Soham Grammarians : Messages & Requests

To request an entry on this page, or to reply, please contact the editor, Frank Haslam.

ongoing: To help narrow down the search please let the editor know the first names of the following members of staff: Miss KM Blake - Mrs PM Nield - Miss IM Pawley - Mrs BM Wilkes.

10 Sep 2010 Clair Titley writes: I work for a social history documentary company called Testimony Films, currently working on a documentary for Channel Five about the work of Sir Nicholas Winton and the Czech Kindertransport. If you are not familiar with the story, he helped to rescue over 600 children from Czechoslovakia in 1939, by bringing them to Britain. The British government required a sponsor for each child.

One of these children is recorded as having been at Soham Grammar School:
Harry Singer (born 8th Oct '27), sponsored by Mr Borman or R Hoffman so they may have gone by either of those surnames.

I wondered if you had such an ex-pupil in your archive or address book and whether you knew of their current whereabouts. It would be great to make contact with them if they are still around and would be a great piece of the school history to explore also.

If you do have any information that may help - even in a small way, I would be most grateful! [Editor: using the Search page, Harry took part in some productions and got his School Cert].

7 Feb 2006 Richard Bailey writes: I have been researching some family history for my Mother and I suddenly remembered that my late Father was a pupil at Soham Grammar School. I have no records of his time with you and it would be fantastic if you could help in any way.

My father was Cecil Sidney Bailey and was born in 1910, therefore I imagine he was a pupil in the early 1920s. He did not speak about his formative years very much, as he came from a humble background and I think, won a scholarship to the school. I can remember him saying that he used to wear second hand clothes and was a source of amusement to some of the pupils. He lived in Downfields, Soham and was a Sunday School Teacher at St. Andrews before joining Bobbies the chemist in the High Street. He also formed a dance band in Soham. They played in the village and many surrounding areas with great success apparently. His claim to fame was to accompany the silent films on his violin at the village cinema, which coincidentally was owned by my Great Grand Father.

14 Feb 2005 Carol Trigger is the great grandaughter of William Mould, Headmaster 1885-1914. She would very much like to contact Mrs D Green or Mrs Green's family, about Mrs Green's reminiscence in Scrapbook - please contact the Editor if you can help.

11 Oct 03 John Kisby (1943) at the 2003 Reunion noted the 'odd' badge (top) when looking at the order of service for the 28th July 1972 Commemoration Service. He says that the SGS badge was the arms of the County of Cambridgeshire. When Cambridgeshire County Council amalgamated with the Isle of Ely County Council they created the Sapientes Simus version. It all changed again when Huntingdonshire was added. He hopes someone can help with the heraldry!

[22 Oct 02 Notice anything different? The top badge which the website carried until today, came from the front of the Order of Service, St Andrew's Church Soham for the last day of Soham Grammar School, 28th July 1972. The one below is the correct school badge, as shown on the pre-glossy school magazines and the 'School Lists and Calendars'.
Where does the Sapientes Simus one belong to?
And who can tell us about the heraldic meanings of these badges?]

8 Feb 03 from the Editor - the 1950 Autumn magazine (courtesy of Donald Monk) says a different school blazer and scarf were introduced - any information on this would be welcome.

2 Jan 03 updated 3 Feb 03 from Brian Terence Knott (as 1947 entry, arrived school year 1951-52): I have a fond memory that stands out. In my last year I was very interested in amateur magic and as the school was trying to raise money for some project I gave two shows during consecutive lunch breaks, charging "thruppence" admission which was collected by my assistant John Fuller, now sadly deceased. BV Denley and R Fletcher, both 1947 entry, have also died.

