school sergeant

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michael scuffil
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school sergeant

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:54 am

In another thread ("Masters' Wives", which has got a bit OT) I wrote:

I was told at an earlier date that "headmaster's beatings" were in fact administered by the school sergeant (Fielden) under the HM's direction. That may have been the case under Flecker.

Then I wondered: Was it Fielden or was it Whistler? In fact, what was the difference.

When I arrived, there were two uniformed characters known as "Sergeant", the abovementioned Fielden and Whistler (I think it was Whistler, but I may be confusing him with his successor). Fielden ran the post-office and closed the chapel door on Sundays. I've no idea what else he did. Whistler was much more active. He took school drills, assisted at gym and swimming, went around the classrooms in the morning with the attendance list, roared out the commands at dinner parade. He left during my first year, allegedly because he couldn't get on with the new headmaster (Seaman). His successor was I think called Fletcher (tho I may have them the wrong way round). Fletcher(?) can be seen in this pictureImage, (on the left, next to the SG) which illustrates yet another function. He took over the gym and school-drill functions (which he said were incompatible). The attendance-list function was abolished, and the dinner-parade function (after briefly being exercised by the SG) was replaced by a series of drum-rolls.

These were the "civilian" sergeants, not to be confused with the CCF sergeant-majors.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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NEILL THE NOTORIOUS
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Re: school sergeant

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:16 pm

Under "Oily" Flecker, School Beatings were, in fact carried out by the "Sergeant" in Big School, in front of the whole School.

I never saw one, but that was the procedure --- probably followed by Expulsion

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Re: school sergeant

Post by postwarblue » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:29 pm

The Sgt who ran the post office etc was Fielder. The boneheaded thug with the Army PT Corps blues & cap badge, and who thought the performance of nine year olds in the gym could be conjured by ridicule, was Sgt Usher. In my day (left '54) the Dinner Parade was run by Arthur Rider.

I must have led a very sheltered life, I have no recollection whatever of any 'School Beatings'. This ritual is all news to me.
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Re: school sergeant

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:01 am

Thanks for putting me right about the names. But while Arthur was in charge of the proceedings, surely he didn't bawl the commands -- he was an officer after all. I remember when Usher (it was he) left, we juniors all wondered whose the new (relatively inaudible) voice was (it was the senior grecian's (Everest). This didn't last very long, a series of drum rolls was introduced -- a long crescendo/diminuendo for "stand at ease", then a short drum roll followed by a big-drum beat for (each of) "Attention", "Form fours" and "Right turn". These remained unchanged for at least the next eight years.

Usher's replacement (whose name I may also be wrong about, anyone remember?) was a much more civilized person. He complained that having to take school drills (and thus play Mr Nasty) compromised his role as a gym instructor (which he saw as being Mr Nice).
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Re: school sergeant

Post by englishangel » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:25 am

postwarblue wrote: The boneheaded thug with the Army PT Corps blues & cap badge, and who thought the performance of nine year olds in the gym could be conjured by ridicule, was Sgt Usher.
You didn't put him on your Christmas card list then.
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Re: school sergeant

Post by Richard Ruck » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:24 am

In the '70s Sarge Guest ran the post office and rang various bells. Can't remember what else he may or may not have done.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

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Re: school sergeant

Post by J.R. » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:24 pm

Richard Ruck wrote:In the '70s Sarge Guest ran the post office and rang various bells. Can't remember what else he may or may not have done.

Very little else, if I remember correctly, Richard.

I do know he was treated with the greatest respect if one encountered him on their travels round the school, and one had to have a very good reason for being where you encountered him.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: school sergeant

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:00 pm

Guest, yes that was his name. He's the one in the St Matthew's Day pic above.

If he ran the post office, he must have replaced not only Usher, but Fielder too when he retired. He did take school drills and gym, and actually I found him quite pleasant.
Fielder was a grumpy character of few words, and Usher was how he's been described above.
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Re: school sergeant

Post by CHAZ » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:48 am

A guy called Jarman replaced Guest and also live at the post office...he was rather funny in Newsomes goodbye theatre show where he palyed the role
of a PE instructor and a real loud mouthed one at that too...
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Richard Ruck
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Re: school sergeant

Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:47 am

michael scuffil wrote:... a series of drum rolls was introduced -- a long crescendo/diminuendo for "stand at ease", then a short drum roll followed by a big-drum beat for (each of) "Attention", "Form fours" and "Right turn". These remained unchanged for at least the next eight years.
Still unchanged, I think.
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Re: school sergeant

Post by Eruresto » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:53 pm

Richard Ruck wrote:
michael scuffil wrote:... a series of drum rolls was introduced -- a long crescendo/diminuendo for "stand at ease", then a short drum roll followed by a big-drum beat for (each of) "Attention", "Form fours" and "Right turn". These remained unchanged for at least the next eight years.
Still unchanged, I think.
Unchanged, though no standing at alert etc any more (you're lucky if the house is formed up properly by the time it's time for them to go through, in some cases!)

As it happens, this used to happen at least on Speech Day as late as my second form, but since then has sadly died out.
Joshua Bell: PeA 2002-2008, GrW 2008-9

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Re: school sergeant

Post by loringa » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:57 pm

J.R. wrote:
Richard Ruck wrote:In the '70s Sarge Guest ran the post office and rang various bells. Can't remember what else he may or may not have done.
Very little else, if I remember correctly, Richard.
Sargeant Guest taught fencing and appeared to be in charge of the gym; I don't remember what other activities he ran but I a pretty sure there were some. Drills were taken by Chief Bradley. I was awarded one as a Dep or a Grecian, can't remember which, much to his amusement. Good training for Dartmouth a couple of years later when I seem to remember spending an inordinate amout of time running around the parade ground with an SLR above my head shouting 'I hate GI's' which, of course, he had been.

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Re: school sergeant

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:14 pm

I regret a fast-fading memory about many things -- and one of them is about the School Sergeant,
I have a very vague recollection of him being ginger-haired in the 40s, but I don't remember what his duties were.
Houses formed up in 4s outside their House, and marched to the Dining Hall for every meal.
Orders were given by a Monitor, including "Form two Ranks" at the DH door.

As to vocal ability ------ I can be heard at 800 metres -- but then I did serve in the Guards --- :lol:

I can't find "Tiny" print for this --------- and also as a politician ! :oops:

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Re: school sergeant

Post by LongGone » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:54 pm

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote: Orders were given by a Monitor, including "Form two Ranks" at the DH door.
:
With us the order was "Form two deep", which I never really heard for the first year and was under the impression it was all one mysterious word. Since I knew what I was supposed to do, I don't see that my ignorance made much difference.
In the same way I thought that fencers were shouting 'Ongard', which I thought might be invoking some minor Viking deity, until I took up fencing and discovered the truth
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Re: school sergeant

Post by postwarblue » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:02 pm

.. 'Form Two Deep' .. except when parading to chapel when the House Captain would raise his right arm and then drop it to give the signal, presumably to prevent an unseemly bellow being heard within.
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