Memorial to the fallen – an Old Boy remembers

I visited Nigel Tomsett and his wife Ann at Ford yesterday. They were away when my letter hit the Chichester Observer. Fortunately, his brother noticed it.  Nigel is a spritely ninety-four and has now lost his full sight. Whilst at school he lived with his parents in Level Mere Lane at Fontwell catching a bus each day to school and left in 1939 so his memory is a little vague re his School years.  He picked out only four on the ‘The Fallen’ list and therefore any useful information gathered is limited.

He remembers disliking Headmaster Doctor Bishop but thought the appearance of his daughter to teach made a refreshing change! Not surprisingly his other dislike was prefects probably because he was summoned to ‘court’ and sentenced to three of the best. Furthermore, on the corporal punishment theme, he was convinced that ‘Monkey’ Watson twisted the cane after each stroke to obtain maximum pain. No loss of memory here then!

His Form photograph shows a youthful Geoffrey Barnard and some of ‘The Fallen’ including K D Quick (Form Master) and two other ‘probables’, A G Steer and D M  James.  He also mentioned that (Sir) John Herbecq has been in his form at some time.

During the war, Roger was rejected by the Army due to poor eyesight and took up a reserved occupation assembling aircraft parts in a factory at Mitcham.

Unsurprisingly, he is appalled that the old Kingsham Road School is coming down.  I reminded him that the original school precinct was enormous so there was ample land to construct the new school buildings.  This did not temper his disgust.  He thought the original main school would always remain fit for purpose!

Back to ‘The Fallen’. Tracking down Lance has been a little tricky.  He is on the School’s ‘ Roll of Honour’ board but not on the Chichester or Bognor Regis War Memorials. I casually mentioned this to Roger who stated “We found him. He is on the board in Middleton-on-Sea Church”. My brother Alan lives within half a mile so I despatched him to check and he came back with a positive answer. There is a saying “Every little help’s”.

Roger’s parting words were “If I think of anything else I will give you a ring”.  With added refreshment, this was a most pleasant meeting.

Colin Snook

August 2017