Old Birkonians we remember…

Here is a list of The Old Birkonian Society Members who we would like to remember. If you have any information of any members past or present please contact us.

Thomas Peter Williams [1945 - 1953]

We have been advised by R.E. Caine that Thomas died in October 2019. He was Head Boy and was awarded a commonership entry to St. John’s College, Cambridge to read geography.

Baron Nicholls of Birkenhead [1943 - 1949]

Donald James Nicholls, Baron Nicholls of Birkenhead,of Stoke d’Abernon, PC died peacefully on 25th September 2019 aged 86. As well as being an Old Birkonian he was a past President of the School.

Peggy Povall

Old Birkonians at School during the 1970’s and 1980’s will be sorry to hear of the death,on 19th September, of Mrs. Peggy Povall, at the age of 95. Peggy initially worked in the Bursar’s Office during the 1960’s, based in 11 Kingsmead Road South. In 1971, on the retirement of the legendary Miss Oakley, she became the Headmaster’s Secretary, a post she held until she retired in 1984. Her office was close to where the Boarding House then was, at 55 ShrewsburyRoad. The Headmaster at the time was John Gwilliam, who relied on her to carry out the multifarious tasks which her job entailed. A very friendly lady, Peggy was extremely efficient. She kept in close touch with the School after her retirement, singing in the Choral Society and attending Chapel Regularly.

Brian E Jones [1949 - 1957]

Sadly Brian passed away on 5th September 2019. For a number of years Brian was a member of the archives team until his health stopped him attending.

Fig 1.

Douglas Morley Hoblyn [1940 - 1948]

Douglas passed on 16th August 1948. See newspaper article Fig 1.

Robert Eaglesfield [1947 - 1954]

Robert's son, Guy, has advised us that his father passed away on 27th May 2019.

J G Blanshard [1947 - 1955]

We have been advised by Roger Ewing that J G Blanshard passed away in May 2019.

John Richard Pugh [1940 - 1946]

We have been advised by John's son, Colin, on 5th June 2019, that his father has passed away.

David Andrew [1987 - 1994]

We have been advised that David passed away around the 27/28th April 2019.

David John Brighthouse [1941 - 1949]

We have been advised by Michael Burrell that he has received a letter from David's wife on 13/5/2019 advising that he had passed away on 14th May 2018.

Captain A. C. Sprigings [1939 - 1944]

We have recently been advised by Ken Ellerton that Tony died on 9th November 2017.

Captain A. C. Sprigings [1939 - 1944]

We have recently been advised by Ken Ellerton that Tony died on 9th November 2017.

John Harvey [1949 - 1956]

John Harrison has sent us the link to The Guardian obituary for John Harvey who died on 7th February 2019 aged 80.


Brian Rothwell [1964 - 1967]

Alistair Edwards has advised us that Brian died in Hampshire on 30th March 2018. He believes Bria came to the school from Newcastle to join the fifth form in 1964. He left for the LSE in 1967. He lived in Wallasey. There is a memorial page on the richard Steel and Partners website.

John M Harrison [1961 - 1967]

Alistair Edwards has advised us that John died more than 10 years ago aged 57. There is an obituary by his former economist colleagues, Andrew Glyn & Bob Sutcliffe, on the Guardian web site, 26th January 2007. He recollecst that John came to Birkenhead during his second year which would have been 1961.He left for Oriel College, Oxford in 1967.

Professor Cyril Weir OBE [1961 - 1968]

You may or may not know of the unexpected and sad death of my Uncle in late September of 2018.  He leaves his second wife and two children; Shugiko, Jamie (15) and Mary (12) who live near Reading.


Cyril was fond of our old school and in recent years attended the occasional London OB dinner with me and other contemporaries.  His family and academic colleagues have held various memorial services and events in the UK (and around the world - his specialist subject was 'English Language Testing' and he has authored many books and lectured extensively on the subject).


Further details are here:



Karl McCartney 1980 -1986

David Leftwich [ Prep 1948 - 1954]

Ian Boumphrey has advised that David Leftwich who attended the Prep from 1948 - 1954 passed away on 4th January 2019.

Tony Moody [1955 - 1962]

Ian Boumhrey has advised that Tony passed away in Australia on 5th January 2019.

School Prefect - Queen's Scout who attended the 1960 Scout Jamboree in the USA.

Studied Geography at Oriel College Oxford.

From 1986 he worked for the Australian Federal Government, Ministry of Agriculture.

He lived outside the town of Orange, where he later ran a vineyard at Emu Swamp.

Ian Patrick Shaw [1975 - 1982]

We are very sorry to record the death of Ian Patrick Shaw, who was at School from 1975-1982. He attended Overchurch Junior School before gaining a place at Birkenhead School. His funeral took place at St Mary’s Church, Upton.

Chris Trewhella [Staff]

Paul Bevan has advised us that Chris passed away on 21st September 2018. He sent us the following article from their local magazine:

Christopher (‘Chris’) John Trewhella

15th May 1930 – 21st September 2018

Chris was born and brought up in Dorset. His father was the headmaster of the village school (Stalbridge), which he attended, and his mother (a nurse) fostered his love of reading. After the village school, he went to Gillingham Grammar during the war, sometimes cycling 10 miles each way. When his father moved to Dorchester, he went to the Thomas Hardye School. Holidays were always spent in Cornwall.

After National Service, Chris went up to Bristol University to read Zoology in 1950, where rugby played an important part in his life. After his degree, he did a Diploma in Education. Bristol was also of course where he met Jean, and they married on 1st January 1955. His first teaching post was at Truro School, Cornwall, as Head of the Biology department (1954 - 1957). Matt was born in Truro in 1956. From there, he went to Birkenhead School in 1957, and was there for six years, in which time he designed a new biology building. Will was born in 1959. After Birkenhead, Chris went to Epsom College in Surrey, a school with a known reputation for sending pupils into the medical profession, where he served 27 years as Head of Biology and was also Housemaster of Crawfurd. Whilst at Epsom, he was Commanding Officer of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and also provided careers advice. He was influential in getting the first girls to be ad­mitted to what is now a co-educational school. Again he redesigned the biology building, making sure there was plenty of room in the labs for the odd rudder or boom from his sailing boat. With a small band of intrepid masters, he was a keen alpine mountaineer. He was also an avid Tom & Jerry and Magic Round­about fan, so late afternoon lessons ended promptly.

Retirement in 1990 saw Chris and Jean moving to the Old Rectory in Stansfield, Suffolk, which had al­ways been a regular place to stay since Jean’s father – Leo Harrison Matthews – had bought the Old Rec­tory in 1955. Chris kept busy with work for the Diocesan Board of Education and Finance, was church warden (with John Dennis) for All Saints Church, Stansfield, and was active with the local history society. He could also be found umpiring for the village cricket team. Chris enjoyed gardening and continued the improvements that Leo started. With Don Barton’s help initially they made an excellent veg patch, and he loved using the sit on mower to keep the grass cut, which he continued to use up until last summer. Many a game of croquet was played on the front lawn, though it helped to know the local conditions such as the bank at the top and the occasional rabbit hole. The Old Rectory was always a haven of hospitality – with Chris loving a family roast (there are numerous photos of him carving the Christmas turkey) and the odd glass of Cote du Rhone.

Cornwall was of course a favourite holiday destination, with more or less annual visits up to last year, visit­ing family and featuring a few regular favourites – Marazion and Chapel Rock, Porthleven and Ann’s past­ies.

Chris always loved sailing, starting with dinghies in Weymouth harbour when a boy, and moving on first to a small traditionally built wooden boat, then to his pride and joy ‘Mañana’ a 27 foot, varnished sailing boat. On board Mañana many happy family cruises took place, from the east coast round to Devon, along the entire south coast and across to Brittany and the Chanel Islands.

Retirement was full of holidays in the motor-caravan (affectionally known as the ‘chip shop’), to France, Italy and Spain, often accompanied by John and Sara Dennis in their caravan. And there was also the be­loved ‘plot’ – a non-mobile caravan site in Provence just north of St Tropez, which they regularly visited, exploring many different routes through France to get there. Chris and Jean also enjoyed more exotic holi­days in India, China and sailing in Thailand.

Chris was very proud of his sons (Matt and Will) - although jokingly envious that out of the immediate fam­ily he was the only ‘non-doctor’, grandsons (Tom, Freddie, George and Johnny) and great granddaughter (Mara). The preponderance of male offspring allowed him the excuse to have two ‘adopted daugh-

ters’ (Steph and Paola), friends of Will. Chris was really pleased with the family links to Bristol University being maintained via Will and Tom.

Henry Casey [1945 - 1951]

In October Henry's daughter , Jacky Noyce, advised us that he passed away on 12th May 2018.

David Armstrong Blythe MCam, FIPA [1947 - 1952]

We have received the following from Sandra Blythe:

I am writing to inform you that my husband, David Armstrong Blythe, MCam, FIPA, died on 15th March this year,at the age of 82.

He attended Birkenhead School from the age of 11, when he won a Town Scholarship.

Upon leaving he went to work as an Office Junior in the Brunning Advertising Agency in Liverpool.

After National Service in the Royal Artillery, he returned to the Agency and studied at night school to gain his Advertising qualifications,

whilst working his way up in the company through every department. In 1963 he was moved to the Manchester branch of the agency

to take up the role of Managing Director, as the youngest M.D. they had ever had.

Some time later he was 'Head hunted' to join the newly formed Advertising Agency Bowden Dyble Heys and Partners. He helped to build this new agency into the largest and most successful award winning advertising agency outside London. As Managing Director of this new company he was elected to become the Northern Representative on the Council of the IPA (Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising). He served on this committee for some considerable years, during which time he was awarded his Fellowship of the IPA. For the last five years of his working life he was Chairman of B.D.H.

John Robert Kelly [1958 - 1965]

We have been advised that John passed away in early September 2018.

Commander T Keith Evans [Prep 1927 - 1928]

We have learned from a Daily Telegraph obituary that Keith Evans passed away on June 26th 2018 aged 98. Keith entered the prep on 15th Jan 1927 and left in September 1928 for Pangbourne Nautical College.

Due to poor eyesight he entered the Royal Navy as a paymaster cadet on HMS Frobisher, a training cruiser. He served on many ships including in 1938 spending a year on HMS Hood . When in 1941 HMS Hood was sunk with the loss of 1400 lives Keith lost a lot of his shipmates. From 2014 - 2017 he was Chairman of the HMS Hood Association.

During the war he was Captain's Secetary on several ships before coming ashore as Captain's Secretary at the Signals School near Petersfield.

Postwar he was a shipmate of the young Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, the future Duke of Edinburgh at the RN Leadership School HMS Royal Arthur at Corsham. They became firm friends with Prince Philip calling him "Scratch" - naval slang for secretary.He retired from the Royal Navy in 1970.

He then spent 15 years leading the Surrey Council for Voluntary Services.

John Charles Fowler [1938 - 1944]

We have been advised in June 2018 by John's son, Michael, that he has sadly passed away.

Geoffrey Toms [Staff 1959 - 1963]

We have been advised by Andrew Sutton that Geoffrey passed away aged 84 on 29th May, 2018.

