We went back to school this morning. After prayers, our new Head, Rev. R.G. Lunt, M.C., M.A., made a speech. He said he felt very conscious of being the new boy but he proposed to make no changes and we were to think of the Easter recess as a prolonged half-term.

   We have started the term with Organic Chemistry and we are doing Light in Physics. The rain was pouring down at 11.30 so there was no parade. We went into platoon class-rooms and I instructed a section on the Bren [gun].

   I came home through town with Brenda [Radbourne]. Nothing happened during the afternoon.

   [I had a look at some leaflets which have come from Thomas Cliffe Ltd., The Philatelic Factory, Rhyl, N. Wales, with details of their stamp offers. There are four Queen Victoria stamps issued by Prince Edward Island 1863–68: a 4d black printed on yellowish paper, catalogued 35/-, special offer 20/-, and the 2d, 3d and 4d, offered for 6/- instead of 8/-.

   There is also an unusual set from Serbia where, one night in 1903, plotters entered the Royal Palace and murdered King Alexander I and his beautiful wife Queen Draga. The stamps were hastily overprinted with the coat-of-arms of Serbia so as to obliterate the King’s portrait, but it still shows through.

   I also had a look at the three copies of “The Listener” I requested from B.B.C. Publications, 35 Marylebone High Street, London, W.1. They are for February 7th, 14th and 21st, covering the King’s death and Princess Elizabeth becoming Queen.]

   This evening Mam, Dad and I have been listening to “The Goon Show” [and] “Variety Fanfare”. After I had taken Ginger out is listened to Take It From Here which has just ended.

The God of heaven, He will prosper us. Nehemiah 2:20


   We have started our Biology this term with the dissection of the dogfish. I worked with Gompertz.

   There was a Choir Practice immediately after dinner. In Chemistry we did Analysis.

   We watched TV tonight. The Northern Radio Show has been taking place this week and there was a twenty minute variety at 7.45pm. Next was “About Britain — the Lake District”, a programme rather similar to “Down Your Way”. This was followed by “Kaleidoscope” which maintained its excellent standard, then finally “In the News”.

   What terrible weather we’ve been having this week since Wednesday.

They shall prosper that love Thee. Psalm 122:6


   I cycled to school this morning. School work ended at 11.45 when the U.M.’s [Upper Middles] had to take chairs down to the ground for the Athletics Sports [postponed from last term; Mr. Justice Finnemore will present the prizes, with the Open Championship being won by D.B. Hill]. I got home at about 12.30pm.

   The Indian touring team started their tour by visiting Worcester today and parts of the match were to be televised. Dad and I did see a little cricket then rain stopped play, so we were able to hear the second half of the Cup Final between Arsenal and Newcastle United. Newcastle created a record by winning for the second year in succession, this time by 1–nil, Geo. Robledo scoring in the 84th minute. Arsenal, though, won the honours as they lost Barnes their left back midway through the first half & had two other partially unfit men. Mr. Churchill presented the Cup.

   Blues finished third in Division II:

P WLDForAgstPts
Sheff Wed422110111006653
Cardiff City42201111725451
B’ham City4221129675651
Nottm Forest42181116776249
Division III S:
Plymouth A.4629981075366
Division III N:
Lincoln City4630791215269
I will hope continually. Psalm 71:14


   Today’s weather has been just as bad as ever. Nothing much happened. Clarice and Julia took part three times in their Sunday School Anniversary [at Acocks Green Methodist Church, Shirley Road — I shall attend their regularly from October next year, and so shall meet Freda, whom I marry there in June 1959].

   Granma came this evening and then later on Greta & Arthur [Mam’s third brother and his wife]. On TV there was a film “Comet Over Africa”. Britain’s first regular jet airline service came into operation on Friday when the De Havilland Jet Comet started its 6,663 mile trip to Johannesburg from London via Rome, Beirut, Khartoum, Entebbe and Livingstone. The Comet was in Jo’burg less than 24 hours after leaving London Airport. [Four comets are subsequently lost and the remainder grounded until the problem is resolved. I will eventually fly in a Middle East Airlines Comet 4 and spend a few minutes on the flight deck].

   The football season ended yesterday. Man. Utd. won Div. I with Spurs as runners-up. Man. Utd. were 2nd in 1946–7, 47–8, 48–9 and 1950–51. And they won the Cup in 1947–8.

