Old Cambrian Society
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   Staff Nicknames of the 30s 40s, 50s, 60s


Staff Nicknames of the 1930s, '40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s

 This list started with contributions by Roy Ashworth, Christopher Collier-Wright, and Brian McIntosh.   Antony Williamson supplied several more, as did Ron Bullock, Roger Goodwill, Alan Westcob, Jerry Sirley, Alastair Campbell, Paul Taylor, Roger Bond, Wayne Job, Colin Dyack, John Heppes, Ewart Walker, James Storrar, David Cresswell, Gordon Bell, Angus McDonald, Charles Milner-Williams, Patrick French and John Wyber.  In addition, anecdotes about the Staff have been reproduced from the website alumni biographies of John Walsh, Robert Stocker, Ellis Hughes and Stanley Bleazard.  Other nicknames, comments, and anecdotes are welcome – including those from the families of former Staff members. They should be sent to the Webmaster.

           Fritz Goldsmith                                                        Amoeba Walker 


 Proper Name, Subject Taught, and Duties

Foibles/Reason for Nickname


Mrs. A.D. Ridley, English

Agatha may or may not have been her actual name..... Hugh Cowie recalls that to the staff she was known as Nan. Very British, prim, and refined. Imagine her challenge in teaching English to stubborn Afrikaaners.



Lawrence Victor Walker, Maths.

Strikingly diminutive both in size and weight.  He and his fellow maths specialist, the Headmaster Philip Fletcher, were leading tenor and bass (respectively) in the chapel choir.  Father of two lovely daughters, Heather and Elizabeth.  The latter, now Elizabeth Scoble-Hodgins, writes: “I was very amused to see the cartoon drawing of my Dad (Amoeba) on the website.  Dad was always aware of his nickname and amused by it.   At his previous school in Barbados he had been called Strings, so I can't imagine how thin he must have been then.”  


Mr. Lamont, French.


Follicly challenged; a teller of memorable jokes; and a writer and collector of poetry.   Though also known for his irascibility, Baldy sought to disseminate wisdom with his bumper sticker, Better 5 minutes late in this world than 20 years early in the next.  Mr. Lamont’s published poems were officially deemed to be ahead of their time. 


J.B.E. Say, Geography

Large, laid-back bloke. Coached the school 2nd XV rugby team.  Very keen on sailing; said that a good sailor can tell wind direction by the back of his neck.  Also keen on field trips, which he conducted in a Peugeot pickup, purchased from G. Campagnola and Co., builder of the Chapel.  Was scurrilously rumoured to be romantically involved with a member of the Headmaster’s Office staff.


C.J. Lockhart, Music, band, chapel choir, choral society.

Easy-going and dedicated like Mr. Holland of “Opus” fame.  His second love, meteorology, often vied for place with music in class.  He had to “beg, borrow or steal” instruments for the brass band, which played so impressively that the Duko equivalent was then allocated funds in order to achieve a similar standard.   He had great musical versatility, could play Elvis songs in Mozartian style, and was a published song-writer.   On more than one occasion he was known to attract headmasterly wrath by playing the chapel organ in inappropriate style when he thought no one was around.  And, indeed, the advent of Mr Wigmore ushered in an era of musical performances which were anathema to Jake.   Messers Palestrina, Bach and Handel found themselves competing with Gilbert & Sullivan.  Bertie’s two bonny lasses, Zena and Sandra, had many an ardent admirer.


Commander W. Wright, Maths.  Housemaster, Nicholson

A likeable and much respected master of Royal Naval provenance.   His beautiful daughter Judy was often to be seen on the touchline at games as Nicholson’s “mascot”.


Commander L.H.T. Hollebone, Mathematics

Ex-Royal Navy. During World War II he was attached to HMS Vernon, the anti-mine warfare establishment. Left Princo to work at Pembroke House, where he taught maths, science and sailing.

Bull Norman Larby Presumably ascribable to his solid appearance


Mr. Norman,  


Named after his artificial eye.