He taught classics at Birkenhead School before moving on to Blundells and then went into adult education at Attingham he Park. He then moved to the education department of the newly formed Museum of London and worked there until retirement. He researched and lectured in retirement with NADFAS as well as running his own tour groups to classical sites around the Mediterranean.

William Oulton Wade [1946 - 1951]

We have been advised by his son, Christopher, that Lord Wade of Chorlton passed away on 7th June, 2018.

Lord Wade of Chorlton OB, 1932-2018

We have been advised by his son, Christopher, that Lord Wade of Chorlton passed away on 7th June, 2018.

Distinguished Old Birkonian William Oulton Wade died on 7 June 2018.  A third-generation cheesemaker, Oulton Wade was Chairman of the Mollington Farmhouse Cheese Company and was credited with leading the revival of interest in fine British cheeses and with developing a thriving export market.  Mollington became one of the largest makers of traditional farmhouse cheese in Britain, at its height making over 6,000 gallons of milk a day into cheese.  In 1990 the Company was sold to Northern Foods.


After Birkenhead School, Oulton Wade studied at Queen’s University, Belfast; he later developed a keen interest in pig genetics, developing a pig breed with a low ratio of fat to lean.


A Conservative councillor on Cheshire County Council from 1973-1977, he was Treasurer and Chairman of the North West Area of the Party and in April 1982 he was appointed its National Treasurer (with Alistair Mc Alpine), touring the constituencies to raise funds.  In that year he was knighted and in 1990 he was created a life peer.  In the Lords he served on the Science and Technology Select Committee.  Among his interests in  later years was as Chairman of the Historic Churches in Cheshire Trust; together with the Duchess of Kent he also raised some 25 million pounds for the Christie Hospital in Manchester.  He retired from the Lords in 2016.

John Teare [1951 - 1956]

We have been advised that John passed away in April, 2018.

Albert Pike [1941 - 1946]

We have been advised by Albert's widow, Geraldine, that he passed away in March 2018.

Donald John Hilton [1949 - 1956]

We have recently been advised that Donald has passed away but we have no information on the date.

David B Moore [1961 - 1966]

We have recently learned that David passed away on 31st May , 2017. David was an award winning motoring correspondent who lived in New Zealand.

Kenneth N Pyke [1943 - 1952]

We have been advised by Ken's daughter, Jackie, that he passed away on 29th March, 2018.

A. Jeremy [Jim] Robertson [ 1960 - 1966]

We have learned that Jim has passed away but we have no details of the date.

Jeremy Eyre - Prep Staff [1981 - 1994]

Jeremy passed away on 24th March 2018.

Jeremy was deputy head of the Prep when he retired in 1994.

On retirement he became an active member of the Archives Team looking after all things to do with the Prep.

Brian Robert Stephenson [1955 -1968]

We were advised by Richard Knowles on 17.3.2018 that Brian passed away  on 12th April 2011.

Peter Benjamin Billeau [1933 - 1943]

Peter's widow, Nanette, has advised us that he passed away 10th March, 2018.

Walter [aka Richard] Winward

Walter's widow, Fran, has advised that he passed away on 13th January 2017.

David M. L. Vink F.C.A., F.B.I.M. [1957 - 1964]

Bridget Vink, David's widow, has advised us that sadly he passed away on 2nd May, 2018.

Arthur G Goad [1949 - 1956]

I have heard from Arthur's wife Rita that he died on 3rd April in Heywoods Heath, West Sussex where he has lived for several years. He was a prominent member of the Old Birkonian Football Club in the 50s and 60s.and was brother of the late Don Goad.

Submitted by Len Kirkham.

Fig 2.

Fig 2.

Walter Winward [1949 - 1955]

We have recnetly been advised by Fran, Walter's widow, that he passed away on 13th January 2017.

Walter Winward was born in Yorkshire and spent his formative years in Birkenhead, attending  Birkenhead School from 1949(1 Greeks) – 1955

He was a successful athlete, winning 100yd and 200yd races at School, Wirral and County levels.

After extensive travel during National  Service, he continued to travel to many parts of the world and became a prolific writer of war-based adventure novels, also writing  for London stage plays and TV scripts.

His second published book, ’The Conscript’ topped the UK best-sellers lists in 1969 and he has spent his later retirement years in Somerset. See Fig 2 for photo.

Peter Benjamin Billeau [1933 - 1943]

We have been advised by Peter's wife, Nanette, that he passed away on 10th March, 2018. Peter attended both Birkenhead Prepartory School and Senior School.

John Alfred Lemon [1944 - 1951]

We learned on 25/01/18 that John passed away recently.

W. K. K. White [1940 - 1949]

We have been advised by Kelvin's widow, Sue White, that he passed away on 10th November 2017 aged 87.

B. Mills [1938 - 1946]

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that my husband, Barry Mills,  passed away on the 14th July, 2017

He will be sadly missed not only by me but also by his family and many friends.  As his school record will show he was a great sportsman - his first love being cricket and as an MCC member for over 30 years, which he was VERY proud of,  we spent many happy days at Lords Cricket Ground for the Test Matches.  He was also a Vice President of both our local South Wilts Cricket Club and of the Dorset & Wiltshire Rugby Football Union.  He also enjoyed watching tennis at Wimbledon whenever we were lucky enough to get tickets. 

He was a National Trust member and received a Volunteering Award in 2016  for 15 years volunteering at our local NT Mompesson House in Salisbury

He was the younger brother of Anthony Mills, an old Birkonian, who died in 2009. 

Yours sincerely

Yvonne Mills

Ian Alexander Martin [1959 - 1967]

We have been advised by Chris Martin that Ian passed away on 22nd September 2017.

George A Hayes [1936 - 1940]

We have been advised by George's son, Ian Hayes, that his fasther passed away in August 2017.

Peter W Bailes [1937 - 1939]

Ian Johnson, Peter's son-in-law, has advised us that he passed away in 2015.

Kenneth D Rimmer [1943 - 1952]

We have been advised by Kenneth's wife, Eleanor, that he died on 24th July, 2017, aged 84.

An article from the Birkonian in July 1952 on his appointment as Head of School reads:

"Born in 1932, and entering the School in 1943, Rimmer soon made himself prominent in work and games.

He was made a School Prefect in 1950 and became Head of School in 1952. He passed the S.C. in 1949, G.C.E. at the Advanced level in 1951, and plans to proceed to Cambridge to read Modern Languages. First Rugby XV 1948-1951, captain 1950-51 and Captain of Cheshire Schoolboy XV 1951;First Hockey XI 1951-52; Captain of Athletics 1951-52; Under-Officer in the C.C.F.; Senior Librarian and a member of the Dramatic Society.

His quiet, determined leadership has been based on example and service; and his keeness and enthusiasm in all School activities have been as great an inspiration to others as his prowess in athletics and games"

On leaving School Kenneth went to Trinity Hall Cambridge.

Kenneth taught German and French at Haileybury and was Housemaster of Hailey House [1969-1982]. His funeral took place in Haileybury Chapel on 30th August, 2017.

Lt. Cdr. Jim Cox

Chris Teggin advises that Lt. Cdr. Jim Cox has passed away. Although not an OB Jim was OC Royal Navy Section CCF from 1997 until he retired in October 2006 at the age of 70.

Lt Cdr Jim Cox MBE RNR(Ret’d)

James Albert Cox was a Londoner, born on 5 October 1936; evacuated to Essex in 1940; and a boy entrant to the Royal Navy as soon as he was old enough, at age 15.  He was one of the many young sailors who lined the Coronation route in 1953; and in 1965 was one of those entrusted to pull the gun carriage bearing Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Serving all over the world, Jim rose to the rank of Chief Gunnery Instructor before coming ashore to work with Naval reserves at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool, where he met his wife, and in the Careers Service in the North West.

His contact with Birkenhead School began as a parent, but in 1997 at the invitation of the headmaster, Stuart Haggett, he joined the CCF Contingent as Lt Cox; OC RN Section.  In 2003 he became second in command of the contingent as a Lt Cdr until his retirement at age 70 in October 2006, after 55 years of service in navy blue.  Jim died on 26th July 2017.

Dr. Graeme Neil Irving [1962 - 1969]

We have been advised by David Holt [OB] that Graeme passed away on 10th September 2016.

Peter Geoffrey Trist Bolton [1940 - 1947]

We have been advised by David Holt [OB] that Peter passed away on 3rd November 2015.

Hubert Martin Gibbs [1948 - 1956]

Following the distribution of the 2017 In Focus we have been advised by his brother that Hubert passed away in 2017.

John Harris [1956 - 1963]

following the distribution of the 2017 In Focus we have been advised by his family that John passed away in November 2016.

George Leslie Street [ 1950 - 1961]

Following the istribution of 2017 In Focus we have been advised by his family that Leslie passed away in 2015.

Tim Williamson [ 1971 - 1979]

Following the distribution of the 2017 In Focus we have been advised by Tim's family that he passed away in 2012.

Fig 3

Fig 3

Dr. Arthur Eric Chow [1950 - 1957]

We have been advised by Alec Watson that Arthur Chow ( Fig 3) died on 4th July, 2017, His obituary was in The Times on 14th July, 2017.  His ashes were scattered at the Woodland Burial Ground, Culford.

Fig 4

Fig 4

At School (see fig 4) Arthur was a prefect, Captain of Athletics and represented Cheshire in athletics. He left School to go to London University to study medecine.

Stanley Williams [1948 - 1955]

We were advised by Nichlas Speechley on 30/5/2017 that Stanley Williams had passed away on 23rd September 2004.

Malcolm Briscoe [1957 - 1962]

We were advised by his wife, Elizabeth, on the 12/6/2017 that Malcolm had passed away in November 2016.

D. Parry-Jones [1944 - 1945]

We have been advised that D. Parry-Jones[1944 - 1945] has passed away.He was a well known journalist and rugby commentator. His obituary appeared in the Telegraph on 15th May 2017:-

David Parry-Jones, great Welsh broadcaster – obituary:

David Parry-Jones, who has died aged 83, was one of the most accomplished and versatile broadcasters ever produced by the BBC in Wales, or for that matter anywhere in the United Kingdom.

An all-rounder in a broad spectrum of radio and television programmes, he worked as newsreader, reporter, presenter, interviewer and commentator in news, current affairs, religion, documentaries, education and sport, notably in rugby union, a game with which he was closely identified in the public’s mind for more than 30 years.

As a documentary-maker he was intent on redressing the traditional stereotypes of Wales – pit-head, male voice choir, sheep – by replacing them with images that reflected more accurately the stunning landscapes and vibrant people he knew and admired. He was incensed by what fly-by-night film crews visiting from England chose to show of contemporary Wales, but also dismayed by what the Welsh were content to tell the world about themselves.

To local councillors who complained that his promotional film of their town in Monmouthshire showed fine buildings, modern amenities and a breathtakingly beautiful hinterland instead of the grim remnants of industry and social deprivation with which they were more familiar, he pointed out that a similar film about London would focus not on its dreary urban sprawl but on Westminster Abbey, the West End and the Thames.

He often waxed lyrical about the natural beauty of Wales and, a staunch patriot, had special affection for her people, their strengths as well as their shortcomings.

