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Blunderbuss News


This year’s news continues to be interspersed with details of Old Boys who were killed in action 100 years ago.


More memorabilia is in the pipeline so keep visiting the site!



News Content


Herbert Julius Caesar - Died 5 March 1918

OFA Annual Lunch - 17 March 2018

Archibald Donald Milner - Died 23 March 1918

Farnham Beerex - 14 April 2018

Hector Charles Carter - Died 25 April 1918

40th Anniversary Reunion at Tilford - 10 June 2018

The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain - Summer 2018

J K Dutton - Died 15 August 1918

Leslie Baynes Starling - Died 29 August 1918

John Patrick O’Donnell - Died 4 September 1918

Edward A Atkinson - Died 4 November 1918

Arnie’s debut novel - November 2018

Commemorating William Bastow - 8 December 2018




Older News Content


News Archive for 2017

News Archive for 2016

News Archive for 2015

News Archive for 2014 (includes Martin Collier’s speech)

News Archive for 2013

News Archive for 2012

News Archive for 2011

Annual Dinner 2008 (includes Mike Mehta’s speech)

Annual Dinner 2005 (includes John Clarke’s speech)


For even older news items (covering 2005-7) see the Blunderbuss Archive


OFA Annual Lunch - 17 March 2018


The 86th Annual Gathering of the OFA took place on Saturday 17 March at the Farnham Hog’s Back Hotel.


In spite of a heavy snow storm and an ageing of membership the former pupils and staff of Farnham Boys Grammar School, almost sixty in total, attended. As usual former pupils of this school travelled from across the country to spend time with their old pals; one made his annual visit from America to coincide with the lunch and another had travelled from Sweden.


It is usual to read out a list of those Old Boys who have died during the past year and this time there were fourteen names read out, showing that in time this organisation will come to an end. A sad thought as the school has been part of the history of Farnham for over 400 years. This year we were represented by Mike Mehta, Julian Walden and John Clarke.


The main guests were Dr. Jason Jones, current Director of Farnham Sixth Form College, and Mike Potter, former Chief Executive of the Guildford College Group. The Toast to the School was given by Richard Lord and the Toast to the Association by Barry Hall. The current President and organiser of the event, Roger Edgell, replied to both toasts. Roger has been the President for two years and Cyril Trust praised his dedication to the position.


The afternoon ended with all standing for the School Song and the National Anthem. The whole occasion was managed most skilfully by stand-in Toastmaster Wally Walsh.


We look forward to another enjoyable lunch in 2019.


Old Farnhamians annual lunch 2018



































Mike, Julian and John at this year’s Annual Lunch


Farnham Beerex - 14 April 2018


A number of us were able to attend the Saturday lunchtime session at the Maltings Beerex.



























40th Anniversary Reunion (1978-2018) at the Barley Mow, Tilford, 10 June 2018


The social event of this year was keenly anticipated. The classes of '71 met in the relaxed surroundings of Tilford’s Barley Mow PH, with some electing to meet earlier to visit Farnham College.


The weather was excellent and there was a steady flow of beer and banter.


A gallery can be viewed on our Facebook page.


































In the beer garden of the Barley Mow.



































Pre-drinks get-together at Farnham College.


The Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain by Robert McWilliams


The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain by Robert McWilliamsThe Kiss of the Sweet Scottish Rain: A Walk from Cape Wrath to the Solway Firth covers the route from Cape Wrath in the lonely northwest to a muddy estuary overlooking England, and takes the reader on a walk across Scotland.


“For Robert McWilliams - Scots-born but exiled since childhood - the walk is an obstinate ambition, and the start of a new direction in life. McWilliams crosses wild and beautiful landscapes, meets an ever-changing cast of companions, and passes through communities from remote hamlets to the smiling, but rough-edged, city of Glasgow. Around every corner, he explores Scotland's turbulent history and unique cultural and natural heritage, from the Gaelic language, to the fearsome Highland midge, and how the Stone of Destiny - an ancient coronation symbol - could now reside in an unassuming Glasgow pub.


