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   Obituary - Brian Norman


Brian R. Norman

House: Hawke & Staff
Years: 1935-1938 & 1949-1952

Webmaster received an e-mail from Dave Lichtenstein (DoY), who had received an e-mail on 23rd Nov 2009 from Giles Shaw (Nicholson 1950-4):

It has been reported to me this afternoon by Mike Norman that his father Brian passed away yesterday evening Sunday the 23rd November 2009 Aged 89.

His Funeral will be held at Caloundra on this Wednesday at 1500 hrs.

A note from Dave Lichtenstein:
I understand he was one of the first former Prince of Wales School pupils to become a teacher. However, like many of the former Duke of York School's early teachers who had taught at the Prince of Wales, he went to teacg at the Duke of Youk. He was my Chemistry teacher and the school hockey coach. On leaving the DoY he left for Rhodesia where he taught. He emigrated to Australia from Zimbabwe to join his sons (who incidentally were Old Yorkists).

Below is an extract from the DoY school magazine:
At the end of 1967 we have also said goodbye to another senior member of staff and an outstanding personality in Brian Norman. He came to this school after a tour on the staff of Nairobi School (then the Prince of Wales), of which he is also an Old Boy. A former Kenya hockey player, Brian was master-in-charge of hockey from his arrival in 1952. His keen and shrewd coaching raised the standard of school hockey remarkably quickly, with an early peak when the 1stXI reached the final of the Craig cup and won it in successive years. It is probably true to say that through the years the standard of school hockey has been the highest of all school games.

Professionally he was head of Chemistry, and a versatile scientist - often stepping into a breach to teach Biology or Health Science, and on occasions, Physics or Maths. He was a forthright disciplinarian, rigid with the lower forms but holding his sixth form with a direct friendliness.

As a colleague, Brian was a comforting man to have at one's elbow. In everything he showed a cheerful willingness to try, and a refusal to be daunted by the magnitude of any task. Essentially a practical man, with considerable farming experience, he took great interest the school grounds, believing firmly that to stand still was to start to slide back. Earlier generation will remember him as the architect of the second hockey pitch (there was a Baraza suggestion that the two pitches be called Saxons and Normans). In more recent times it was his energy and drive which were responsible for the new Ridge pitches and for a great deal of the spadework for the Golf Course. Over several years he acted as counsellor and manager of the school band - which often accompanied and complemented the school hockey team on tour. Behind the scenes his was in charge of the school stationery store, acted as Housemaster in emergency, cheerfully took over the labour of the school timetable on several occasions and acted as second master.

In a wider sphere he gave great service to young people in Kenya as Chairman of the Impala Club, where he showed the same leadership and constructive drive. Large numbers of Old Boys of this and Nairobi School will miss his enthusiasm and supreme optimism - as we shall here. And all will wish him and his wife and family good fortune in the future in Rhodesia.

Webmaster has trawled through Impala magazines, and found the following:

  • The Dec 1938 Impala magazine contain information that Brian left the Prince of Wales School in May 1938, and he was a School Prefect and Head of Hawke House. He attained his Cambridge School Certificate (1st Grade) and he was Vice-Captain of hockey, and a Lance Corporal in the OTC.
  • The Nov 1943 Impala magazine mentions that Brian was surveying in South Africa.
  • The July 1949 Impala has the following in the Staff Notes: We particularly welcome Mr. B.R. Norman as an Old Cambrian who left School in 1938 and is the first Old Boy to adopt teaching as a profession. He served with 5th Battalion K.A.R. in Abyssinia where he was wounded, and after taking a degree at Rhodes University was attached to the Veterinary Laboratory before transfer to the Education Department.
    In the Hawke House notes: We heartily welcome Mr. B R Norman. We consider it most appropriate that he, an Old Cambrian of Hawke House, should become an assistant housemaster in his old house. Moreover, his assistance in our rugger and sports training has been invaluable, and we wish him all success.
  • The July 1950 Impala - Brian is listed as Assistant Housemaster of Nicholson House, and in the house notes the following is written: We were more than lucky to secure Mr. Norman from the jealous clutches of Hawke and Rhodes successively, and we sincerely hope that he has come to stay. Meanwhile, Rhodes House notes contained the following: Mr. Norman was our assistant housemaster for the first term of the year, and we were extremely sorry to lose him, being particularly grateful for his very valuable coaching in hockey. Brian is also mentioned as being the Master in Charge of The Young Farmers' Club.
  • The Dec 1952 Impala Staff Notes make mention that Mr. B R Norman has now transferred to the Duke of York School.