David Parry-Jones was born on September 25 1933 in Pontypridd, a bustling town at the confluence of Rhondda and Taff in the heart of industrial Glamorgan. His Welsh-speaking father was from Corwen in North Wales and a minister with the Presbyterian Church of Wales, that is to say the Calvinistic Methodists, perhaps the most conservative of the Welsh Nonconformist denominations, while his mother was an English-speaking teacher from Monmouthshire.

There was a streak of conservative, even Conservative, piquancy in his own thinking, especially with regard to what he considered the baneful influence of trade unions in the broadcasting industry, and he certainly had none of the proletarian mores usually associated with his rugby-loving compatriots. He was, in short, an example of what Kingsley Amis called an “upmarket media Welshman”.

He was brought up in a home that revered scholastic achievement, but he was unable to speak more than a few phrases of his father’s language. His lack of Welsh irked him and, during his career with BBC Wales, he would often blame it for the promotion of colleagues to posts which he thought he could have filled better.

Like many sons of the manse, with whom the BBC in Wales abounded until recent times, David Parry-Jones inherited his father’s mellifluous tones and felt himself at home in both North and South Wales, so that he seemed destined to have a career in an all-Wales context such as broadcasting.

His sense of being Welsh was awoken while a pupil at Hoylake preparatory school on the Wirral, where he was taunted on account of his accent, and at Birkenhead School. He was greatly relieved when his parents brought him home to Cardiff, where his father had taken up a post as religious broadcasts organiser with the BBC Welsh Home Service, and where in 1945 he started as a pupil at the city’s High School. It was there that he discovered a keen interest in cricket and rugby.

In 1952 he went up to Merton College, Oxford, to read Classics, graduating four years later without distinction. At Merton he was usually to be found in the company of “hearties” and gave a wide berth to the Dafydd ap Gwilym Society, in whose meetings his more earnestly Welsh-speaking contemporaries congregated.

Of his time at Oxford he was to write: “If asked to analyse the Oxford experience, I would cite the conferring of great confidence in social and business discourse. Never since, despite the company of gifted and able individuals in my professional career, have I encountered quite the bracing climate of ideas that the University afforded. Three or four years beside the Isis wrap you in a thick skin which can weather many of the storms which await the career-minded. It also taught me how to deal with the English – in particular their public-school-trained middle class – which is an art in itself.”

He enjoyed his two years’ national service with the Welch Regiment, during which he attained the rank of second lieutenant and was sent to Cyprus at the height of the Eoka campaign and then to Tobruk in Libya. He became particularly fond of the squaddies serving with him, admiring them for their practical skills and stoical good humour: for many years after demobilisation he attended the curry lunches cooked by Gurkhas in Cardiff’s Maindy Barracks, renewing old friendships and talking over old times.

His first jobs as a journalist were with the Western Mail and The Sunday Times, but it was in broadcasting that Parry-Jones was to make his mark. He had taken part in Children’s Hour as a 12-year-old and had broadcast with actors such as Richard Burton and Siân Phillips. He had also represented his school in Top of the Form, during which he had enjoyed several inspirational conversations with Richard Dimbleby.

He now landed a job as a newsreader with the BBC in Cardiff, filling a vacancy left by Michael Aspel, and soon learnt the rudiments of reading to camera. With a good broadcasting voice, impeccable manners, a cool head and the Brylcreemed looks of a Don Bradman, he seemed a natural in front of the microphone and camera.

With the creation of BBC Wales in 1963 Parry-Jones found freelance opportunities galore as studio interviewer, commentator and documentary maker under the tutelage of the distinguished producer Gethyn Stoodley Thomas, and in both radio and television.

Through the 1970s he was paired with John Darran as co-presenter of Wales Today, the evening news programme that was the BBC Wales flagship, and was to be seen regularly introducing Songs of Praise from Wales and other popular programmes.

But he came into his own as a rugby commentator. For 20 years he covered most international matches and had one of the most familiar grandstand voices in the game, as well-known in Wales as Bill McLaren’s in Scotland; his trademark sheepskin coat, much mocked by wags like Max Boyce for its luxuriant fleece collar, was almost as famous.

Parry-Jones’s love of rugby, and his intimate knowledge of its ethos and arcana, were evident in all his commentaries, in which he strove to maintain the elegance and dignity of language which he habitually employed in front of the microphone.


This work began to founder in 1979 when BBC Wales devolved its Welsh-language responsibilities to the newly established BBC Cymru and, four years later, with the advent of S4C (the fourth channel which broadcasts partly in Welsh), he was told that as frontman of Wales Today he was to be replaced by younger men and women.

Nothing daunted, and with the former Glamorgan cricketer Peter Walker, he now set up an independent television company known as Merlin which specialised in making corporate videos; it was later sold but bought back from the receivers in 1993.

David Parry-Jones wrote books about rugby with the players Mervyn Davies and David Watkins, as well as Taff’s Acre, a history of Cardiff Arms Park, and Rugby Remembered, a pictorial account of the game’s development as portrayed over a century and a half by The Illustrated London News.

The resentment he felt at his treatment by BBC Wales was directed towards “fat cat administrators in the media hierarchy” and this animus inevitably coloured the account he published in Action Replay: a Media Memoir (1993), which otherwise provides a lively insight into broadcasting and a genial account by a consummate professional of what he called “a lifetime in communication with one’s native land”.

He married Janet Evans, but the marriage was later dissolved and he is survived by their son and daughter, and by his long-term partner, the broadcaster Beti George, whose moving account of nursing him through the last phase of Alzheimer’s disease was recently shown on BBC One.

David Parry-Jones, born September 25 1933, died April 10 2017     

T. Welding [1949 - 1957]

We have been advised through St. Saviours Church, Oxton, that T. Welding [1949 - 1957] has passed away.

Gareth Roscoe [1970 - 1975]

We have been advised by Dr. Trefor Roscoe that his brother, Gareth, has passed away on 19th April, 2017 after battling against myeloma for several years. He has written the following about his brother:

Richard Gareth Roscoe

Born in Liverpool in 1957 to Dennis and Audrey (nee Mitchell) Gareth was brought up in Bromborough and Raby Mere on the Wirral. He was at The Birkenhead School from 1969 to 1977.  At the time he entered school it was under the direct grant system, part of the fees being paid by the local authority for boys who passed the entrance examination.  He had an undistinguished time at school being intellectually overshadowed by his peers in one of the best years the School ever had, and not being interested, or able, in sports. His finest sporting success was as scorer for the First XI for two seasons and playing number 8 for the third XV.

On leaving school he studied law at Liverpool University and was articled in an inner city practice in Anfield. One of the many anecdotes from that time was about  two men came in while his mentor was out of the office and asked for help with a conveyance. One wanted to buy the others property and they brought a bag containing the purchase price in used £10 notes, £15,000 was a lot of money in 1979. After further study at Chester College of Law he completed his articles and was admitted at a ceremony presided over by Lord Denning.

He then went into general legal practice in Lancashire, working briefly doing conveyancing for a house builder, Brosely Homes. One of the more unusual contracts he helped oversee was selling a group of houses to Phil Redmond of ITV, which became the set of Brookside Close.

He married Christine Keogh, who was a legal secretary, in 1985 and they had three children Caroline, Christopher and Bethan. Sadly Bethan died of a cot death and the marriage was dissolved in 1997.

He married Nicola Briggs, a social worker, in 1998 and he became a specialist child care solicitor with Blackburn and Darwin local authority. This led him, like his father before him, to become a trade union representative.

Gareth was a good musician, being able play guitars, banjo and mandolin and with a fine baritone voice. He played bass guitar in a band while at university and often went to folk nights with his guitars in pubs for many years. Family parties always ended up with him joining his father and brother singing folk songs late into the night.

He was diagnosed with myeloma, a form of bone cancer in 2014 and died in April 2017.

Michael Minter [ 1938 - 1942]

We have been advised by Michael's son , Steve [OB] , that his father passed away in early March 2017. Steve writes as follows about his father:

Career Details:

Joined Sir Alfred McAlpine & Son in 1944 as an indentured pupil civil engineer at Hooton Park and later left for an engineering consultancy in Liverpool in 1968. He specialised in project management, later often involving large scale pharmaceutical developments. When that practice closed in 1982 Michael then set up on his own completed some 140 projects until his retirement in 2002. At the professional level he was a charted engineer becoming a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1968 and later Chairman of the North West Association of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Personal Details:

Born in Oxfordshire in 1924, Michael grew up in Cookham, Berks. He started at Birkenhead School in 1938 having moved to Heswall that year. He lived on the Wirral for the rest of his life, marrying Val in 1958. His pursuits included renovating a Welsh long house as a holiday home for Val, son, Stephen and daughter, Adele. In the 1970s he took up beekeeping, something he did until he passed away in March 2017. In the local community he was a long time member of Rotary and the Freemasons.

Major Tony Hughes [ 1939 - 1940]

We have learned that Tony passed away in early March following a fall.

John Marshal Boden [ 1940 - 1947]

We have been advised by David Boden, John's son, that John died on 3rd February 2017.

John was a member of School House, active in the Scouts, took part in House and School teams - ahtletics, tennis, cricket and rugby. He  was also an editor of the Birkonian and a lance corporal in the CCF. He was a School House prefect  from 1947 -47.

Anthony Simon Brown [1950 - 1954]

We have just been informed by his brother Richard J J Brown [ 1949 - 1953] that Anthony passed away in October 2014.

Career Details:

Commissioned in RAF and trained in Canada and England as Navigator. Served in Canberra, Vulcan (V Force) and Photo Recon. Squadrons until 1972 Member of Caterpillar Club (underwent aircraft ejection).

Service as a civilian Instructor in Omani Defence Force for many years. Spent retirement in Cyprus and was involved in Local Utility engineering Projects.

Personal Details:

School House as boarder from 1950 to 1954 Born Hampshire 1937. Rugby Boxing and Athletics. Won Victor  Ludorum  and selected to compete in National Schools Athletics Championships at White City London Left school after O levels to join RAF as officer cadet at 17 Keen dinghy sailor and yachtsman, often single handed across Mediterranean Married 1961 and with 4 children, his wife pre deceased him by many years.

Frederick George Harvey Routledge [1933 - 1941]

Harvey passed away peacefully on 18th December 2016.

The funeral servce will take place on Wednesday 11th January 2017 at St Peter's Church, Lower Heswall, Wirral at 2.30 p.m. Followed by cremation at Landican Crematorium at 3.30p.m.. Family flowers only, donations, if desired, to Alzheimer's Society. All enquiries to Charles Stephens Funeral Directors 0151 645 4396.

George Vincent Richard Bolton 1929-46

George passed away on 1st December 2016 at a nursing home in Mobberley, Cheshire, where he had been living for the past four years.

After being Head Prefect at school, he entered the Engineering Cadetship scheme which ultimately led to him spending 18 months in South Korea. On returning home he joined Decca, moving on to AEI, ICL and Fujitsu. He was Secretary to the Institution of Electrical Engineers for the NW Region for many years. He had many roles within the local church, not least of which was being head sidesman for 20 years and setting up a local youth club.

