R Rae

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R Rae

Post by Fitzsadou »

Perhaps Bob Rae deserves his own thread in the Forum. Here’s a start. He was a Cambridge graduate in maths, who had attended Solihull Grammar School. He came CH as a junior housemaster and finally became senior housemaster of Col B, after the departure of AH Buck, but with a term of so of CF Kirby as interim senior house master. At CH he taught junior classes and maths deps, but not for normal maths. He taught deps by setting, marking and discussing essays on mathematical topics. For non humanities teaching that was most unusual in any high school. It shows that, at least in the 50s, there was some attempt to teach decent writing to maths pupils. This was a bit like the Oxbridge tutorial approach for non-humanities students and I suspect it was initiated by his boss, W Armistead, head of the RMS. Did the scientists also have essay writing in scientific subjects while deps and grecs?

His CCF career ended by him heading the RAF Section, when EA Littlefield relinquished that post. In his national service Bob Rae served partly in Northern India, ending as a flight sergeant. Some time after his national service, presumably while at CH, he was commissioned. Did he end up as a flying officer or more? At the end of his CH career he was second master.
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Re: R Rae

Post by loringa »

Bob Rae ended his CCF career as a Wing Commander (RAFVR(T)); when he retired he was presented with an RAF officers' sword paid for by general subscription from, amongst others, OBs. I got a strong impression he was well-respected by 'Chief' Bradley (along with Lt Col Morton Peto), both of whom were at Chief's funeral 10 years or so back.

By 1978 when I entered the Deps he taught me pure mathematics as a double act with RKW who taught mechanics. When it was a double-period he always gave us a five-minute break to walk around the quad and get some fresh air. The bits in the classroom he called a 'work break', a term I use in my own teaching (along with CWN's 'fish' periods).

The idea of a more polymathic (is that a real word?) approach to education certainly persisted during my time there. As a Science Dep I was encouraged to take AO-Level French with PTF which, to my eternal shame, I dropped after 6 months (though not before reading Jean Anouilh's play about Thomas Becket). we also had English lessons with a chap called Jesson-Dibley who was, I understand, a former Head of the English Department. This approach persisted throughout my time at Engineering College when 10% of the time (and marks) came from what were known as 'Complementary Studies.' Perhaps equally important, CH was very good at not forcing education into me in a way that would put me off the subject when I was old and mature enough to enjoy it. I am as grateful to the school for not putting me off literature, particularly poetry, as I am for anything I was proactively taught.

As for Bob Rae, definitely one of the good guys. When I last saw him he was hearty if not particularly hale.
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Re: R Rae

Post by Fitzsadou »

Excuse my ignorance but what are
The bits in the classroom he called a 'work break'
and
CWN's 'fish' periods

According to the Oxford online dictionary (https://www.lexico.com/), polymathic is fine and I was previously unaware of this.
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Re: R Rae

Post by jhopgood »

I remember Rae well.
I came across his name before I went to CH.
3 of us went to CH from my Junior school, and Ian Johnson told me that his Housemaster was Hip Hip, after which I was supposed to say, "Who?", and he would say "Rae".
Ian became a member of Mensa and Professor at Nottingham University, so his style of humour was way out of my league.
"Rocker" Rae took me for maths, probably Second Form, and was famous for flying chalk and occasional dusters, and also flinging his brief case on to his desk. Naturally someone opened the window once and it flew straight out. He had a ground floor classroom.
Can't remember anything about his teaching skills, but then, apart from "Bogey" Fryer, I can't remember who else taught me maths.
Whist on the Board of CHOBA, I met him once, and when I mentioned my name, he said "Ah, one of mine". Whether this was a standard answer or he really did remember, I have no idea, but it made me feel good.
I seem to remember that he was occasionally Dining Hall warden, when Littlefield wasn't there.
No good news, no bad news, which is probably the way it should be.
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Re: R Rae

Post by loringa »

Fitzsadou wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 8:42 am Excuse my ignorance but what are
The bits in the classroom he called a 'work break'
and
CWN's 'fish' periods

According to the Oxford online dictionary (https://www.lexico.com/), polymathic is fine and I was previously unaware of this.
Bob Rae's little joke was the 'work break' when, rather than walking around the quad, we knuckled down to mathematics. Obviously this was most of the time but, by turning it on its head, he made it appear the exception rather than the rule.

There is another thread somewhere on Christopher 'Bomber' Nicholson (CWN) who introduced the 'fish' period. These were much looked-forward to sessions, normally at the end of term, when the academic subject was dispensed with to be replaced by discussion of something else, games or some other such frivolity. The term derives from 'red herring' and we would regularly ask him for a fish period mid term though we were rarely granted one. He actually taught me mathematics in the second form though I believe his degree (from Trinity College Dublin) was in Philosophy. When he left CH he moved on to Bedford Modern School and he was one of the 'top ten' teachers in the country featured on a Radio 4 programme in about 1999 in which he taught a lesson on the radio. I have some idea that 'Ratty' James might have been featured in the same series.

So, now you know. Incidentally, as for Polymath (noun) I have no issue, but Polymathic (adjective); not entirely convinced.
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Re: R Rae

Post by Mid A 15 »

loringa wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 7:47 am Bob Rae ended his CCF career as a Wing Commander (RAFVR(T)); when he retired he was presented with an RAF officers' sword paid for by general subscription from, amongst others, OBs. I got a strong impression he was well-respected by 'Chief' Bradley (along with Lt Col Morton Peto), both of whom were at Chief's funeral 10 years or so back.

