News Content 2016
E. G. Fear -
Charles Henry Essex Varndell -
Frederick Charles Butler -
John Walter Newland Fitch -
Henry James Heath -
Harold Conway Jaye -
E J Harding -
Thomas William Osgood -
Frank Edward Everitt -
Maurice Heyward -
Thomas Charles Hine -
Edward Daniel Saunders -
Closure of the FGGS -
Owen Conway Poole -
Harry Neale Heyward -
Jon & Mike’s Charity Cross Country Run -
Sale of the old Tennis Courts -
Update on “Nick” Nicolson -
“Nick” Nicolson sends his best wishes to Blunderbuss for 2016. We understand he had a recent spell in hospital, but appears to be well and still resident in Cambridge.
The death of Harry Heyward announced in the Farnhamian dated December 1916.
“Lieut. H. Heyward, Durham Light Infantry, was killed in the trenches on October 10th. In our last issue we had to chronicle the death of his younger brother. Heyward i was in the Cricket and Football Teams, and among the first three in the Vith, in the days of Kendall. In work and play, and in the inner life of the School, we were all the better (masters and boys) for having the Heywards amongst us. After leaving us he held masterships in different Schools, and at the same time took the Graduate Course at Durham University. From the OTC he was gazetted to the Durham Light Infantry. He went to the Front in October, 1915, after a full year’s training. In December, 1915, he was “gassed”, and wounded in April, 1916; for some time after this he acted as Bombing Officer. His Colonel says: “He was a good officer and did all his work exceedingly well. He was very much liked by all his brother officers, and he is greatly missed. His father writes: “Harry thought a lot of his old school, and some of his last thoughts were about Farnham Grammar School. He had accumulated a large amount of good literature, and in his will he asks me to send a number of books to the Grammar School Library.”
Second Lietenant Harry Neale Heyward was serving with the 15th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. He was killed on 10 October 1916, aged 26. His is buried in grave D-
Harry Neale Heyward was the son of Henry and Eliza Ann Heyward, of “Ewshott”, 11 Dornton Road, South Croydon.
The death of Owen Poole was announced in the Farnhamian dated December 1916.
“O. C. Poole of the New Zealand Force was reported killed in October. We have no details of his death. Those of his time will recall him as a dear little boy, with very white hair. During all his time he always seemed by far the smallest boy of his generation, but quite the sweetest.”
Private Owen Conway Poole was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and as killed on 1 October 1916. His is buried in grave XI-
Owen Conway Poole was the son of Edgar Henry and Bertha Poole, of Farnham.
The death of Edward Saunders was announced in the Farnhamian dated December 1916.
“E. D. Saunders (Woking) of HMS Achilles, died of septic heart at the early age of 17. He joined the Navy in June, 1915, and took part in the Battle of Jutland, when he was on the Cochrane. All his generation will remember him as a bright, conscientious little fellow who was with us all too short a time. The Chaplain of the Achilles wrote that he had won the respect of all on board, from the Captain downwards.”
Boy 1st Class Edward Daniel Saunders was serving with the Royal Navy and died in Portsmouth on 18 August 1916. He is buried in plot 44 at Brookwood Cemetery, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
Edward Daniel Saunders was the son of Mr E. Saunders, late of Maybury School, Woking, then living at 133 Chertsey Road, Woking.
The death of Thomas Charles Hine was not reported in the Farnhamian.
2nd Lieutenant Thomas Charles Hine was serving with the Royal Fusiliers, entering the Somme offensive from 12 July. His family lived in Castle Street. Thomas was the eldest son and after attending Farnham Grammar School, he joined the staff of the Farnham Herald before becoming a teacher. He worked in Dover before enlisting in the 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, otherwise known as the “3rd Public Schools”. It is likely he was killed in action whilst his Division was attacking Bazentin Ridge during the Battle of the Somme.
