[I paid £1 2s 9d into my Bank account today. They gave me 1/- interest on June 25th, so I now have £9 1s 0d.]

   About 11.30 last night in the garden with Mam we found a couple of hedgehogs. Ginger really found the first one — she thought it was a cat. They were on opposite sides of the garden and though we the two together in the top [flower] bed, they had both disappeared when I looked this morning.

   I captained the 3rd XI in our first round knock-out match v Heath this afternoon. I won the toss and decided to field so that if the other side got a big score, we could play for a draw. With Nock and Maskell bowling, we had five wickets down for 58 but then Whitley hit 68 n.o. & they declared at 128 for 5. The fielding was atrocious, otherwise they might have been all out for 60. We were all out for 32.

   Today has been the hottest day of the year. At 6.30 we had a big storm.

King of kings, and Lord of Lords. Revelation 19:16


   I went to school on my bike today. After last night’s storm today’s weather has been considerably cooler.

   Five of the six newts disappeared from the school aquarium so I put the remaining newt into a pool in Cannon Hill Park at dinner time.

   In Physics, John and I did the dry flask experiment.

   I had been looking forward to seeing the Goons in the first of a TV series “Goonreel” this evening, but just as it was about to start Mr. and Mrs. Moore came and I saw only the last ten minutes of the show. It looks most promising. On sound radio I find there is something quite infective about their style of entertainment.

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich. Proverbs 10:22


   Today the C.C.F. held its annual recruiting day. I was platoon commander once again. The boys in the platoon demonstrated the lying load. I got home at 2.30.

   Nothing happened during the afternoon and I’ve been doing prep. this evening. Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema — I Believe in You (U) with Celia Johnson and Cecil Parker, and Finders Keepers (A), a comedy with Tom Ewell and Julia Adams, at the Olton. The same programme is also showing at the Tivoli (Coventry Road), the Grand (Alum Rock) and the Castle Bromwich Cinema. I Believe in You is also on at the Picture House (Aston Cross).

Every good gift is from above. James 1:17


   In Biology today, Mr. Monkcom discussed with us the Advanced and Scholarship Biology papers. G.C.E. ended today.

   In Gym we went swimming. We continued analysis in chemistry. I came home on the Special Bus.

   I went to the Robin Hood this evening to see Doris Day and Gordon Macrea in On Moonlight Bay, a technicolor musical. It was a good film but didn’t come anywhere near to Lullaby of Broadway. Nevertheless I enjoyed it, especially the performance of little Billy Gray. The supporting film was Salute the Toff which I have wanted to see since I saw Hammer the Toff on Whit Monday. The main parts, filled by John Bentley, Carol Marsh, Valentine Dyall and Roddy Hughes, were well played; in fact it was a very lively and well acted film.

I am a sinful man, O Lord. Luke 5:8


   Today the Bristol Road and Pershore Road trams have been running for the last time. Tomorrow they will be replaced by ’buses and the only remaining trams are those on the Erdington Route. I came home via town and took possession of a couple of straps. The conductor didn’t mind! In Navigation Street I photographed the trams. INCLUDE PHOTOS HERE The new ’bus routes will be West Heath 45, Stirchley 45A, Cotteridge 45B, Kings Norton 45C, Allen’s Cross 61, Rednal 62, Rubery 63, Selly Oak 62A, Northfield 62B, Longbridge 62C

   Dad and I spent thes afternoon watching the tennis from Wimbledon. Maureen (“Little Mo”) Connolly, the seventeen-year old American girl, won the Women’s Singles after a terrific game with Louise Brough (U.S.A.) in the final. Yesterday F. Sedgman (Australia) won the Men’s Singles by beating J. Drobny (Egypt).

The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23


   I did not have room yesterday to record anything that happened at school. Firstly, a new custom has been started, that of awarding a cricket bat to any boy scoring a century for the 1st XI. B.C. Homer & F.B. Revill both scored centuries in the recent match v Bromsgrove [School] and Homer received his bat yesterday. Secondly, after break, house photographs were taken.

