This morning I completed most of the Physics prep.

   At 4.0pm we all went to the Fellowship, Mam, Dad and Julia in the Moores’ car, Clarice and I by ’bus. There was tea at 5.0 followed by Evening Service when Mr. Bradley was the preacher. Afterwards there was Holy Communion which we were all attending for the first time.

   Actually the tea was a reunion of all those who had any personal dealing with Marshall Shallis during the campaign; there were some forty of us altogether and only one person was absent (due to illness).


   About 11.30am today we all went to town, principally to have a photograph taken at Jerome’s. It is exactly a year to the day that we last had one taken there — it seems only the other week.

   Three more of the new stamps were on sale at the General Post Office, Victoria Square. They are the 4d ultramarine, 1/3d green and 1/6d grey-blue. The 4d is a new design, as is the 1/3d; the 1/6 (which is the highest value) is the same design as the 1/-. They are all very attractive.


   When we went back to school this morning it was to new Hymn Books. The Chief [Master] has decided to scrap the Public School Hymn Book in favour of the English Church Hymnal, which has several editions — words, melody, harmony etc., as against only two editions of the former. Every member of the school will have his own copy, and opportunity will be given us to make the books our own on leaving — a good idea since I think a Hymn Book is something to treasure, like a Bible, and makes the best sort of souvenir of one’s schooldays.

   I came home thro’ town as I wanted to call at the B.B.C. to deliver my script, and I also had to get a prescription dispensed at Boots [the Chemist].


   Mrs. Ralph, writing to us from Margate, says Ann now has another budgerigar to keep Penny company. The new bird is called Tuppence. Apparently Lassie cannot believe her eyes, it did make us laugh to think of it.

   Not infrequently nowadays I have to sprint to Shaftmoor Lane [to catch the Special Bus there instead of Acocks Green village], and I had to do so again this morning.

   On Saturday the XV play Bromsgrove and the occasion has brought out of hibernation the shird. I am trying to recall whether this mysterious creature existed when I first came to K.E.S. or whether it was created by Dick Popple a few years ago.

   I went this evening to a dancing class held by the Institute of Further Education at Hartfield Cres. [School], and I hope to make this a weekly habit. The idea was Christopher’s.


   Playing for the XV against Jeune this afternoon, I scored a try for the first time for ages. Following one of Willy Kington’s punts ahead, a Jeune three-quarter dropped the ball. I sprinted up, dribbled the ball through, and as Budd went to gather it, hooked it round him, dribbled on and scored. [Mr. Copland was watching from the touchline and I heard him say, “Williams’ first try for the XV”.]

   This was after ten minutes. Earlier, Richard Tipton went over the line and Pendry scored a difficult conversion. By half-time we were 11–5 up, Trundle having scored another try.

   We played throughout the second half with only 13 men. We lost John Pendry with concussion and Bill Davenall with a twisted knee. However, Trundle scored again and the final score was 14–8 in our favour. In the set and loose scrum we were generally outplayed by a much heavier pack but we had the better backs.


   I did a Specific Resistance experiment in Physics today. In Chemistry we have completed Organic Chemistry for the time being and are now doing Physical.

   John Winrow came to spend the lunch hour with me. [In only two months I shall be joining him at the Medical School].

   In J.T.C., “C” Coy came in uniform for the first time. We had a lengthy inspection then marched up and down the University Drive rehearsing the “Eyes Left” for Church Parade on Sunday week.


   The weather today has been distinctly depressing, windy and rainy.

   At school we now have the new Blue Book. It is different this year — the symbols and letters after boys’ names, signifying the prizes they have won, have all been removed, including the “c” after my name to indicate my form prize two years ago. However, 33 boys do have a “c” after their names, indicating that they are members of the Cartland Club! They are:—

J.D.L. Adams (School Captain), J.L. Wilkins (Vice Captain), D.F. Lomax, A. Bramley, G.D. Clark, P.R. Foxall, J.A.P. Fuery, B.C. Gane, N.W.C. Gardner, K.S. Hudson, A.D. Kirkby, R.G. Mendelssohn, G.P. Simpson, J.M. Vernon, who are all prefects.