2nd Lieutenant Thomas Charles Hine was serving with the 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and was killed on 20 July 1916. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 8 C 9A and 16A of the Thiepval Memorial, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial, and on the War Memorial in Gostrey meadows.
The death of Maurice Heywood was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“2nd Lieut. M. Heyward, 2nd Dorsets, attached Devons, was reported killed on July 30 [sic]; we have no particulars. He was the younger of the two energetic brothers who used to walk in from Ewshot. Equally indefatigable at work and play, he was one of the best types we have had. If he were in the middle of a crowd you felt perfectly certain that it was alright. After leaving school he read for the London Degree, and held Masterships in some three or four Schools, where the work of both teaching and studying taxed even his abounding energy. But he obtained his Degree and had a prosperous future before him when he joined up at the beginning of the war.”
2nd Lieutenant Maurice Heyward was serving with the 3rd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, and was killed on 20 July 1916. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of the Thiepval Memorial, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial. His elder brother was killed in October 1916.
The death of Frank Everitt was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“2nd Lieut. Everitt, Australians, was killed in the trenches on July 22 [sic]. His father wrote that he had that morning received the Holy Communion with his special friend who had joined up with him from Moore College, Australia, at the beginning of the year. Everyone will remember his patient work, his quiet wit, his excellent cricket, his plodding football; some will recall his unselfish nature and his kindness to the little ones. For some years after leaving he was in the Bank at Woking and gave up most of his spare time to help in the Church Lads’ Brigade and other branches of Church Work. It had always been his wish to be ordained, and a year or more ago he went out to Moore College, Australia, for that purpose, where he did excellent work both as a student and as a preacher and visitor. But when the call of his Master and his country reached him he answered it at once.”
2nd Lieutenant Frank Edward Everitt was serving with the 1st Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force, and was killed on 20 July 1916, age 22. He is buried in grave I J 11 in the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
Frank Edward was the son of James and Kate Agnes Everitt of 4, Moreton Road, South Croydon. He was born at Alton.
The death of Thomas Osgood was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“2nd Lieut. Osgood, R.F.A., was killed on July 19. He returned from the East to join up in 1914. His experience as an engineer and his training at the beginning of the war at the London University O.T.C. Soon procured him a commission in the R.F.A. His Officer writes:-
Lieutenant Thomas William Osgood was serving with “D” Battery, 23rd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He was killed on 19 July 1916, age 31. He is buried in grave V B 9 in the Quarry Cemetery, Montauban, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
Thomas William Osgood was the son of Thomas and Mary Osgood, of “Normandy House”, Ash.
The death of E. J. Harding was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
Company Serjeant Major E. J. Harding was serving with the 26th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He was killed on 19 July 1916. He is buried in grave I F 6 in the Berks Cemetery Extension, and is commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
The death of Harold Conway Jaye was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“2nd Lieut. H. C. Jaye, West Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in a German counter attack on July 9th. He joined the London University O.T.C. At the beginning of the War, and after a long training went out to the front in the May of this year. He was a very good sportsman, and a valuable member of the Cricket and Football Teams. His Commanding Officer spoke of him in the very highest terms, and the men would follow him anywhere.”
Lieutenant Harold Conway Jaye was serving with the 13th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own). He was killed on 9 July 1916, aged 24. He is buried in grave I A 18 at the Heilly Station Cemetery, Mercourt-
Harold Conway Jaye was the son of Mr & Mrs Burton Jaye, of “The Beeches”, Aldershot.
The death of Henry James Heath was not announced in the Farnhamian.
Lieutenant Henry James Heath MC was serving in the 16th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. This Battalion was one formed for the “New” Armies, and the 16th was formed of volunteers from the Publics Schools. He was killed on 1 July 1916. Aged 39. He is buried in in grave A 84 at the Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No 1 at Auchonvillers. He is also commemorated on the School’s War Memorial.
Henry James Heath was the son of George and Eliza Barbara Heath, and was born at Alton, Hants.