   Nothing much happened today. I finished my Chemistry revision for tomorrow’s exam. Mam and Dad went to the Mission in Mr. Moore’s car. [Dad was still incapacitated, so this arrangement was made when Mr. & Mrs. Moore visited four days earlier.]

   On Television this evening we watched Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, then Godfrey Winn [an old boy of K.E.S.], and lastly “The Nantucket Legend” by George Lefferts with Herbert Lomas, Robert Ayres and Sally Rogers. The acting was first-rate.

Justified freely by His grace. Romans 3:24


   Today we started our exams. I cycled to school. We had the Chemistry exam in lecture room 2 from 9.30 until 12.0pm. It was really very easy but I could have done better had there been another hour. [I was conscientious about my handwriting.] I should get 50%. Mr. Woods’ revision with us proved invaluable. Mr. Mathews on the other hand has kept on with new work right until last Saturday and has given us little or no time for revision.

   On television this evening Dad and I watched excerpts from the new Latin Quarter revue “Excitement” with Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss from the London Casino. It was most enjoyable. Later we listened to “Calling All Forces”.

   Tomorrow a week of television from Paris begins and it promises to be really interesting.

Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19


   I cycled to school again today. We had our Physics exam for three hours. The less said the better — I shall be surprised to get more than twelve percent.

   I spent the afternoon finishing off my Biology revision.

   Tonight I mowed and rolled the lawns before settling down to watch Television from Paris. This was due to commence at 7.30 but there was a severe thunderstorm over Paris and this held things up for nearly half an hour. When the programme did begin we were on the Eiffel Tower with Richard Dimbleby. The pictures were not very good then, but I think most people must have been rather thrilled for there below us was the Paris panorama and we could see the Arc de Triomph, the Palais de Chaillot, the Champs Elysees & the Seine. Later, at 10.30, there was a cabaret on the 2e etage of the Tower.

He that believeth ... hath everlasting life. John 3:36


   We had our Biology exam morning. It wasn’t a hard paper but I did not finish.

   I played miniature cricket with Kipper and John Winrow at dinner time. I came home on the S.B.

   Although the trams came off last Saturday, they have not all been taken to Witton Depot for breaking up. About fifty or sixty trams are parked [along Bristol Road] between Pebble Mill Road and Park Vale. I fancy that various parts of them disappear at intervals. I should very much like to have a destination blind.

   At 7.30 I watched for half an hour a street scene in Paris. We saw the traffic, buses, trains on the Metro overhead and the passers-by. Then there was a street singer, an ambulance and fire-engines making that peculiar whine, and a friendly Agent de Police. At 9.15 we went on a visit to the Louvre.

The kindness and love of God ... toward man. Titus 3:4


   Parade today was remitted and the whole school went to the [Warwickshire] County Ground to see the XI play Shrewsbury [School]. Batting first the XI scored 139 for the loss of four wickets at lunchtime when I had to leave. Since I am writing these notes a little later than usual I can include the result. School were all out for 182 (Wheatley 43, Homer 35, Revill 33, Wilkins 27). Shrewsbury hit the necessary runs for the loss of only three wickets.

   We did not watch television this evening but we did listen to “The Goon Show” and “Thirty-Minute Theatre” — “Dr. Abernethy” by Alicia Ramsey and Randolph de Cordova.

I am filled with comfort. 2 Corinthians 7:4


   Today we finished our exams with English from 9.30 until 12.0. The comprehension piece — about books and censorship — was by Milton. It was about the worst I’ve ever had to do. In the year’s work, we in the Medical Division hadn’t a hope with the other part.

   At 1.25 the Army, Basic and Air Sections had to parade for a medical inspection.

   We went swimming as usual. The water temperature was 69°, two degrees warmer than the air. In Chemistry we continued analysis.