He was married to Dorothy (nee Brown) for nearly 49 years and leaves two daughters and their families.

Gordon Charles Pryde

Brian Welsh [1972 - 1979] has advised us that Gordon Pryde passed away on 2nd August 2016 after a brave battle with liver cancer. He had been ill for a number of years.

Fig 5

Fig 5

John Albert Gwilliam MA (Cantab)

John Albert Gwilliam ( see fig 5) passed away on 21st December 2016 aged 93.

John Gwilliam, Headmaster from 1963-88, was born in 1923, the son of T.A.  Gwilliam.  He was educated at Monmouth School and Trinity College, Cambridge.  Before coming to Birkenhead, he had taught at Trinity College, Glenalmond (1949-52) and Bromsgrove (1952-56) and he had been Head of the Lower School at Dulwich since 1956.  Between 1942 and 1946 he had served in the Army.

As a boy at Monmouth Gwilliam had captained the Rugger and Cricket teams.  At Cambridge, where he took an Honours degree in History, he obtained a Blue for Rugger and followed this with a number of Welsh Caps.  He was a formidable Captain in a year in which Wales won the triple crown.

Twenty-five years is a long time to remain in any one post.  To be Headmaster of the same school for that length of time is nowadays extremely rare.  Gwilliam’s reign began, ominously, in the social and academic turmoil and indiscipline of the early sixties and it was here, perhaps, that he made his greatest mark on the school.  From the very beginning, he established himself as a strong disciplinarian and, regardless of what was happening in other, more ‘liberal’ establishments, he insisted on good behaviour, manners and correct dress, at the same time impressing his own spiritual values on the School. During his tenure of office he saw many pupils win places and awards at Oxbridge and other leading universities.

 Gwilliam’s time here was such that, when it ended, every member of the Common Room had been appointed by him, including several Old Birkonians who had been boys under him.  His time lasted from the craze for long hair to the craze for very short hair.

About the middle of Gwilliam’s reign, threats were made by the Socialist Government against the Direct Grant System and eventually the axe fell.  For some schools this was a disaster; for Birkenhead it simply meant fresh opportunities and a return to independence.  A new classroom block, ‘K’ Block,  was built in Kingsmead Road, a Sixth Form Centre arose on the foundations of the coach-house of Overdale and the new hall was erected near the junction of Kingsmead Road South and Bidston Road.  This enabled the Preparatory School to escape from its very restricted accommodation in Beresford Road and to move into the original School buildings of 1871, including ‘Big School’ and the Boarding House which was closed, much to the dismay of many Old Birkonians.

Gwilliam retired to live on the North Wales coast.  His portrait, by C.W. Oliver, was hung in 1988.

Link to BBC Sport Obituary

Denis Byrne Harrison [1922 - 1934]

Born in Birkenhead on 11/7/1917. Died in Henley on 24/10/2016.

Father was Arthur who was Chief Clerk to the Birkenhead Corporation.

Denis was one of two brothers. Graham the elder died in 2007 aged 93. It was remarkable that in later life both brothers worked in local government as Town Clerks.

1922 Denis started at the School. He recalls during his time attending two world scout jamborees.

1934 after leaving the School Denis went into law and became articled to the Town Clerk of Birkenhead. Whilst in ‘articles’ he attended Liverpool University and in 1937 gained his Bachelor of Law degree and 1939 his Masters.

1939 - 1946 War Years:

Joined the army and was posted to Catterick.
April 1940 he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and joined the Shropshire Yeomanry Royal Artillery and was soon appointed Assistant Adjutant.
1942 promoted Captain and moved to a new Field Regiment formed in Southend.
1943 he applied to join Combined Operations Bombardment unit and was accepted.
1944 he was heavily involved in practice for the D Day landings at Slapton Sands along with US troops.
6 June 1944 took part in D Day landings, landing in Normandy at St Aubin Sur Mer where he remained to help to secure.
1 November 1944 Denis joined up with Royal Marine Commandos in Ostend for an attack on Westkapelle in Netherlands.
1946 posted to Cyprus as a Staff Captain and in his words "I enjoyed good food and wine for 6 months"!

Post-War career:

First Asst Solicitor, Wolverhampton Co. Borough, 1946-49;
Dep. Town Clerk of Co. Boroughs: Warrington, 1949-57; Bolton, 1957-63; Sheffield, 1963-66;
Town Clerk and CEO, Sheffield, 1966-74. 
Member: Advisory Council on Noise, 1970-79;
Cttee on the use of valuers in the public service, 1972-73. 
Mem. Council, 1975-82, Pro-Chancellor, 1980-82, Univ. of Sheffield.
Hon Sec., Trustees, building of Crucible Theatre. 
JP City of London, 1976-86.

Denis will be laid to rest on 21 November 2016 in Henley next to his wife, Marion (d – 1989).

Peter Gordon Rae MB ChB FRCOG [1945 - 1953]

We have been advised by Ann Rae that Peter passed away in September 2016.

John Neville Mouldon [1945 - 1951]

We have been notified by John's wife,Pat, that he sadly passed away on 18th October 2016 at St.John's Hospice, Wirral.

Gordon Ratcliff [Racker] [1951 - 1957]

We have been advised that Gordon, who lived in the USA, died in the early part of 2016.

Derek William Blades [1949 - 1956]

We have recently been advised that Derek died in June 2014.

Ronald John Griffiths [1944 - 1949]

Ron Griffiths died of cancer Oct 1st in Lunenberg Nova Scotia after a short illness. At School Ron was known as an avid cyclist with his white Claude Butler the envy of all enthusiasts. After completing his apprenticeship to marine engineering at Cammell Laird's he sailed with the Holt line before he emigrated to Canada. He married Barbara Jones of the B.H.S. in March, 1955 and they had four children in Montreal before they divorced. 

He and his second wife Elizabeth were married for 36 years and lived in Mahone Bay near Halifax N.S. for most of those years.

As a former brother in law I am thankful for his counseling when I was only 15 and he was only 17. I had intended to try for Deck Officer and he recommended the engine room as being a better alternative with more options ashore if the oceans proved disagreeable after the initial excitement...I never did go to sea! 

Go http://www.mahonefuneral.ca/obituaries/110328 to see the full obituary for Ron Griffiths. The password to read the Condolences is 6c102592.


Reginald F. Jones 1946-51

Michael John Wolfgang BSc FCA [1948 - 1961]

We have been advised that Michael died on 7th September, 2016, after a short illness.

John D Barton [1938 - 1944]

We have been advised by Catherine Barton that John has died.

Felix R Harley LLB [1958 - 1968]

We have been advised that Felix died in 2016.

C. K. Stevens MA

We are sorry to report the death, on 15 September in Arrowe Park Hospital, of Keith Stevens, at the age of 86 and after a short illness.

Keith served Birkenhead School with distinction for 37 years.  Appointed to the staff in 1956, he was subsequently Head of English and in 1980, on the retirement of Leslie Hargreaves, he became joint Deputy Headmaster, serving in that capacity until he retired in 1993.

We have  been informed that the funeral for Keith Stevens will be at 2.30 pm at Landican on Monday 3 October.

John Granger Brown [1944 - 1958]

John's brother, Martin Brown, OBS immediate past President, has advised us of the sad news that John passed away on 28th August 2016.

Martin has sent us the following obituary:

"John Brown,  School 1944 - 58, (senior school 1950+) died in Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital on the 29th August 2016 where he was undergoing treatment for lymphoma.    His early ambition had been to follow his father to sea, in a career with the RN.  This was spoiled at 15 by his colour vision failing to satisfy the rigours of the requirements in place for deck officers.   He was academically bright and won a boarding scholarship at 13, when he transferred to School House and began a course in A level smoking.   He was a fine athlete and played in most school teams, winning the javelin cup at the LAC Public School's sports at White City in 1958.  He won with his final throw; a typical gesture to summarise his competitive approach.   He took a degree in Spanish and French at Birmingham, playing competitive Bridge for the University.   He became an active member of the OBRUFC and Oxton CC after graduation.   He studied Chartered Accountancy with Cooper Bros. and emerged in the finals prize list.   He married his BHS sweetheart Averil Jones in 1964, with whom he had two daughters and a grandson who all survive him, and celebrated their Golden wedding in 2014.   

His business career in the food industry was significantly with Bernard Matthews near Costessey, Norwich where he spent the final 39 years of his life.    His mark on the industry was the development of interests in Hungary, Germany and  New Zealand.     He held major offices in the Royal Norwich GC serving as Treasurer, Captain and President, and was the leading force in negotiating the redevelopment of the Club on a new site and a new course, involving the sale of the former premises for a large mixed housing development.    He was always widely active in Community affairs, serving as a local councillor in Driffield and as a member and President of The Strangers Club' in Norwich,  and as a fund-raiser for the ancient parish church of St Edmund, Costessey.  His recent generous gift to the OB School Endowment Fund, with an intent for its use in bursaries, was typical.

At his funeral in Norwich cathedral attended by over 250 mourners, a friend in a powerful tribute, said of him,

"John had both a  fine sense of humour and sense of the ridiculous.  He was good company who could laugh at himself as well as at and with others.  He had transferred from Driffield Round Table to Norwich Castle RT and soon afterwards with a dozen or so fellow Castle Tablers created a caterpillar-like creature for the Lord Mayors Procession.  It was  a long, wide piece of cheap green material, draped over everyone, with only 24 feet clad in yellow wellingtons visible.   John was the last pair of feet and walked backwards all the way round the City to the amusement of the crowds."  

I am sure that is how he will be best remembered by those who knew him and who will sympathise deeply with his close family. "

Roger Abbey Smith MCh FRCS[Eng] FRCS[Edin]

We have been advised that Roger died on 24th July 2016 by his son Gavin. Unfortunatley Roger was only a few weeks away from celebrating his 100th birthday on 15th August.

Not only was Roger an OB but his three brothers, Robert B. Smith, T. Geoffrey Smith and Lawrence B. Smith and his cousins W. Victor Smith and Denis Smith were also OBs but they sadly predeceased him.

Mike Hart [1954 - 1962]

We have learned of the death of Mike Hart. He was part of the Liverpool music scene. He formed "The Roadrunners" and performed at The Cavern and The Everyman Theatre.

The Guardian has an obituary at:


Jack Francis Hussey [2004 - 2015]

We have learned that sadly after a long and brave fight against cancer Jack passed away on 11th July at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre aged 19 years.

His funeral wll take place at Landican Crematorium South Chapel on Monday 1st August 2016 at 10:30 am.

Family flowers only please but donations are much appreciated to Jack's fundraising page for Cancer Research  or c/o John W Griffith & Son Ltd., Millbank Funeral Home , Mill Lane , Wallasey CH44 3BN

Charles Frank [Peter] Milliken ERD TD [1930 - 1936]

Peter's wife, Moira, has advised us that he passed away on 7th April 2016. He was one month short of his 97th birthday. On leaving School he entered Martins Bank and ended his banking career as an assistant manager with Barclays Bank Trust Co having moved from Liverpool to Juxon House, London in 1969.

