I had an N.C.O.’s parade to attend at 1.0pm. today.

   After school the Natural History Society met in the Large Lecture Room when Lewis, who left at the end of last term, gave a short talk on the Buzzard and then showed a fifteen minute film on the subject. John Winrow proposed the vote of thanks. The attendance was fifty.

Thou saidst, Fear not. Lamentations 3:57


   In Physics today, Arthur and I found the angle of dip with an ancient dip circle.

   I played for the 1st XV v Prince Lee this afternoon — our first match of the season. Our opponents were cock-house last year and not many people thought we had any chance of winning. As it was, we were two tries down in a minute & a half but we then piled on the pressure and scored five tries & a penalty goal. Lee did not score again until the very end and we won by 20pts to 9.

   I went to hear Ludwig Koch at Bournville this evening. Dr. Koch told how he first recorded a bird’s song using a toy machine & a wax cylinder wrapped in cotton wool. Since then he has got the songs of over 250 British birds & made many thousands of recordings. He played some of these tonight for 90 minutes. I did really enjoy the evening & afterwards I spoke to Dr. Koch and got his autograph.

A Saviour, Jesus. Acts 13:23


   After prayers this morning the Head spent nearly fifteen minutes reading out notices and after this there was a hymn practice, so that Chemistry was reduced to one period. In Biology, Harris, Brodie and Grayson read their essays on enzymes. There was a practice for tenors and basses at break.

   In J.T.C. this year, platoon corporals are more or less platoon commanders but I had to take a section today as we have only two L/Cpls. at the moment. I taught my section turns, marching, saluting and how to put their uniforms on.

   Tonight, while Mam and Dad have been at the cinema, I have listened to “Variety Fanfare” and “Any Questions?”.

Seek, and ye shall find. Luke 11:9


   I had a pleasant surprise this morning. I have been re-awarded my House Rugby colours for 1952–53. [The announcement was on the House notice-board.]

   Nothing happened in school today. Our new lodger, Mr. Donaldson, moved in today. [He is Scottish and an architect (like his father) and is the latest of the “paying guests” we have had since about 1942. We had Hugh and Kathleen from Scotland for a while, then Freda L. Jones from Stoke-on-Trent who was with us for a few years, followed by Edward R. Turner — “Richie” — who was a student at Birmingham University. (He was from Lowestoft, which is why we went there on holiday in 1946 and 1947; I think his father was a Commander in the Royal Navy).

   Later, Reginald Saltmarsh who worked at Permoglaze, Tyseley, came to live with us; as Reginald Marsh, he will become famous in “Coronation Street” and for his supporting roles in many TV comedy series, e.g. with Harry Worth, also in “The Good Life” and many others. He was followed by Robert F. Vittoria (Bob) of Kodak, who left us only recently.]

   This evening we watched some of this week’s Newsreels. Tuesday’s edition showed pictures of John Cobb’s boat blowing up on Loch Ness. After the Newsreels was “Looking at Animals”, then the serial — Episode four of “Happy and Glorious”, a chronicle of events in the life of Queen Victoria. I took Ginger out while this was on. From 9.25 until 10.25, the variety show was Jimmy James’ “Don’t Spare the Horses”.

Thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee. Isaiah 30:19


   This morning I took Ginger for a walk in the park. I listened to “The Naturalist” at 1.10pm. There was a discussion on Sticklebacks.

   There is nothing more to record except that we all watched “What’s My Line?” this evening.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29


   There is nothing much to record this evening. The choir is rehearsing for Founder’s Day. There will be a service on Sunday in the Cathedral.

   After prayers the Head announced that each House is to have three House prefects.

   I got a haircut at Sallis’s [in Station Road] on the way home.

   This evening at 7.30pm we listened to a half-hour play “The Crimson Mask” by F. Wallace-Hadrill. At 9.0 I watched an excerpt from “Affairs of State” on TV. The play is being presented at the Cambridge Theatre. At 10.0 we saw “The Swan”. A specially constructed telescope was set up at Alexandra Palace through which viewers could see the moon while Alan Hunter Ph.D, of the Greenwich Observatory, described the moon’s main geographical features.

