Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Helbert/Brymer Era, 1897-1922

From Philip Colville, 1919-23

My thoughts about West Downs are mostly about Mr Helbert who founded the school with four boys. He was a brilliant scholar, but understood and was very tolerant with stupid boys and very persevering with them. He took every form in a different subject each week, and he really was a born teacher. I remember his taking my form in Latin Grammar, and he made it so interesting that many boys took their Latin Primers up to their dormitories at night to study them.

It must have been very difficult to run a school in wartime, with little food and no young masters, but he coped miraculously, but also caught the night train up to London to help run the Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty and used to come back to Winchester in the morning on the milk train. This overwork killed him and he died on 2nd November 1919.

He had a great sense of humour with a wonderful twinkle in his eye.

Philip Colville