By 1978 when I entered the Deps he taught me pure mathematics as a double act with RKW who taught mechanics. When it was a double-period he always gave us a five-minute break to walk around the quad and get some fresh air. The bits in the classroom he called a 'work break', a term I use in my own teaching (along with CWN's 'fish' periods).

The idea of a more polymathic (is that a real word?) approach to education certainly persisted during my time there. As a Science Dep I was encouraged to take AO-Level French with PTF which, to my eternal shame, I dropped after 6 months (though not before reading Jean Anouilh's play about Thomas Becket). we also had English lessons with a chap called Jesson-Dibley who was, I understand, a former Head of the English Department. This approach persisted throughout my time at Engineering College when 10% of the time (and marks) came from what were known as 'Complementary Studies.' Perhaps equally important, CH was very good at not forcing education into me in a way that would put me off the subject when I was old and mature enough to enjoy it. I am as grateful to the school for not putting me off literature, particularly poetry, as I am for anything I was proactively taught.

As for Bob Rae, definitely one of the good guys. When I last saw him he was hearty if not particularly hale.
I am pleased that this thread did not bring sad news.

I was never taught by "Rocker" Rae but encountered him from time to time as he was pally with Ron "Nog" Lorimer, Housemaster of Middleton A when I was there.

However, my main reason for posting is off-topic curiosity. Who was (is) RKW? I either have a mental block or he appeared after my time.
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Re: R Rae

Post by loringa »

Mid A 15 wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 11:10 am
However, my main reason for posting is off-topic curiosity. Who was (is) RKW? I either have a mental block or he appeared after my time.
The late Roger Wilson, father of Jeremy and Simon. He taught maths and was housemaster of one of the senior houses before going off to be headmaster of another school. I think he was another stalwart of the RAF section of the CCF. Incidentally, I currently work alongside Jeremy who is a helicopter pilot and Wing Commander in the RAF stationed out here in Kuwait.
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Re: R Rae

Post by Mid A 15 »

loringa wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 11:29 am
Mid A 15 wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 11:10 am
However, my main reason for posting is off-topic curiosity. Who was (is) RKW? I either have a mental block or he appeared after my time.
The late Roger Wilson, father of Jeremy and Simon. He taught maths and was housemaster of one of the senior houses before going off to be headmaster of another school. I think he was another stalwart of the RAF section of the CCF. Incidentally, I currently work alongside Jeremy who is a helicopter pilot and Wing Commander in the RAF stationed out here in Kuwait.
Thank you Andrew.

I really should have remembered that given that I spent Monday evenings as a Dep in his home being taught 'O' Level Divinity by his wife Jenny!
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Re: R Rae

Post by J.R. »

jhopgood wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 9:13 am I remember Rae well.
I came across his name before I went to CH.
3 of us went to CH from my Junior school, and Ian Johnson told me that his Housemaster was Hip Hip, after which I was supposed to say, "Who?", and he would say "Rae".
Ian became a member of Mensa and Professor at Nottingham University, so his style of humour was way out of my league.
"Rocker" Rae took me for maths, probably Second Form, and was famous for flying chalk and occasional dusters, and also flinging his brief case on to his desk. Naturally someone opened the window once and it flew straight out. He had a ground floor classroom.
Can't remember anything about his teaching skills, but then, apart from "Bogey" Fryer, I can't remember who else taught me maths.
Whist on the Board of CHOBA, I met him once, and when I mentioned my name, he said "Ah, one of mine". Whether this was a standard answer or he really did remember, I have no idea, but it made me feel good.
I seem to remember that he was occasionally Dining Hall warden, when Littlefield wasn't there.
No good news, no bad news, which is probably the way it should be.

Arr ! Sweet memories JH !


Like you, I was introduced back to 'Rocker'at a Coleridge B house reunion a few years. He struggled to remember me, but then, in those days, Maths was my worst subject.

I take it, he is still with us, but must be 'getting-on', as I am in my 70's !

I think he took over Col. B after N.T. Fryers departure.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.
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Re: R Rae

Post by Goatherd »

He was Housemaster of Lamb B when I was there in the late 60's.
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Re: R Rae

Post by rockfreak »

He was my junior housemaster in Col B first under AH (The Groper) Buck and then the proverbial NT Fryer. I could never understand why he came by the nickname Rocker since he was one of the more taciturn people I've encountered. He was known just as much as Tonk Rae. Maths was not my subject so I was never taught by him. A nice enough guy but he had an annoying habit when refereeing house rugby matches of blowing up every five seconds for something or other. The advantage rule had clearly passed him by.
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Re: R Rae

Post by Foureyes »

Bob Rae was CO of the CCF when I was in the Army and responsible for liaison with the school. He is a real gentleman and I had a lot of respect for him. When I last heard of him, which was about 3-4 years ago, he was living in a flat in Horsham.
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Re: R Rae

Post by AMP »

rockfreak wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 8:45 pm He was my junior housemaster in Col B first under AH (The Groper) Buck and then the proverbial NT Fryer. I could never understand why he came by the nickname Rocker since he was one of the more taciturn people I've encountered. He was known just as much as Tonk Rae. Maths was not my subject so I was never taught by him. A nice enough guy but he had an annoying habit when refereeing house rugby matches of blowing up every five seconds for something or other. The advantage rule had clearly passed him by.
Didn't he have a rocking chair in his classroom in the Maths Block?
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Re: R Rae

Post by jhopgood »

AMP wrote: Sat May 09, 2020 12:12 am Didn't he have a rocking chair in his classroom in the Maths Block?
Not that I remember
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Re: R Rae

Post by J.R. »

But I seem to remember he did have a habit of rocking his chair back on the rear legs.
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