Bernard A. Astley

Headmaster,   1937-45


Bernard Astley acquired this nickname soon after he first arrived at the co-educational Nairobi European School in 1929.   The handsome young mustachioed bachelor made quite an impression on some of the girls there.   A couple of them flirtatiously enquired what B.A. stood for.   “Burbling Archibald, of course,” he replied – and the die was cast.
A strict disciplinarian who hated smokers, Burbly had a quick temper and used the cane liberally.  A frightening man to many, he was also dubbed ‘The Lord High Executioner.’  (By comparison, Flakey Fletcher seemed not strict enough when he took over as Headmaster from Burbly in 1945.)  A story is told, however, by Robert ‘Stooge’ Stocker (Hawke/Nicholson, 1941-46) of one boy who stood up to Burbly in a dramatic way:
"We had a huge guy at the School called Bill Hindley.  The Headmaster sent for him to give him the cane for something he said he hadn’t done. Bill refused to bend over, and Burbly lost his reasoning and attacked Bill with his cane.  As I have already mentioned he had a very quick temper. All Bill did was to get hold of him and sit him in his chair until Bush (Forest) came in to see what all the commotion was.  Bill Hindley became Head of School - I expect that nobody could boss him about." 


Jack Forrest, Mathematics

Vice Principal, CCF

Was Acting Principal during the transition of Headmasters from Bernard Astley to Philip Fletcher in 1945.  (Had a son known as Bushbaby.)  Energetically recruited for the CCF in order to earn the rank of a Lt. Colonel for CCF purposes and the Governor’s visit on Speech Day  (see Ron Bullock’s pictures in Other/General Photos under Speech Day 1953).
Moved to the UK and later retired to South Africa.
Passed away in 1976.


Canon M.G. Capon, School Chaplain.   Latin and Religious Knowledge (R.K.)
Housemaster, Intermediate

Also known as Minus.  Rode an ancient Raleigh bicycle with a basket attached.  A former missionary, he was said to have worked on the translation of the Scriptures into Agikuyu.   His fair daughter Jean was one of several staff daughters who made roaring sales of poppies to the boys on Poppy Day.
Martin Capon was also known by a Swahili nickname, bunduki, determined by his ecclesiastical rank as a canon of Mombasa Cathedral.   This word means gun and may be taken to include a cannon.


D. McCallum, Maths

Although his classes could be chaotic, none of his pupils got less than a credit in School Cert.  


Mr. Duff


A very small but well-proportioned man, who spoke very quietly, never shouted, never sent anyone to the Head for caning, but had total control.   No one ever fooled around in his class.   Not surprising, perhaps, as he was a former Australian fighter pilot, trained in Canada who once mentioned he had been part of the fighter escort for 'Enola Gay'. 

He taught us that you don’t have to be aggressive to maintain discipline and get your message across. 





D.S. Gammie, English Literature.

Also known as ‘Beer Barrel.’  Old Scottish roué who managed to be a fine English Literature teacher in spite of his fondness for a wee dram and in spite of the occasional morning-after hangover and nap in class.  After an epic drinking session one evening in town with PE instructor Johnny Riddell, Dougall crashed his car on the way back to school and suffered double or triple vision for a month or so thereafter.  On another occasion (no booze involved), while crossing the Quad he narrowly escaped being shot by a bullet from a home made gun accidentally discharged by some lads in Clive.
  In class, Dougall could produce a dry wit – such as his wicked, simpering parody of the little cottage girl’s lines in Wordsworth’s annoying poem, “We are Seven”.  (For other anecdotes, see the alumni contribution of Ron Bullock, Scott, 1948-53; and for the recounting of yet another classic Dougall episode, see the caption accompanying 'Dougall Gammie’s Class 1953' in ‘Other/General Photos’ by Jitze Couperus, Hawke, 1954-60.) 


Mr. Knight, (subject ?), Rhodes Housemaster.


Mutu fupi (short bloke).  Was able ambidextrously to mirror-write anything you dictated: standing in front of a black board with a piece of chalk in each hand, he started writing with both hands together, and moved outwards, with the left hand mirroring the right.

Fido Rev. Peter R. Davies

Chaplain, R.E.

Known as "Fido" on account of his ecclesiastical dog collar.  (Webmaster, Steve LeFeuvre writes on 31st July 2005: "Fido was still teaching at the school when I left after A-levels in 1975. I still keep in contact with him and his wife Tiggy (living in west Wales), as they were great friends of my family).



Philip Fletcher, Headmaster, 1945-1959.