I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


   Mr. Copland announced this morning that P.F. Bradley, G.R. Horton, G.P. Simpson will be our House prefects. I don’t think I shall ever be a prefect now.

   I did prep. all afternoon and most of the evening but I watched TV from 9.0 until 10.15 as there was a film I wanted to see — Topper, a comedy film with Roland Young, Constance Bennett and Cary Grant. It turned out to be quite amusing.

The true light now shineth. 1 John 2:8


   The choir went to the Cathedral at 2.25pm today. Mr. Woods let me go into the library during first period of the afternoon as it was three periods of practical Chemistry.

   I got home from the Cathedral at 4.45pm. John [Maund], who has joined the choir, came home with me on the 31A.

   When I had done all my prep. this evening, I watched another episode of “My Wife Jacqueline” and “Current Release”.

   There was a terrible train crash at Harrow & Wealdstone station this morning. Just after 8.0am, the Tring-Euston local train was run into by the Perth Express [hauled by 46242 City of Glasgow, and running 1½ hours late], and a few seconds later the Euston-Manchester express [double-headed by 45637 Windward Isalnds and 46202 Princess Anne] ran into the wreckage. The death toll is feared to be more than 100. For once TV was quick off the mark and before “My Wife Jacqueline” we were taken to the scene of the crash by outside broadcast cameras for a few minutes. [The “indescribably terrible” accident is dealt with by O.S. Nock in Historic Railway Disasters, Ian Allan Ltd. 1966, Arrow Edition 1970. No one knows why the Perth express passed three signals at danger. Did, say, the driver suffer a sudden heart-attack, which temporarily distracted the fireman?]

   We saw “Current Release” from 9.15 until 10.0pm.

This do in remembrance of me. 1 Corinthians 11:24


   In Physics today Laurie Arthur and I did Potentiometer and Wheatstone Bridge experiments.

   This afternoon the 1st XV beat Heath by 26 points to nil. Our standard of play so far this season is causing a minor sensation and we have already been tipped as winners of the Knock-Out. Team:— Pendry; P.F. Bradley, Tipton, B.W. Kington, Davenall; G.P. Simpson, P.J. Squire; C.H. Martin, B.D. Williams, Griffin; R.J.N. Trundle, Davies; A. Manders, Moore, P.R.H. Mercer. [Those with initials had received their house colours.]

   A feature of our game today was the three-quarters’ play. They were a delight to watch.

   I went to the Olton tonight to see a re-issued film Wonder Man with Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen. It was a very good Technicolor part-musical film, Danny Kaye playing a duel role. The other film was Disney’s Dumbo. I didn’t like it very much.

O God, early will I seek Thee. Psalm 63:1


   I missed most of double Biology today because of a Choir Practice.

   I didn’t have to do much in J.T.C. this afternoon. Everyone did drill and learnt how to clean a rifle. I came home on the Special Bus.

   This evening I worked on the school broadcast. I have all the material sorted out and it’s now only a question of how long it will take to write out the script.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore. Matthew 10:29–31


   This week was the climax to our Quatercentenary celebrations. I did not have to go to school today as it was prize-giving for the junior school. I got up at 9.0am and went down the village with Ginger during the morning.

   After dinner I spent two hours working on my school programme. Mam and Dad went to town, Clarice and Julia went to the cinema and Mr. Donaldson went to the Reddings where E. Midlands beat N. Midlands 13pts to 8.

   Meanwhile, at school, the War Memorial Shrine was dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham [Dr. Barnes]. This evening there has been an O.E. dinner in Big School and in the Great Hall of the University — and the school has been floodlit.

   This evening we have been watching Café Continentale and an Ice-Hockey match between Earl’s Court Rangers v Nottingham Panthers.