For whom the Lord loveth He chastened. Hebrews 12:6


   I took some things for the school aquarium this morning. Nothing much happened at school except that we carried on with our Dogfish dissection.

   As I had finished all my homework I was able to watch “Hit Parade” on TV. This month’s hit tunes are:—

1. Unforgettable, sung by Nat King Cole

2. Cry, Johnny Ray

3. Slow Coach, Pee Wee King & his Golden West Cowboys

4. There’s Always Room at our House, Guy Mitchell

5. Tell me Why, The Four Aces

6. Mistakes, Al Morgan

7. We Won’t Live in a Castle, Eve Boswell

8. The Little White Cloud that Cried, Johnny Ray.

In Thee the fatherless findeth mercy. Hosea 14:3


   Last Saturday I heard that my comedy “The Editor’s Decision” had been accepted for “Midland Magazine”. This afternoon I went to the studios [at 282 Broad Street]. The play will be heard on May 24th when I shall read the introduction to it. It’s been altered quite a lot.

   I did not go to Cubs this evening. I did some prep. and then watched TV. The Blackpool Tower Circus was shown for an hour and then we saw the first part of Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah — In the Beginning. I haven’t read this play but from what I have read it is very difficult to produce, though Sir Barry Jackson did put the play on with some success in October 1923 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Great is the glory of the LORD. Psalm 138:5


   I cycled to school this morning. In Cannon Hill Park I saw my first Swift this year.

   I have now half filled the aquarium at school. It contains a water beetle, water scorpion, two horse-leeches and some starwort. Soon I hope to put some frogspawn in and perhaps a few newts and sticklebacks if I can get them.

   Nothing happened at school [but when we started back last week I forgot to record that we now have a new porter — Kelly has left and we now have Allard. But we all refer to him as “Such”, as this is what the School Captain (G.R. Green) ordered us to do — “His name is Allard and he will be known as such.”

   After getting home] I went to the Hippodrome at 5.0pm hoping to see Laurel & Hardy but after waiting for the best part of an hour I did not get in. I did see them however when they got out of their car at the Stage Door in Inge Street. [This is some compensation for not seeing them perform as I saw them much closer from the queue than I would have done from “the gods” — the back of the Upper Circle — where I get in for 9d. It is Laurel & Hardy’s final visit to England. Oliver Hardy died in 1957 and Stan Laurel in 1965. Stanley was born in England in 1890, his real name is Arthur Stanley Jefferson].

Thou shalt glorify Me. Psalm 50:15


   In J.T.C. today we did fieldcraft, camouflage and platoon organisation indoors. Outside the rain poured down for two or three hours. I came home with Phil, John and Kipper [Philip Martin, John Maund and Christopher Martin]. Phil, in the R.A.S.C. now [doing National Service], came to school to see some of the masters.

   We watched “Current Release” this evening. I generally enjoy the programme and seven films were included in this evening’s edition. I think it would be much better, though, if the film excerpts were a bit longer and they were chosen with a little more care — some of them are rather boring.

   When I took Ginger out this evening, there were scores of swifts flying overhead.

Who is among you that feareth the LORD ... let him trust in the name of the LORD and stay upon his God. Isaiah 50:10


   I went to school on my bike today.

   At 12.50 there was another choir practice. We prepared di-ethyl ether in Chemistry.

   I spent most of this evening doing prep. but I did watch one TV programme. That was “Ransom Paid”, an F.B.I. case.

Keep me, O LORD ... preserve me. Psalm 140:4


   I cycled to school this morning. Tickell brought me a Crested Newt, two or three sticklebacks and two tadpoles which I put into the aquarium after fifth period. At break I exchanged some stamps with Donaldson.

   I spent all afternoon with my stamp album except for going down the village for some potatoes and mowing both the lawns. It rained only a little until this evening when we had another downpour.

   This evening I have watched Speedway Racing, Part 1 of a new comedy serial “Silk, Satin, Cotton, Rags” and “This is Show Business” presented by Vic Oliver.

I have glorified Thee on the earth. John 17:4


   I have spent several hours today doing prep. I had a Chemistry essay to complete and then I got all my Chemistry note-books up to date. [There were separate note-books for Organic and Inorganic Chemistry.] After tea I finished some Biology notes.