Our very own “Mr. Chips.”   An eccentric, all-seeing, all-knowing Headmaster with a distinctive cackling laugh (‘heh, heh, heh’) that sounded a bit evil to some.   Also known as Pink Percy for his florid complexion, and, in a matey way, as Jake for such endearing habits as using a tie or a bit of rope for a belt during Tuesday working parties.  Like Burbly (Bernard Astley) before him, he was a disciplinarian whose cane was feared.  As described by one old boy, Mr. Fletcher in his flowing academic gown seemed like an avenging angel when he swept down on someone he wanted to collar.   But he was also an understanding, compassionate man with a good sense of humour who identified more with the boys than with the other Staff.  A confirmed bachelor, and a man of deep personal faith, Mr. Fletcher devoted himself with amazing energy to promoting the welfare of school and students.  He liked to take walks around the compound late at night, as many a returning truant or midnight smoker found out the hard way.  His memory for boys’ names, dates, and houses was legendary, as was his sex education talk.  We feared his wrath, but we knew he was always on our side.  A remarkable man and a great Headmaster, Philip Fletcher is remembered by hundreds of Old Cambrians with respect, admiration, and affection.                                      

 Flash Bill McCormick, English

Bill owed his nickname to his very neat appearance, immaculate grooming, straight row of differently coloured biro clips topping his breast pocket and shiny gilt tie clip, sometimes with a little chain to secure the tie to the shirt.    He was also renowned for the quality of his photography, his 1968 photo of the quad being particularly fine.


F.H. Goldsmith, Vice-Principal, European History, Government, Swimming, Life Saving - Bronze Medallion.

Nicholson housemaster.

Prussian-like appearance and precise manner.   Took early morning knees-up jogs on the top pitches.  He was noted for a variety of mannerisms, mostly having to do with rippling his fingers through his matador-style hair, flicking his matching moustache with thumb and middle finger, and saying, “Y’see” repeatedly while teaching.  A very conscientious Vice-Principal, he operated from an office under the clock tower.  Also called Goldie.

Fuhrer Dr. A. Roggenkamper


Dr. Roggenkamper (nobody ever knew how to spell his name) taught Latin and detention, and he lived in one of the staff houses. He was of Austrian or German extraction and spoke with a fairly impenetrable accent. He loathed boeties with a passion - which was reciprocated in spades.  Besides Fuhrer, his nicknames included other German military terms, and he referred to us as "Der Monkeys".   He rode a motor scooter and side car in the latter of which was stowed a heavy log to provide ballast for cornering.  The lads contrived to remove it on several occasions with the inevitable heart stopping but side splitting moments.

Galloping Tapeworm

C. Hurst, Maths, Tuck Shop.  Also known as Charlie.

Tall and thin with a pronounced regional accent and a tendency to charge around the classroom when incensed by student misbehaviour.   He had a specially-made bat which he used to mete out discipline.  He called it Horace and the person spanked with it had to sign it afterwards.  When Horace was completely covered with signatures, he had the woodwork master make him another one which he called Horace 2. 

Ginger Cyril Gledhill

David S. Hogge, English

Rhodes Assistant Housemaster

A handsome young teacher with blond hair and a Sundance Kid mustache, Mr. Hog joined the school in 1957 from South Africa.  Sometimes, after evening prep, he’d cadge a Crown Bird from the prefects in Rhodes when he ran out of fags.  He’d throw open the study door, stand as though holding two six shooters, and pretend to stage a holdup.  Another recollection is that of Hog, being newly married, advising us with a blush to “git ‘em yung, treet ‘em ruff, ‘n’ till thum nuthin!” 


C.F. Burton, French, Rhodes Housemaster, School rugby.

A demanding but effective teacher who ran a tight ship by taking no nonsense from anyone.  Hard to please, hence the nickname.  His wife, Ma Burton, who also taught and who was more fun in class, had her share of adolescent admirers.

Happy Jack

J. Heathcote, Science

A very jovial science teacher.   He used to give a long, low whistle while facing the blackboard and then turn around with a cheesy grin on his face.  Some of us could not tell whether this smile was friendly or sinister.


R.W. Walmesley, Geography

Frustrated, constant teeth grinding at our antics in class raised prominent muscles where his jaws were hinged.   Rode an ancient upright bicycle to school, but took his senior class on field trips in his veteran green Bedford van.

Jolly Olly

Oliver C. Wigmore,

Headmaster 1960-66   Maths

A WWII fighter pilot, Jolly Olly was also known as Carry on from his predictable command after school assembly or flag parade.  Coming from Berkhamsted School in England to take over as Head from Philip Fletcher in 1960, Jolly Olly was himself succeeded by “Tinribs”, G.E. Ironside in 1966.


