Sergeant Usher

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Kit Bartlett
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Sergeant Usher

Post by Kit Bartlett » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:19 am

There must be many memories of the above named and his withering repartee to all and sundry., His best known was the apocryphal
"The next time you come to Gym. don't "
He was fond of the term "floppy Joe " to describe those who could not perform fairly simple gymnastic tasks on the vaulting horse.
Referring to Punishment Drill his favourite trick was not to call the roll until the end of the session . If by any miraculous chance the giver of the punishment had omitted to record it then one had done a drill unnecessarily. If boys had dropped out or had to rest during the drill they were instructed to "come again Friday".
When he retired . on his last day of running the drill there was a huge voluntary attendance . How masochistic was that ?

michael scuffil
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:06 pm

Why is this in the 'Parents' section?
Th.B. 27 1955-63

rockfreak
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by rockfreak » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:23 pm

Good point Michael but I've given up worrying about categories. I remember Usher on the day he retired. I was still in my Prep house and as the Housey Special waited to pull out of CH station bound for London, Usher was leaning out of one of the carriage windows. It was the first time I'd seen him wearing proper civvies - suit and raincoat. A group of Grecians gathered and started singing "For he's a jolly good fellow". He didn't know whether to acknowledge them or to put his head back in out of modesty. If his training had allowed him I think he might have cried. He was clearly a man for whom the army and a structured lifestyle was everything. I couldn't help feeling for him and wondering what sort of life might now be in store for him.
I seem to remember a Sgt Wheeler at some point soon after, who I recall as a friendly, affable sort of chap. Is that right?? Then of course there was Sgt Cook, the cockney with the squeaky voice. Cookie used to volunteer to referee those Sunday afternoon "breakaway" soccer games that used to take place on the pitch of Christs Hospital Local, next to Col B's rugger pitch. We could usually get well oversubscribed for 22 players who followed a league team in the holidays and preferred the round ball to the oval. Cookie would turn up with his whistle, wearing shorts and dispensing tactical advice. I've no doubt he spent time on the terraces at Upton Park in his holidays. Soccer was definitely frowned on at CH back then. On one occasion, Seaman turned up on the touchline to see what this strange game was all about. Or more probably to see that no swearing was going on.

Kit Bartlett
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by Kit Bartlett » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:05 am

I do not know how this appeared in the Parents' section. I thought that I had started a new topic thread. Perhaps the Moderator can transfer it accordingly.
There was an article in "The Outlook" c. 1952-53, which consisted of an interview with him mainly about his Army career. He was a considerable athlete and held the grass track record for a sprint race.

John Saunders
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by John Saunders » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:35 am

A great and friendly man. He coached many of the swimmers to success. In retirement he would come and support the Housey team when they swam against Epsom. He was immaculate in civvies. Always wore one glove and carried the other! He always had time for a chat. And he would help potential gymnasts with the wretched forward roll. JHGS

Martin
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by Martin » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:49 am

Kit Bartlett wrote: When he retired . on his last day of running the drill there was a huge voluntary attendance . How masochistic was that ?
rockfreak wrote: If his training had allowed him I think he might have cried.
The huge attendance for “Tush’s” last drill was surely not masochistic. It was affection (at least on my part, for I participated). There were probably about 50 or more drilling voluntarily then, including plenty of Grecians - they of course would never receive such a punishment. Although I wasn’t present at the station when he “might have cried”, at that last drill there certainly was a tear or two, when “Tush” saw the vast numbers who turned up.

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J.R.
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:02 pm

Kit Bartlett wrote:I do not know how this appeared in the Parents' section. I thought that I had started a new topic thread. Perhaps the Moderator can transfer it accordingly.
There was an article in "The Outlook" c. 1952-53, which consisted of an interview with him mainly about his Army career. He was a considerable athlete and held the grass track record for a sprint race.
Done as requested.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

michael scuffil
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by michael scuffil » Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:33 pm

Someone put me right.

When I arrived in 1955, there was a school sergeant who did the attendance lists, took drill, shouted the orders on dinner parade, and helped in the gym. Someone on this forum told me his name was Usher, though I had remembered it as Wheeler. Now rockfreak above tells me there was a Wheeler, and from the various descriptions of Usher here, I'm quite sure he's not the guy I knew, who left in the middle of the school year, unexpectedly -- as rumour had it because of differences with Seaman. He was succeeded by Guest.

(Not to be confused with Sgt Fielder, who ran the Post Office, rang the Big School bell, and opened/shut the chapel door on Sundays; nor with the CCF sergeant-majors -- Carter followed by Cooke.)
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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postwarblue
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by postwarblue » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:25 am

I have a totally different and very negative view of Sgt Usher, as a man who tried to get results by ridicule, of boys who of course couldn't answer back.
'Oh blest retirement, friend to life's decline'

rockfreak
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by rockfreak » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:22 pm

Yes, I supposed we schoolboys back then just accepted the tenor of the times - we didn't venture contrary opinions and kept our heads down and laughed along with it. Nick Duffell (I always seem to end up quoting him) believes that sarcasm and ridicule are/were endemic to the public school system and that they drive our political atmosphere to this day - David Cameron of course being a prime example. You seem to be commendably liberal for a forces guy.

Mid A 20
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Re: Sergeant Usher

Post by Mid A 20 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:13 pm

Tush, we called him in my day. Some of his 'bon mots':
On drills - "you lot look like the Chinese Harmy" and "heads up. No fag-ends down there."
On Victoria Station on St Mathews Day, before marching off - "those that want to go, go now. those what don't go, forever hold your peace". The last word being pronounced as you would imagine it.

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