   [Grandad was 70 today. I knew it was his birthday as I have his autograph “E.A.Williams 1882” in The Birthday Scripture Text Book given me by Mrs. Harris. Ernest Alfred Williams was born at 52 Coal Pit Lane, Nottingham, on Wednesday 11th October 1882, and married Minnie Jane Bower at St. Ann’s Church, Nottingham, on Sunday 7th May 1905; they were both 22. Clarence Williams, their second child, was born on Wednesday 27th February 1907. Granma died on Sunday 24th November 1946, aged 63: they had been married 41½ years.

   Grandad’s mother, Mary Elizabeth, died on Monday 16th December 1940, aged 78. I was only 5 but remember her quite clearly, and our being bombed out just a month earlier. Great-granma Mary lived with Granma and Grandad at 23 Pretoria Road, Bordesley Green, from about 1937. I think she may have still been living in Nottingham before that and then been widowed. Grandad’s father was Edward Henry Williams; he was born in Nottingham on Friday 12th March 1858 and would have been 94 now!]

They shall prosper that love thee. Psalm 122:6


   We call got up early today. Nothing much happened in the morning. I spent a couple of hours doing Physics prep.

   After dinner I had to go to the Cathedral for our Quatercentenary Service, today being Founder’s Day. The service was attended by well over a thousand people. The Bishop of Burnley, the Right Reverend Keith Prosser, O.E., preached the sermon. The choir sang the anthem Subdue us by Thy goodness.

   This evening, Mam, Dad, Mr. D and I watched “Holiday in Berlin” a play by James Parish and Tom Fallon. The production was rather clumsy at times and I am still wondering how the play ended.

   We also watched “What’s My Line?”. Elizabeth Allan has given up her place on the panel and she was replaced tonight by Joan Greenwood. Mr. Donaldson says he would like to have her telephone number!

He first loved us. 1 John 4:19


   As usual, nothing much happened at school today. We had House Prayers because we missed House Prayers last week as a result of a Hymn Practice.

   Nothing more happened except we went outside in Gym again.

   This evening I have been working [on the school broadcast, arranging all the entries and writing the linking material. The programme is as follows:—

The Eddie Hateley Trio

“Bicky’s Adventure” by Robin Duvall (Shell A)

“Benjamin”, a story by Robert G. Roe (Cl.Div.)

“When the World was Young”, a play by Paul Bradley (U.Med.VI);

“Fairies are a Nuisance” by Michael E. Stafford (Cl.Div.)

“Robbery!”, a play by Michael William Hodgetts (in which I have cast Anthony Hill, Geoff Stringer, Paul Bradley, Michael Hodgetts and Alan Hodgetts)

“The Squeamish Boxer (with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)” by J.C. Silk (Classical Div.)

“An Oak Tree’s Tale” by Alan Hodgetts (Classical V)

“Sailing” a poem by John Renton, read by Howard Ovens (L.Div.Sci.)

Record:— “Coronation Scot”

“The Train” by Michael Platt (L.Div.Sci.)

“My First Flight” by Anthony E. Hill (L.V.)

“Space Travel” by Geoffrey Stringer (Med.VI)

Music:— “Rondo in A” by Gerald Brindley (Geog.VI)

“Secret Hiding Places” by Michael Hodgetts (which is about priest-holes in Catholic houses)

“Australia” by John Winrow

A play (no title yet) by Paul Bradley (in which I have cast Paul, Michael Hodgetts, John Silk and Robert Roe, with Peter Wyatt (V.C.) as the narrator

“Rime of the Splendid Cricketer” by J.C. Silk

The Eddie Hateley Trio

   The front page of the script says:






M.H.S. CHILDREN’S HOUR     5.10–5.55 PM]

The God of heaven, He will prosper us. Nehemiah 2:20


   I spent all this afternoon doing prep. so as to have a free evening in which I could go to the Tyseley cinema tonight. The film being shown was An American in Paris. This was voted the best film of 1951 and I have wanted to see it for months. This being the first time, and probably the last, that it has been shown at a local cinema, I made sure I did not miss it.