Following hard on the heels of the Garden Party (and what would have been our half term) were our examinations, which formed the prelude to leaving the College for some of us.
Mike and John’s surviving O Level examination timetables show that the exams began from 8 June -
This was probably sat by us in the “mocks” held earlier in the year. This can be viewed as a pdf file.
Not forgetting our friends in the 1972 intake, who sat their exams the following summer, we have added some timetables to our 1976-
The death of John Walter Newland Fitch was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“J. W. N. Fitch, HMS Hampshire, Wireless
Operator, was drowned on England’s saddest day since
the War began. Those of his generation will remember
him as a bright little boy with curly hair who tried to
keep his younger brother, Joshua, out of as many scrapes
(or “scraps”) as he could. Now he is on the list of heroes.”
Ordinary Telegraphist John Walter Newland Fitch was serving aboard HMS Hampshire. This vessel was transferred to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in 1916 and was present at the Battle of Jutland (31 May-
Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, who was also drowned when HMS Hampshire sank.
The Old Farnhamians’ Association and the Farnham Girls Grammar School Old Girls’ Association organised another highly successful joint Garden Party which took place at Farnham College on a sunny Sunday 5 June. In addition to all the usual suspects from 1971 (and a few new faces too), we welcomed a number of friends from the 1972-
The Garden Party also featured in the Farnham Herald:
The death of Frederick Charles Butler was announced in the Farnhamian dated August 1916:
“Sergt. F. C. Butler, who joined up at the beginning of the War, was killed by a shell, when bringing up reinforcements on May 21. He was in Mr. Wood’s platoon, and they had had many talks on Farnham since they found each other out.
“Boys of his time will remember Butler as a good
steady worker, who enjoyed a grumble, who played hard for the Train Football Team, and was liked by everybody that knew him.”
Company Serjeant Major Frederick Charles Butler was serving with “C” Company of the 1/20th Battalion of the London Regiment. He was killed on 21 May 1916, aged 24. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 9-
Frederick Charles Butler was the only son of Ada Mary Butler, of “Oakleigh”, Guildford Road, Bagshot, and of the later Frederick Nicholas Butler.
The first Two Minutes’ Silence was held in Castle Street on 1 May 1916.
Research has shown that on May Day in 1916 a group of local farmers held an agricultural jumble sale and general fair to raise funds for the Red Cross. However, they were asked if it was appropriate to hold the event at the height of World War I, and a programme for the event included a two-
The centenary of this landmark event was commemorated by a special service in Castle Street. The story was covered in the local papers and also on the BBC website.
We are happy to share this year’s annual newsletter and update from the Old Girls’. This is attached as a pdf document.
Please note the Old Girls’ Association is currently seeking a new Secretary.
The Old Girls also maintain a Facebook page.
As is now customary, a number of us were able to attend the Saturday lunchtime session at the Maltings. This year’s Farnham Beerex was the 40th, and the Farnham Beerex is now unique in having lasted so long in the same venue. We were also celebrating Kevin’s birthday, along with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing.
Mark, John, Martin, Kevin, Mike and Chris at the 40th Farnham Beerex. Concerned readers may be reassured that Chris was there in one piece, as shown in the photo below.
The 84th Annual Gathering of the OFA took place on Saturday 19 March at the Surya Farnham Hog’s Back Hotel. There was an excellent turnout of “old boys” for the event.
After remembering recently deceased members of the Association, Grace was read by the President, Ian Sargeant (1955-
The toast to the School was proposed by Derek Bowtell (1945-
The years 1971-
Table 9 at this year’s Annual Lunch
The death of Charles Varndell was announced in the Farnhamian dated April 1916:
“Lieut. Varndell is the first of the recent generation to give his life in the cause. It is but yesterday that he scored for the 1st XI; took the Major Scholarship; went off full of promise, mildly surprised at his success, to win new honours at Edinburgh University.
“He joined up at the beginning of the war from the Edinburgh University O.T.C., and was delighted to find Palmer (i) in his platoon.