   It rained as usual during the day but there was not a cloud in the sky this evening. I took Ginger all round the village for her walk and then we listened to “Variety Bandbox”.

He will keep the feet of His saints. 1 Samuel 2:9


   The weather forecast for today was that it would keep fine except for an occasional shower, so I went to school on my bike.

   Nothing at all happened at school but we had several showers during the day including a very heavy one for half an hour at 2.15.

   When I got home, I cycled to Alexander Road to pay Dad’s I.B.S. [Ideal Benefit Society] contribution, then I took Ginger with me to meet Mam who had been shopping. After this I cycled to to the Co-op on Fox Hollies Road where Mam has shopped for the last four months.

   Tonight I have been listening to P.C.49 and Calling All Forces.

All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10


   What a joy it was to see the sun shining this morning. There was scarcely a cloud in the sky as I cycled to school.

   House meetings this term are being held in Big School. In Chemistry John and I did a Regnault experiment.

   During the afternoon I mowed both the lawns and this evening I cycled to Cubs where we played football in the playground.

   Nellie [Mam’s sister-in-law] came this evening.

   Warwickshire provided a real drama today when they tied with Sussex at Hove. Warwick batted first on Saturday and scored 138 (Dollery 55). Sussex replied with 123 (John Langridge 65, Grove 4 for 42) but then Warwick were put out for 116 leaving Sussex only 132 to get. This looked a simple enough task but wickets fell quickly and in a thrilling finish, Sussex were put out for 131 when the scores were level. Grove took 7 for 47.

I am the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24


   Today has again been very warm but somewhat cloudy. I cycled to school as usual. In Biology we have started on that most interesting topic Photosynthesis.

   I wanted to go into Edgbaston Park with John after dinner but the Golf Club have put barbed wire over the gate. Anyway we cycled to Cannon Hill Park. A lot of pond slime had been removed from the water and I recovered five or six snails from it. The slime had been out of the water for well over an hour so I was quite amazed to find that a couple of sticklebacks that had got pulled out with it were still alive when I put them back in the water.

   We watched “How Do You View?” and Act 1 of “Reluctant Heroes” from the Whitehall Theatre this evening. The latter was not as good as the film version because the stage has so many limitations.

Our sufficiency is of God. 2 Corinthians 3:5


   I started for school rather earlier this morning as there was a choir practice at 8.50am.

   In J.T.C. we had sizing etc. for the Inspection by the C.I.G.S. in a fortnight’s time, and then a couple of marches past.

   I played for the 2nd XV at Eastern Road v Evans this afternoon. We were put in to bat and soon the wickets started to tumble. I put myself down as No. 11 but went in a little earlier and scored 3 not out. My first shot was when I clouted a ball directed at my left shoulder-blade over short fine leg’s head to the boundary. We were all out for 35 but Evans couldn’t even beat that — they scored 28, though first John Maund & then Jarmain looked like saving their side.

   We listened to the radio this evening then Mam and Dad went to bed at 9.30 and I took Ginger out.

But God raised Him from the dead. Acts 13:30


   As usual I cycled this morning. It has been tremendously warm again today.

   There was a Choir practice at 12.50. Nothing else happened.

   We watched Kaleidoscope from 8.45 until 9.45 tonight.

Only acknowledge ... that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God. Jeremiah 3:13


   There was another 8.50 practice this morning. I heard my first Cuckoo this year as I came up Park Vale.

   On television this afternoon Dad and I saw part of the M.C.C. v India match from Lords.

   Tonight’s TV included “Looking at Animals” at 7.30, part of “Silk, Satin, Cotton, Rags” twenty minutes later and then at 8.20 the Saturday evening variety was “Why go to Paris?” with Jack Train [formerly in “ITMA”] and Ethel Revnell. Finally there was some amateur boxing but I did not watch this as I was out with Ginger.

The Father shall give you another Comforter. John 14:16


   After breakfast this morning I cleaned up my bicycled and then cycled to Solihull Park. I explored the stream there and got two new pond-weeds for my aquarium. They are fontinalis and hornwort, and they add greatly to the appearance of any aquarium.

   There were hundreds of sticklebacks in the stream all resplendent in red and green. I heard three cuckoos during the morning.

   Soon after dinner we had a really violent storm and a thunderbolt fell on a house in Starcross Road. Ginger thought it better to lie underneath her bed and took a lot of convincing that the storm was really over.

