Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Tindall Era, 1922-1954

From Donald F. Macquaker, 1941-46

Glenapp Summer Term

Flat foot exercises in Hall before breakfast.

Sandy Coats dismantling a chandelier in one of the dormitories after lights out, and managing to put it together again.

Mumps: I tried hard to get Mumps, without success – never have had it – instead I achieved a streptococci throat.

Plane crash near Ballantrae.

The odd school picnic.

Fabulous sunsets.

Blair Castle

The cold, especially in outside class rooms.



KBT in The Tempest as Caliban eating raw trout caught by him!

The Commandos, etc, encamped around the Castle before D-Day.

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Bowling Green.

The Atholl Arms Hotel so bad the Crichton Stuarts and Macquakers took over the Killiecrankie House Hotel, which belonged to Mrs. Rodgers (?)

The Bruar Falls, and teas in the local pub.

Colonel and Mrs. Strachan – I remember one of this pair, if not both, came to John Bute’s first wedding!

Greek with Mr. Ledgard and

Alpha Beta Gamma Delta,
Knock a woman down and pelt her.
Epsilon Zeta Eta Theta
Take a knife and fork and eat her.
Iota Kappa Lamda Mu
Parts of her are good to stew.
Nu Xi Omicron Pi
Other parts are good to fry.
Rho Sigma Tau Upsilon
Don’t forget the salt to pile on.
Phi Chi Psi Omega
That’s the end of that poor beggar.

Mr. Rose reading German Press, and being enthralled with Schiehallion, the great mathematical mountain.

Father Stead and his big car being accosted as a road hog: David Crichton Stuart had been banging the horn.

Pony-trekking with the Deer Ponies for those who could ride – fabulous.

Electrical storms at night.

“Customs and Excise”

Scouting as a whole, and camping – porridge out of a hay-box.

ASR Pyper, used to come and stay with the Macquakers.

Mr. Griffith – a super soccer coach.

Harry Ricardo painting.

KBT losing Mark Tindall – electrocuted – what a tragedy.

Ann Tindall married Mr. Bass – who coached me in Latin Unseens at Winchester prior to going on to Trinity Oxon.

Self being Viola in Twelfth Night.

Generally: happy days, an excellent school, and am still grateful for being at West Downs.

Notes in reply to a letter from Mark Hichens

1. Sandy Coats – lives at Carse in Argyll, and I don’t know how long he was at West Downs – he went on to the Royal Navy and retired some years ago – I imagine he went to Dartmouth – I occasionally see him.

2. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Bowling Green to my recollection was a circular lawn surrounded by pine trees over by the River Tilt.

3. Yes, taught by Mr. Ledgard.

4. Schiehallion, 3547 ft., was visible from Blair Castle. Centuries ago some mathematician used Schiehallion to calculate the weight [he means the mass – editor] of the World. How’s that for useless info?

5. I think on reflection the game was Smugglers and Excisemen. One team had tuck boxes – the smugglers – and had to operate within a designated say 4 square miles of wood, going from North to South or East to West etc as determined at the start, and that was known to the excisemen. There was no definitive route. Lives were wool, one colour for smugglers, one for excisemen, tied round the top of one’s left arm. Lives were lost if the combatants met, by breaking the wool. If lost you were out of action till you found an Umpire, Harry Ricardo or Mr. Griffith, etc. The idea was for smugglers to get through undetected.

6. Yes – it was put in the “hay box” to cook overnight – it is a very economical way of slow cooking.

7. He was a master at Blair, and for a short time on the return to Winchester.

8. I think The Tempest was done down by the Main Drive. I can’t remember if KBT actually ate the fish: the performance by him was a “tour de force.”

9. We did play soccer, and played cricket on a concrete pitch with coconut matting.

Donald Macquaker