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

From Rob Tillard, 1933-37

Here are some random memories:

1. Every morning before breakfast (?) there was a run – race – along the length of the facade, which must have been 2 * 100 yds. When I was not in a nursing home (undetected tonsillitis), I was very competitive and ran like crazy.

2. On Sundays there were marvellous games at Melbury with two sides, either ambushing each other with tennis balls or trying to capture someone’s ribbon tail.

3. Alternatively in the summer there was a great game with “goals’” ie. stumps set about ten years apart. One batted with cutdown bats and anyone bowled at the “goals” from any direction. It was great practise for agility and an eye for a ball.

4. KT was a terrifying man and, towards the end, he lost his nerve and made far too many rules. One such rule was that, if one was sent a cake from home, one had to give a piece to everyone at one’s table, like him or not. B was a particularly horrible boy and I refused to give him some cake. Whereupon I was summoned to KT’s study and was just about to receive a beating when someone passed the door and said “I hope Tillard gets the cake rule changed.” Talk about an 11th hour reprieve.

5. There were, in fact, far too many points to be gained for this or lost for that. Work, games, Scouts, there was too much emphasis on “success” or “failure” and too little time just to muck about, as small boys should from time to time.

6. On the other hand, I can remember the delight of a hot summer day and being allowed to swim, Even there, however, it was competitive.

7. It was not my scene but I remember the plays at Melbury where I once achieved dramatic success as a “queer shape” in (?The Merchant of Venice). Actually I would be better suited to the part now.

8. Also not my scene, I remember the “gardens” judged on Old Boys Day when H-Y. won by nipping through the hedge to Hilliers and stocking his tiny plot that morning, Full marks for initiative; few for integrity, No doubt he did very well in the City?

9. My sporting career really began with a visit to Horris Hill as the 2nd XI goalkeeper – and letting in 11 as those immense louts bore down on my quaking frame. Compared with that an “Emperor pair” at Hove in the War pales into insignificance.

I should remember lessons and such but cannot maybe because (see 1 above) I was more concerned with sport. My Mother used to tell me that she had tried to teach me Latin (of which she knew nothing) and my next term’s report read: “He knew little Latin when he went home. He knows none now.” Except “quam celerime” which was valid also for the Greenjackets.

Rob Tillard