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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Vic Wise (Memories) - 1953 to 1958

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After my early schooling at Crookham Primary School it came as something of a surprise to learn that I had passed the 11 plus exam. Living at Ewshot, getting to F.G.S. involved riding my old bike to Crookham Cross Roads, leaving it at the newsagents, catching the Traco bus to Aldershot and then another bus to Farnborough.

I seem to remember that life in 2B with “Nuncs” as a Form Master was pretty enjoyable with lots of new things to learn and experience. The next year wasn’t so good as we had the obnoxious Dr. Sewell and there was tension between us. My father had died when I was 7 years old and consequently I received school dinners at a discounted rate. When he collected the money every week Sewell could not resist making some snide remark about my circumstances as though I had the plague or some such. It did not take me long to realise that I was not destined for academia and so life in the 4th and 5th Forms was spent ensuring that I finished up with enough GCEs to allow me to leave and join the RAF as soon as possible. I went to RAF Halton, the RAF’s Technical College for Apprentices and spent the rest of my life in aircraft engineering. The JAB hauled me in for a careers interview and when I told him of my wish to join up he endeavoured to convince me that I should become a bank teller. As if !!!. When I left the RAF in1972 I emigrated to Brisbane Australia and have lived here ever since with no regrets whatever.

I have a few memories of teachers who made a difference to my life. Nuncs was certainly the most influential and I did covet the MG. He was a gentleman in the real sense of the word and must have had a beneficial influence on several generations of boys.

Science with “Jonah” and Mr. Rogers was OK and it did give one a chance to have puerile fantasies about “Toots” the lab. assistant. Mr. Jones’ Biology lessons were probably the only sex education most of us got.

In contrast to many of the memories that I have read here, I quite liked Jo Thomas and never had a problem with him. I can see that his butch ways would upset many sensitive intellectuals but in public schools and the armed forces it was called “character building”. I still have a love of history so some of that is probably down to him.

My French has never been good, then or now, but Charlie Sweet was another teacher that I remember well. He had his off days, sure, but I don’t think I suffered his “sideburn elevation” very often.

In the English department I liked Baz Jowett and Doc. Naish and time spent in the library was always pleasant. Like most of you I read all the Biggles books and those of Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling.

By some coincidence, Tom Pascoe was well acquainted with my maternal grandfather, who had been a Master Carpenter at the RAE and used to hand carve aircraft propellers. When I handed in my pathetic wood working efforts to Tom, for marking, he would just look at them and say ‘Your grandfather would turn in his grave”.

Most of my memories about the rest of the staff have only been resurrected by what I have read here and you have to wonder how some of them would have survived in a modern school especially the Beeb.

Some of you, from my years, may remember that for the last 18 months or so at school I used to meet a girl from A.C.H.S. who lived just round the corner from school. We would chat under the oak tree next to the dairy and then I would rush to catch the last bus to Aldershot. We married in 1965 and 46 years and two fantastic children later we are still having fun.

I came to this site as a result of the round robin email sent out by Paul Lamont and I have to say that I have spent hours reading all the details here. Many would say “poor sad old B****s living in their past” but let’s face it F.G.S. was a major influence on our lives, good or bad, and the future is forged in the past.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Dave Field and Dick Stroud, from my years. I would appreciate a tip off.

Vic Wise : May 2011

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