David Atkinson Fletcher CBE, JP. [1940 - 1947]

We have been advised by Richard Fletcher that his father, David, died peacefully on 20th June after a long illness aged 86.

Fig 6

Fig 6

Captain Colin Lee OBE KStJ JP DL [1944 - 1950]

I got to know Colin (see fig 6) and Jean Lee through the "Sea Urchins" alias the R.N.R. Officers' Club, Liverpool, where he and I were successive Presidents.

Colin entered Birkenhead School in September 1944 from Galtres School, Bromborough and left in April 1950 to join the Hall Line as a cadet. He rose to be Master Mariner, and on "swallowing the anchor" followed a distinguished career with the Sea Cadets, receiving the OBE, St John's Ambulance , becoming a Knight of St. John, as a magistrate and as a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside.

He was a man much loved by both family and friends, as shown during his packed funeral service at Christ Church, Higher Bebington, on 2nd June 2016.

J. Eyre

E. O'Hara [Staff 1966 - 1970]

Eddie O’Hara, who taught Classics at School in the 60’s, has died, aged 78.

Born in Bootle, the son of a carter, he was a pupil at Liverpool Collegiate School and read Classics at Magdalen College Oxford.  He was appointed to teach Classics at School in 1966 and was known for his lively approach to lessons. During his time he led trips to both Italy and Greece.  In January 1970 he was appointed Lecturer at C F Mott College of Education, Liverpool.  It was in this capacity that he was instrumental in sending two student teachers to School, Lionel Austin (French and German) and Phil Whittel (Geography and Geology), both of whom were subsequently appointed to full-time posts, serving, respectively, for 12 and 20 years.

After serving as a Knowsley Councillor, in 1990 Eddie was elected Labour MP for Knowsley South, a position he held for 20 years.

Michael Hudson.

W. E. L. Twidale [1950 - 1957]

We have learned that W. [Bill] E. L. Twidale died on 22nd April 2016 in Arrowe Park Hospital. On leaving School he went to Liverpool University to study Law. At School he played in the 1st XI Cricket Team and the 1st XI Hockey Team. Both his sons are Old Birkonians.

John Farrow Cowen [1937 - 1948/9]

I have to say with sadness that my father, John Farrow Cowen (1937-1948/9) died yesterday, the 9th May 2016, after a fight with aggressive prostate cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Lillian and by my sister, Julie and me, John Philip Cowen [OB] 

John was born on 5.6. 1932 and joined the Liverpool Pilot Service on 9. 1. 1950 as an apprentce pilot. He was licenced as a river pilot on 13.10.1955.

Eulogies were by Brian W. Williams - a Retired Liverpool Pilot - amd John's son Philip. One of John's grandaughters read a poem.

G Keith Blair [ 1954 - 1961]

We have recently been advised that G Keith Blair has died.

Edward Peter Smith [1957 - 64]

We have been advised by Richard Elliott [1958 - 65] that Peter died on 3rd Aril 2016. Peter worked in the London isurance and reinsurance market.

T Kite [ 1978 - 1981 {Prep}]

We have been advised that T Kite passed away in 2015.

J G E Helm [1946 - 1951]

We have been advised that J G E Helm died in 2014.

Harold William McCready [1939 - 1948]

Harold McCready died on 5 April in Arrowe Park Hospital.  He was 86.

Harold was a pupil at School from 1939 to 1948.  After taking a Physics degree at Oxford and doing his National Service in the Army, he was appointed to teach Physics in September 1954.  Never one to confine himself to the classroom, he involved himself in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, including Sailing, help with dramatic productions, as an officer in the RAF CCF Section and skiing trips to Switzerland.  He was appointed Head of Physics in 1966 and Joint Deputy Headmaster (with Keith Stevens) in 1980.  He enjoyed a long and active retirement until his health declined these past few months.

Michael Mulholland [1957 - 1964]

Robert Montgomery [OB] has informed us that his cousin Michael Mulholland died on 7th February 2016. His father was an armourer technician in the RAF and was often overseas which meant for some of his time at School Michael was a boarder and in School House. He played rugby and hockey for the house and was in the 1st XI hockey team in 1963 - 64. He lived in South Wales for most of his life working for some years at the Royal Mint.

David Michael Parry [1939 - 1946]

We have been advised by his wife, Jill, that David Parry died on 28th November 2015.

Prof. Derek William Forrest MA PHD FBPS [1935 - 1944]

We have received the following obituary from Derek's daughter, Mrs. Tansy Forrest-Takano:

Derek Forrest died on 22 September 2015 aged 89. The following obituary was written by his former colleague Howard Smith of Trinity College Dublin.

Derek Forrest was born in Liverpool, the son of a cotton salesman. He attended Birkenhead School, where he became Head boy. He went from school up to Cambridge University, where he started a degree in German, but he was called up for National Service before it was complete. In the Royal Navy he spent time on HMS Implacable, and worked in radar. Following his naval service, Derek returned to his academic studies, taking a degree in Psychology, Philosophy, and Physiology (PPP) at Keble College, Oxford. Always a good athlete, he represented Oxford University in both swimming and athletics. After graduating from Oxford he worked at the Aircraft Research Laboratory in Farnborough for a year, before being appointed lecturer at Bedford College, London, where he subsequently obtained his PhD, before being appointed as Reader in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin in 1962. Within a short time he was given responsibility for developing a Psychology Department of his own and in 1968 was appointed as the first Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin.

His academic interests were broad and eclectic; he had a detailed knowledge of Psychoanalysis and an abiding interest in important figures and events in the history of psychology. He is probably best known for his books Francis Galton: The Life and Work of a Victorian Genius (1974), and The Evolution of Hypnotism (1999), though he also wrote Defy your Age (2008) for a more general audience. Regrettably he was unable to complete his book on the Tichborne affair (the longest running court case in Victorian England) before he died. He was a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, the Psychological Society of Ireland, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Derek presided over a department that was happy and stimulating for both staff and students. He was in some ways quite a shy person, but to those whom he knew well he was the most charming and engaging companion, and fellow members of staff delighted in his company. He encouraged his colleagues to follow their own interests and was also inspirational in his questioning and the generation of provocative ideas. His public talks and demonstrations of hypnosis were hugely popular.

He was a charismatic figure who cannot possibly be adequately described in a few short paragraphs. Although he retired in 1996, he is still remembered with great affection by those who were members of his department. 

He suffered from Parkinson’s disease in the last few years of his life, and died following a stroke. He is survived by his wife, Pam, and daughter, Tansy.

Alan Sidney Jones [1940 - 1947]

Mike Jones has advised the OBFC that his father, Alan, passed away in December 2015 in Oxshott, Surrey. Alan was 86. Both father and son attended many a fixture to support the Old Birkonians in the 60's and 70's.

After school, National Service, and St. Andrews University he had a long and successful career firstly in Lever Brothers and then for various Unilever companies. Much of his career from 1956 was spent abroad, living in Pakistan (East & West) Zambia, Argentina and Thailand. In addition, he also travelled extensively looking after company plantations from the Pacific to West Africa (he was something of an expert on Palm Oil, Coconuts and Rubber). He had been a good sportsman at school and university and was a keen supporter of the Old Birkonians Rugby Club. I attach a photo of the Prefects and Headmaster taken in November 1947.

Ken Armstrong [1948 - 1955]

Brian Elliot [OB 1950 -1957] advises us that Ken Armstong passed away in Cyprus in December 2015. 

F.J.S.Walton 1946-1952

John Walton died in Petaluma California in early December leaving his wife Ann and two sons Ross and Craig.. He had suffered with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's for an extended period.
After leaving School John joined the British South African Police from where he was recruited into the R.A.F. and Bomber Command flying Valiants. A Harvard Trainer in which he did some flight training in Winnipeg is on display in the Hamilton, Ontario Air Museum.
A great rugby forward he had caps for Cheshire and England.
He loved flying but was forced out of the R.A.F. with frequent migraines. He then joined the sales force of Guinness ( a hardship no doubt) and while with them he was asked to take over a territory in the Eastern States of the U.S.A. (another hardship!) John had a good relationship with Guinness in Ireland but overlooked the fact that there was a hotbed of the IRA in Boston. He soon became aware of that fact when he was run out of the door by the seat of his pants. His next difficult move was to assume control of the Western States which territory included Calif and Hawaii.
His best piece of luck was when he met and married Scottish born nurse Ann Ferguson In Rhodesia. Together they have lived on 40 acres in Petaluma for many years.
John kept in touch with his old classmates with frequent phone calls when he would recite such items as "Take me back to dear old Dingle" and "Maggie May".
He will be missed.
Reg Jones 1946-51
Fullerton, California

R H Hubbard [1946 - 1960]

We recently learned that Richard [Dick] Hubbard passed away on 6th March 2015. He was Headboy in 1960. In his will he left a generous legacy to help the School. Some will remember his mother, Mrs. Dorothy Hubbard, who taught in the Prep for many years.

Fig 7

Fig 7

A G Hurton [1946 - 1953]

Graham Hurton passed away on Saturday 21st November, 2015. Graham was a past Chairman of Governors, a member of the Old Birkonian Council until the 2015 AGM and an active member of the Archive Team.

A Memorial Service was held for Graham at St Savior's Church on 9th December. 250 people attended the service including 3 present and past headmasters and a large number of Old Birkonians. The current Headmaster, Dave Edmunds, read the lesson whilst John Clark gave a eulogy on behalf of the family, Stuart Haggett gave a eulogy on behalf of Birkenhead School whilst a third eulogy included Graham's other interests including Prenton Golf Club, Heswall Hall and the Round Table.

Donald Goad [1946 - 1954]

We have been advised by Donald's son, James Goad [1983 - 1990] that his father passed away at home in Heswall after a short illness on 30th September 2015.

Geoffrey Hough [1945 - 1950]

Geoff's widow, Jean, has advised us that he died on the 20th February, 2015, aged 80. He lived in Formby, Lancashire.

He was at School from 1945 - 1950 with his twin brother, Donald. After National Service in the Royal Navy he studied law. He worked firstly in local government and then joined a Southport law firm, becoming a partner.

His twin brother, Donald, was a headmaster of a primary school in Congleton. He died in 2011.

Myles Sheppick [1994 - 1999]

We have learned that Myles Sheppick [1994 - 1999] died on 30th July 2015.

Anthony Herbert Godbert [1934 - 1941]

We have been advised that Anthony Herbert Godbert died in June 2015 aged 90.

Stanley John Collins [1951 - 1957]

We have been advised that Stanley John Collins died in April 2015.

John Gifford Percival Jamieson

Died May 10th 2010. Loved his time at this prestigious School.

Robert Beattie [1950 - 1957]

We have been informed of a notice in The Wirral Globe advising that Robert Beattie died in Ramsgate, Kent on the 10th February, 2015. Robert was Head Boy in 1957.

W. L. Malley [1951 - 1959]

We have been advised that W. [Bill] L. Malley passed away on 8th December 2014.

John Philip Griffith [1944 - 1952]

John P Griffith died on 28th November 2014.

Mark Poe [1984 - 92]

We have been informed that Mark Poe died on 28th November, 2014.

