July 20th 1918

The Summer Term has ended in pell-mell fashion, with four days telescoped into one. This did not make it easy for Hum and his School House boarders:

“A ‘soaker’ for the whole afternoon of Sports Day; followed by a very showery carrying out of the programme, a few hours before the departure of the boys’ luggage, increased enormously the difficulties of packing, which are not mitigated by the habit of leaving boots and macintoshes, sun hats etc., in the field, pavilions, and even hedges, in spite of many exhortations to bring such things up in good time.”

Cecil Salkeld on the banks of the Cher.

As a result of the ‘soaker,’ our final day of term started with the Sports Day programme. In between the showers we completed all events except the Obstacle Race and, in spite of the bad conditions, Cecil Salkeld beat the school record with his Hop, Step and Jump, which was measured at 32 ft. 7 ins.

From Sports we moved on to Prize-giving. Numerous cups and prizes were presented and speeches made – including one of my own, which I will come back to another time.

Then it was time for the Concert, featuring a violin trio by Mendelsohn, a Beethoven piano solo, ‘And did those Feet‘ for solo and chorus (a new piece written by Parry) and numerous other musical items and recitations. It was all rounded off with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the singing of the School Song, which rather took our critic by surprise:

“Little boys can make a noise, a master knows it well; but never have I heard such a cry as that roof-raising yell!”

He went on to note that there is only one thing that you should expect at the OPS, and that is the unexpected.

“And so ends the Concert, which, on top of Sports and Prize-giving, you might think enough for one day. But is a Dragon tired or lacks he voice for more? Feed him with supper and he is ready for the House Smoker [‘Sing Song’].  Now beware the Skipper’s eye. The sword of Damocles hangs over you and sooner or later it will fall: for he has got you on the list and you will none of you be missed. Visitors, the ladies, servants, les fiancés, ‘salvete, ‘valete,’ all are called upon and none may refuse the summons.”

An important change to arrangements had to be made for the evening. In amongst all this excitement, around midday, six boys collapsed with the ‘flu’ (we had five cases about a fortnight ago).  Hum is to be credited with this successful move:

“A successful innovation in connection with the house supper was the adjournment to the School Hall (necessitated on this occasion by illness in the sickroom, above the Dining Hall) for the ‘Sing Song’ after supper. There was more air, more freedom, and certainly more talent displayed than on previous occasions.”

A full final day indeed, but what are the holidays for if not for some rest?


CHRISTMAS TERM will start on SEPTEMBER 20TH 1918


July 14th 1918

As we embark on the final week of the Summer Term (which ends on July 19th) and another school year draws to a close, there is much to record for the August edition of the ‘Draconian.’

The second half of the Summer Term, after the Scholarship Examinations are over, is very useful for work on English Literature and Composition. A good deal of poetry has been learnt – ‘The Lost Leader,’ part of ‘Locksley Hall,’ ‘On his blindness‘ and ‘The Massacre of Piedmont‘ by Milton, ‘If,’ ‘Amor Mundi,’ some passages and songs from Shakespeare, ‘Macaronics,’ etc., and we have done a good deal of English verse composition. Some of the ballads and sonnets and verses in various metres show promise and interest.

We will include some of them in the ‘Draconian,’ and to whet your appetite, here are two of them. Bobby Alford (one of our Winchester scholars) took the war as his theme:


"This is the fifth year of this blinkin' war,
And it will probably go on ten more,
  But I think all this country's simply daft.
  What is the use of goin' and gettin' strafed?

What does it help just to go out to France?
In those darned trenches you don't get a chance
  Of doin' anything, but like as not,
  Before you're out there a month, you're shot."

"Young Tommy you're a very foolish lad,
You needn't think that all this world's gone mad.
  Those fools of Germans have, I will allow,
  But that's the reason that you're fighting now.

Think what would happen if this murderous band
O'erran the earth and conquered every land!"
  "I never thought of it like that before,
  There must be some point then, in this darned war."

Cecil Salkeld (recently awarded a scholarship at Oundle), on the other hand, has constructed a capital sonnet, full of imagery:


Come! Come! Rejoice 'tis summer-time once more!
Once more, the burning sun doth parch the earth,
And nourisheth the flowers fresh from birth.
The alien swallow seeks his native shore:
Wise migrant! Learnéd in his bird-like lore.
Now is the hour of pleasure and of mirth:
Of juicy grape the vineyard hath no dearth:
The sunburnt land is better than before.
And Thou, who rulest all, alone, divine,
And sowest all Thy bounties here below,
Liken us now to this, Thy summer-time,
That we both fresh and fair in soul may grow,
And having lived our span, in perfect rhyme
From all our earthly woes may early go.

Below the VIth form, the boys have been learning Longfellow, and the recitations of Form II were exceedingly good.

The art of teaching boys to recite with directness and feeling is perhaps the most difficult and certainly one of the most important that the teacher has to aim at. Monotony, emphasis on wrong words, sing-song, indistinct utterance, slurring over syllables and connecting words, all these are common faults that a teacher must cure; then come the valuable additions of change of voice, variation in speed, signs of real feeling and (what one rarely gets) appropriate gesture.