J.R. Riddell, Physical Education

Lord of the gymnasium, he was somewhat feared for assigning pushups on the spot for hands-in-pockets, and for his method of settling fitinas between boys by issuing them with boxing gloves and ordering them slog it out. Ewart Walker (Nicholson 1951-55) writes, "Does any one remember Johnny Riddel's sawn off cricket bat which he called Oscar and which he used liberally on cheeky PE boys or those who were late for PE?  I certainly felt Oscar on my backside on a few occasions!" Johnny was often to be seen of an evening or weekend propping up the Long Bar at the New Stanley Hotel, where his favourite tipple was a Tusker Lager baridi sana.   He and English teacher Dougal Gammie were known to be drinking partners, though whether this somewhat unlikely couple discussed the odes of Keats or gymnastic techniques is not recorded.


Mr. Clark

This Swahili nickname, meaning parrot, was determined by perceived facial resemblance to the bird in question.   He is thought to have later become a provincial education officer.


A. K. Fyfe, Chemistry

Housemaster, Clive

Commanding Officer, CCF

Rugby XV Coach 

An all-rounder who provided excellent service to the school over many years.   He retained some of his native Yorkshire dialect, “He’s a good lad, is Beattie.”   Besides coaching the 1st XV at rugger, he frequently refereed matches between the Harlequins and Nondescripts (Nondies).   His wife, Esme, was at one time a ballet dancer. 


A.G.A. Larthe de Langladure, French

Absence of any known nickname might testify to an enigmatic nature and mysterious background.    His occasional references to broadcasting experience in wartime French West Africa, and visits to the West Indies and Fernando Po hint at deuxieme bureau activity, as did his recording of miscreants’ names in a secret name book.   (Known to later generations at the POW and subsequently at Peterhouse, South Africa, as Archy, probably on account of his first name.)  Of more obvious attraction to us was his daughter Stephanie, a stimulating sight at Saturday break-time when she visited her mother, the bursar’s clerk.     

Liver Sausage

Major W.J.H. Liversidge,
Geography, CCF and Old Cambrian Notes for
The Impala

Other nicknames included Pull-Through, Long Drop, and Twiga, on account of his tall, skinny build and the fact that he was Officer Commanding the CCF. Perceived by some as frosty and caustic.  Left the school for some years in the 1950s to work as a civil servant in the Colonial Secretariat, and then returned.  Whilst at the school he presented the South African news on Cable and Wireless. Retired to Abingdon, England. Passed away 1993.


Colonel E.A. Loftus, English

Also known as East African Lunatic (after his initials). Taught English, and did it well, with particular attention to clause analysis.  Indeed, he called himself a grammarian and had written books on grammar as well as on the history of Kenya.   His pet aversion was student flatulence. The offender was admonished: “Out, you lout. Get out. You are a lout. Get out.” Hence the nickname. He had an alarm clock on his desk which was regularly set by prankish schoolboys to go off during class.  

He commanded a battalion of yeomanry at Gallipoli in World War I and was well into his seventies when he taught at Princo. He later moved to Zambia to teach, and retired at the age of 96. He is acknowledged in The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest known schoolteacher anywhere, ever.

Ma Bulldog

Mrs Armstrong-Moran

School Sanatorium Matron

So called for her pendulous jowls.  She was a large, overweight lady, the very soul of kindness, and famous for her mangling of Kiswahili - “Mathaiga, hapana standing there fanyaing nothing; get on with yako’s kazi” - as an admonishment to the orderly who liked to talk politics with the patients.

Ma ‘J’

Mrs Jessop,

Catering Matron of Hawke-Grigg

Ma J. had a recipe for ice cream using sour milk; sounds disgusting, but actually it tasted very, very good and was eagerly sought after.  On the down side, she never accepted that the porridge at breakfast could have been burned, despite its smell and taste. She would eat some to ‘prove’ that we were wrong!  Ma J. ran her domain with a fist of iron and a heart of gold.  She loved her boys and would do anything to ensure that they enjoyed the best she could provide.  Had blazing rows with Jake whenever the Education Department proposed a cut in her food budget.  She always won the day.

Missing Link

J.A. Seldon, Biology.

Dedicated to biology, but had endearingly eccentric ways.  On his nature rambles, a popular means of escaping class confines, Link was oblivious to our inattention and pranks.   He was also a talented painter. (See Other/General Photos, Biology Class, 1961.) Link was noted for his superhuman ability to draw a diagram of a cell on the board and then write the labels on it with both hands, different words simultaneously. He was known as Missing Link because of his gangly, stooping gait.