John Alun Halliday Littler [1969 - 1976]

We have been advised that John Alun Halliday Littler died on 15th October 2014. He left School in 1976 for Emmanuel, Cambridge to read medicine. At the time of his death he was a consultant oncologist at Clatterbridge Hospital.

F. H. Hunter FCII [1928 - 1935]

We have learned from his daughters, Sarah and Jan, that Frank Hunter died on 14th October, 2014, aged 96. After his wife died Frank moved to Lewes, East Sussex to be near his daughter. Frank was one of the original Archive volunteers and a stalwart member of the team for many years.

Nick Abakhan [ 1951 - 1952]

We have been advised that Nick Abakhan passed away on 24th October,2014. Although he was at the School for a short time he was a supportive member of the OB Society and the rugby club in particular.

Greg Young [2001 - 2008]

We have been advised Greg Young died on 26th September 2014.

Roger Southworth [1964 - 1975]

We have been advised that Roger Southworth died in September 2013 aged 56. [1957-2013]. He started in the Prep in 1964 and left in 1975. He went on to study architecture at Sheffield University and stayed in Sheffield pursuing his career as an architect.

Colonel F.E. Richmond-Coggan

Colonel F.E.Richmond-Coggan died on 7th November 2013 aged 101 in Hove,Sussex.
He taught briefly at the school prior to WW2. He married Phyllis Fisher in Bournemouth, April 1941. The service was conducted by Rev.C.A.Macvicar. The marriage did not last long. He remarried in 1948.
Phyllis Richmond-Coggan became Headmistress of the Prep in 1951 having taught at the school since 1937. She died in December 1996 in Birkenhead aged 79.

David R Gwilliam [1962 - 1971]

We have been advised by Adrian Fowler [1986 - 1993] that David R Gwilliam [MA Cantab. (Coll.Trin.), FCA] Emeritus Professor of Accounting, University of Exeter passed away on 31.08.2014.

David was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire on Thursday March 12th 1953. After moving to London, he attended Dulwich Hamlet school and then Birkenhead School on the Wirral peninsula where he was a member of School House, House Prefect, School Prefect and won full colours in rugby and cricket. From there, he went up to Trinity College Cambridge in 1971, where he was awarded an Exhibition to read Economics. He would return to Cambridge, as a Fellow of Churchill College, following his qualification as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse. Subsequently, he held Chairs in Accounting at Aberystwyth and Exeter Universities, in which latter, he was Head of Department. He was also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and at Australia’s Monash University (Melbourne) and a member of the Accounting & Finance Panel of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. He gave the 7th Tom Robertson Memorial Lecture at Edinburgh University in 1989 and the PD Leake Lecture at the Institute of Chartered Accountancy of England & Wales in 2003. In 2013, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Accounting & Finance Association, on whose Conference of Professors he had been a very active and influential member. In October that year, he retired to an Emeritus Chair having, in his own words, “said everythin’ there was to say about non-audit services and most of anythin’ that was worth sayin’ about auditor liability”.
It was a matter of some pride that, in the increasingly instrumentalist context of British higher education, he never wrote a Ph.D. (although he often contended that he was due one several times over, having supervised about three dozen). This, and his broad learning, beyond his very substantial contribution to academic research and publication, marked him out as, perhaps, one of the last of the gentleman scholars. To say that David was, “not uninterested in rugby”, would, perhaps, gain admission to that taxonomy of, “Greatest Litotes in Human History”, in a position not far distant from, “I am a citizen of no mean city”. His knowledge of football was not much inferior. His grounding in history and classical literature was equally profound: on being asked to act as a mentor to a junior colleague, he replied, “I’m not sure that’s a very good idea – wasn’t it Mentor who released the Furies?”.
David professed some level of bewilderment that he was not interviewed, following an application for a junior corporate financial management role, on qualification as an accountant: “They said they required foreign languages. I told them I had, ‘reasonable Latin but weaker Greek’. What else could they possibly have wanted?”.
He was somewhat sceptical on the subject of his date of birth, thinking, perhaps, that his parents had taken steps to avoid his having a birth date of the following day, a Friday.
His death, on August 31st 2014, was unexpected and premature. He was a warm, insightful, witty and erudite individual, whose loss is lamented, not only by his wife, Anwen, parents, John and Pegi, and siblings, Peter, Philip, Catherine and Rhiannon (all of whom survive him), but, also, the many academics and students whom he guided, educated and inspired.
David Robert Gwilliam, MA (Cantab.), FCA, Emeritus Professor of Accounting, University of Exeter OB 1963-1971 (School House), 12 March 1953 – 31 August 2014.

Lawrence Joseph Evans [1940 - 1944]

We have been advised that Lawrence [Laurie] Joseph Evans passed away in 2014 aged 87. On leaving School Laurie joined the Merchant Navy. At one time he was a School governor.

D.E.B. Needham [1943 - 1951]

We have been advised that David Needham passed away early in 2014.

Kenneth J. Norris BA [1939 - 1945]

I am sorry to inform you that Kenneth Norris old boy 1939-1945 died on March 23rd from injuries sustained from a fall whilst travelling in South Africa at the age of 85, he loved travelling having visited over 89 countries always with a tale to tell. Best Wishes Martin Dodd ( nephew)( 81-87)

Michael Astbury Stone 1955 - 1963

Michael Astbury Stone
Born 23 September 1944
Died 30 March 2014

Went to Durham University, Balliol College Oxford and taught at Goldsmiths London and the University of Central Lancashire until his retirement in 2005.

Alderman Alan Courtenay Brazendale [1936 - 1941]

Mrs. E A Sherratt has sent us the following obituary of her father.

Alderman Alan Courtenay Brazendale

15/12/1924 – 31/01/2014

 Alan Brazendale was born in the Wirral,  the eldest of two brothers. His father, George, was a master mariner, carrying on a long family association with the sea, and during the war Alan trained as a radio mechanic with the Navy. It was during his training period in Perth that he met, and later married, Betty Carr.

Alan was highly intelligent, and earned a scholarship to Birkenhead School, and was proud to retain his association with the school as an 'Old Birk'. His commitment to education remained throughout his life. He qualified as an accountant after the war, and moved to the North-east in the 1950s for the sake of his wife's health, working for the Coal Board. He did some part-time lecturing at Newcastle Polytechnic before being appointed as a senior lecturer in Management Studies, and later set up a business providing in-set training for local organisations.

He had always had an active involvement in politics, and was a member of the Labour Party for most of his life. He was elected to Gateshead Council in the mid-1970s, serving as Chairman of Education for many years. He had the honour of being elected Mayor of Gateshead for 1980-81, and traveled abroad for the first time when the Gateshead team went to Germany for the international round of It's a Knockout. Having got the travel bug, he and Bet went further afield with a cruise on the Rhine, and later on , a trip to Russia, which he enjoyed enormously.

Sadly, he lost both his wife and his seat on the Council in the same year, shortly after retiring from his job as a lecturer, and had to adjust to a very different, quieter life. He was never one to be unoccupied for long, and soon set up a small printing and publishing business, but when it was sold, Alan was able to devote more time to his writing. He had several books published on local history, and was often in demand as a guest lecturer around the region. He was particularly noted for his knowledge of early wooden wagon ways in the north-east. He was a founder member of the Whickham and District History Society, and served as their chairman until forced to retire through ill-health.

In recognition of his many years of service to the Council and his work in promoting Gateshead through his writings, he was appointed an Honorary Alderman in 2005, an honour which he was proud to receive from the region which he had adopted as his home.

Alan was a wonderful father to Elizabeth and a caring and doting grandfather to his grandson Timothy. He was married to Betty Carr for almost half a century, and cared for her during the last years of her life. As a family man, he was always loving and supportive and will be desperately missed.

Robert L. Suffield [1982 - 1993]

We have just been advised that Robert L. Suffield passed away in February 2014

Tristram W R Eastwood [1941 - 1954]

We have been advised that Tristram W R Eastwood died in December 2013.

Hamish Ian Smith [1954 - 1962]

After Birkenhead School Hamish read History at Pembroke College, Oxford. On graduation he joined J. Bibby and Sons, the animal-feed company, where he eventually became Managing Director. On retirement he took on a number of other directorships. He passed away on 15th August 2013.

I C Bennett [ 1943 - 1950]

We have been advised that I C Bennet has passed away in Canada aged 82.

Fig 8

Fig 8

Colin D Kennedy [1971 - 1978]

Dear OBS,

I regret to inform you of the passing of Colin Dunkeld Kennedy on Dec 23rd 2013.

Colin was a student at Birkenhead School from 1971-78 after being awarded a free place.  He was Victor Lu Dorum on several occasionsduring the athletic season frequently winning the 100/200m and high jump.  Colin lived as a computer system analyst in several countries including Sweden, Holland, Belgium, France, Austria and Switzerland working mainly as an independent contractor.

Here Colin is pictured with his father Alec deep in the alps during the 80’s (see fig 8).

Ross Kennedy

Fig 9

Fig 9

Dr. Norman Earl Mawby [1921- 2013]

We have been advised of the sad news that one of our oldest members, Dr. Norman E. Mawby passed away on 28th November 2013 just 4 months short of his 102 birthday.

The Summer 2012 Bulletin carried an article on Norman and it is reproduced below:

Dr NORMAN EARL MAWBY 1912 - 2012 (fig 9)

Norman was born on 1st April 1912 at the home of his parents on Storeton Road, Prenton, Birkenhead.
He started school at Winchester House Prenton and in 1921, he was interviewed by the then Headmaster of Birkenhead School, a Mr Griffin.  As he was only nine he was given an oral test and was then admitted to the big School – the only pupil in short pants! Kennard Davies was the Headmaster when he started at the School.

His progress at the school was ‘scholarly’.  He admits to being on the small side and a quiet lad and never took any leadership roles, nor did he excel in sport. He left the School in 1928 and as he was too young to be admitted to the Medical School he undertook additional studies in Physics at Liverpool University.

In 1930 Norman was accepted at the Liverpool Medical School and, after time off to care for his father, he qualified as a Doctor in 1936
He joined a practice in Beaumauris where he worked until being conscripted into the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Captain in 1941.  He served in Malta for 3 years as Staff Surgeon, Malta Command during the time of the convoys which were attacked by the Luftwaffe and U-boats, leading to many casualties.

In 1944 Norman was posted to be the Medical Officer at the Advanced Handling and Field work Training School at Llanberis where he served until de-mob in 1946.  After a month in Beaumauris he accepted an appointment at a practice in West Kirby, where he quickly became a partner, and spent the next 31 years caring for patients in the area.  It is understood that he is responsible for many of the babies born during this period in West Kirby. After retiring from the practice in 1977 he continued to practice medicine for a further 24 years – until the age of 89!

In 1973 Norman and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1998, established The Earl Mawby Trust in memory of their son David, a medical student, who was killed in a car accident. The Trust makes some 70 donations a year to a wide variety of Charities.  It has also funded: a stained glass window in St Stephen’s, Prenton; Lady Chapel pews in St Andrew’s, West Kirby; a carved doorway leading into the Lady Chapel at in St Hildeberg, Hoylake.