   Mam and Dad have gone to the cinema this evening. The Big Trees (A) is on at the Warwick; and at the Olton Song of Paris (A), Law and Disorder (A), and the Turpin v Cockell Fight. Song of Paris (which is a comedy with Dennis Price and Anne Vernon) and the Big Fight are also showing at the Rialto.

For with God, nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37


   Nothing happened at school today. John Winrow came round this afternoon. We watched part of the Lancashire v Middlesex match, then “Outing on the Marne”. This was a visit to a popular resort called Joinville and we had excellent pictures of bathing, boating and fun and games there. At 4.30 Richard Dimbleby went shopping with a French housewife and this proved to be rather more interesting than it sounded. Prices over there are rather more than ours except for the vegetables and fruit, but there’s plenty of food if you can afford it.

   At 8.45 we spent an evening at La Nouvelle Eve, Pigalle’s latest cabaret. These French cabarets are extremely entertaining and very vigorous but I wondered once or twice whether they don’t overcrowd the stage too much.

The righteous ... glad in the LORD. Psalm 64:10


   Nothing at all happened morning. I took down the weather readings [taken daily at Edgbaston Observatory and published each evening in the Birmingham Mail] and sorted out the waste paper after dinner.

   This evening’s play was “The Late Christopher Bean”, a translation by Emlyn Williams of the play by René Fouchois. It was very well done; Jessie Evans’ portrayal of Gwenine is worth special mention.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalm 16:6


   Our final exam results were announced today. I came 14th in the form, John 15th. My results were:— Physics 30% — 13th, Chemistry 49% — 11th, Biology 31% — 14th, English 36% — 12th. Grayson has won the form prize, the J.L. Hutchings Memorial. The rest of the form finished in this order:— Roberts, Stringer, Nairn, Waterfall, Griffin, Wilkins, Harris, Gompertz, Willietts, Brodie, Plimbley, Tickell.

   I came home from school on the Special Bus as usual.

   Television programmes from Paris ended tonight with a telefilm of the Defile Militaire du Quatorze Juillet and a Bal Populaire. We didn’t watch any of these but we listened to “P.C.49” and “Calling All Forces”.

That He might bring us to God. 1 Peter 3:18


   Nothing much happened at school this morning but after dinner Mr. Monkcom and Mr. Woods helped me to arrange my Natural History exhibition and John and I later went into Edgbaston Park with them to hunt for pond specimens. We got hundreds, ancylus, planaria, gammarus, asellus, and lots of others of which I didn’t know the names. When we got back to school, we put everything into the sink and began the immense task of sorting out the various things. I was on my bike and got home at about six o’clock.

   I didn’t go to Cubs. We listened to “Variety Fanfare”.

Yea, I have loved thee. Jeremiah 31:3


   The Natural History exhibition opened after school this afternoon. John and I had the whole day off to finish arranging it. We had sections on Wild Flowers, Cacti, Butterflies and Moths, Beetles, Trees, Pond Life, Stones and fossils, and Birds’ eggs. Some of the many exhibits were supplied by boys in the lower school, others were from the school’s collections. [I have put up a notice about the exhibition.]

   At lunch time I went to the second and last concert given by Messrs. Crow, Trott, Lutyens and Bolton. It consisted of light music of the Victorian era including a double rendering of Come into the Garden, Maud, and one [by Noel Coward] about Englishmen going out into the midday sun.

   This evening I have just been watching Act 1 of The Two Gentlemen of Verona with Dad (Mam has gone to bed). The play was presented by the Bristol Old Vic Company from the stage of the Old Vic Theatre in London.

The precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:119


   Today prayers was held in Big School for the first time for weeks. After prayers, there was a practice of our anniversary song and hymns for next Sunday’s service. This practice did not end until after ten o’clock so there was no first period.