E. Atkinson, History.   Housemaster, Hawke.  

His Swahili nickname was more obscure than most of the others: it means tortoise and stemmed from his stammer and, hence, slow delivery.   His alternative nickname, Const-st-st-st-it-ut-ion corroborates this.   He used to lose his cool very easily, but was a very kind-hearted guy.   His step-daughters Valentine and Juliet Fazan were much admired around the compound, where they were coached by Mrs. Betty Salmon.   They in their turn were said to reciprocate the chaps’ attentions, and indeed Val eventually married an Old Cambrian, Hugh Clarke.

Major Atkinson's nickname was given resonance by the fact that he invariably wore a pith helmet (topi) which, of course, was shaped like a tortoise shell. A variation of his nickname was mzee kobe, reflecting his advanced years.


A.J. Phillips, History   Housemaster, Intermediate and Hawke

Resembled Russian politician Malenkov, whom we in our boyish ignorance confused with Molotov.  A rugby fanatic (did he play for Wales?)   Once, during Mau Mau, he was demonstrating in class – at our prompting - his ability to strip and reassemble his small automatic pistol when Jake walked in.

His 3 lessons of European history per week to 5 Arts were characterized by the inclusion of extra-curricular material, particularly discussion of rugby and squash.

Mooney Ray Barton
Later Headmaster, Nairobi Primary


Rev McCulloch, Chaplain


An instance of a Swahili nickname being determined by professional or confessional status, mungu being the Swahili for God.


E.M. Cobb, English.   Housemaster, Scott

Munya is the Swahili word for maize cob.   He secured the few mementoes of the Scott Antarctic expedition which hung (or hang) on the common room wall.   He was fiercely competitive in academic matters and was the donor of the Carthusian Shield.


(Does anyone recall his nickname?)


Peter Newling,        Maths A demanding teacher who often resorted to suddenly and accurately pelting inattentive students with chalk.  He was also wont to push the sharp point of his over-sized compass threateningly towards anyone who was slow to answer his pointed and tricky math questions, often forcing us off the seat as we madly tried to compile the correct answer. As a mathematician and a senior member of the Magic Circle, he amazed us and even made money by winning bets in bars using his extremely good grasp of mathematical odds.  I remember a futile exercise (at which he excelled, that he conducted alongside the main road where he challenged us to remember as many licence plate numbers as  possible in the order of the passing cars. His pretty daughter (Penny, I think), a day student at the Boma, was "postman" for the many letters labelled SWALK that travelled each week between us lovelorn boys at PoWS and the girls at the Boma.  The Newlings lived in the house nearest the main entrance to the school on Kabete road.
Nyoka EHC Luckham

Modern languages

His unflattering Swahili nickname signifying snake stemmed from his tendency to report on errant boys for such misdemeanours as smoking
Pangloss James F. Clarke, Maths

The literary cognoscente of 6 Arts believed that his manner was similar to that of Doctor Pangloss, the great optimist in Voltaire's "Candide" (one of the titles for English Literature A Levels).

Pansy Potter

A.G. Potter, French.

Assistant Housemaster, Intermediate

Alan Potter was named PANSY after the character in ‘Dandy’.  He was an affable, popular young Scottish teacher, the sort you could tell a joke to. (The prefects in Intermediate would tell him a joke, just to get him giggling, right before he had to lead evening prayers at the end of prep.)    He once hitchhiked to Mombasa with some guys from school and they all slept on the floor of a derelict room at Mac’s Inn.  In the middle of the night he had to be rescued from the bog, standing on the seat, pantless, trying to shoo away a cobra!   A former British Army squash champion, and a tennis winner at Parklands Sports Club, Pansy was attending OCs functions until 2001, but passed away on 15th August 2005 - see his Obituary page

Pansy James

R.H. James   Housemaster, Rhodes

After leaving Princo (well before the other Pansy joined the staff), he had a short period as Headmaster of Nairobi Primary and later became the popular first Headmaster of the Duke of York School.   He retired to Cape Town where his wife Lesley is still going strong.

Panya Jack O’Neill Pearson Can anyone suggest why Mr Pearson was accorded this unflattering Swahili nickname meaning “Rat”?

Peg Leg

Noel A. Horley, English, R.K.