How his second name ‘Earl’ arrived he is never sure.  His father was in America shortly before the birth and it has been suggested that this is where the name came from. Norman celebrated his 100th birthday on 1st April 2012 with a party at his home in Bertram Drive, Great Meols where he entertained his family and friends, including his M.P. Esther McVey, clad in a golden smoking jacket and a birthday cake hat. He will tell anybody who will listen - quite forcibly - that he is fine from the neck upwards but is in not such good shape below the neck.                                                             

Fig 10

Fig 10

Peter J Mitchell, C.Eng MIMarE [1951 - 2013]

Peter James Mitchell (fig 10) was born in Burnley in 1942, his father Harry known as Pat and mother Ethel were both teachers.  Pat at Burnley Grammar School and Ethel taught ballet.  Pat died in 1962.  Peter and his older brother John were raised by Ethel and subsequently their stepmother Mildred together with their Welsh step-brother Peter and step-sister Elizabeth – who all called him “Mitch”. Educated at Birkenhead School, where he was a boarder from the age of 7, he was a talented all round athlete and stood out as a gifted rugby player, starting his Old Birkonian career under the benign guidance of Desmond West at the age of 16.

He was very much influenced by his Grandfather Alfred Edgar Jones, who was himself a merchant seaman and taught Peter to sail when he was 7. Peter proudly followed in his Grandfather’s footsteps and took an apprenticeship at Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, later joining the Merchant Navy as a Junior Engineer with Palm Line working the West Coast of Africa in the 1960's.  He quickly rose to Chief Engineer sailing with Ellerman Papayanni Lines and CP Ships.  In 1972 he became a Chartered Engineer and, at that time, the youngest Member of the Institute of Marine Engineers.

Life at sea was not conducive to playing rugby but he still managed to find time to play for Old Birkonian (and Cheshire County RFU until this was curtailed by life at sea).  He was an exceptional 7’s player and later helped coach the Fijian 7’s team.  He was also a pretty decent XV-a-side winger and occasional goal kicker.  Whilst working in the Caribbean, and having already been capped for Nigeria (he qualified through the “never leave home without your boots” rule) he was asked to play on the wing and goal-kick for a Dominican Republic XV in a game held as a prelude to a football match against the touring New York Cosmo’s.   The player/coach for the struggling Cosmo’s at that time, was Pele.   Pele watched the strange, egg-shaped ball-game with interest as Peter, on the wing, somehow managed to slot the winning conversion from the touch line.   After the game Pele shook his hand and is reputed to have said “I wish I could get my winger to cross a ball like that”.

Peter met his future wife, Lois (daughter of OB, F.G.Coomber), on the ferry returning from the Isle of Man. He had been playing rugby, Lois hockey, and they ended the night in Liverpool’s Pink Parrot Club.  Later that week Lois needed a date for a party and asked Peter to join her.  He agreed on the condition she ironed his trousers!   He was always very romantic!

He enhanced this impression by reciting all 58 verses of The Ballad of Eskimo Nell on their way to South Wales to announce news of their engagement.  In spite of the warning signs, they were married in September 1967 and spent 46 happy years together.
Four years later Matthew was born, followed by Stewart in 1975.  Peter was at sea for long periods but always wrote home to the family and his children eagerly awaited letters featuring his fictional stories and hand drawn pictures based on his travels over the equator and to far flung corners of the World.  He had a remarkable memory and loved poetry.  He dabbled in this, composing a book of dinner graces for every occasion which raised a little money for charity.

Peter and the family have always holidayed on boats.  If there was something Peter didn’t know about boats and sailing it probably wasn’t worth knowing.  His expertise enabled the family to access a small fleet of boats over the years, from an 18 foot Sailfish, to a 230 foot cement delivery ship.  They sailed the Menai Straits, cruised the North Sea and Dutch waterways, crossed the English Channel, Bay of Biscay and cruised the Atlantic coast. They also had their fair share of warm weather cruising in the Bahamas, Fiji and Mediterranean. 
Boats included Pugwash, Macavity, Take Five and of course most recently (the home away from home) a 38 foot Bavaria, Boxer - named after Harry Boxer Jones, Peter’s great grandfather.   She is currently in Greece where Peter and Lois have spent the last few summers.   He was always very proud to see his grandsons, Morgan (10), Rhys (8) and Harris (7) on-board continuing the maritime tradition.   A memorable few weeks involved rugby friends bunking down on Boxer in Marseilles port during the World Cup Semi Finals in 2007,
Since returning from abroad Peter focused on business in Kent.  Before he retired in 2004 he inspected pressure vessels for Bureau Veritas and prior to that set up the Royal Tunbridge Wells Spa Company building swimming pools and jacuzzis across the South East.   Stewart still works in the industry. 

The family have never been far from the sports field.   You would always know where to find Peter on a Saturday afternoon - at the rugby club.  In fact he continued playing until he was 54 years old, for his adopted club, Tonbridge Rugby Club, in Kent. In 1986 when Matthew was only 15, he took him to watch his side, Tonbridge Vets, play against Maidstone Vets – the opposition were short and Matthew ended up playing his first game of senior rugby against his father.   Peter sold him a couple of good dummies in open play which he has never let him forget.   Matthew now works for the Rugby Football Union.

Peter was one of the driving forces behind the beginning of mini rugby in Tonbridge where he was Youth Chairman and later Club Chairman.   He coached many teams, from Minis to Colts, and even refereed, having been coached by the Marist Brothers in Fiji.
He was a Club Vice President and ever present supporter of both the old Tonbridge Rugby Club in Avebury Avenue and the new club Tonbridge Juddians RFC.   The wake following the service of remembrance was held at the Clubhouse where his family and friends raised a pint of real ale - in a jug not a glass!

Returning home in September after spending 4 months sailing with family and friends in the Ionian, Peter was diagnosed with lung cancer and died 3 weeks later on the 28th November 2013. He is very much missed and was a wonderful, adventurous, inspirational husband, father and friend.

A last word from Peter:
The Septuagenarian’s Plea!
Dear Lord above to whom we pray,
Why have we grown so old and grey?
When all we want is strength to play,
Where we can drink and eat all day!
How can lives be lived this way?
We’re young at heart or so we say!
Let’s sow wild oats ‘n’ make more hay,
Before we get too old and grey!

Written by Lois Mitchell.

Peter G Howard [1962 - 1972]

We have been advised that Peter G Howard passed away in November 2013.

Colin Kerr [1939 - 1947]

We have been advised that Colin Kerr passed away in Canada in November 2013

Fig 11

Fig 11

C Frederick Caroe [1951 - 54]

Fred (fig 11) passed away in August 2012.

Fred was born in Liverpool on 13th May 1935. Did National Service 1954-56 mainly in Aden. Studied Geography at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Consul for Denmark in Liverpool 1972-73.

Keen sportsman - cricket and hockey at Oxton and golf at Heswall.

President of English Golf Union 2005.

An enthusiastic Meteorologist, Philatelist and Gardner.

He was President of Liverpool Corn Trade Association 1978-79.

Fig 12

Fig 12

Kenneth [Ken] James Speakman-Brown [1928 - 1938]

We have received the following email from Jonathan Speakman-Brown.

I thought I should let you know that my father, Kenneth (Ken) Speakman-Brown passed away peacefully on Monday 2nd September 2013. He was a pupil at the School starting in the Prep in September 1928 and remained at the School until 1938. He was Head of School, and Captain of Rugby and Cricket (and maybe one or two other teams), and was due to go to St John's College, Cambridge, in 1939 but instead signed up for the war.

He was a prominent member of Old Birkonian RUFC, I think Chairman at one time, and then was president of Birkenhead Park RUFC from 1981-1983. He was a Governor of the School, and spent much time with the Archives Team before he finally moved away to a care home in Anglesey. He finally moved down to Purley a few weeks ago to be near to his family.

I attach a note which was prepared by the Archives team a while ago, which gives some other information in addition to notes he left:-

Kenneth James Speakman-Brown entered the Prep in 1928 and left school in 1938. An original member of Pearse's, he was on the Classical side. He was Head of School (and of Pearse's ), Captain of the 1st XV (centre threequarter and awarded Honours Cap), Captain of the 1st X1 Cricket, Captain of Fives and Hockey, and awarded Athletic Colours. Plans for him to go to Cambridge and sit at the feet of Martin Charlesworth (013), who was later President of St John's College, Cambridge, were thwarted in 1939 by rumours of war. He enlisted in the Royal Engineers and was soon commissioned; served in the Middle East, Italy and Palestine, reached the rank of Major and was twice mentioned in dispatches.
After the war, he returned to the firm of Edmund Kirby & Sons (Architects & Surveyors) of which he eventually became senior partner. He held high office in the RICS, played rugger for Old Birkonians (in his first full season he scored 106 points) and for Cheshire. Later, when the two clubs merged, he became President of Birkenhead Park. He lives in Oxton where he takes a full part in community life.
Kenneth Speakman-Brown must be among the most loyal and active OBs of all time. He served the Society as a committee member and its Chairman. For many years he was a Governor of the school, a McAllester trustee and our first representative on AROPS.
More recently he was the fons et origo of the Archives Team which is now such a great asset to the School. For Birkenhead School, nothing is ever too much for him to undertake.

Howard Stephens - Director of Music 1955 - 1959

Howard Stephens who was Director of Music between 1955 and 1959 passed away on 25th July 2013 aged 92.

The Times published his obituary:

Influential music teacher whose talent and enthusiasm inspired scores of musicians
Howard Stephens was one of the most significant and influential figures in music education during the second half of the 20th century. Lecturer, composer, teacher, writer, examiner, organist, conductor and, above all, enthusiast, the sheer breadth of his industry made him an inspirational figure for generations of aspiring musicians.

Howard Stephens was born in Hounslow in 1921 and was educated at Isleworth Grammar School and, from 1938, at the Royal College of Music. There his tutors included Sir Walter Alcock, Henry Ley, Sir William Harris, Angus Morrison and R. O. Morris. Stephens was already regarded as one of the finest organists of his generation.

During the Second World War he spent five years in the Royal Air Force and in 1946 was elected organ scholar of Keble College, Oxford. Becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he remained one of the few musicians to hold the Archbishop’s Diploma in Church Music.

Appointed organist of St Thomas’s church, Regent Street in 1949, Stephens began his teaching career at Westminster School. Twelve months later, while assistant organist at Exeter Cathedral, he taught at the Cathedral Choir School, was a tutor at St Luke’s College and directed both Exeter Musical Society and Honiton Choral Society. From 1955 until 1959, he was director of music at Birkenhead School and Conductor of Hoylake Choral Society.

That year he became principal lecturer at Borough Road College, Isleworth. In addition, as the long serving organist of St Mary’s Church, Osterley and chairman of Hounslow Music Festival, he also made a deep impression on the wider cultural community. In 1976 Borough Road merged with Chiswick Polytechnic and Maria Grey College to form West London Institute of Higher Education, Stephens was appointed head of music. Extensive tours as an examiner for Trinity College of Music afforded him regular breaks from this exacting routine.
Stephens served as a member of the editorial board of The Handbook for Music Teachers and contributed a wealth of finely written critiques and scholarly analyses to a wide range of specialist periodicals, including Music in Education, The Musical Times andMusic Teacher. While his compositions were rather a by-product of a busy professional life, there is no disguising their craftsmanship.
He was senior music examiner at O and A level for the Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations and also a longstanding member of The Schools Council and the Standing Conference on Amateur Music. He was also a special commissioner for the Royal School of Church Music.

