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   Roger Norminton


Roger Norminton

House: Nicholson
Years: 1959-1963

Memories of School:
Most of my memories of the School are of things that I shouldn't have done, as against those that I should have !

I particularly remember the occasion that Ray Tugwell and I had some fairly substantial bets that we could get to Mombasa and back over Independence weekend in 1963. There was a complete block on exeats for security ,the only exceptions being those who had family in Nairobi. I had an Aunt who lived in Karen, and to my eternal shame I forged a letter from her to the school to obtain leave passes for Ray and myself.

We slipped out of the school at 5am. on the Saturday and hitched a lift to the Machakos turnoff on the Mombasa Road. We had to wait for several hours at the turnoff before an Englishman en route to SA stopped and picked us up, he took us right through to Mombasa. When we got there Ray discovered that he had left his haversack by the Machakos turnoff. The only concern this caused was that Ray had borrowed a School Blazer from another student, and would have to find the money to replace it. We spent the day in Mombasa collecting the various pieces of evidence required under the terms of the bet; a signed and dated copy of the menu from the "Cosy CAfe", some sand and seaweed from Nyali etc.

We spent the evening hanging around various salubrious watering holes such as the infamous "Star Bar" and eventually bumped into an acquaintance whose parents were away up country, and he put us up for the night. We were back on the road at first light and quickly got a lift as far as Ameriakani. From then on it was all downhill - we waited on the road for six hours, and only one vehicle passed us going north, and that didn't stop ! The upshot of all this was that we had to put our tails between our legs, walk back to my family home in Nyali to confess all.

It was then we discovered that Ray's haversack had been picked up by a passer by and taken to Machakos police station - a nationwide hunt was launched, with army patrols down the Athi River, police on full alert etc. Eventually we got the train back to Nairobi and were rewarded with eight strokes of the cane for Ray and ten for me (I forged the letter) from Olly Wigmore (a great guy).

As a postscript, Olly asked me if I thought I could "keep my nose clean" for the rest of the term, and if so he would make me a prefect in the subsequent term. Believe it or not he kept his word !

I believe Ray Tugwell went to New Zealand and became a lumberjack, but sadly I lost contact after leaving the PoW.

After School:
Worked for Smith McKenzie in Mombasa until 1964. Spent a year in France, then to London, in the wine trade for 20 odd years with Grants of St.James's, Nicholsons, G&J Greenalls with whom I travelled worldwide. Now a publican & restaurateur in Surrey @ "The Stepping Stones", Westhumble, Dorking, Surrey.

Still in contact with a few ex PoWS ; Tim Clarke, Mike McFarlane (now in Perth) etc.

(Registered - 6th June 2003)

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