   The others are:—

G.H. Child, A.W. Harris, C.B. Harris, J.B. Haseler, J.B. Huskins, G. Jarmain, B.W. Kington, S. Lane, K.W. Lloyd, G.G. Ney, J.W. North, J.E. Rivers, J.D. Roberts, G.M. Simon, P.J. Stoward, M.J. Sutton, O.C.W. Thomson, C.R.B. Tickell, D.K. Waterfall.
   John Adams, Gane and Sutton are in Geog.U.VI., John Wilkins, Keith Hudson, Tony Harris, Tickell and David Waterfall in Med.U.VI., David Lomax, Child and Roberts in Maths.U.VI., Bramley in Hist.U.VI., Clark, Kirkby, Mendelssohn, Simpson, Lane, Lloyd and Ney in Mod.Lang.U.VI., Foxall, Fuery, Gardner, Vernon, C.B. Harris, Haseler, Huskins, Jarmain, Kington and Stoward in Sci.U.VI., and John North, Rivers, Simon and Thomson in Cl.U.VI.


   I wasn’t able to leave off prep. until it was time to go to Church tonight. This was Overseas Missions Sunday and the preacher was Rev. E.E. Pritchard who spent several years in East Africa. His sermon was about his experiences out there, in particular of a certain youngster whom he taught years ago, who has become one of that country’s leading newspapermen, and whom Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard met again when he came over for the Coronation.


   Those of us who were not at the match on Saturday heard this morning that the XV retained the Siviter-Smith Cup by beating Bromsgrove 9–nil. Bromsgrove pressed almost continuously in the first half without scoring. In the second half, the XV had the very strong wind behind them and Simpson and Plews scored. Simpson also kicked a penalty so the final score was 9–nil.

   In Chemistry we didn’t have a test. [David] Torvell and I prepared Acetaldehyde by heating Calcium Acetate.


   I had a letter from Graham Gauld yesterday saying would I make a few slight changes in my “Pictures in Music” script? I had a second letter from him today — “We are very sorry we forgot to send you your script when we wrote to you on Friday. Here it is!”

   It was a glorious morning and I cycled to school. I made the necessary script alterations during my free periods.

   This afternoon I took Ginger for a walk [down Olton Boulevard East, Shaftmoor Lane and Reddings Lane, then along Stratford Road] from the Rialto to the R.H. [Robin Hood cinema, returning home down Shirley Road].

   I went to the R.H. tonight to see Quo Vadis, which now has an “A” cert. instead of an “X”. So far as I am concerned the film really was colossal.


   My topic today is Percy, which is the name I have given to a rather tame Jackdaw which has been making its presence felt at school today. Physics in first period was interrupted by loud squawking, and we turned round to see Percy sitting on the ledge outside the window, making faces at Mr. Whinnerah. During the day the bird allowed people to feed it, more or less eating out of one’s hand. Members of the staff were feeding it at break, and during the lunch hour, when someone opened an upper window and shouted to it, Percy flew up to the window ledge. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen when I saw a group of boys standing round talking to it outside the gates at 3.45.

   We had a Julian Horner Concert (No. 11) from 2.45 until 3.40pm, a programme of chamber music. It is also the 11th day of the 11th month, 35 years since the Armistice.


   We had a Chapel Choir practice at break today.

   The XV beat Evans’ by 11–nil this afternoon but so far as our forwards were concerned we played very badly indeed.


   We heard this morning that Clarice has passed for the [Sparkhill] Commercial School after seven attempts to get to a secondary school.

   Hard as I tried, I just could not get going this morning. I wanted to get to school for 9.0 for a Chapel Choir practice. It really was the limit when the S.B. overtook the 1A I was on, before we had moved a foot. The Special Bus follows the 1A route from Acocks Green, picking up boys along the way. It is always crowded, with many standing. A.M. (Max) Beran, who is in U.M.D., gets on at Springfield Road when the weather is too bad for him to cycle. He lives at 480 Brook Lane and is an ABC Minor at the Robin Hood Cinema.

   I fancy that Percy knows when he is creating a disturbance and the sly bird plays on this. This morning he squawked loudly several times during Prayers from his window perch on the outside of Big School.

   A 2-hour Physics test on a Friday the 13th is almost enough to make one superstitious.

   I went to my last Music Circle meeting at 4.0pm. Dr. Grant spoke on “The Beginnings of Western Music”.


   I cycled to school today and got in at 9.16am. I think our clock must have been slow.

   Tickell and Hudson were absent so Plimbley and I did a one-word answer test in which I got 50%. Whenever we have a test of this sort I get 40–50% without any previous swotting. Yet I get 35% in G.C.E.!

