Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

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Straz
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Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Straz » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:39 pm

Hi. Bit of a squit here what with my first post and everything, but here goes...

I've been really enjoying all the CH memories on this forum. Absolutely tremendous, especially the stories about (don't be vague, ask for) Miss Haigh, Mongy Torkington (who I believe I just missed; what a shame), Rip Kirby, Phallic Matthews et al.

My favourite master was Chris Nicholson. "Bomber"had an extremely kind nature, and, in my view, was utterly dedicated to CH, its pupils and the school's ethos. In my six years at CH I never heard a bad word said against him. That's something you could rarely say about most masters at CH in the 70s, although I know that Michael "Des" Carrington was pretty much on par with CWN. You may also recall that Chris edited The Blue during much of the 70s, putting in long hours to produce some fine issues.
Chris was a junior housemaster when I was in LHA, and later taught me English at A-level. We built a long and enduring friendship from my early days at CH when I suffered terrible homesickness and struggled to keep up on the academic front. I came to CH as a third-former, having missed the first year. I lagged badly behind academically, and ran away from CH on more than one occasion as I was unsure how to cope.
It was Chris who helped to sort me out, offering me consolation, kind words and, very practically, extra tutorials in English and Latin. And it was during one of those extra tutorials in CWN's study that news came - via French master and LHA junior master Joe Slater - of a major tragedy in my life. My mother had died suddenly at home. The next few weeks, months and terms were a whirlwind, a great rollercoaster of emotion. Chris stuck with me, through thick and thin, offering me solace, comfort, help and advice. I couldn't have got through it all without him.
It was a great honour some years later to have Chris as my English teacher for A-level. He treated his A-level group as adults... possibly the first time I had experienced this sort of tutorial at CH. I was delighted to get my A-level, which was important, as it led on to my subsequent career in magazine journalism. Again, this was something that Chris encouraged me to go for, allowing me to use his typewriter to develop my touch-typing skills for example.
My last night at CH was spent visiting a number of masters to say goodbye. I'm sure the tradition continues today. Naturally Chris was the last master I visited that night. Some great chat and a sherry or two later, and I knew that my time at CH had come to an end, as I stumbled up the Avenue to Peele A, bound for bed.
We kept in touch after CH, and I was sad when he decided to leave, although I understood the reasons behind his departure. And many years later, he very kindly came along to my father's funeral, as he was keen to lend his support when again I was at a low ebb. I will never forget that. All in all, Chris was the finest master at CH during my time there.

Others I liked were the Welsh rugby winger Gerald Davies (I won an English prize under his guidance; the only academic award I ever won at CH), John Shippen (great laughs, great Scout master, reasonable Geography teacher), Lord Corverdale (broke a lot of new ground for CH masters, with his casual evenings at his place; good tennis player, too) and Latin master Kit Aitken ("joke over, joke over").

But Chris Nicholson was the finest of them all...
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by J.R. » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:03 pm

Welcome to the Forum, Paul.

Some lovely memories.
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by AKAP » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:38 pm

I was at the Yorkshire OB's lunch and discussing "Bomber" when the question was asked, why was he called bomber? We didn't know the answer only a suggestion that he bombed around the place at great speed.
Does anyone on the forum have any idea?

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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Mid A 15 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:55 am

Welcome to the forum Paul.

A lovely piece.

Do you have a connection to Greg Strange (Mid A left c 70/71) by any chance?
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Vièr Bliu » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:19 pm

Bomber Nick - utterly inspirational. Now that it happens that I write poetry sometimes on a professional as well as personal basis, I'm occasionally asked how I started (and why). The answer of course is that I got into the habit under Bomber Nick and nobody told me to stop (although there are probably plenty of people who wish I had been told to stop...)
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Straz » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:55 pm

Thanks for the comments, chaps. It's a fascinating forum, and nice to contribute to it.

My understanding was that Chris Nicholson was called "Bomber" because he was always "bombing around" in his car, but perhaps there's another explanation...

And yes, Greg Strange is my brother. We overlapped at CH for just over two years (1969-71). My father John Strange (Old Blue editor, early 1980s, now sadly passed away) was also at CH during the 1930s. He was in Mid A. And my uncle, Brian Stratford (now also passed away) was at CH in the 1940s. Quite a connection then...
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by LongGone » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:25 am

Straz wrote:Hi. Bit of a squit here what with my first post and everything, but here goes...