His wife predeceased him. He is survived by a son and three daughters.
Howard Stephens, musician, was born on May 3, 1921. He died on July 25, 2013, aged 92

Major Alexander Lewis Temple MC [1928-1936]

We have been advised by his son, Patrick, that Major Alexander Lewis Temple MC passed away on June 21st 2013 at the age of 95.

Born on 5th June 1918 he entered School in 1928 and left in July 1936. He was Head Boy in 1935 and was awarded his colours for hockey. On leaving School he joined Lever Bros.

Robert George Kevan [1950 -1957]

We have been advised by his brother, Peter, that Robert "Bob" George Kevan [1950 - 1957] passed away on 2nd August 2013. Bob left School in July 1957 for Manchester University after which he joined the RAF.

David Allan Harcourt - (1926 -33)

We have been advised by his daughter-in-law that David Allan Harcourt [1926-33] passed away on 5th May 2013 aged 97 [d.o.b. 28.9.1915].


An obituary was published in The Daily Telegraph:

During a long and prolific career, he also worked on Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy thriller The Lady Vanishes (1938), as well as on Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), and Women in Love (1969).

As a camera operator for more than 40 years, Harcourt kept his eye fixed to the viewfinder, following the action and capturing the creative vision set out by the director of photography and, ultimately, the director. Among the directors of photography for whom he operated were Jack Cox, Otto Heller, Christopher Challis, Geoffrey Unsworth, and Billy Williams, with whom he made 17 films, including Billion Dollar Brain (1967).

His operating technique was second to none. Billy Williams observed his skill in synchronising camera movement with that of the actors, “to whom he showed the same respect and support, whether it was Elizabeth Taylor or a small part player”. Harcourt’s expressive operating was a major contribution to the shooting of Women In Love, directed by Ken Russell. The famous wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed was shot with a hand-held camera, as were the love scenes with Glenda Jackson.
David Allan Harcourt was born in Hampstead, north London, on September 27 1915 into a showbusiness family. His father, James Harcourt, and mother, known professionally as Isadora Keith, were both busy actors. When his father moved north to work at Liverpool Rep, David was educated at Birkenhead School.

Soon after leaving school he began working in the camera department at the BIP Studios at Borehamwood, known as “The Porridge Factory” because of its Scots owner, John Maxwell. The war proved to be Harcourt’s big break. In the Army Kinematograph Service (AKS), he operated on various instruction films and even did some lighting. So when he finally returned to civvie street he was able to resume his career higher up the traditional camera “ladder”.

By then he had got his one and, in the event only, chance to work with his father. In 1942 Harcourt Sr was playing the local pieman to parliamentarians in The Young Mr Pitt, directed by Carol Reed, with his son behind the camera as focus puller . To add to the pressure, his daughter Jo was also working on the film as continuity girl . “Dad was extra nervous, because Jo and I were on the set,” David Harcourt recalled. “He wasn’t concentrating on the cue for the next line and I thought he might seize up altogether. His crucial line was 'Pies are to Mr Pitt what frogs are to Monsieur Bonaparte’. But could he get it out? No. It just went on and on. Poor Jo had to leave the set and I only stayed because I had to, being on the camera crew .”

Harcourt’s most confrontational moment was in Durango, New Mexico, on the 1973 Western, Kid Blue, when he briefly took over as director of photography from Billy Williams, who was suffering with a bad back. During the shooting of a table scene with some 10 actors, including Dennis Hopper, the noise level was deafening. Harcourt recalled: “I just lost my cool, and yelled, 'Shut up, for Christ’s sake!’ Hopper then chipped in with 'There’s a double shadow across that face.’ I quickly replied with, 'You do your job, and I’ll do mine.’”
Harcourt, who retired in 1980 aged 65, was an associate member of the British Society of Cinematographers.

David Harcourt married, in 1946, Margot Dawson, who survives him with their three children. Their son Jamie followed his father into the film industry as a camera operator.

Colin Gordon [1956 - 1963]

We have recently learned that Colin passed away on 20th November 2005. Colin was Head Boy in 1962/3. From his Valette in the Birkonian:

Head Boy 1962 -1963

Sergeant in CCF

1st XV Rugby 1962 - 1963 Half Colours 1962 - -1963

School Athletics Team 1958 - 1963. Colours 1963

House Teams: Rugby, Hockey, Athletics and Cross Country

Editor "Birkonian"

Choral Society

Chapel Choir

Corpus Christi College, Oxford to read English.

Fig 13

Fig 13

Keith Hawkins [1967 - 1974]

Keith ( fig 13) completed his time as a pupil at Birkenhead School (1967 – 1974) as Head Boy. On leaving school he joined the Royal Navy where he obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering .

Following a successful period in the Royal Navy, and after  brief periods with Rolls Royce and the nuclear industry, he qualified as a teacher and commenced his new career by returning to the physics department of his old school in 1989.  Here he taught at all levels but took special responsibility for developing Junior Science.

With his extensive services experience he became Contingent Commander of the CCF

In 1997 he moved to Oswestry  School as Head of Physics followed by appointment as Deputy Principal of The Hammond School in Chester in 2010.

Trevor David Hall [1975 - 1980]

We have recently learned that Trevor David Hall passed away on 25th March 2013.

D. R. Newland [1946 - 1956]

We have recently been advised that D. R. Newland passed away earlier this year.

Alistair Wrigley [1988-1993]

We have recently been advised that Alistair Wrigley [1988-1993] died in November 2012.

Rowland E. Woodward [1925-1933]

We have recently been advised that Rowland E. Woodward [1925-1933] died on 18th September 2012.

Major Danny B. Prince [1939-1945]

We have recently been advised that Major Danny B. Prince [1939-1945] died in 2008.

David A. Parker [1945-1953]

We have recently been advised that David A. Parker [1945-1953] died in September 2011.

Peter A. Millar [1961-1968]

We have recently been advised that Peter A. Millar [1961-1968] died in 2011.

Frederick C. Hutchence [1939-1942]

We have recently been advised that Frederick C. Hutchence [1939-1942] died on 18th January 2013.

Peter Howard [1941-1946]

We have recently been advised that Peter Howard [1941-1946] died on 12th December 2010.

John H. M. Harden [1942-1948]

We have recently been advised that John H. M. Harden [1942-1948] died in 2009.

John H. Golding [1943-1950]

We have recently been advised that John H. Golding [1943-1950] has died. Currently we have no date of his death.

Dr. Gilbert W. Gibbs [1930-1936]

We have recently been advised that Dr. Gilbert W. Gibbs [1930-1936] passed away in September 2008.

Keith C. Gledhill [1943-1949]

We have recently been advised that Keith C. Gledhill [1943-1949] died in January 2013.

Dr. Alan J. Gibbs [1935-1940]

We have recently been informed of the death of Dr. Alan J. Gibbs [1935-1940] . We currently do not have a date for his death.

Douglas K. Fisk [1948-1957]

We have recently been advised that Douglas K. Fisk [ 1948-1957] died in February 2013.

A. Norman Ewbank [1939-1941]

We have recently been advised by his son that A. Norman Ewbank [1939-1941] died in 2012.

Anthony M Cross [1942-1948]

We have recently been advised that Anthony M. Cross [1942-1948]  died in 2004.

Derek A. Cooper [1938-1945]

We have recently been advised that Derek A. Cooper [1938-1945] died in 2012.

Arthur G Cawthra [1937-1944]

We have recently been advised of the death of Arthur G. G Cawthra [1937-1944] in July 2012.

Fig 13

Fig 13


DR HARRY POTTER (fig 13) died on 30th April aged 69. He leaves Rosie his wife and their three children and seven grandchildren. After his studies at Cambridge and Reading he had a long career in the developing world including Asia, South America and Africa. His last post was Malawi and he was awarded an OBE for his work on Food Security. He retired in 2004 and then did work for the David James Foundation in Malawi as well as co chairing the Mersey Synod United Reformed Church global partnership with Churches of Christ in Malawi. In the last year of his life he became a Strategic Adviser for Temwa, a Bristol based charity that operates in Northern Malawi.

A Scholarship in Agriculture and Environmental Studies is being established for students in Malawi and if you would like to contribute please contact Revd Susan Flynn sflynn@waitrose.com or 01244 381490.

Col. W E I Armstrong [1927 - 1938]

Colonel William (Bill) Edward Iredale Armstrong OBE TD DL passed away on 13th December 2012 aged 92 years.

fig 14

fig 14

Peter Bakewell (1961 - 1968)

Peter Bakewell passed away on 5th October 2012 in Ottowa, Canada. Although already unwell and having difficulty walking, Peter flew over from Canada earlier in the year to attend his year group reunion at School and a number of his contemporaries enjoyed a very pleasant evening wth him.

Below is his obituary published in The Ottowa Citizen:

BAKEWELL, Peter ( fig 14)

Peacefully on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at the age of 63. Loving husband of Susan (Nee McCoy) and cherished father of Joseph (Wendy Heagney), Ruth (Mark Heighington), Jonathan and Francis also survived by their mother Ann. Dear step-father of Edward Watling (Marjorie) and Eric Watling (Christa). Grandfather of Kai Bakewell, Ramona Heighington, Jordan Olsen, Rebecca Doull, Carolanne Watling, Kyle Watling, Sandra-Mae Watling and Seth Watling. Brother of Susan Stevens (Peter) and Ian (Patricia). Uncle to several nieces and nephews.

A Requiem Eucharist will be held on Friday, October 12th, 2012 in Christ Church Cathedral, 420 Sparks St. at 1 p.m.

Peter was a true public servant and consummate professional, insightful, principled and generous. During his 30 year diplomatic career at Foreign Affairs, he served in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and United States becoming one of the Department's ranking experts on these Canadian priorities.

Posted to Prague, he worked closely with Vaclav Havel and the Charter 77 dissidents, and was subsequently honored by the Czech government in recognition of the role he played in the Prague Spring. From his undergraduate days at Oxford, Peter developed an abiding interest in the world of security and intelligence, shaped over time by the Cold War experience, events in the Middle East and post - 9/11 realities.

Serving in various capacities at headquarters and abroad, he was deeply engaged in promoting and defending Canadian interests, earning the hard won respect of colleagues in Ottawa community and Canada's close allies. As a diplomat, Peter was valued for his informed views, trenchant policy advice, negotiating skills and mentoring abilities. His legacy - and the measure of his loss - lies in his family, former colleagues and lifelong friendships left behind. The family wish to thank the Montfort Hospital's I.C.U., Palliative Care Unit and 6th floor staff with a special thank you to Valerie and Diane.

Funeral arrangements in the care of
Kelly Funeral Home-Somerset Chapel
585 Somerset Street West, Ottawa,
K1R 5K1 613-235-6712 www.kellyfh.ca
In Memoriam donations to the charity of choice are appreciated.

Published in The Ottawa Citizen from October 10 to October 11, 2012