   We received the Quatercentenary Edition of the Chronicle as we came out of Big School and read this during Chemistry. [It has a yellow cover instead of the usual pale blue, and a greeting inside to the other schools who are also 400 years old this year. There are 70 pages of reports and a series of articles covering the history of the school, also four pages of photographs including one of the Musical Society performance of Judas Maccabaeus.]

   In J.T.C., campers assembled in Lecture Room 3 for some information about camp. Later we drew camp kit and K.D. [khaki drill] for Field Day tomorrow. Camp is being held at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire from the 29th of this month until 6th August.

   Nothing else happened today.

Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back. Isaiah 38:7


   Today was Field Day and as usual we went off to the Lickeys in special coaches. The agenda was section attacks. My section did four or five of these. There is nothing much to record at all except that I found Captain Buttle’s row of ribbons which he had lost. There was tea in the Dining Hall when we got back to school and then I came home with John, Kipper [Christopher] Martin and [another] Christopher.

   There is nothing more to record.

Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone. Nehemiah 9:6


   Today was Speech Day, the Head’s first at K.E.S. Mr. Maund took Mrs. Martin, Kipper and I [sic] in the car with John. After the prize recitations [in Latin and Greek] which hardly anyone understood, the Head presented his report. After singing the Quatercentenary song [Quadringentos], we saw the Bailiff, Mr. Justice Finnemore [an old boy of the school] give away the prizes and then he spoke for forty minutes. EXTRACTS The Head then presented the Memorial Awards, the School Captain [G.R. Green] thanked the Bailiff and we finished by singing the School Song.

   The XI played the Old Eds. at Eastern Road this afternoon and won for the first time in years. Old Eds. were all out for 84 & School made 85 for 7. We all saw the match and had tea afterwards. This was the first time in years that a school eleven had beaten the old boys.

Occupy till I come. Luke 19:13


   There is very little to record today. This morning I cleaned my aquarium, having put my goldfish in the bath.

   The school service was held as usual at Edgbaston Old Church at 3.0pm and was conducted by the Head who also gave the sermon. The choir sang the anthem Jesus! the very thought is sweet and we all sang one of my favourite hymns Praise, my soul, the king of heaven.

   I took Ginger to Tyseley for her evening walk tonight while Mam and Dad watched the television play.

   The Olympic Games opened yesterday at Helsinki, Finland.

Thou art my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3


   There was a hymn practice after prayers this morning and no first period. In Chemistry I got back 4/3d of the 5/- deposit on my science locker. I broke half-a-dozen test tubes during the year which accounted for the 9d deduction.

   In the last English period of the school year, we completed Act One of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.

   John [Winrow] and I went into Edgbaston Park at 12.30 and got caught by the gamekeeper just an hour later. He wasn’t very pleased but I hope I made clear to him the position regarding passes [for ornithologists to be granted admission].

   The eighth Julian Horner concert was held in Big School at 2.45. George Miles gave [an] organ recital of works by J.S. Bach including five preludes, the 3rd movement of Trio-Sonata No. 1 in E flat, Fugue in G, Toccata and Fugue in D, and Fantasia in G.

He is good. 1 Chronicles 16:34


   I cycled to school this morning. After praters the Head addressed the Division & Sixth Formers who are staying on about the Options we want to take next year.

   In French we finished reading L’étrange aventure du Docteur Varennesby Guy de Maupassant. Mr. Woods gave me permission to watch the Individual P.T. Competition. B.C. Gane won by one point from B.F. Leek with, in third position, B.J. Pierce.

   I went to Cubs this evening. We did packwork. When I got home I took Ginger for her evening walk.

Ask counsel ... of God. Judges 18:5


   The main item for me to note today is that I have been appointed Honorary Secretary of the Natural History Society in succession to W.G.G. Lindley who is leaving. I do feel that we should have a rather more active society than at present.