Others I liked were the Welsh rugby winger Gerald Davies .
I remember watching him in action: there used to be a yearly 7-a-side rugby match between the masters and the best of the students. I don't recall who else was on the masters' team, but they tended to demolish the students. Beaky Davis was almost unstoppable. If he couldn't outrun the opponents, he simply flattened them.
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Mid A 15 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:52 am

LongGone wrote:
Straz wrote:Hi. Bit of a squit here what with my first post and everything, but here goes...

Others I liked were the Welsh rugby winger Gerald Davies .
I remember watching him in action: there used to be a yearly 7-a-side rugby match between the masters and the best of the students. I don't recall who else was on the masters' team, but they tended to demolish the students. Beaky Davis was almost unstoppable. If he couldn't outrun the opponents, he simply flattened them.
I can recall watching the Colts (under 16s) play the Masters in my final year and Gerald turned out. I don't remember him scoring a try but equally not one boy laid a finger on him either and, as you would expect, it would have been a badge of honour to clatter Gerald given his deserved reputation as a British Lion etc!

His talent was such that he simply employed change of pace and sidesteps to get into a position to set up other masters.
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:04 am

Mid A 15 wrote:
LongGone wrote:
Straz wrote:Hi. Bit of a squit here what with my first post and everything, but here goes...

Others I liked were the Welsh rugby winger Gerald Davies .
I remember watching him in action: there used to be a yearly 7-a-side rugby match between the masters and the best of the students. I don't recall who else was on the masters' team, but they tended to demolish the students. Beaky Davis was almost unstoppable. If he couldn't outrun the opponents, he simply flattened them.
I can recall watching the Colts (under 16s) play the Masters in my final year and Gerald turned out. I don't remember him scoring a try but equally not one boy laid a finger on him either and, as you would expect, it would have been a badge of honour to clatter Gerald given his deserved reputation as a British Lion etc!

His talent was such that he simply employed change of pace and sidesteps to get into a position to set up other masters.
Yes, and I had the remarkable good fortune not only to play in that game, but to play at wing forward opposite the great man. I spent the entire game eating mud as I watched his heels disappear into the distance. To be honest, it wasn't a bundle of laughs, but it was a day I'll never forget. I don't think he was too worried about injuries...

By the way, if he didn't score a try, it was only because he was waiting at the try line, leaning against the post and polishing his nails, until another master eventually turned up puffing to touch it down!
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by kerrensimmonds » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:03 pm

Phil.. so good to see you on here again. How are things? Maybe not the right topic to reply, but it would be good to know that you are doing well.
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by bobcrawshaw » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:48 pm

I ran into Peter Webb (PJHW) over the summer, he tells me that Bomber got that name on account of his habit of wearing a bomber jacket in his early years.

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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by michael scuffil » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:31 am

I don't remember a Gerald Davies, presumably after my time. I do remember another rugger-playing "Beaky" Davies (he had a large pointed nose): this was W.P.C. Davies, known to the press and his colleagues as "Phil". He played for the British Lions on their tour of South Africa in 1955. He had a very pretty wife and a very ugly dog.

He was junior housemaster of Thornton B. The House Record Book had a press-photograph of him on the rugby field, devoid of shorts, which he'd lost in a tackle or something. The photo was put in the book by the senior housemaster, John Page.
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by postwarblue » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:10 pm

Ah, Crapsac Page. That's all I remember about him. Except he is the nearest officer to the camera in the 1953 pic of the CCF Inspection by Montgomery. And very smart they all look an'all, so different from CCF pics later on ...
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:47 pm

postwarblue wrote:Ah, Crapsac Page. That's all I remember about him. Except he is the nearest officer to the camera in the 1953 pic of the CCF Inspection by Montgomery. And very smart they all look an'all, so different from CCF pics later on ...
But you knew he became MacNutt's son-in-law?
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Re: Chris Nicholson and other favourite masters...

Post by MrEd » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:58 pm

I had 'Bomber' as my 2nd form English teacher, the book 'Fire over England' being the reading material he urged us to read. Someone asked him why he was called 'Bomber' and he said that the nickname arose from how he played the piano, which he felt might have disappointed us as we'd hoped for a more 'dashing' explanation.

He was a fabulous teacher, he sorted my punctuation out in one lesson, a comma where you would breathe.

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