesterday. They were starting a 30,000 miles tour of the Commonwealth which will keep them away for five months. This is the tour which the King postponed in 1949 and eventually had to cancel through ill health.

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and ... He heard my voice. Psalm 18:6


   I cycled to school today. In Biology we started on the eye. In Physics we had a test.

   After dinner Dad and I went to the 4th Round Cup-tie between Birmingham City and Leyton Orient. B’ham City:— Merrick; Green, Martin; Badham, Atkins, Warhurst; Stewart, Smith, Briggs, Murphy, Wardle. Leyton Orient:— Welton; Evans, Banner; Blizzard, Aldous, Deverall; Woan, Pacey, Harris, Brown, Blatchford. Blues played in Albion shirts, blue and white stripes, Leyton were in red. The match provided the Cup shock of the day. Leyton won by the only goal, scored by Harris after 26 minutes. It wasn’t just luck, for the Londoners were the better team. Blues were on top for almost all the second half but they appeared to have no method at all and couldn’t get past a stonewall defence.

I am come down to deliver them. Exodus 3:8


   I have spent much of today doing prep. including an English essay on “How far can one be free in a civilised community?” It took me at least three hours to think out an answer to that one.

   I had finished my work by this evening so I was able to watch TV. At 7.45 we saw Katherine Dunham and her company performing some dances from the Cambridge Theatre, London. Then at 8.30 the Sunday Play was H.G. Wells’ The Wonderful Visit, about an angel who comes to earth. But far from being a “Land of Dreams” the angel finds it is often a “Land of Nightmares”. I was out for some time during the play with Ginger but from what I did see, the outstanding performance seemed to be that of Barry Jones as the vicar.

Thou art my portion, O LORD. Psalm 119:57


   In English this morning I, and one or two others, had to read our essays. In Choir practice we started rehearsal of Judas Maccabaeus to be presented, we hope, on Thursday, May 29th.

   At 2.40 this afternoon, the seventh Julian Horner Concert was presented in Big School by the Dorian Wind Players. The programme included Haydn’s Divertimento, Suite (d’après Corrette) by Darius Milhaud for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, Walking Tune (Percy Grainger), Pièce en forme de Habanera (Ravel) and Le Petit Nègre by Debussy. The last two items were Mozart’s Divertimento No. 4 and Trois Pièces Brèves by Jacques Ibert. I came home on the Special Bus.

   This evening we have been watching the Newsreel, the first of a new series of “Pet’s Parlour” [Petula Clark], World Survey, and “What’s My Line?”. I have taken Ginger out.

For the LORD’s portion is His people. Deuteronomy 32:9


   In Chemistry today we did volumetric analysis.

   Our 1st XV match v Gifford was postponed a second time but it was decided to have a practice instead. However, midway through dinner I heard this was cancelled so I was able to get home for 2.15pm.

   I spent all afternoon and most of this evening doing homework. I did listen to “Take it from Here”. Sally Rogers made her first appearance in the programme in place of Joy Nichols who is having a baby next month. I listened to the Goon Show at 9.30.

As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness. Psalm 17:15


   The King is dead. I heard the news at 12.25 pm. [as I was putting books away in my locker]. At midday we noticed that the school’s Union Jack was flying at half-mast. [We were in the Biology laboratory.] Soon everyone had heard the stunning news. The King’s death was announced to the world at 10.45am in this announcement from Sandringham: “The King, who retired to rest last night in his usual health, passed peacefully away in his sleep early this morning.” This announcement was broadcast by the B.B.C. at 11.6am “with the greatest sorrow”.

   As I cycled home, there seemed to be a hush everywhere. There was less traffic than usual. All the cinemas and theatres had closed and the B.B.C. had closed down too, apart from giving news bulletins and weather forecasts. As the news swept through London, crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace. Telephone exchanges everywhere became congested, flags fluttered to half-mast.

   I think one’s first thoughts were for Princess Elizabeth in Nairobi. On the death of her father she succeeds to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. The news was broken to her by the Duke at the Royal Lodge, Nyeri following a radio-telephone call from the Palace. She arranged to leave for London almost immediately and the new Queen is expected to arrive in London tomorrow afternoon.

