Old Uffingtonians Association (1994)

   Willesden County Grammar School                         Ex-Pupils 1924-1967                    


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Wartime Memories - David Tame

These are some of my reminiscences of my time at the school from September 1942 to Easter 1944:-

I originally took my 11 plus entrance exam at Harrow Weald County School on Brookshill Road.  Due to our proximity to Bentley Priory some of our school buildings were taken over by the Air Ministry in July 1939.  For almost 18 months our senior school education ranged from nil to a few hours weekly and we were shunted from school to school.

Due to the small number of places available at both Harrow Weald and Harrow County School and the fact that alphabetically I was at the end of the list, only Kilburn Grammar and Willesden County were on offer.  Willesden was chosen as being the nearest to attend.  I used to catch the 8.30 steam train from Harrow & Wealdstone.  The return journey was the 4.30pm from Willesden Junction.  Girls from the Jesus & Mary used to travel with us and US troops who were fellow travellers gave us packets of gum and dextrose sweets.  One GI remarked on my cricket bat.  Have you ever tried to explain cricket to an American!

Walking to school was quite a drag especially during air raids but we collected pieces of shrapnel from the pavements and gutters.  One friend who used to meet us was Alex Fell from Belton Road.

Our school dinners were taken from the British Restaurant lower down Furness Road at the Junior School.  Ugh!

My first teacher was Miss Hastings and our form room was the Art Room.  I remember one very talented pupil called Messenger who drew a fairy castle something like the one at Disneyland and I sometimes wonder if he became a commercial artist.

My brother was a Royal Marine who was wounded in Italy and on hearing that he was safe I swung my satchel in the air and caught Michael Mummery with a glancing blow on his shoulder.  This resulted in an entry in the Black Book of 1943.  Mr. Southam made me write 250 lines "I must abstain from hooligan behaviour".  I was allowed to write with one of his pens and "Quink Ink".  That has such an evocative smell unlike "Stephens"!  My mother was a church organist and I was allowed to chose a hymn for the end of term.  We used to listen to the Manchester Childrens' Choir singing things like "Nymphs and Shepherds" - early top ten perhaps.

In wartime sports clothing was almost unobtainable and I fixed studs into ordinary black boots for hockey and football.  Tilly Edgell our sports mistress used to wear a divided skirt and battledress top and pupils enjoyed the luxury of a shower something they never had at home.

David Tame
(aka Maurice David Tame)