   The stars of the film were Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. In many ways the film was one of the most remarkable films I’ve seen. The music was by George Gershwin and there was a magnificent ballet sequence as a finale. The dancing was spectacular and wonderful.

   The story matters little. Gene Kelly is an ex-G.I. studying art in Paris with fellow student Oscar Levant. Wealthy Nina Foch loves him but he falls in love with, and of course wins, shop-assistant Leslie Caron.

I will love Thee, O LORD, my strength. Psalm 18:1


   We had a Physics test in third period this morning. In my free period I did some Physics prep.

   At dinner time I had an N.C.O.’s parade in Mr. Buttle’s room. We revised Rifle 1–5.

   In Practical Chemistry Arthur and I did reactions of aldehydes and ketones. I also finished timing my B.B.C. programme. It takes just forty-five minutes. Before school today I took the script to the Head and I got it back, via Hodgetts, at break. Apparently, it “seems alright”.

   I came home on the Special Bus.

I will hope continually. Psalm 71:14


   Nothing much has happened today. The House 1st XV had no match this afternoon but we had a practice instead.

   Having completed my B.B.C. script I decided to call at the B.B.C. [282 Broad Street] on my way home. Peggy Bacon is out of Birmingham at the moment but I saw Miss [Dorothy] English instead and gave her the script. I did not before realise that the main offices are on the opposite side of the street to the studios, where the old Prince of Wales Theatre used to be. It was destroyed in the bombing on Wednesday night 9-10th April 1941, the same night that St. Martin’s was bombed.

   In June 1940, there was a new play at the theatre — Cottage to Let — in which George Cole appeared; he was only 15 at the time and toured with the play. It was so successful that it was made into a film in 1941, George Cole making his debut playing the same part. Others in the film included Leslie Banks, John Mills, Jeanne de Casalis and Michael Wilding. I like George Cole — I saw him in Laughter in Paradise. He was also in Lady Godiva Rides Again and Scrooge, and on the radio as Psyche the dog.]

   I spent nearly all this evening doing homework, mostly Chemistry.

   Today, the Chief Inspecting Officer of British Railways said that the primary cause of the Harrow and Wealdstone rail disaster eight days ago, in which 111 people died and 160 were injured, was that the Perth express ran past three danger signals at speed.

I will look up. Psalm 5:3


   As usual there is little if anything to record today. In double Chemistry we spent the two period doing a test.

   In J.T.C., Eddie Hateley and I had to draw groundsheets for our platoons. We then made out platoon roll-books during the remainder of the afternoon.

   This evening, when I had done some prep., I took Ginger out for her evening walk, and finally went to bed at 9.15 to listen to “Any Questions?”

For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. Hebrews 12:6


   Although I didn’t cycle to school today I was able to get home by 1.10. After dinner I went to see Birmingham City play top-of-the-league Huddersfield. Blues lost by 2–nil.

   Both sides played good football and it was an enjoyable match but Birmingham missed chances. Former Blues goalkeeper Wheeler had a brilliant game and saved two or three certain goals.

   Birmingham’s team was:— Merrick; Green, Martin; Boyd, Badham, Warhurst; Cox, Murphy, Briggs, Purdon, Wardle.

   This evening we have all watched television.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:6


   There is nothing to record today.

   We watched TV tonight. The play was Mr. Pim Passes By by A.A. Milne. It was put over quite effectively. After “What’s My Line?” at 9.30, George Thalben-Ball [the City of Birmingham Organist] gave an Organ Recital from All Souls’ Church, Langham Place, London.

The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18


   This morning I cycled to school — the first time for over a fortnight. I spent ten minutes feeding the ducks and geese in Cannon Hill Park and I was late for school.

   In choir practice we started rehearsing some carols — it seems quite amazing that there are only nine weeks to Christmas.

   In Gym we went outside as usual. In Chemistry we did Analysis and I analysed one mixture in under fifteen minutes. I am now well ahead of the rest of the form, having completed fifteen analyses.