I looked and, behold, a door was opened in heaven. Revelation 4:1


   Queen Elizabeth II arrived home at London Airport at exactly 4.30 this afternoon. At the airport the Queen was met by the Duke of Gloucester and a silent rank of statesmen headed by Mr. Churchill.

   This morning I bought a copy of the Daily Graphic. It was devoted entirely to pictures of the Royal Family with various articles about the late King and the new Queen. In Prayers we said special prayers and concluded with God Save the Queen.

   In J.T.C. this morning we gave the platoon a map-reading test.

   I played for the 1st XV v Gifford at 3.0pm. We were a try down within a minute but we gradually got on top and, while not playing half as we did v Lee, we managed to win by 16 pts. to 6, our first win since September 1950. In the dressing room after the match I was told that I had been awarded my House Rugby colours for the season [allowing one to wear a special neck-tie and blazer portcullis after two weeks].

   At 9.0 this evening Mr. Churchill broadcast to the nation. He said “During these last months the King walked with death as if death were a companion, an acquaintance whom he recognised and did not fear. In the end death came as a friend, and, after a happy day of sunshine and sport and after ‘Good Night’ to those who loved him best he fell asleep as every man or woman who strives to fear God and nothing else in the world may hope to do ... ”

   Even now it seems hard to believe that the King is dead. Last Friday, when I saw the then Princess Elizabeth wave farewell to her father, I got a most peculiar sensation — a feeling that she and the King were seeing each other for the last time. I think the King had the same feeling — there was something in his face that shows through in the photographs even. Two of these I have pasted in with tomorrow’s notes.

   The accession of Queen Elizabeth II means that in the short period of sixteen years and a half I have lived in four reigns — George V (died January 1936), Edward VIII who abdicated that same year after being on the throne for only nine or ten months, the late George VI and now his daughter.

Blessed is the man that trusteth. Jeremiah 17:7


   Today, Queen Elizabeth II has been proclaimed in cities and towns throughout the United Kingdom, and for a time all the flags have flown at full mast.

   Dressed in heavy mourning, the Queen made her solemn Declaration of Accession before the Privy Council today and was then proclaimed Queen from the balcony of St James’s Palace & at other points in London.

   Outside the Town Hall, on a specially erected platform, the Lord Mayor [Alderman R.C. Yates] read the proclamation and then called for three cheers for the Queen from the mighty crowd.

Your heart shall live that seek God. Psalm 69:32


   Today’s newspapers tell of the plans for the King’s Lying in state.

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Proverbs 4:26


   Today’s newspapers contain stories and pictures of the late King’s life. I am keeping some of these papers [including the Special Memorial Number of the Sunday Pictorial]. They will be interesting to look back upon.

God commendeth His love toward us, in that ... Christ died for us. Romans 5:8


   We are now reading Candida in English and in Biology we are studying Amoeba. Nothing else happened.

   This morning the King returned to his capital for the last time. In the little church of Sandringham there was held a simple service attended by all the Royal Family. As the Nunc Dimittis was sung, the King’s body was slowly carried down the aisle on shoulders of Grenadiers. And then began the hour’s journey along the country road to Wolferton Station where the Royal train left at 12.5pm. At 2.25 the train drew into Kings Cross. Then the gun-carriage started its journey to Westminster Hall along streets lined with hushed crowds.

A true heart in full assurance. Hebrews 10:22


   We did volumetric analysis in Chemistry this morning. After school I bought my house tie and port colours. I came home on the 1A ’bus.

   By this afternoon, over twenty five thousand people had filed past the purple-draped catafalque in Westminster Abbey. The great doors were opened for the beginning of the three days lying-in-state at 8.0am. The vigil outside the hall began at 6.45 yesterday evening and by 11.0 this morning, the queue was more than a mile long stretching six deep all the way to Lambeth Bridge.

   Resting on the King’s coffin are the Imperial Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre, and the Queen Mother’s wreath.

   There will be national mourning till after the King’s funeral. This was announced today by the Earl Marshal.

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


   Nothing much happened at school today.

   At dinner time I went to an N.C.O.s parade in Room 47. In Physics I did an experiment to find the Boiling Point of Naphthalene.

   During today, Kings, princes and heads of state from every part of the world, have been converging on London. Afghanistan, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Holland, Irak, Israel, Jugoslavia, Luxembourg, Norway, Persia, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S.A. are some of the states to be represented at the King’s funeral on Friday, the final details for which have been made today.

LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations ... from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. Psalm 90:1–2


   In Chemistry today we finished Organic Chemistry for the time being.

   In J.T.C. I gave a lesson on Contours then we did drill.

   I came home through town and bought the set of G.B. Edward VIII stamps for my album. Nothing else happened during the day.

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9


   This evening King George lies at rest in the shrine of Kings.

   The start of the five hour journey took place when the coffin draped in the Royal Standard and bearing the jewelled Crown was borne by bare-headed guardsmen from the Great Hall of Westminster to the gun carriage in the Palace yard this morning. Church bells tolled and Big Ben struck every minute for fifty-six minutes.

   As the bearer party emerged with slow rhythmic step from the huge Gothic arch of the Northern door, the silence which settled upon Westminster was profound, and the crunching of gravel beneath the Guardsmen’s feet sounded sharply. Behind the coffin came the Sovereign’s Standard, heavily swathed in crepe. In a State-coach with a gilt crown surmounting the roof, rode the Queen, her mother, sister and aunt, the Princess Royal, all heavily veiled. Next came the King’s two brothers, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Windsor, with the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Edinburgh.

   The three-quarter-mile-long procession contained detachments from the Armed Forces of eleven Commonwealth countries behind the bands and the R.A.F. detachment. There were seven monarchs and three heads of state, Field Marshals and Generals, High Commissioners & heads of foreign delegations. It took thirty-four minutes for the procession to pass. The massed bands passed with the minute guns in Hyde Park firing and Big Ben tolling. The wail of the pipes and the poignant Funeral march played by the Irish and Coldstream Guards moved many of the sorrowful thousands, standing silent and still, to tears.

   The long procession passed thro’ Edgware Rd. & Sussex Gardens to Paddington. In the still station the coffin was lifted from the gun carriage and placed in the train while bosuns’ pipes shrilled. And King George VI left his capital for the last time.

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


   Today life has returned to normal after the sad happenings of the last ten days. All the radio programmes have returned to normal.

   I cycled to school this morning. In Chemistry we are now doing the halogens. We are studying Hydra in Biology. We did not have a Physics test this morning.

   I did prep. after dinner until 4.0pm. This evening I have listened to two plays, “Ah, Wilderness!” by Eugene O’Neill (Third programme 6.0 to 8.0pm) and “The Man they Acquitted” by Edward Percy and Reginald Denham (Home Service 9.15 to 10.45). I enjoyed both, especially the first one. We also heard part of “The Archers” Omnibus and Music Hall.

   Meanwhile, I finished arranging my collection of British stamps.

   Don & Ron have taken the TV tube away to examine it.

Let us draw near hither unto God. 1 Samuel 14:36


   I was up first as usual today. During the day I did Chemistry, Maths, French and other prep.

   Nothing else happened. This evening I have collected together all the newspapers of the past twelve days which I intend to keep. I already have part of the Daily Mirror published on the day after King Edward VII’s funeral on Friday 20th May 1910 (a fortnight after his death as Queen Alexandra could not bear to be parted from him). [The newspaper, which I think Mrs Harris gave me, is nearly 42 years old and complete. I am very upset one day to find the outer pages missing, used by my mother, presumably to light the fire.]

   Today’s Sunday Graphic (2½d) has for its front page a beautiful photograph of “The King the people loved” and “The Queen who is our hope”. It is a 20-page issue including 8 pages of photographs of the King’s funeral. One shows 4082 Windsor Castle moving slowly out of Paddington Station watched by track-men standing with heads bared in a last farewell.

   There is a special article, “Wake Up, Women”, by Margaret Thatcher. She is only a few months older than the Queen and got married 3 months ago. As Margaret Roberts she has twice tried, unsuccessfully, to become an M.P. — the youngest woman candidate ever. She says women should have an equal chance with the men for the leading cabinet posts, e.g. Chancellor of the Exchequer or Foreign Secretary.]

   Dad bought me a “Philidyne” Dynamo lighting set for my bike last week and he fitted it this afternoon.

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


   There is nothing much to record today except that I did a retest in Biology, having done rather badly in last Monday’s test.

   Tonight we listened to Carroll Levis and his discoveries, “We Beg to Differ” and “Calling All Forces”. I took Ginger out as usual.