   Our lecture today was by Admiral Brownfields, who spoke on “Life in the Royal Navy”. [He is 51. He went to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, then served on H.M.S. Ajax from 1918, and with the Australian Royal Navy from 1935–37. He was Naval Attaché in Thailand 1939–41, then commanded H.M.S. Ramillies and H.M.S. Apollo during the war. He was Commodore-in-Charge, Hong Kong, from 1949 until last year when he was also awarded the C.B.E.

   I phoned the College of Technology today and arranged to see Mr. Gardner next Wednesday at 6.0pm.

   Tonight we have watched Episode 2 of the Serial, and Jimmy Jewell and Ben Warriss in “Re­turn It Up”.]


   [It was Church Parade this morning at Edgbaston Old Church. The Chief Master preached the sermon. Afterwards in the March Past the salute was taken by Rear-Admiral Brownfield, C.B.E.]

   I felt really under the weather this morning but visiting Arthur and Greta in the afternoon cheered me up a bit. We went on the [Outer Circle] 11 ’bus to Burney Lane and after waiting 45 minutes for the 55, walked the two miles or more to Shard End as all the ’buses were full. Greta, who met us at the terminus, had been waiting nearly an hour when we got there.

   Shard End is very much a new estate and one is always conscious that this seems to be [entry unfinished]


   I went to school on my bike this morning, arriving at 9.0am.

   In French we have now read 100 pages of Sylvèstre Bonnard. Whose was the greater crime, I wonder, Sylvestre Bonnard’s abducting Jeannie or Anatole France’s writing about it? I found the book rather boring at first — the story seemed as though it would never begin, but now I enjoy it more and can appreciate the easy-flowing, sometimes witty style of Anatole France.

   In Chemistry we had a test on Chlorine, then Torvell and I did an experiment to estimate the percentage nitrogen in Urea, which we failed to complete.

   In a Festival of St. Cecilia concert on the radio tonight I heard a piece which I liked at once. It was Delius’s Sea-Drift, the quiet orchestra prelude suggesting the surge of the sea. Delius is one of my favourite composers because his music does not take a great deal of understanding and is easy to listen to.

   I watched TV for an hour to see “Retrospect 1948” — the events of five years ago. It was immensely interesting to me, but at the end of it I was left asking “Was it really 5 years ago?”


   It was generally accepted that our match with Levett would be THE match of the season. We were undefeated since our first match, our opponents had won every game, and, of course, this was a “local derby”.

   Our team was: Andrews; Williams, Davenall, Tipton, Riley; Kington, Squire; Trow, Williams, Rufus; R.J.N. Trundle, Lawrence; J.S. Pendry, Nightingale, Moore.

   Both sides had had discussions on tactics beforehand — we had one in the Pavilion at 2,15 so were all changed early, and the strain of waiting [for the match to start] was considerable.

   At half-time the score was 0–0 but we were clearly on top. In the second half we continued to win 9 out of every ten scrums. Richie Tipton went over in the corner, John Pendry kicked a penalty and missed another, and the final score was 6–nil.


   Today has been rather tedious in one way or another. I didn’t get home tonight until nearly 7.30pm and I felt really tired.

   There was an N.C.O.’s parade at 1.0pm as usual when we were briefed for Field Day. I spent the afternoon writing in the library.

   After school David Torvell and I went to a Bible reading meeting of the Christian Union. G.T. Woods [who is in the Science Sixth] commented on James 2.

   We came home through town together and had coffee in the Kardomah before I went off to the College of Technology where I had arranged an appointment with Mr. C.G. Gardner at 6.0pm. I have now fixed up my classes there in January.


   There is little to record today. After school I called in at Park Mount to see if there were any special arrangements with regard to our use of the Golf Course tomorrow.


   Today was Field Day which meant crawling on the Golf Course [in the morning] and films in the afternoon so far as “C” Company was concerned. It was also my last Field Day. With less than a month remaining at K.E.S., I’m getting quite nostalgic about things I’m doing for the last time. I can’t understand those people who can’t leave school quickly enough.

   After an uneventful morning, apart from the visit of press photographers, “C” Coy spent half an hour in the showers, cleaned rifles, and ate.