   In the House championship we finished fourth, a great improvement on last years’s ignominious position. Our Cricket results were as follows:

League1st XI2nd XI3rd XI4th XIDate
v Heath:DrawnDrawnDrawnDrawn8/5/52
v Evans:WonWonWonLost15/5/52
v Jeune:LostLostLostWon22/5/52
v Levett:DrawnDrawnLostLost5/6/52
v Prince Lee:DrawnWonLostLost27/5/52
v Gilson:LostLostLostLost10/6/52
v Gifford:WonLostLostWon19/6/52
Knock-Out Results:—
1st XI v Heath Won; v Evans Lost; v Levett Won
2nd XI v Heath Lost; v Evans Won; v Prince Lee Lost
3rd XI v Heath Lost; v Evans Lost; v Gifford Lost
4th XI v Heath Won; v Jeune Won, v Prince Lee Won
Teach me to do Thy will. Psalm 143:10


   I had no room yesterday to record that I went swimming after school and that Mam and Dad went to the cinema in the evening.

   Today we broke up for the holidays. House meetings were held at 9.45 followed by prayers. After prayers the Head read out lists and distributed some trophies. Mr. Monkcom let me borrow the air-pump for my aquarium and Dad fixed it up after dinner. INSERT REPORT (full page opp)

   This evening I have been to see the Folies-Bergère Revue [at Birmingham Hippodrome]. The show was much the same as it was when I saw it a year ago. First we saw Les Étoiles de Paris, then “A Man about Town” with Alec Pleon. The second scene Les Chasseurs was cleverly tilted so that it looked rather like a picture falling off a wall. After “Place Pigalle” and Le Chant du Cygne, Johnny and Suma Lamonte did some delightful juggling. The L’enfer des Femmes scene at the edge of the inferno, Alec Pleon’s act and Le Masque de Versailles were all more or less unchanged.

   Starting the second half of the show, the Premier Bal was followed by Eddie Vitch who had everyone screaming with laughter at his behaviour in the Paris Restaurant. La Grande Catherine and “Boy Meets Girl” followed. In Retour à Paris we saw again the Parisian railway station with its moving lighted trains and signal lights. This is certainly one of the most intriguing and spectacular of the seventeen items in the whole show. Les Trois de Milles earned a great deal of applause for their act. The Ivories de Chine seemed to lag for some reason, though when I first saw this scene it did not. Finally, the complete cast of fifty or more artists appeared in a grand finale — Tout est bien qui finit bien.

   On the whole the Revue is a good one. The settings are quite massive and spectacular, the singing and dancing good, while the costumes are gay and bright. There is a definite aura about the Folies Bergere and as far as I know, there is no other show quite like it. It was worth seeing again.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:26


   When I got up this morning I spent over ninety minutes blancoing camp equipment including my small pack. We go off to camp on Tuesday. About midday, Julia and I went to the Library. Mam had been with Dad to the hospital all morning and they got back at 1.45.

   During the afternoon I cycled to Stoney Lane to get Ginger’s horse-meat.

   Tonight I have mowed both the lawns. The ground is now very dry and hard; we’ve had no rain for ages and the heatwave shows no sign of abatement.

God giveth strength and power unto His people ... Blessed be God. Psalm 68:35


   I had to go to town this morning for one or two things and I decided to take Ginger with me. In town, I ordered the Birmingham Gazette for the week I shall be at camp. I met Ken Lawrence in Hurst Street and we came home together.

   During the afternoon Dad and I listened to commentaries on the Hampshire v Warwickshire match at Bournemouth. Warwickshire’s batting failed again and they were all out for 185. Dollery scored 83, Townsend 37, and Cannings took 7 for 66 in 23.2 overs. In reply, Hampshire made 64 for one.

   On the evening news bulletins, it was stated that King Farouk, ruler of Egypt for 17 years had been forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Prince Ahmed Fuad who is seven months old.

   On TV we have been watching “Music Hall” from West Bromwich.

God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8


   Nothing much has happened today except that the weather has changed. It is now very much cooler and we have had a little rain.

   During the afternoon, I cut out from a pile of Eagle comics the Rowntree’s nature articles. These are very good and I have made them into an interesting book.