   I nearly forgot to say that I used my dynamo set for the first time this evening when I went to pay Dad’s I.B.S. money. [I cycled to the Ideal Benefit Society office in Stratford Road, Hall Green.] It works very well indeed.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither the floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:7


   We did Volumetric Analysis in Chemistry today.

   This afternoon I played for the 1st XV v Gilson in the Losers’ Final. We were a try down in under fifteen minutes but in the second part of the game, Gilsons only left their own half once though they had ninety percent of the scrum. We drew level & then took the lead with a penalty goal. The final score was 6–3 in our favour.

   Our season’s record is as follows:—

27. 9.1951v Williams’ (Lee)Lost 12–23
11.10.1951v Barlow’s (Heath)Lost 8–21
25.10.1951v Biggs’ (Gilson)Lost 3–63
15.11.1951v Dunt’s (Evans)Lost 8–14
22.11.1951v Porter’s (Levett)Lost 0–29
29.11.1951v Kay’s (Gifford)Lost 14–28
6.12.1951v Leeds’ (Jeune)Lost 9–15
League: P7, Won 0, Lost 7, For 54, Ag 193, Posn 8th
24. 1.1952v LeeLost 6–11
7. 2.1952v GiffordWon 16–6
19. 2.1952v GilsonWon 6–3
Knock-Out: P3, Won 2, Lost 1, For 28, Ag 20, Posn 4th
I have loved you, saith the LORD. Malachi 1:2


   I went to school on my bicycle this morning. Nothing much happened during the morning. At 1.0pm Messrs. Crow, Lutyens, Trott and Bolton sang selections from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The popularity of these works and the unique opportunity of seeing learned masters sing attracted a very large audience to Geography Room A and we had a most entertaining half hour.

   After school I went to an Alto practice in Big School.

   This evening we listened to a play in Curtain Up. It was “Give Us This Day” by Walter Greenwood and it gave a striking illustration of conditions in this country at the time of the depression in the period between the two World Wars.

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


   This morning I took six boys shooting with Capt. Buttle. Otherwise nothing happened and I got home for 1.45pm.

   This evening I have listened to “Anything Goes” with Benny Hill, “Book by the Fire”, “Dear Sir ... ”, “Life With the Lyons” and “Take it from Here”.

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side ... then the waters had overwhelmed us ... Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124,1,4,8


   I have been to two meetings today. John [Winrow] and I went to the Christian Union at 1.0pm, where the speaker was Mr. A. Quintin Carr, whom I met at Bude in August 1950. [He is General-Secretary of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship, and has received the M.B.E.]. He addressed the meeting on “What do we mean by a Christian?”

   After school I had a Music Circle meeting to attend in the New Music Room. Mr Norman Jones of the Element String Quartet spoke about & played some of the unaccompanied violoncello sonatas.

   In Gym we played basketball. In Chemistry, John and I prepared Chloroform from Bleaching Powder, water and Acetone.

   Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema [and I am now going to read. I only occasionally buy The Champion but a super new motor-racing series, “Jet Jaxon — Whirlwind on Wheels” by Edward Home-Gall has started today. There is also “Ginger Nutt” by Ted Cowan, “Danny makes the Rovers fight back” by John Marshall, “Kalgan—The Jungle Wonder” (a sort of Tarzan figure) by George Forest, “The Riddle of the Unlucky Horseshoes” by Mark Grimshaw, and a comic strip “The Schoolboy Speedway Star” in the centre pages.

   I like reading the adverts for cigarette cards, stamps, football photos, magic and conjuring tricks. I can get R.A.F. Officers Shoes for 25/-, warm polo sweaters for 9/11, or an electric motor outfit for 2/11. I am also interested in the Body Building courses. I am very self-conscious about being so thin (Mam says I look like a Belsen victim), especially my arms, but the course for Powerful Arms costs 2/9, and if I want a Powerful Chest that is an extra 2/9. I don’t mind my thin legs as they are very strong, so I can save 2/9 on the Muscular Legs course, but if I also want Dynamic Abdominal Strength that is a further 2/9, making 8/3 altogether. Or I could have all four courses for 10/-, but would they work?]

Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16


   It was our half-term holiday today so I stayed in bed until 9.0am. After breakfast I took Ginger down the village and bought threepence worth of live daphnia to give to my goldfish. They enjoy an occasional change of diet. [I have an aquarium in my bedroom.]

   This afternoon I listened to a 5th Round Cup tie in which Southend lost 2–1 to Sheffield United. Leyton Orient, at home to Arsenal, lost 3–nil. The other teams left in the Cup are Blackburn R., Burnley, Leeds or Chelsea, Luton Town, Portsmouth, Newcastle.

   I went to the Rialto for the first time this evening to see My Favourite Spy. I had to queue from 6.15 till 7.20. The first film was Gambler’s Choice. It had a flimsy sort of story and I thought it a poor film. Bob Hope and Hedy Lamarr starred in My Favourite Spy and it was well worth seeing. [In a few years the Rialto cinema, at the corner of Stratford Road and Greenbank Avenue, will be pulled down to make way for a supermarket.]

There is no God else beside Me. Isaiah 45:21


   We have had some very fine weather today. I took Ginger out before breakfast but I had a lot of prep. to do during the afternoon.

   Nothing happened all day.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee ... saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10


   Today was our half-term holiday. I got up early as I wanted to see the partial eclipse of the sun. This was a total eclipse in other parts of the world. The moon cast a 9,000 mile shadow which made a 67 mile-wide corridor across Africa. In the 189 second gloom, scientists with the aid of the most costly instruments sought to find the answer to a great number of questions.

   Fortunately the weather was near perfect. In Birmingham there was a thin layer of broken cloud at 5,000 feet which acted as a filter and people were able to see the eclipse without smoked glasses. At its maximum phase, about a tenth of the sun was obscured at 9.15am, the moon “biting” into the bottom right hand corner of the sun.

   Later in the morning we went down the village with Mam then up to Fox Hollies. I cycled up to the Robin Hood [to see if they had a copy of ABC Film Review].

   Nothing else happened all day.

Let us draw near hither unto God. 1 Samuel 14:36


   This morning, Dad nearly collapsed with the pain from the sciatica in his leg and I phoned Dr. Gough at 7.30. He came at ten past eight. Dad won’t be able to go to work for some time.

   I cycled to school and got back home at 1.45. I went out again just over half an hour later to go to the School Play Twelfth Night. I had a good seat, C16, and really enjoyed it. There was no really outstanding performance but in his brief appearances, Orsino was well played by Gordon Herringshaw. Paul Bradley was an admirable Malvolio and Peter Turner and Beverley Fryer were both amusing as Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek respectively. Roger Wilkinson deserves mention as Feste and I rather liked Christopher Homer’s Viola and Roger Whiteman’s Maria. Altogether a pleasing production.

   When I got home I cycled to the doctor’s to get Dad two private notes. [One of these is for the Ideal Benefit Society.]

The eternal God is thy refuge. Deuteronomy 33:27


   I had to phone the doctor again this morning and I wasn’t able to start out for school until almost 9.0am. It was very foggy and the ’bus took longer than usual. I got to school shortly before 10.0. Mr. Woods was pleased to have me and I was pleased to be there.

   In Biology, having finished hydra we are studying Tapeworms. At 1.0pm I went to an N.C.O.’s parade. I came home on the S.B.

   Don and Ron brought our tube back this evening. Apparently it is “on its way out”. Anyway we couldn’t watch TV this evening as one of the valves has gone.

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13


   My J.T.C. tunic is now miles to [sic] small and I took it back to the stores yesterday. Unfortunately there was no other to replace it so I was not in uniform this morning. I was late for school. I missed the S.B. but caught a 1A ’bus. I would have got to school easily but the ’bus broke down outside Cannon Hill Park and the one behind was full so I walked through the park. There was a White-fronted Goose there with clipped wings.

   As Mr. Monkcom was away, we did not have to write an essay.

   In J.T.C. our platoon did a test on mapwork. I marked the papers this afternoon.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4


   I cycled again today.

   For the first time for many weeks I played football. We were banned from the pitch on completion of the Memorial but now we are playing there again. Nothing else happened.

   Don and Ron got a new valve for us and fitted it tonight. So we watched a television programme for the first time since the King’s death. We saw the last part of Kaleidoscope and then “In the News”.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Psalm 12:6

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30