New arrivals from Scotland
It was my ‘pick up’ day and I went into my Senior Boys’ school secretary’s office to collect those visits which had to be done. The school building was old Victorian, gloomy & forbidding from the outside but inside clean, friendly and warm.
The boys (and I always thought of them as ‘my boys’) were a mixture of races who shared a disciplined and caring friendliness. They were chatty but never cheeky to me, and this friendly approach was extended to any visitor to their school, whatever their business. Without being asked these boys would go up to any stranger wandering lost within the building and, after asking who it was the visitor had come to see, would escort them to their destination. Now, if this sounds normal for a school in England then just remember that most of these boys only a year or so previously, were living in Bombay, Calcutta or even on the plains of the Punjab. Quite simply they were maintaining the traditions of courtesy and public service for which the school had been noted for over many generations.
As I walked through the musty smelling hall that cleaning never seemed to sweeten any, I was greeted as an old friend by the lads changing classes. I boast that every lad in the school knew me. It was all smiles and cries of,
Merchant Navy First Trip aged 16 years (circa 1943/44)44)