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   Alan Beadle


Alan Beadle

House: Junior/Hawke
Years: 1961-1963

I started in Sept 1961 but was only aged 11 (rather than the more usual 12-13yrs old). This was because my father was in the RAF and was posted to Kenya (Eastleigh). The RAF base school wasn't considered suitable for me (I had passed the "Murray House" exam - equivalent to the 11+ exam at the time) so I was offered a day place at PoW. It was somewhat of a culture shock and being 1-2 years younger than the rest, a special 'catch up class' for some subjects - eg Latin, French, - was formed for about half a dozen of us in similar circumstances.

I was put into Hawke House (Juniors) and tried to get to grips with the new academic subjects - and the phenomenal amount of sports - none of which I excelled at unfortunately! Two years age difference at that age was rather significant and I sorry to say I suffered some bullying - from other Forces children in the main however.

Looking back, it was really the last 6 months or so of my time there that I to enjoyed the school, but nevertherless, it had a tremendous impact on me - not least for giving me a much broader view of life and other people's lifestyles!

I left in the summer of 1963 to return to the North East of England where I attended a local Grammar School, and after leaving there, I trained as a Cartographer which I worked at until 1984. I then decided to change direction totally and went to University to train as a Careers Adviser. As well as undertaking guidance and advice for young people in the area, I also became involved in Marketing and arranging Careers Exhibitions. Latterly I was managing the local 'Connexions' centre (the Careers Service became known as Connexions approx four years ago) and I have just taken early retirement.

A few memories include waiting on the field in front of the school for the RAF 'gari' to arrive and blank mortar shells falling not too far away! I was also at the school when the first black Kenyans were allowed to attend - which I'm sorry to say didn't go down well with all pupils. I also remember the golf course being built whilst I was there and the Motor Club acquiring two new Ford Taunus cars. The Mikado was put on in the school hall (with a straw roof?? - or is my memory and imagination getting mixed up?). Mr Wigmore was the Headmaster at the time and I always remember him being very fair and even handed. I'm struggling to remember the names of staff there - there was an elderly (to us) and sweet lady who taught History - she had apparently come out to Nairobi when - or shortly after - the railway was built. A Mr McClelland-Simm who taught Art - and a new R.E. teacher who was 6'7" tall and a keen cricketer. Also I think a Mr Saville who had a Labradour that used to sit in his red Hillman Sunbeam convertable in the fine weather. I was also there when the Saturday morning lessons were extended from 4 periods (11.30 finish) to 6 periods (1.00pm finish) - devastating to a very young day pupil!

As you can see, Steve, very vague memories of specifics but obviously a long and lasting impression of my time there - I'm really grateful to my parents for making me stick with it (although I didn't appreciate it at the time!). When I returned to the U.K. I was amazed by the narrow views and interests of the pupils in the Grammar school after having experienced such a diverse group of pupils and staff at PoW - however all the swimming I did in Kenya ensured me a place straight away on the school swimming team where I won several trophies etc. over the next few years. The Latin never really stuck!

Note from Webmaster:
Alan made a pilgrimage back to the School in July 2006. You can see his photos by clicking here

(Registered - 16th Sept 2006)

If anyone wishes to contact Alan, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details