   This evening I finished most of my camp blancoing. We did not watch TV save for twenty minutes of Norman Wisdom. His fooling is a joy to watch.

The LORD ... my refuge. Psalm 91:9


   Tomorrow I shall be off to camp so I’ve been getting everything ready today.

This morning I went to the library and read some of the daily papers as well as renewing my book which I am only half-way through. I shall have to finish it when I come back from camp.

   Nothing happened in the afternoon. This evening I packed everything into my kit-bag and listened to “Calling All Forces”.

Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone. Nehemiah 9:6


   The Army & Basic Sections paraded at 9.10 at Snow Hill Station this morning & we started our long journey at 9.40. We had a special train which other schools shared. Our roundabout route took us via Stratford, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Newport, Cardiff & Neath. On the mudflats of the Bristol Channel I saw Plover, Dunlin, one Cormorant, some fifty Guillemots which must have been brought in by a storm, and Curlews as well as three Herons. Some of the Welsh countryside was just as I expected — rather barren & depressing with an air of poverty about it. [While we were eating our lunch Bill Campbell suddenly threw a sandwich out of the train window and said it was for “the starving Welsh miners” and we all laughed our heads off, it was so funny.]

   Finally, after a tedious journey, we left the train at Pembroke and boarded army trucks which took us to the camp some five miles distant. We arrived at 7.0pm. At camp we had a meal & were then split into three platoons. My tent (3) is part of 92 Pln. Altogether there are 30 contingents and some 3,000 cadets at camp.

The precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:19


   I didn’t sleep too badly last night. Reveille was at 6.30am.

   The members of my tent are Slaney, McGowan, Kemp, Huxley, Phillips-Smith and Vaugon. We are tent number three.

   Breakfast was at 7.15. We had corn flakes & milk, bacon & tinned tomatoes, and then marmalade. At 8.15 there was a kit inspection outside the tents. On top of one’s pailasse [sic] are put blankets (folded correctly) and then towel with knife, fork, spoon and mug; one one side, rifle, on the other one’s large & small packs. Behind is put one’s kit bag.

   We paraded at 9.0am. Our instructor is Officer Cadet Wallis of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and first of all we did the various crawls with and without rifles. We had dinner out — lorries bringing us packets of sandwiches. In the afternoon we practised field signals and section formation.

   I went to the NAAFI in the evening.

It is time to seek the LORD. Hosea 10:12


   I have spent several birthdays away from home since the war but never one at an army camp. [I am seventeen today. There is a letter for me. The envelope is postmarked “Acocks Green, 30 Jly 1952, Birmingham 27” and it is addressed to “Lance-Corporal B.D. Williams, ‘C’ Company, K.E.S. Birmingham Contingent, Castlemartin Camp, Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire”. Inside is a card from Clarice (age 12) with a letter enclosed which reads:

Dear Brian, I hope you arrived safe & sound & are not finding things too hard. Dad said don’t be too fussy about food because you either eat or starve. Many happy returns of your birthday, you’ll get your present when you get back from the torture house. Don’t write back & tell me I’m a lousy writer, an awful speller & I don’t know anything about pharagraphing because you’ll be wasting paper.

   Tons of love from us all. Clarice & Julia.

P.S. I haven’t used your pen to write with.”]

   I slept very well last night. For breakfast there were corn flakes, beans and fried bread, and marmalade.

   Yesterday we got six marks, the second highest, in the tent competition; today we got five.

   Our training today consisted of stalking and camouflage. For first period we did stalking with another school. Then after a NAAFI break we were lectured on camouflage. It rained heavily. We had a sandwich lunch again and then we gathered to see an interesting tank demonstration. Marching through a field on the way to this, we put up a Grouse which flew off with whirring wings and a curious alarm call.

   I watched a game of rounders organised by Capt. Buttle this evening. Later, our night op. was put off due to rain.

Thou art my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3

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