“He was killed while repelling a hostile attack on a crater, the evening of March 18th, and was bureid in the British Military Cemetery at Vermeilles. His Captain says: ‘He took the keenest interest in his work, and was so absolutely reliable in all he undertook.’
“We who knew him so well cannot refrain from adding that he lived the life and died the death that we are proud to claim as an example to us all.”
Lieutenant Charles Varndell was serving in the 6th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his death as having taken place on 13 March 1916, and not as reported in the Farnhamian. He was aged 22 He is buried in the Vermelles British Cemetery in section II. J, 7, and is commemorated on the on the School’s War Memorial.
Charles Varndell was the son of Mr and Mrs Henry Varndell of Bagshot. He was married to Janet Kay Varndell of 28, Roseneath Place, Edinburgh.
Charles Varndell was born in Farnham in 1893 or 1894. He attended Farnham Grammar School and was made Head Boy in 1911. While at the school he joined the FGS Cadet Corps. Charles Varndell showed great promise at the school and won many school prizes. Some of these can be seen in the Farnham Museum. When he went to Edinburgh University he planned to become a scientist. At the beginning of the First World War he joined up through the Edinburgh University Officer Training Corps. He graduated with BSc Honours in 1915.
Charles met his wife, Janet Osborne, in Scotland. Having joined his regiment, he was then posteed to Purfleet in Essex. The couple were married in Scotland in 1915, but only had a short time to enjoy married life before Charles was posted to France.
His widow later remarried and had a son, Norman Wilson, who donated some of the memorabilia to the Farnham Museum in 1994.
The death of E. G. Fear was announced in the Farnhamian dated April 1916:
“E. G. Fear of Windlesham, who joined up at the beginning of the war, and went through months of hard training, died in hospital of pneumonia on March 7th [sic].
“Those of his time will remember him a quiet, conscientious, uncomplaining boy, who took everything as ‘in the day’s work’. Certainly he manifested the same spirit in his training and the same patience in his last trying illness.”
Bombardier E. G. Fear was serving in 505, Royal Horse Artillery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his death as having taken place on 11 March 1916, and not as reported in the Farnhamian. He was aged 21. He is buried in the Windlesham Additional Burial Ground, and is commemorated on the on the School’s War Memorial.
E. G. Fear was the son of George and Alice Fear, of Philcroft, Updown Hill, Windlesham.
Chris Nelms shares this memory from 1973 and the BBC sitcom Casanova ‘73.
“This may not be Blunderbuss material [Oh yes it is! -
“My memory is hazy but in 1973 one of our peers had a father who worked for the BBC (can you remember who it was?). They needed schoolboy extras to appear in an episode of the BBC sitcom Casanova ’73. For some reason I think our physics teacher Stan Owen chose the group of about 10 or 12 of us who could take the day off school to attend the filming. As well as myself I can only specifically remember Mike Mehta in the group, and he’s the only one I identified on-
“On 18th July 1973 we went to Salesian College, Farnborough where a large BBC crew was assembled along with a catering trailer that seemed to hand out delicious food and drink all day long. We watched the filming of Leslie Phillips and Erik Chitty, played French cricket with the crew at lunchtime, and acted several non-
“The programme was broadcast as episode 4 in the series on 20th September 1973. Our scenes appeared as grainy black & white video on a CCTV screen in the story for just a few seconds. The series was never repeated, and I understand a second series was cancelled, owing to a campaign by Mary Whitehouse about its sexist content (Phillips’ character was a Lothario). I attach a scan of my BBC contract (note it was planned as Casanova ‘74 but clearly brought forward) and the relevant page from Radio Times. [We show this page but not the contract]
“I thought I would never see it again but was stunned the other day to discover that the whole series is available on DVD from Amazon and I ordered a copy even though I’m only interested in watching those few grainy seconds. Even if this doesn’t qualify for inclusion on Blunderbuss I would be very interested if anyone else can fill the gaps in my memory about that remarkable day.”
