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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Robin Fabel (Memories) - 1945 to 1950

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When I arrived in Farnborough where I had spent most of the war, the headmaster, B.J.A. Neill, placed me in the A stream of Form 2. Most of my fellow pupils had a year of Latin in Form 1. The Latin master, Mr. Grosch, was amazingly kind. He gave me private tuition after school until I caught up. Not then known as Nuncs, he liked to be called senex ipse (the old man himself).

Another effective teacher was the senior Mr. Thomas, deputy headmaster, who gave me a sound grounding in history (my future profession). I learned less from the junior Mr. Thomas, but then I had no gift for the P.E. that he taught.

I enjoyed five years of learning the fundamentals of English literature and style from Doc Naish.

Those postwar years were austere. I remember when the limit per week for sweets was two ounces, for eggs one, and one shilling’s worth of meat.

Important for many of us was the Army Cadet Force. The C.O. was Archie Maunder.

I joined at the age of twelve and like several of my comrades was not tall enough easily to do arms drill with the standard Lee Enfield rifle. Instead the armoury supplied short cavalry carbines. The dates stamped on them, 1900 and 1901 showed that they dated from the Boer War years. We were affiliated to the Hampshire Regiment, but then attached, for a time anyway, to the Parachute Regiment. I have a photo taken in 1950 showing ten of us FGS cadet NCOs. All of us are wearing the badge and flashes of the Paras.

Robin Fabel : July 2020

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