He was is known to most of us as "Sam," and his full name sounds strange to us. Perhaps this is the measure of our affection for him. He never
was "official" and he never d "talked big"' He loved the simple things of life and, instead of pining, as many do, for larger tasks and wider
opportunities, he made sure that the job he had was well done. Luxury and wealth were never his, but who was richer than he in the perfect
love of wife and child and the affectionate appreciation of all he worked and lived with?
It was in November that Mr. Battell, anxious as always for the safety of the School, left his house during a particularly noisy evening. Bombs
seemed to be falling near, and he wanted to see if the school premises were safe unfortunately, one fell just outside his house as he stood by the
door, and had no chance of saving himself .How desperately His constant cheerfulness and unfaltering energy had made him so secure in all
our hearts and everyone of us felt we had losta friend.
Perhaps these lines, borrowed from an unknown.author, sum up our thoughts of him:-

'He was fallible and human,
Therefore loved and understood
By his fellow man and woman,
Both the good and not-so-gobd;
Kept his spirit undeminished,
Neverlet down on a friend,
Played the game till it was finished,
Lived a sportsman till the end.'

For twelve years Mr. Battell had served the School in different capacities, but his last year as Bandmaster probably gave him the deepest joy,
and the Band readily responded to his enthusiasm. But whether it was at work or at play, at football or cricket, he was always the same, a
whole-hearted, unselfish leader.
To Mrs. Battell and to David we offer sympathy in the hope that the knowledge they have of his place in our hearts will in some measure help
to sustain them in their cruel loss
March 1941

Roll out the barrel, we'll have a ..." With alight heart I whistled the popular tune as I casually wandered down the stairs from my bedroom,
content in the knowledge that another night's patrol was over, quite a peaceful night, tool
Well, where was everyone? My whistling now at an end, the building seemed strangely silent and deserted. I wondered what was wrong. For a
moment I thought perhaps after all I was still asleep and this was part of a dream, but
how could it be? I did not go to bed When my patrol Was finished.! Hastening my step, I passed along the passage, glancing as I went by into
the pantries and Mr. Woodhouse's and Matron's offices; they were all empty, as was the sorting-room a little further down. Something must be
wrong At last, reaching the back door, I went outside, where I was; immediately hailed by an exited voice crying, "Come on, don't hang around
the building is not Safe Pulling myself together from this nasty shock, I queried, "Why, what's wrong?'' Back came "Haven’t you heard?"
There's an unexploded bomb as big as this (at his juncture, my informant, who probably had angling 'experiences, tried to stretch his arms to the
required length, 'but failing completely, paced out so many steps from the wall, repeating as he did so the words 'as this'), and it's just over there
in the field,
(Other people's bombs are always much bigger than ones own particular bomb—ED.)
Wow!!! With a bound I was soon following my friend to the safety of the trenches
Well, this wasexciting, possibly the most thrilling moment in our lives since the war began. But with that phlegmatic imperturbability so
characteristic of our race, we were not unduly disturbed, in fact I have a shrewd suspicion there were several bright spirits who welcomed this
very sensitive visitor as a pleasant diversion from shop-life; after all, we did get two days' holiday on its account.
At last the expert came along and rendered it harmless, but though for nearly two days we had more than enough trouble almost on our door-step,
we shall all remember with pride that, precarious as our position had been, no One panicked.
Not a front-page story, maybe, but because of what happened our confidence to overcome even sterner difficulties is much strengthened, and
will ultimately help toward the .nation's goal—VICTORY!!!

Since the above article was written have learned that the expert mentioned has been awarded The George Cross by His Majesty the King. Our
warmest congratulations go to the brave gentleman and with them our sincerest wishes for his continued safely in his hazardous work.

S. E. C.
March 1941


WAR has spread its cruel fangs everywhere, even to the secluded spot of Goldings, but we still enjoy the festivity of Christmas.
On Monday morning in Christmas week, on the lips of numerous boys was the word "Leave." So off they trooped to various railway and bus
In the afternoon those boys who were less fortunate were entertained by Mr. Huntley, a conjurer from Hertford. He started the programme off
by doing a few tricks which made the boys' eyes open, and then finished the programme with ventriloquism. On the Tuesday before Christmas
Day we had leave down to> Hertford, when I think most boys went to the pictures.
Wednesday, 25th December, was the day everyone was looking forward to. In the morning we had a Church Service, which was very short.
Then came dinner, which consisted of baked potatoes, brussels sprouts, pork and stuffing; for second course we had Christmas pudding and
custard, and the people of Hertford were very kind and gave us a shilling each. In the afternoon we had pictures in the Gymnasium, the picture
being "Submarine Patrol."
On Boxing Day we had another film called ' 'What would you do chums?" Friday morning we entered shops. In the afternoon we were treated
to the County Cinema to see "Margaret and George." Saturday we carried out our usual routine.
We were glad to see many Old Boys down here at Christmas-time.
March 1941

