Old Cambrian Society

  OC Society
  OC Alumni
  OC News
  Events Diary
  Register Here
  Impala Project
  Where are they?
  Contact us

   John Walsh


John Walsh

House: Rhodes
Year: 1940-1946

I was in Rhodes House, and "Pansy" James was our Housemaster - I never knew his first name. "Bush" Forrest was the acting Headmaster during my last year, standing in for Mr. Astley (too frightening a man to have a nick-name - I received many a caning from him and am no doubt the better for it!). Our Head of House was, I think, Nicholas Swan from Eldoret - part of the family of Swan Maximus, Swan Major, Swan Minor and Swan Minimus (Nicholas, James, Peter, and Solomon).

Rhodes was "cock house" for, I seem to recall, 3 of the 4 years I was there. I wonder if the beautiful silver cockerel which graced the cock house table at their victory feast (served by the prefects - great stuff!) is still at the school? (Note from Webmaster: Yes, I believe it is still competed for at the School. In the 1970s it was presented to the House gaining the best O-level results)

I left PoW with my Cambridge School Certificate, went to England and joined the army. I was in the second intake (1A) into RMA Sandhurst after it reverted from being an OCTU (Officer Cadet Training Unit for temporary officers) back to its status as the training academy for regular officers. After commissioning, I was posted to Egypt and then, six months later, re-posted to Kenya. I resigned my commission and happily took up civilian life in various capacities until the Mau Mau uprising, when I was called into the Kenya Police Reserve and served in Nyeri and vicinity until I quit and went to Tanganyika. I worked with the British East Africa Corporation until my marriage to a teacher there, directly after which we left for England and Canada. I have been there ever since, having a great career as an insurance broker in Winnipeg, Manitoba retiring to Nanaimo on the West Coast 3 years ago (2000).

I was in the 1st XV School Rugby Team during my last year at PoW and was a sergeant in the OTC there. After I left the army and before I went to Tanganyika, I played for the Kenya Harlequins Rugby Team, and for a while, whilst I was in Dar-es-Salaam, I played on their 1st XV. My sports interests in Canada changed to squash and raquetball, and I'm still pretty much 100% athletically fit, I'm glad to say.

I was born in Mombasa and brought up in Limuru for the first nine years of my life, after which I lived in Tanganyika until I went to England. I am still fluent in Swahili, as it was, in effect, my first language, and have occasion to enjoy using it once in a blue moon when I happen to meet a fellow East African.

From an e-mail to Webmaster (who attended Nairobi Primary in his youth) on 2nd Jan 2004:
I was at the Nairobi Primary, too, with classrooms located beneath the "Heifer Boma" up at the end of Delamere Avenue. We boarded in wooden dormitories across from the Girls' School. I well remember the Australian Blue Gums lining the hill up to the school.

(Registered - 1st October 2003, updated 2nd January 2004)

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