   We heard “Variety Bandbox” this evening.

The Spirit searcheth all things. 1 Corinthians 2:10


   I went on the S.B. today. Going on my bike gives me a cycle-ogical effect. I wore my basher [straw boater].

   With ten days to go we have still not learnt all of Judas Maccabaeus but it isn’t going along too badly now.

   When I had done all my prep this evening I heard “P.C.49”, took Ginger out and then listened to “Calling All Forces”.

Fear thou God. Ecclesiastes 5:7


   I wore my basher this morning and I was lucky not to get it wet. It didn’t actually rain but the sky has been quite leaden all day.

   I came home with Kipper. Nothing happened all day. I didn’t go to Cubs tonight. I sorted out the [waste] paper.

   Warwickshire lost their match against Gloucestershire by four wickets. Hollies got 17 in Warwickshire’s 2nd innings.

   Don Cockell won the European Light Heavyweight Championship this evening when he beat the Italian Tontini over 10 rounds. We heard the fight on the radio.

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22


   I cycled to school this morning. Nothing much happened. I fed the two leeches with small worms which John [Winrow] and I dug up in the dinner hour. After school I went to an Alto practice. I had a half-inch nail in my front tyre to cycle home on but I just managed it.

   Dad mended the puncture this evening and later I tried riding my bike on a fixed wheel then I changed it back. Previously I had mowed both lawns. When I came in I did blancoeing, brasses & boots.

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee. Psalm 7:23


   We had a special Ascension Day service in prayers this morning. In J.T.C., I had to examine my section’s uniforms and then we had four marches past.

   I played my first game for the 1st XI v Jeune this afternoon. Kipper won the toss and chose to bat. We were all out for 31, Trundle being top scorer with 11. I was out for 0, bowled by an off-break of Macnab. Kipper opened the bowling and knocked the middle stump right out of the ground with his first ball, then another batsman was run out & when the scores were level, Kipper again bowled Barker middle stump. We lost by 7 wickets.

   It is 8.30om now. I have done most of my prep. and at the moment I am listening to “Variety Fanfare”. It has been fine again but not so hot.

Trust in the LORD. Psalm 118:8


   There was an 8.50 practice for the Choir again this morning and another after dinner.

   The day has been fine again and in Gym we played a couple of games outside.

   I got home just before 4.15. I spent most of this evening doing homework.

The LORD heareth the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29


   [I went to the Library this morning, found there was an item about me in the Birmingham News and went to Wells’ to buy a copy. The article is headed “Anthony and Brian on the air again” and says that “B.B.C. talent scouts have been combing the suburbs for an array of Midland talent ... and once again they have ‘spotted’ 15-years old Brian Williams”, which simply isn’t true! Why do they have to write such silly stories?]

   This afternoon I took part in my seventh “Midland Magazine” [No. 43]. I had to be at the studios by 11.0am for the rehearsal of my play. We changed its title to “Things that go bump in the night”. One of the first things that I did was to hear the opening music to it. I don’t know who chose the music but it was ideal. There were several minor changes in the play and “ass” had to be put in instead of “fool” in two or three places. There had to be quite a lot of sound effects, wind whistling, owls hooting, cats screeching, a clock striking midnight etc., but the most amazing one was that of running feet — a crowd of us stamped round the studio! I did the “ouch” effects for the burglar.

    All went jolly well in the broadcast — I’m sorry it’s over. [Excluding David Scott-Daniell and Peggy Bacon there were 25 of us today, and all but three signed the page I prepared in my Autograph Book — Patricia Taylor and Bryan Hands who continue to introduce the programme, Graham Fletcher, Raymond Smith, Margaret Goodyear, Darryl Beaton, Anne Dunning, Patrick Wells, Anthony Hill, Joan Howarth, David V. Harry, Barry Griffiths, Bridgett Farmer, Patricia Calder, Gillian L. Cooper, Jennifer A. Johnson, Sylvia A. Parkes, Anne Lucas, Valerie Seymour, Patricia A. Moriarty, Janet Price. I missed three people — Jean Bennett, Malcolm Hudson and Barry Jackson.

   Malcolm, Barry, Patrick and Graham were in the play, and three other boys had a line each but I forget who they were. I could have had some girls in it if I hadn’t set it in a boys’ boarding school...