War-time Goldings
IT is said that the memory is a wonderful thing, the human camera, and registering machine, confirmed by the fact that I can see and hear
anything I wish, just as if time had stopped and I was still at Goldings.
My arrival with six other boys on 18th January, 1939, was the start of nearly three years 'sentence' which terminated on l0th September, 1941.
Stamped number 36, Somerset House, I joined the 'spare boys' brigade. The 'spare boy' system meant that a boy had to wait for a vacancy in his
chosen trade, or possibly he could not make up his mind immediately, so instead of wasting time waiting around he was kept occupied doing
odd jobs.
It was obvious that on joining the Kitchen Department, my circumstances became such —much to my regret _that I could not take part in
School activities, such as sport and study. We really had to work hard and did not receive training and teaching like the other boys enjoyed.
The chef was interested in his staff, but obviously had no time to spare showing boys the know-how. There were no books for study, no trade
examinations, no certificates given, but even so it was all good basic training.
Rose and Murray were two head boys I remember —Murray lost a finger on the bread machine, which was a handicap for a while. I enjoyed
the swimming sessions with chef, who was also responsible for the making ready of the pool each session. Considering the difficult period the
food was very good, there were the gifts of molasses and venison meat to the School, all very much appreciated, and contrary to the popular
belief, kitchen boys did not have more than the others! You just do not feel like eating more when you work amongst pots and pans. Some boys
just could not understand why a certain head boy could not sell them a slice of the famous bread pudding, it just was not available.
The trenches were a well-done job, there was room for everybody. After one all night session we woke up to hear the sad and unbelievable news
that Mr. Battel had been killed while on duty. The School went to the funeral of this fine master. Never again could we have that 'hidden safely
in the country' feeling as we had done before this tragic incident. The only seaside holiday I had came to a sudden end when the Governor told
the School that owing to the international situation, we would be obliged to return to Goldings sooner than arranged. Soon after war broke out.
Gas masks were issued and tedious but necessary exercises became the routine, and of course everyone took his gas mask when leaving for a
The Saturday afternoon outing from 2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. or 6 p.m. was too short to see a cinema programme through. To walk to Hertford and
back took time, and there was constant clock-watching for fear of being late. There was no regular bus service. I felt that tea and supper could
have been arranged as one meal to give an extra hour's outing.
The shoe-cleaning hut (attached to the left of the big recreation hut) gave one food for thought. There was one brush for approximately fifteen
boys. Some brushes were hidden, some shoes were cleaned with pieces of wood or cloth, yet we were expected to present ourselves on parade
in perfect order. I suggested to a master that each house have its own shoe-cleaning kit! A small detail perhaps, but it helped to make up a routine.
Pocket money. I had 2s. 2d. for my last week. The periodical rise was 3d. every six months. I think boys would have appreciated the opportunity
of earning extra pocket money in some way or other.
I deplored the lack of certain kinds of advice I was expecting, especially from the Governor. There was the occasional 'how are you keeping boy?',
but no words of advice. Later when I was staying at Stepney, several old Goldings boys told me the contact was not close enough between staff
and boys.
I remember Oxley, of Buxton I believe, who had been in sick bay for a long time, he was always very pale and liked making model aeroplanes.
I am afraid he lost a gallant battle, his House went to his funeral service.
I remember Robert Bell and Ronald Parry (Somerset), also Mercer who was School Captain followed by Baker and 'Dusty' Miller. There was
another School Captain who won first place in an all England gymnastic competition, but I forget his name.
Some of the staff I remember were: The Rev. F. Macdonald, Governor; Mr. Maslin; Mr. Chandler; Mr. Patch, P.T. Instructor; Mr. Whitbread;
Mr. Jones, Wash-house Master; Miss Roe; Mr. White; Mr. Tempest; Mr. Millar. Other members of the staff I well remember but their names I
have forgotten, but when I see the staff list in THE GOLDONIAN today, I think a committee should be set up as soon as possible to consider
giving a few gold medals for 'long and faithful service to Goldings'. The School teams of football and cricket did well in those days.
Mr. Woodhouse, Executive Officer (ex-R.N. officer) was in charge. One fine boy player went to a county cricket team for a trial; another boy
became a professional footballer, but I forget their names.
I can hardly believe that it is almost twenty years since I left the School, yet I wonder if Mr. Maslin remembers the lesson he taught me? I was
asked, as a spare boy, to take the post wallet to the local post office, as was the custom. This was a confidential job, but deciding that I wanted to
do something else I handed over my job to another boy who did what I asked. Later I was called to the office to be told by Mr. Maslin 'never to
confide my job to another without first doing or trying to do it myself. A lesson indeed, which has always stood me in good stead. I expected a
good telling off, instead I received a quiet smile, tact, and patience. This gentleman has understanding, and with all his modesty is bound to
disagree with the writer!
I ask as an old boy, to be forgiven for any criticism made of my period with the School, certain things are not even mentioned because I realize
the war-time difficulties. My article is written with full respect and thanks to the School authorities, not forgetting the guiding hand from
Stepney, H.Q., who did their best for the boys through the period of life when everything and everyone changes, and things are completely upside
Would it be fair—I ask myself—to ask the present generation to appreciate the period as I lived it at Goldings?
Each period does and always will bring its own difficulties and problems. Most of the boys of my time must have done their war-time National
Service; many, I imagine, did not come through unscathed; careers were broken up;
chances won and lost; and so one could keep on.
It has pleased me indeed, to say the least, to read of the improvements and changes made at the School, to make the boys' lives contented, and
satisfying during their stay, and so make them ready to face life outside ... I do wish I was a student at Goldings today! Need I say more?
I have reproduced this article from George with very few minor alterations and if the English is not quite 'Queen's' in place s, I am sure both
George and I will be forgiven, as he has lived in Belgium for many years, and I have honoured his letter in which he asks that 'the Editor will
print it as I (George) have written it'.