   The films were the usual lot. As usual, the unsynchronised sound track in “Dangerous Journey” was good for a few laughs. I was so tired I went to sleep very nearly. Tea was sausage and mash as usual.

   At Cubs tonight we had a games evening.


   Our Sixth Form lecture this morning was given by Mr. Walter James, the Editor of The Times Educational Supplement. So far as I could see, Mr. James’ talk was mainly an attack on the Daily Mirror. Maybe it is a “sensational” paper; on the other hand, since it sells 4,500,000 copies daily, it probably has over ten million readers, and I refuse to believe that a quarter of the population of G.B. is depraved, which Mr. James and others seem to imply is true of Daily Mirror readers. I dislike this attitude by the “Bloody Old Times”. It has no tolerance or respect for the low brow.

   I had quite a rush to get to St. Andrews to see Birmingham play Bury. I left at 2.0 and got into the ground just after the kick-off, at 2.20pm. I almost wish I had stayed at home. The game was a goal-less draw, and quite the worst I’ve seen for some months. B’ham City:— Merrick; Hall, Green; Boyd, Smith, Warhurst; Astall, Kinsey, Purdon, Murphy, Govan. I was seeing Astall, a new winger from Plymouth [Argyle], and 17-year-old Trevor Smith for the first time. [But I did see Astall play for Argyle against Blues last Christmas Day].

   There was no cohesion at all in the forward line, and Astall was “starved” throughout. It was quite easy to see why Bury are bottom of the league — they were almost as bad as Birmingham, though they were lucky to survive the last ten minutes or so.

   For the second or third time recently I forecast the result correctly, which was what as many as twenty-six experts failed to do. Blues also play badly against lowlier opposition, and Bury seem to be a “bogey” team at St. Andrews.

   After tea, I went to the monthly social at [the Methodist] church and spent the evening dancing. I won an advertisements competition, along with Michael Brown. The prize was payment of only half-subscription.

   I got talking to Helen Walker whom I have admired from afar and wanted to know better. It seems that we have certain interests in common — notably that of getting 35% in G.C.E. Helen did just that in her three “O” level subjects. She is training to become a nurse at Dudley Road Hospital and is only “let out” of there at weekends. I hated the thought of her being cooped up there all day long, suggested we might make up for it at weekends, and made a date for next Saturday at 6.30pm ...


   I had a lot of work to get through today but completed the greater part of it by tea-time.

   The service tonight was conducted by the vicar [I should say, minister, Rev. J. Valentine Dibben]. The subject of his sermon was the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house. “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee” — Luke 7:40.

   Afterwards I went to the Youth Fellowship when we had a Hymn Book Quiz. The Fellowship has only been in existence a few months but there must have been fifty young people there tonight. Pray God that this be fertile ground that the seed falls on!


   I went to school on my bike today. Nothing very much happened. We had a test on Bromine.

   After school the Natural History Society met, and for this evening I arranged originally for a lecture on Evolution by Mr. Dodds, but we decided to postpone this for a time as Mr. Woods had a couple of film-strips to show us. These were of British birds’ eggs and nests and comprised colour photographs by Eric Hosking. They were easily the best I had seen and, since Mr. Woods commentary was up to his usual standard, I felt the evening had indeed been worthwhile. The attendance was 25.


   I cycled to school this morning and got a soaking on the way home.

   During the afternoon I got a haircut and did some shopping, then helped Mam to lay the new carpet just bought for the dining room.

   I went this evening to a concert by the Element String Quartet in the Church Hall [Botteville Road] at 7.30pm. There were three items on the programme: Divertimento in B flat (“Sunrise) by Haydn, and after the interval, Schubert’s Quartet in D minor (“Death and the Maiden)


   John [Winrow] called to see me during the lunch hour. I hadn’t seen him for nearly three weeks.

   I spent the afternoon doing prep. and went to a Christian Union meeting in the library at 4.0pm. Alderman A.G.B. Owen, the leading Midland Industrialist and owner of the B.R.M. [racing car] spoke on “Trophies”, basing his talk on the references Paul makes to winning the race. It is wonderful to know that there are Christian workers to the fore in industry. Alderman Owen’s talk was simple but inspiring.

   I went to the dancing class as usual this evening then watched a telerecording of the England v Hungary match. England lost 3–6.


   As I went to school this morning it was rather a sombring [sombre] thought that I should be playing my last game of Rugger at K.E.S.