Further correspondence between Mike and Chris seems to confirm the filming actually took place at Farnborough Hill Girls’ School, perhaps just the place for Leslie Phillips’ character! Ding dong!
Hot off Mike’s Blackmail Archive is this brief clip from last year’s Combined Spring Party. For legal reasons we are unable to film Martin’s sleight of hand in the raffle. Click on the photo to view the clip (viewed best in Internet Explorer).
For those who’d like to see Geoff in action with some of his best gags, follow this link to a 9 minute clip from one of his shows.
Blunderbuss celebrates a swarm of birthdays this month.
John Commerford celebrated his 65th birthday on 11 January. To top that he attended Geoff’s recent comedy evening at Borelli’s where he was caught by our paparazzi photographer accompanied by Penny Bryant (1972-
This was closely followed by Mark Bravery celebrating his birthday in “The Antelope”, Surbiton, on the evening of the 15th. Also “captured” at the same event were former classmates John Clarke, Kevin Desmond, Mike Mehta, Dr Chris Wright and special guest appearance by Sarah Jackson.
Mike, Kevin, Chris, John and Mark celebrating at “The Antelope”
Sarah, Kevin, Chris, John and Mark celebrating at “The Antelope”
Next in line was Geoff Whiting’s birthday which fell on 19th January. He is pictured below at last Octobers’s Comedy International Conference, which doesn’t look very funny!
Bringing up the rear with January’s celebrations were John Clarke and Rupert Pullan who celebrated their birthdays on the 23rd. Remarkably they used to share not only the same birthday but were in the same class at FGS, until Rupert departed for Weymouth Grammar School at the end of the second year.
Congratulations to all!
We top and tail this year’s News page with further details of “Nick”.
November found Mike in Cambridge for a few days and he decided to called on “Nick”.
“I am pleased to report that he seems very sprightly for a man of 91. He tried to show me (without success!) an article he has got published on the Internet, although I believe it is titled “Basic Punting for Beginners”.
“He developed an interest in punts and all things punting, when he moved to Cambridge following his retirement from teaching at Farnham College, at the comparatively early age of 58.
Although Nick lives on his own, he says he is well-
Blunderbuss remembers him with affection and we send Nick our best wishes.”
Farnham College wins bid to build 14 new houses on the old tennis courts. You can read more in this article published in the Farnham Herald.
A previous planning application to develop this site was rejected by the Council. However, an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State overturned the Council’s decision following an appeal by the Guildford College Group. This means the application to build 14 homes with access from Firgrove Hill can now go ahead.
The site, which currently accommodates three tennis courts, a storage building and some scrubland, was purchased in 1957 specifically to provide additional sporting facilities for students of the former Farnham Grammar School.
Jon and Mike successfully completed their cross country run to raise funds for The Richard Cann Wildlife Foundation. This was set up by Kate Cann (formerly Kate Heathcote) who attended Farnham Sixth Form College at the same time we did, in memory of her son.
Mike reports that the weather was exceptionally kind and Jon and Mike completed the Watlington XC run, spurred on by the thought of a free pint for all finishers, at The Fat Fox, Watlington! The Chiltern Hills looked superb, there was a good turnout of runners. and Jon and I put in some pretty decent times. Running with Jon did bring back memories of school cross country running from more than 40 years ago! Jon and I were joined by Kate Cann (Heathcote) and husband Chris,
for a post-
According to Mike, the amount raised including Gift Aid to date, is £250. Well done Jon & Mike!
We regret to report that following the OGGS Reunion & AGM (24 September 2016) the Old Girls Association has bowed to the inevitable and voted to close the Association.
For the future, Blunderbuss plus the Old Farnhamians website and the OGGS Facebook site will be used for former members to keep in touch. The final letter to members of the Old Girls’ Association can be read here. A final OGGS newsletter has been produced and can be read here.