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   Philip Udall


Philip Udall

House: Clive
Year: 1950-1955

I reached the ghastly age of 70 this week and to my surprise had a call out of the blue from a friend, who is also an Old Cambrian, telling me of the OCS web site. I have today had an opportunity to skim through the site, and like someone else mentioned, I have "wallowed in nostalgia". I will of course spend much more time on the web site when the family allow me time and after all the parties planned for this weekend.

Since leaving School:
  • National service with the Regiment No 6350 (1956)
  • B.Sc. - St. Andrews University 1962
  • Married 1965
  • Two Sons
  • Had to divorce 1989 (regretfully)
  • Retired (willingly)
  • Remarried 2005 (thankfully)
  • ...... and this week waking up as a 'Mzee' (apprehensively)

    My time at the PoW certainly were the 'best years of my life'!!

    Jottings about the Prince of Wales

    I was in Clive House but entered the school in Junior House of which I remember little apart from people like Mike Riegels (Nicholson House) and Grimshaw. A little more comes to mind about Intermediate House like the strident call every morning of the rain bird in the lofty trees outside. Then there was the Housemaster - “Pussy” Minette - and his wife who was matron. I recall Peter Hernon as a quiet lad who secretly practiced the elements of Ju Jitsu to his benefit.

    In Clive 'Pukka', life was worth living. This is where I majored in Athletics and would slip out of the ‘dorm’ at 6 am each morning to train on the fields, tip-toeing past the prefects study where Bob Kauffman and Royce Buckle were also training - doing body building with ‘Charles Atlas’. Ken Fyfe as Housemaster lived in the flat below the dorms with his wife and young son, Mark. Latterly we had Hugh Cowie as Head of House (1953) and later in 1955, J.S.K. (George) Kaps of whom I had the highest regard. A great friend was with me in the Prefects study - Gray Randall - a comrade who followed me right through the school (and then on into the Kenya Regiment,) which prompts the memory of 'Bush' Forest as the officer in charge of the school C.C.F. and His wife who taught French if I am right? There were the iconic masters who are well remembered and highlighted elsewhere like Old Flaky Fletcher, Bill Liversidge (Twiga - or sometimes ‘Pull through’), ‘Stalky’ Chadwick, Jimmy Ridell, Baldy Lamont, Mike Saville - to whom I owe a great deal - and Teddy Boase who actually got me to enjoy Latin. At 6.30 each evening we stood to attention and faced the flag as a bugler played retreat. As silver bugler I was often called upon to scramble out of my bath, don decent clothes and sound the retreat. The bugle band marched each Saturday into the Quad for formal assembly - played General Salute as the flag was broken, then led the march off parade. Lead Drummer and Right Marker was my pal Gray - I cannot recall who was Drum Major, but he was always expected to drop the mace as we marched out of the quad, I don’t think he ever did.

    Bertie Lockhart instituted the school Brass band, and I endeavoured to play the trombone, but judiciously gave up when I lost my place as lead Trombone to Tom Goodwin, only to return to being Silver Bugler. The Bugle was presented to the school by Roger Whittaker’s Family who lived on a small coffee farm across the other side of the valley from the school. That valley was where I would go to practice the trombone. It was ‘out of bounds’ but the only place I could find where my practicing did no harm: I was once spotted slipping out of bounds by Flaky Fletcher who suspected I was nipping out for an illegal fag, so he crept up only to find me desperately trying to play “Abide with Me” on the trombone. We did laugh together.

    There were strict rules governing the riding of bicycles, motorbikes and of course cars on the school compound, but there seemed to be nothing in the rules about riding horses, thus it was one Saturday Dawn Welton - Gray’s heart-throb, and Val Osmond - my heart-throb, arrived on horseback to watch Gray playing cricket against the visiting Duke of York school’s eleven. Val and I tested the school rules that day, and tested them well. I can remember well the day ‘Horace’ Peak beat me - but only just - to set a school record for the half mile event. I had my revenge when I beat him and set a new record for the mile. Records did not stand for long in those days; it was the time when Roger Bannister et al were breaking world records, it was at this time that I was entered by the school to run the mile at the Railway Open Sports Meeting in Nairobi. I was pitted against two boys from The Alliance Boys School, and two athletes from the British Army (the Emergency was in full swing then). They forgot they were 6,000 feet above sea level and posed no problem to me, but I was nearly lapped by an aspiring new lad in the sport who later turned out to be Kip Keino!! Another great friend of mine was Mike Riegels who excelled in athletics at school, winning sprint events with a style that I can best describe as being like running in flip-flops. He went on to win his athletics blue at Oxford and won with this weird style much to the surprise of the commentator on the World Service of the BBC that day. (Mike - forgive me, but it was a joy for us all). 'Jinks' Hiles was also one of our sprinters, but he and I did not keep our pact to meet on the international athletics field later on. He went to Sandhurst and I went to St. Andrew’s University where I excelled in Hockey, thanks to the hockey I played for the combined schools of Kenya .

    (Registered - 17th January 2008)

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