Although powerful in his upper body, and with a massive head, Peg Leg wore braces as the result of having had polio. He taught in Australia before joining Princo.  An Elder of the Kirk in Nairobi, he taught metaphysics in the guise of English and/or Latin.  Could be stern and harshly sarcastic in class in the early fifties; mellowed considerably by decade’s end – the result, we surmised, of an epiphany of sorts.

Peg leg

D. Spencer, French

Named after his artificial leg.   He was one of several masters who took a turn at reading the local news at the nearby Cable & Wireless station.   He proceeded to the Duke of York and is still alive in the U.K., aged 93.


P.C. Reid, History

Housemaster, Junior

His nickname stemmed from his unfortunate initials.   He used to call the Scots a 'bloody band of cattle thieves'.  He was somewhat cynical and made cracks that were often above our heads.  One of them was about the mediaeval three-field system 'which had more strips than the West End'.  


C.M. Taylor, Physics

His nickname reputedly stemmed from his Irish pronunciation of food.   He is believed to have proceeded to be Director of the East African Meteorological Department.


Mrs Poppleton, Dormitory Matron, Junior House  1945-59

Cheerful, kind, patient and understanding, Poppy is remembered as a warm mother-figure by many who were once new, homesick young boys in Junior House.  She later became housekeeper at the Headmaster’s house.


D.W.A. Minette, French

Housemaster, Junior

Minette is the diminutive French term for a kitten, hence the nickname. Pussy had long eyebrow hair, teased to points like a waxed military mustache.  He got mad at the inevitable ‘miaows’ that were uttered just outside his door, and he once threw a wag out of class who, when asked to translate the French word, piste, declared that it meant to be drunk.




W.R. Salmon, Maths   Hawke Housemaster

The salmon not being native to East African waters, Mr. Read Salmon was known by the generic Swahili term for a fish, samaki.  Hailing from British Columbia, he had a laid back Canadian manner.   His calm style of maths teaching made the subject comprehensible to those not gifted mathematically.  A former pilot, he used navigational illustrations on the black board to facilitate our understanding of mathematical principles.  He claimed that in Canada all teachers had to be able to do a modest ski jump, but he could only succeed in falling off the end!  A good laugh, but probably told just to be self-deprecating and amuse us. Rumour had it that the drive to his house had to be widened to accommodate his North American-sized automobile – a 1956 Chevy, known as the Fish Tank
(See photo with son, Peter Salmon, and other OCs in “Reunion Photos, Vancouver/Alaska 2004”)

Shag Mr A.V. Hatfield
English master   c 1940-1944

Housemaster of Junior and later Clive

(John Cook Hawke/Nicholson 1941-5 recalls):
        He was always known to us pupils as "Shag" based entirely on his love of a constantly tobacco filled pipe. Of course he didn't smoke it during periods but was often seen wandering out onto the front lawn to take a few puffs between classes.
         I also seem to recall he was an assistant house master at one of the main block houses - Rhodes, Hawke, Clive as occasionally I used to meet with him in his quarters after dinner to continue my pursuit of English literature.

Sketch Map

R.S. Earl, Geography

Intermediate Housemaster

A regular newsreader on Cable & Wireless, Here is the news, read by David Earl, Sketch Map achieved a very high success rate among School Cert geographers.   Also known as Prune on account of the lines on his forhead.  An habitual wisecracker, “At one point our class did a social experiment where we decided to laugh at every joke.  The number increased greatly - up to 33 in one lesson.  After that we all steadfastly refused to laugh for a whole lesson and he only made three.” 


K. Maudsley, Latin and History.   Assistant and Acting Housemaster, Hawke

A scholarly, very British fellow, self-effacing and modest.  Because we had a flair for unflattering nicknames, he was known to us as 'Slobbergob' for his somewhat wide mouth.  Imagine our surprise when he gave our Latin class a blow-by-blow account of the Battle of Arnhem.  He was there as a paratrooper!   Recently deceased. See the Obituaries page.


N.R.M. Chadwick, History, Latin.   Scott Housemaster, Plays, CCF.

So-called for having a large proboscis, a long neck, and a prominent Adam’s apple.  Other nicknames like Stalkey and Shellshock arose from his nervous, rapid, back-and-forth pacing when talking – best described as peripatetic – that was blamed on traumatic experiences as a WWII Tank Corps Commander.  A fine teacher and a very competitive housemaster, Storky intervened on more than one occasion to pre-empt headmasterly expulsion of a miscreant by delivering summary 6-12 strokes with his own cane.  He brought the house down at an OC reunion in London in 1965 when he described seeing Samaki attempt to catch up with Fritz as the latter sped across the Quad.