   After school I went to a meeting of the Student Christian Movement. The S.C.M. has been re-organised by Mr. Kent this term. The Head spoke of the S.C.M.’s aims and principles. His father INSERT was one of the pioneers.

   When I had done all my prep tonight I listened to Terry-Thomas in “All Star Bill”.

Be still ... I am God. Psalm 46:10


   I cycled to school again today. In Divinity we are reading Christianity and Social Order by the late William Temple, and discussing topics arising from his book.

   I managed to do all my homework during the afternoon.

   Tonight we listened to the British Empire Middleweight Championship fight between Randolph Turpin and George Angelo (S. Africa). Turpin won on points but it was a very dull fight.

They brought unto Him all that were diseased ... and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. Matthew 14:35–36


   Today I didn’t cycle to school as it was raining. In Biology, my essay on the Nervous System was read.

   There was an N.C.O.’s parade at 1.0pm. After that my trio had a rehearsal in the Music Room. We shall have another practice after lunch tomorrow in the little room at the Gym end of Lower Corridor.

   On television tonight we watched the sixth and last episode of “My Wife Jacqueline” and later on, “Current Release”. The films shown were:

My Wife’s Best Friend — 20th Century Fox
24 Hours of a Woman’s Life — Assoc. British
Kon-Tiki — RKO Radio
The Crime of the Century — Columbia
Lovely to Look At — MGM
The Planter’s Wife — J. Arthur Rank Organisation.

   Of these I want to see Lovely to Look At, a technicolor musical, and perhaps Kon-Tiki. This film was actually shot on the 4,300 mile expedition.

Thou art my God. Psalm 31:15


   This afternoon the 1st XV played Cary Gilson and to everyone’s surprise lost by 8pts to 6. The reason for our defeat was, I think, that our three-quarters played too close together. At half-time we led 6–nil (a try and penalty) having had the worst of the scrum. After that, we did much better in the scrum but conceded a penalty and a goal.

   Nothing else happened all day. The Queen opened Claerwen Dam which is in Radnorshire near Rhayader today, thus completing Birmingham’s water works which were begun over forty years ago.

   This evening we all listened to the radio.

For the eyes of the LORD are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers. 1 Peter 3:12


   In Chemistry we are now doing Phosphorus, having finished organic chemistry for the time being. In French, where there are only four others, we usually read Moliere’s L’Avare on Mondays and translate passages from another text-book on Friday’s. In Biology we did food tests on seeds.

   At 1.30pm I had a Music Circle meeting to attend. We elected new members for 1952–53. Which reminds me. Just a year today I was elected to the Circle, or rather, I attended my first meeting. It was the fateful day when the Tories assumed power again.

   In J.T.C., “C” Coy Corporals (Adams, Campbell, Hateley and I) made notes on platoon organisation and the inf. bn. [infantry battalion] for lectures we shall give on rainy days.

   After taking Ginger for a walk, I went to bed this evening at 8.30 and then listened to “Gently Bentley” & “Any Questions?”.

That He might bring us to God. 1 Peter3:18


   Today I got home from school at 1.20pm. During the afternoon, Mr. Donaldson and I watched the Television motor Show. (The 37th International Motor Exhibition is being held at Earl’s Court). This afternoon the majority of motor manufacturers sent a 1953 model to be televised. Of the new cars I like the Austin A40 Sports (£913), the Aston Martin DB2 (£2,22723), the Standard Vanguard (£919), the Austin 7 (£553) and the Ford Zephyr (£829). [I do not know if I shall ever be able to afford a motor car but I paid 10/- into my bank account today.]

   Tonight we all watched the first episode of “Operation Diplomat”, a new Frances Durbridge serial. But why, oh why, should the part of Mark Fenton have to be played by Hector Ross instead of John Robinson as in “The Broken Horseshoe”?

   Following the serial was another of Vic Oliver’s “This is Show Business” which maintained its excellent standard.

The LORD answereth them. Psalm 99:6


   There is nothing much to record today. I have spent two or three hours doing prep. as usual.