“Struggling with terrain, injury, atrocious weather, and above all his own fragile confidence, McWilliams weaves into his narrative the threads of his life that led to the journey, and discovers that the rewards of adventure are rarely those that were anticipated. The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain informs and entertains. As well as a ben or a castle, there is usually a joke just around the next turn in the trail.”


We are delighted to add the book was cited as the Wadham College “August Alumni Author”.


Arnie’s debut novel


Alternative lives by Arnie ArnsteinArnie thought you might be amused to read his debut novel - a spy thriller, so here is his sales pitch:


“A bit of a boys-own tale and a romp but entertaining?! Apologies for some of the language...

I had the idea for the story more than ten years ago and was tempted to start writing during very long free-flap plastics operations but restrained myself. Anyhow, now it's done and I'm working on three other books - two of which might be better from a literary point of view, we'll see. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD as I'm using any royalties to support a specific charity (named at the end of the book but don't read because it might ruin the plot). It helps assuage my conscience. I would welcome any feedback - either by twitter or email as below. The paperback book price on Amazon is to be set so that postage is free and generates a modest amount for the good cause (no publishers including Amazon are generous). Also available as an e-book - follow this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1723713201


Commemorating William Henry Bastow (died 1915) - 8 December 2018


Commemorating William Henry Bastow at Farnham College

Mike Mehta and John Clarke attended a simple yet moving ceremony in the Old Building on the afternoon of Saturday 8 December to commemorate the life of William Henry Bastow whose name has, until today, been missing from the School’s war memorial plaque.


Although John first noted this omission 3 or 4 years ago, due credit to Roger Edgell for seeing this through to the end, including the commissioning of lettering to complete the War Memorial. Today's ceremony means that the correct number of 72 "Old Boys" are recorded on the memorial plaque.




Rev. Andrew Tuck and Roger Edgell following the unveiling of William Henry Bastow’s name on the World War 1 tablet




The ceremony was led by Roger Edgell, who related the background story to the ceremony, where he made reference to the need to right a perceived wrong by commissioning the addition of William Bastow’s name to the Roll of Honour tablet at Farnham College. Even though this was 103 years since his death in Gallipoli, it was right that his name should join those of his school friends.


Roger then read the poem “In Flanders Field” by Major John McCrae. This was followed by the unveiling of the W H Bastow details on the World War 1 tablet. Richard Phillips, President of the OFA then read his poem “W H Bastow - Memorium to a Farnham Fallen Soldier” which he had written especially for this occasion. An address and prayers were then given by The Rev. Andrew Tuck, former Rector of Farnham and an Old Farnhamian himself.


The additional lettering for William Henry Bastow supplied by Arro Signs Bournemouth for the First World War tablet in Farnham College

























The additional brass lettering was supplied by Arro Signs, Bournemouth, and were applied by Joanna Phillips, wife of Richard Phillips, the current OFA President.


William Henry Bastow leaflet December 2018You can download a copy of the booklet produced for the occasion (pdf format).


The booklet includes additional notes on the life of William Bastow, which is reproduced here:


“It is believed that William Henry Bastow was the only Farnham Hero to have died serving at Gallipoli with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS); he is buried at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Canakkale, Turkey Grave Reference K.53.


“The records show that 2nd Lieutenant William Henry Bastow, who was an army officer in the Royal Field Artillery, attached to the Royal Naval Air Service, attended Farnham Grammar School from 1904-1909. He was born in December 1894 in Hanwell, Middlesex, the son of Frank Rogers Bastow and Annie Louise (nee Channon). The 1911 census for Farnham lists him living at 2 The Borough, Farnham with his parents and brothers and sisters. Father Frank is listed as a shopkeeper (“Corn Dealer and Poultry Foods”), and William Henry is a 16 year old “Assistant” presumed to be in the family business.


“William did marry whilst on leave from the army in April 1915 - his bride was Maude Cowan, aged 18 years, born in 1897 her father Patrick H being of military descent stationed in Aldershot. Her mother was Matilda Purdey and Maude bore William a son, William Frank Henry, on the 31st October 1915 just 26 days before William died at Gallipoli on the 26th November 1915 aged 21 years and 11 months. Sadly William never met his son.


“His son William, who was married to Muriel Freeman from Tongham, Surrey where they resided until his death in 2000 - they were not blessed with children of their own.”