Stewart, Physics

Origin of nickname, Swish, remains obscure.  Also known as Sparky.   Hard of hearing, which lent itself to cruel tricks: “Can I borrow your wife, sir?”  “What did you say?”  “I said, can I borrow your knife, sir?”  And worse – as when we used to pitch our voices high and then low and watch him fiddling with the controls of his hearing aid.


Mr. Taberner,


Does anyone recall his nickname?  (He left around 1954.)   Taberner sang like Richard Tauber - with the same repertoire too: Franz Lehar stuff, and gems like “On the road to Mandalay”.  He was a lovely guy, a great English teacher, who claimed he was the only person who could teach us grammar; thanks to him, many of us can still remember how to parse a sentence. He would say in class, “If you’re good, I’ll sing to you.” And he did! 


E.J. Boase, Latin and Cricket

Housemaster of Clive 1948-51

Revered as a Latin master and as a veritable encyclopedia on Cricket, a game which he loved with passion.  He was passionate about the ancient world and used to describe Hannibal's battles when introducing a new Latin declension.  Taught Latin at Nairobi Primary before joining the PoW in 1948.  Tragically, he died suddenly in Greece on his way home on leave in 1962.  A much admired and respected man.  His daughters, Corinna and Lynette, both “Honorary Old Cambrians”, were day girls at local girls schools . Lynette (LC Msongari) says that she was very popular amongst the other girls as she could "courier" letters and notes between the girls and PoW boys on a daily basis.  


G.E. Ironside, Headmaster, 1966-68

Succeeded Mr. Wigmore in 1966 and was succeeded in turn as Headmaster by Mr. F.W. Dollimore in 1968.

Toad Nigel J. Brown, English & History

Housemaster of Clive 1967-70

+ former pupil (Nicholson 1952-7)

His nickname, bestowed because some saw an amphibious resemblance, was sometimes rendered in Kiswahili as "Churra".  Nigel J. Brown (not to be confused with R. Nigel Brown of Grigg) attended the Prince of Wales as a boy in Nicholson House (1952-7), and returned to join the staff in 1966.  He taught at the school until 1970.

The 1957 Impala reveals that Nigel played the important role of Captain Stanhope in the World War 1 play “Journey’s End”.  His fondness for treading the boards persisted during his time at Cambridge where he took part in several plays.


M.T. Saville, English, Latin.   Edited The Impala; selected book prizes

Tall, elegantly dressed, with elegant tapered trousers and long cut jackets.   Prided himself on his italic style of handwriting.   Rather languid approach; would have liked to be an Oxford don of the Brideshead Revisited era.   He directed school plays with distinction, achieved through empathy with and encouragement of his novice actors.


H.E. Watson, Science

Not jovial like Happy Jack!  Rumour had it he made his own shoe polish and toothpaste. Taught Chemistry, and was famous for his parsimonious allocation of chemicals, causing one wag to paraphrase Keats’ ‘Oh for a beaker, full of the warm south, / Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, / With beaded bubbles winking at the brim’ thus: ‘Oh for a beaker with a little of the warm south/ And a small quantity of the true, the blushful Hippocrene/ With one beaded bubble, winking at the brim.’

Willie Mac

W. Macgregor, Physics.   Housemaster of Grigg, 1954-59

Had a bad time as a POW under the Japs in Burma, and lost much of the use of one arm as a result.  Moved to Hong Kong in 1960.   Although appearing to lack humour, he was in reality kind and fond of his Grigg boys and would even give attention to Hawke boys while on dining room duty.

Wishy-Washy W.N. Cheadle

Housemaster of Clive, 1944-8

“Come here, you wishy-washy boy,” was what he was fond of saying.

 (Does anyone have more details about this teacher – subject, other duties, other anecdotes?)


Captain E.L. Barnett, Woodwork, metalwork and Technical Drawing.  

Housemaster of Scott and Grigg

A most agreeable man, but very quiet, probably through shyness.   He was also a fine artist, having many good paintings to his credit.

His nickname stemmed from a habit of muttering unintelligibly through his moustache in a rather soft voice.

Taught at Prince of Wales 1952-65 and retired to New Zealand.