   I listened to Radio Theatre at 7.30. The play was “The Rampart” by Arnold Diamond.

   Mam and Dad, Mr. D and I watched “What’s My Line?” as usual.

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 2 Peter 1:17


   After choir practice today, my trio had its usual rehearsal. Some of the songs sound very good but we have not yet decided which songs we shall use in the broadcast, always supposing, of course, that it will be accepted.

   We did not go outside in Gym.

   Tonight I watched “Junior Wranglers” in which “Speakers between sixteen and twenty years discuss topics raised by viewers of the same ages”, and Julie Andrews in “Starlight”. Later, when I had taken Ginger for a walk, Dad and I watched “Victory at Sea”, the first of twenty six films produced by the N.B.C. and U.S. Navy with the help of the Admiralty and the Air Ministry. Some of the film was obtained from enemy sources.

I know my sheep. John 10:14


   Nothing happened at school today and I came home through town. I looked at the books in Smith’s bookshop for forty minutes. I bought the November issue of 208.

   Apart from going down the village shopping with Ginger, I spent the afternoon doing prep.

   On TV this evening there was a really excellent play “Postman’s Knock”, a new farce by Philip King and Alan Bromley. It was presented before an audience at a London theatre. It was a first class production that had me rocking with laughter at times. Sometimes though, the audience seemed to be laughing for no apparent reason, and it always gives one a rather unsatisfactory feeling — as though viewers are being denied something which is highly amusing to the audience but forbidden to the cameras.

I am God, even thy God. Psalm 50:7


   In Chemistry today Arthur and I prepared Ethyl Acetate.

   After school the Natural History Society met in the Biology Lab. After I had read the minutes of the last meeting, Chadwin gave a most authoritative lecture on bird migration with epidiascope and lantern slides as a means of illustration. The attendance of thirty was, I thought, very satisfactory.

   In the “Eric Barker Half Hour” this evening, there was a brilliant skit on “What’s My Line?”. It was as near perfection as any such thing can possibly be.

And now, LORD, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee. Psalm 39:7


   This afternoon at 2.15 I was interviewed by a selection board o five headed by Prof. C.F.V. Smout, at the Medical School.

   The interview lasted twenty minutes during which time I spoke about Birmingham’s starling problem, my solution to it, books, Shakespeare, Shaw, the theatre and a good many other things. Anyway, the selection board seemed very impressed and I think the interview was very satisfactory on the whole.

   Professor Smout, who is Sub-Dean and Tutor, attended K.E.S. from about 1907 until about 1912, I believe. [He has been Professor of Medicine at the University since 1948 and was 57 last week. He and his wife live at 7 Hintlesham Avenue, Edgbaston. When he retires they will go to live at The Spinney, 7 Nairn Road, Canford Cliffs, Dorset. They have no children. Professor Smout has written books on anatomy and is going to write one on Christian Doctrine, This I Believe, which I shall get.] He is a jovial faced gentleman who reminded me so much this afternoon of S.Z. Sakall, who has appeared in more than forty films. CHECK

   My interview was about forty minutes late so I did not get home until 4.30pm or a little later.

Seek His face evermore. Psalm 105:4


   Today was our half-term holiday so I took six or seven boys bird-watching to the Bittell Reservoirs. We set off along the road to Lower Bittell going through the woods alongside the road. Here there were plenty of fieldfares and a few nuthatches, though rather surprisingly we didn’t see a tree-creeper. There were about 150–200 duck on Lower Bittell including Tufted, Pochard, about four Teal, and Wigeon and Mallard. On the smaller half of this reservoir, swimming with Coots were three Goldeneye. On Upper Bittell, there were some Gt. Crested Grebes, a Herring Gull and one or two Black-headed Gulls. Altogether it was a highly successful day and we saw 38 species in all. We left Rednal for home at 3.0.

   When I had written up an account of today’s meeting in the N.H.S. Minute Book this evening, I listened to the radio.

Lead me in Thy truth. Psalm 25:6

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30