PTE. W. ANDERSON came to Goldings to spend his leave, and has now written "from the middle of one of the great oceans" to thank the
Governor for making "his last leave in England" so very pleasant, and sends his good wishes to the boys. He had shore leave during the voyage,
and found it good fun riding in rickshaws.
A. ADAMS, 74 Nortan Road, Stotfold, Beds., is getting on nicely with his bootmaking, and says his friend Thompson is working nearby.
PTE. G. H. BARNES, 1st Batt. Herts. Regt., is still ministering to officers' interiors, but is longing for the time when there will be, an Old Boys'
reunion at Goldings.
GNR. U. BECK, R.A.F., is expecting to go overseas, and says that wherever he may bo ho will always keep the name of W.B.T.S., Goldings, at
the top.
D, BROWN, 38 The Crescent, I'Yicni Harriet, N.n, has joined the A.T.C.
L/SGT. R. BARTER was very pleased lo have a copy of THE GOLPONIAN again, and thinks it looks more appealing in its new lay-out. It was
grand reading the events that had been .taking place at the School. He scuds his gralelul thanks to the Ladies' Working Party for the things they
have sent him, hut regrets that news is scarce.
DRIVER E. G. BRAN got away from Dunkirk and then had five months in hospital. Since then he has been involved in serious accidents, due to
enemy action, and we are sorry to learn that he has had a nervous breakdown, which has retarded his Army promotion.
REG. BROOKS, Trecarn, 89 Spencer Road, Bedford, has worked at Letchworth and Luton, but is now at Bedford, where he is getting on all right,
but would prefer to be at his trade of printing.
H. BRYANT, in the R.A.M.C., has his photo in the June issue of The Guild Messenger. He says he is still getting on O.K. in his training, and has
passed his test as a Nursing Orderly.
A,C.I. J. S. CARR, R.A.F., left Goldings in 7940 and went to Slough as a printer. He is now in the Air Force Police, and has written from Africa,
where he met Les. Stretton (Cairns), who is also in the Air Force.
PTE. J. N. DRING (Bootmaker) is in the Black Watch. He says that when he was in jolly old Goldings he had a supreme time, which he will
never forget as long as he lives. The staff and shop-masters were very good and considerate.
THOMAS EASON, Rosa, Mowbray Avenue, Byfleet, Surrey, is working with Hecton, Valentine, Guest, and Hirst. As he was out for a walk at
Kingston during his Christmas holiday he met Blaver.
N. HARRIS, 19 Willis Road, Kentish Town, N.W.5, likes his wrork very much. He has joined the A.T.C., and although it takes up all his spare
time, he enjoys it, and also likes the boxing and football.
PTE. A JORDAN recently spent his leave at Goldings. He looked very fit and is tall and happy.
DEREK LUTMAN, s.s. Loch Ranza, c/o G.P.O., London, left Goldings two years ago. He considers himself fortunate in not having seen much
enemy action.
TONY MEDLEY, 31 Crawley Road, Witing, Oxon. is doing more difficult work now, but feels that he is doing more towards the war effort
than before.
SIDNEY J. MARCHANT, c/o Mrs. Rickens, Broms Grove Place, Faring-don, Berks. He met with an accident and has been in hospital. He was
married at Christmastime and is staying on at above address until repairs have been carried out in the house which he hopes to make his home.
RONALD SMITH, 19 Willis Road, Kentish Town, N.W. 5, has joined the Home Guard. His happy memories are the good times he had at
DONALD SMITH, 3 Hawley Road, Camden Town, N.W. i, has joined the A.T.C. and also does fire-watching.
PTE. E. STILGOE is on overseas service. During the voyage the troops had a few days' shore leave, when they went sight-seeing and indulged
in sun-bathing. The residents were extremely kind to them and provided them with unlimited supplies of tea, milk, sugar, chocolates, tobacco
and cigarettes.
(Oh, so that's where they are, is it? ED.)
12 Bourne End Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Herts., is pleased that he is not far from his mother and was able to go home
for Christmas. He is getting on fine at his work and is earning "good money".
WILLIAM TAYLOR, Printing Dept., Epsom College, Surrey, is getting on well at his job and with Macdonald and Skelton.
June 1942

Page Compiled November April 2019

All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

War-time Stories from

The Goldonian