2 Dec 02 (originally sent 23.11.02) Tony Noble (1968): There was an interesting picture floating around of RAT's 14th Legion in the sixties. (Lower School Speech Day pageant where the whole of the lower school were dressed up as 'cardboard' Romans!). I believe the Soham museum society have a picture. [see Scrapbook page for the article and photo of the Legion from the Summer 1970 School magazine]. I now live in Soham, and still have one of my children at Soham Village College. Very different now - inkpots on desks replaced by computer keyboards, and not a blackboard in sight. Not a single teacher wears black vampire cape nowadays either. What's more, don't think wrenching of the sideburns, as a means of student control, is permitted these days. Kids have never had it so easy!

1 Dec 02 from Piet Walton-Knight (1958): I have often wondered what became of John Kiernan in my year. I have a feeling that he turned up at an Old Boys Reunion perhaps 25 years ago. 

1 Dec 02 Graham Knott (1946-1951): Hello, I have just come across the SGS website. Does anyone have a copy of the School Rules for that time? There were about twenty of them, some which I still remember. The most common punishment at that time was the writing out of these rules. One day "RAT" Taylor caught most of the school playing with the tug-of-war rope and was so incensed that he ordered the whole school to copy out the rules twenty [sic] times. This was a formidable task as it took about half an hour to make a single copy. [Editor - the maths here doesn't add up Graham ... ] As they were completed, they were piled on a table on the stage in the school hall. I can't remember them being checked and I guess that some were never were.

20 Nov .02 from Cyril Eden (1942) - The list of 1942 boys is lodged solely in my memory. I have always felt pretty certain that Howard (surname) was one of us, but although I can 'see' a face everything else about him has gone. Can any of you put me out of misery with his full particulars, assuming I have been right?

26 Oct 02 from Russell Drake (1958) - "KD Drake was Ken Douglas Drake known in the family as 'Dilly' He died on 24th May 2002, leaving a wife Meg and two children Janna and Gillian. Any further info I'd be glad to help with - he was my uncle and taught me for the first two years I was at Soham. He was at the school for 6 years as Art & Pottery Master and must have left in August 1954, being replaced by Pete Askem. He had been a pupil at the school before the war and had painted many murals on the walls around the entrance hall, main stair case and landing, many of which were still clearly visible, although faded, when I was at Soham."

"Mike Rouse [see 17 Oct 02] was inquiring after AK Holt. He lived in Broad Street Ely and did teach at Silver Street School, I can remember him teaching there in the late 40s."

23 Oct 02 from Alan Frost (1961) [I might be on to a good thing here - Editor] - "I must owe you a drink or something as I very much enjoyed an initial look at this very good web site, which I will be exploring more fully later. I still have the photos of the box burial and will forward to you shortly although they were taken on a small camera in B & W and are not of top quality." [see Armitage on 45-72 in the history pages for more on the hilarious box burial incident. The drink was enjoyed at the 2003 Reunion - thank you Alan - Editor]

23 Oct 02 from Jules Bishop (1953) - "I was particularly anxious to find out what happened to John Lenanton (SGS 1948-54). We kept in touch until he married and went to California in the 70s".

22 Oct 02 Gareth Wood (Chemistry: later Head of Science and Deputy Head of main school at City of Ely College) has written to say the person missing from the 1972 staff photo caption between John Llewellyn-Jones and Les Priddle in the School History is AG (Tony) Cornell. The caption on the website is now correct. More soon about Gareth, who still lives in Fordham.

21 Oct 02 The School History chapter on 1939-72 implies that the Hawker Hector aircraft at the school did fly but Mr Stubbs says in his account that it was unserviceable. Roger Sykes (1942-47) has emailed: "I remember the aircraft very well. It never flew in my day! In fact I seem to recall it was rather hanging together." Any other recollections about it?

20 Oct 02 Seen on Friends Reunited: Peter Pledger (1938) died in Chichester on 28 April 2002 aged 82.

17 Oct 02 from Mike Rouse: Sqn Ldr AK Holt is recorded in a 1946 School magazine as having been awarded the DFC - did he become a teacher at Silver Street Boys School, Ely? Where is he now? - see the 2109 Reunion report