God our strength. Psalm 81:1


   I did prep. this morning and this afternoon, went to a Choir rehearsal at 2.30. The strings & woodwinds of the orchestra were also present. I got home at 5.15pm.

   After listening to “Bedtime with Braden”, Dad and I listened to a commentary of the Austria v England match at Vienna. England won 3–2 in spite of a rather peculiar referee.

   I listened to Terry-Thomas in “Variety Bandbox” tonight.

He leadeth me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2


   As I had to be at school early this morning, I cycled. I am not taking my G.C.E. exams this year but apparently, the whole form was taking French Oral and I need not have gone to school this morning. I spent third and fourth period in the library.

   In Biology, John & I dug up some worms for my newts.

   The Head spent at least a quarter of an hour over his notices after prayers today. Tomorrow is going to be Thursday & Thursday will be Tuesday for this week.

   I went to the Springfield this evening to see a comedy Young Wives’ Tale starring Joan Greenwood, Nigel Patrick and Derek Farr. It was extremely good and I enjoyed every minute of it. The other film was good, Bowery Battalion but the Bowery Boys’ style of humour does not always amuse me.

Daily shall He be praised. Psalm 72:15


   Since today was Thursday, I had to go to school in uniform. In J.T.C. we had a final inspection rehearsal.

   I played for the 1st XI v Prince Lee this afternoon. The match was on Pitch 1 as last week. Prince Lee batted first and declared at tea with a score of 152 for 6 wickets (T.H. Wilden 64; Martin 4 for 40). I had fielded for only forty minutes when I had to retire with a twisted ankle which I got in trying to turn round on the run. Then what a surprise for a Vardy XI to score 80 runs for 2. Jennens hit 40 before being caught behind the wicket. Then the score went to 106 for eight but the score reached 109 at the close without further loss, so the match was drawn. The 2nd XI won by six runs, the 3rd XI scored six and lost by 9 wickets, and the 4th XI won.

So shall ye be My disciples. John 15:8


   Today the C.I.G.S. Field Marshal Sir William Slim visited the school. First period was as usual, then after break we paraded on the square. The Field Marshal on landing at Elmdon was met by the Head and then made the journey to school with a police escort. The inspection did not take too long and no one in the Army or Basic Sections fainted. After the March Past I taught my section to do the Slope & Order Arms, while Field Marshal Slim saw some training activities, after which he addressed the whole school. [I have never forgotten one piece of advice he gave us: when in doubt, always take the bolder action — this had always worked for him.]

   The last two periods of the day were as usual — Physics. I came home on the S.B.

   I had to be back at school by 7.0pm for a rehearsal with the orchestra and soloists. This lasted until 9.30 but as I was on my bike, I was home within twenty minutes.

Wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14


   Today was the day to which the Choir had looked forward ever since we began rehearsals 115 days ago. Judas Maccabaeus went off very well on the whole. The “Sound the alarm” was rather disappointing but the best soloist was Sydney Smith (Simon). The cutting below is from today’s (Friday’s) Post. Query:— Who drank the Choir’s lemonade?

He shall strengthen thy heart. Psalm 227:14


   I saw Mrs. Martin and Phil when I took Ginger out this morning and they invited me to go with them to see “As You Like It” at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre this evening.

   After school the Music Circle paid a visit to the Cathedral where Dr. Grant [is also Organist and Director of the Bach Society. He] spoke to us about the [four-manual Nicholson] organ & played to us [S.S. Wesley’s “Choral Song and Fugue”].

   The Martins were waiting in their car for me when I got home at 6.0. This visit to the Memorial Theatre was a wonderful experience. Never have I enjoyed a play more. I haven’t a list of the cast but Margaret Leighton gave a wonderful performance as Rosalind. Some of the scenes between William and Audrey were brilliantly done and the clown, Touchstone, was very funny. Perhaps though, I shall remember most the exquisitely beautiful forest settings.

O LORD, I will praise Thee. Isaiah 12:1


   I found this morning that my broadcast last week was mentioned in the Birmingham News.

   Nothing much happened all day. Dad and I watched the British games. We watched TV as usual this evening including the serial, the last in the series of “Looking at Animals”, “Music Hall” & John Slater’s Saturday night story.

He hath done all things well. Mark 7:37

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