Old School Friends memories drifted back to the study corridor of St Martins in the late 1950’s
A flame is dancing across the burning embers in the fire place, the damp and cold autumn day is coming to a close, being overtaken by the darkness of the evening.
Sitting either side of the fire sitting in splendid wing backed chairs, two Old Dovorians are staring into the fire, being drawn into its magic. Their minds are drifting back to a time that only seemed like yesterday.
Their friendship stretches back in time, in fact over 63 years, as they are watching the flames perform their special dance, they start to talk, with affection about their time at Dover College and in particular St Martins House, which was their sanctuary, which saw them start their journey at the College as they grow into young men.
Both Roger Kagan and Geoff Hoddinott (both M57 – 62) looked at each other, and it was not long before they were discussing and reminiscing , It wasn’t long before Roger said “do you remember when we shared a study together next to the Head of House, we had our own Coat of Arms on the Door which read “Feminae Et Machinae” Also it had G. L. Hoddinott Esq and R. L. Kagan “Gent” Their Domicile. Please wipe your feet on entering. It would be appreciated if horses were left OUTSIDE.
It was when we were one of the first to go to Lycée Jason de Sailly Paris 16 under the program instituted by the Headmaster (Petersen), who by the time we were Study Boys, had gone on to be Vice Chancellor of Oxford.
I think “Mon” was interim Head in 1958, aka Major Allon Ewart, who was in the “Seaforth Highlanders” in First World War and was called up again in the Second World War, as he was 2nd Master, as well as being head of Sciences (Chemistry), a lovely man, whose wife had “Scottish Dancing Evenings” every week, and very improperly by today’s standards ensured each attendee, 6th form only attended, a “wee dram” at the end of every session.
That too was in the days of the upper 6th Form and School prefect common room, behind Leamington where a firkin of bitter was available only for us exalted gentlemen
Geoff replied from his position to the right of the fire place, the fire was getting low now, when just then he got up an placed another log onto the fire, watching as the flames started to engulf the freshly placed log on the fire, as a result the flames once again started to weave its magic once more.
It was at this point that Geoff continued his train of thought, saying yes it defiantly encouraged one to stick to the rules knowing that certain rewards were also on offer! The same thing as getting to know the kitchen ladies in St Martins, who could be relied upon for cold fried bread which could be shoved into a toaster, finished off with baked beans which was heated on the gas ring in the boiler room, Ah yes, Roger replied.
Roger do you remember the famous raid? Wow yes, I do, I was not part of the original raid that some members of the College carried out on Duke’s, I also remember that Duke of York’s boys carried out a reprisal raid on the College? I seem to recall that CSM Halsey had a spat with the RSM at Duke’s.
Do you also remember the petition which was signed by over 100 Dover College pupils – I was one I seem to remember, asking the Commandant of Duke’s to reconsider the expulsion of Ronald “Jack” Hobbs the Head Boy at Dukes as a result of the raid on the College, which unfortunately was not successful I recall.
However, I do remember that rugby matches were tough, we were certainly better than them at Cross Country, sailing and I think Athletics. I recall a Sgt Rainbow of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) in a tripartite consisting of Dover College, Duke of York’s Royal Military School and the garrison of the Durham Light Infantry at Farthingloe, the garrison were tough squaddies but we did them in the mile….
By now the fire had once again diminished with the remaining embers glowing and starting to fade, which brought these lifelong friends once again back to their present-day thoughts.