   Our match was against Gifford who hadn’t a single victory to their credit. True to form we scored our highest win, 26–3, though I had the ball out of the scrum only once. Smethurst is by far the finest hooker I’ve ever played against, and the best in the school. But despite this superb hooking the match was ridiculously easy for us and we might have scored 60 were it not for the fact that we were all giving the ball to Riley so that he could score in his last game. Unfortunately he didn’t. Riley, Squire, Tipton and I were re-awarded our 1953–1954 Colours after the match.

   Yesterday I heard that “Pictures in Music” is on the air on December 17.


   [Mr. Dodds is now going to give us his talk next Wednesday. It will also be my last meeting, so I hope we get a lot there! I have written my last notice in black and red and put it up after John Adams initialled it:—

   On Wednesday, December 2nd at 4.0pm in the Large Lecture Room, C. DODDS Esq., will speak on “THE STORY OF EVOLUTION” (Illus.)

   This meeting is sponsored by the NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY AND FIELD CLUB but will be of special interest to members of the Geographical, Scientific Societies, the Christian Union and S.C.M. In fact, never before has any Society attempted to lay the facts of Evolution before so many.

   This is an unequalled opportunity for you to find out what Evolution REALLY means — the opportunity may never fall to you again. Every member of the school should attend to hear for himself the truth about Evolution. A few minutes will be set aside for questions at the conclusion of the lecture.

      B.D. Williams


   I did Young’s Modulus in Practical Physics today.

   At break there was a Chapel Choir practice and “recruiting” for the XXII Choir at 1.30pm. I am again singing in the XXII Choir in my last three weeks at school.

   In Evensong we sang the Magnificat, Psalm 65 and the hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

   I was Orderly Sergeant today so I had to collect all the roll-books on parade, check up on the absentees at the Porter’s Lodge and do odd jobs in general. I rather liked my red sash.

   I went to Club tonight. We had three film-strips, two about Methodist Youth Clubs and one of the J. Arthur Rank film Hamlet starring Lawrence Olivier.

   I came home with Helen who was waiting for me when I came out at 9.45pm.

   We spent both first and third periods with Mr. Ballance today doing reproduction in the flowering plant. These revisions are enormously valuable. The other two periods I was writing an essay on “Acids”, a 1948 H.S.C. Scholarship question.

   I called for Helen [at 223 Olton Boulevard East] at 6.30pm and we went together to the Warwick. I wondered whether she had been looking forward to our evening out as much as I had. We saw Jamaica Run (U), a murder mystery with Ray Milland and Arlene Dahl, and Forever Female, a romantic comedy with Ginger Rogers and Williams Holden. They were both very good. We had a bar of chocolate between us and I took Helen home afterwards. [Photo: Helen, 1949]


   I went to both morning and evening services today. In the morning, the vicar [minister, Mr. Dibben] preached about [the claim of there being better people outside the Church than in it. The evening preacher was a Scot, I think, Rev. C.W. Anderson, M.A. He brought out the point that our trying to be perfect may lead to (i) our becoming self-centred (ii) our doing things so that others may see us.

   Mam and Dad set out for the mission but were so late that they came to Church instead. Mr. Cunningham accidentally omitted Hymn 257, which was just as well since the page was missing from Dad’s book and mine. We did sing it at the Fellowship that followed. It was an “open” night held in the Large Hall, and there were various contributions and a Biblical “W.M.L.” [“What’s My Line?”].


   I learned this morning of the death of Dr. E.W. Barnes, Bishop of Birmingham until May this year when he resigned through ill-health. Dr. Barnes was born in 1874, was at K.E.S. [from 1886] until 1892, [and at Camp Hill before that.

   When I became secretary of the Natural History Society an old Minutes book was passed on to me dating from that time. It contains an account of a meeting in which he spoke which is quite amusing, so I intend to write an article about him. [See following page.]

   After school I went to a meeting of the S.C.M. Dr. Maldwyn Edwards was the speaker. He is the Superintendent of the Birmingham Mission — the Central Hall in Corporation Street.

   Laurel and Hardy are at the Hippodrome again this week for the third time since the War. They came in March 1947 when there was thick snow on the ground, and again in May last year when I managed to see them. Their first visit to Birmingham was in August 1932 [see my entry for 4th March 1947]. Charlie Hall, who was in Saps at Sea and many of their films, was born in Ward End and is now in his mid-50s.

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