Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

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sejintenej
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Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

Has anyone knowledge of Kit's career prior to CH?
I have found a reference to a lieutenant of that name in the Royal Norfolk Regiment commissioned ca 20 May 1941 though I hope it is not the same person. There is no reference to his injury
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by richardb »

For practical reasons I have a subscription to the British Newspaper Archive.

Two references in it to Ernest Christopher Aitken.

1. In June 1939 a man of that name gave evidence for the prosecution at the Fleet, having been involved in a road traffic accident. He is described as a schoolmaster of the Vicarage, Great Yarmouth.

2. In November 1955 he appeared at Horsham Magistrates Court in a list of road traffic cases. He was fined £3 for "obstruction". His address is given as Coleridge A!!

There are no references to a Kit Aitken.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by LongGone »

Well, since “Kit” is a common contraction for Christopher, and he is at Col A, I will go out on a limb and accept them as being the same person.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

LongGone wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:32 pm Well, since “Kit” is a common contraction for Christopher, and he is at Col A, I will go out on a limb and accept them as being the same person.
No doubt about it. He was a Norfolk man and all three names match. I remember Col A house play one year was "The importance of being Ernest" about which everybody had a few words including him!
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by Martin »

Kit wore an Oxford MA hood in Chapel. So (although this was common knowledge) I add just for the record that he was an Oxford graduate. I don’t know his college or his major; possibly English or History.

Didn’t he have some decoration as a result of his service in WW2?
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

Martin wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 6:39 am
Didn’t he have some decoration as a result of his service in WW2?
Anyone who served in WWII was entitled to at least one campaign medal and in his case the suggestion is that he was entitled to two. Campaign medals are for being in a dangerous geographical area for at lest a specified length of time rather than bravery and I have no idea if he got one of those.

In at least WWII there was a campaign type medal for those in certain dangerous civilian occupations as well. On top of that there were also the UK national civilian medals for bravery. Not well publicised, HM the Queen handed out a few for bravery and/or special service on behalf of international organisations and she followed up with some of the families concerned..
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by JohnAL »

More about Kit Aitken – He often took boys for a week or so in the summer holidays sailing on the Broads. Also he is credited with the advice that, “An older boy should never touch a younger boy, whether in affection or anger.”
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

JohnAL wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 12:55 pm More about Kit Aitken – He often took boys for a week or so in the summer holidays sailing on the Broads. Also he is credited with the advice that, “An older boy should never touch a younger boy, whether in affection or anger.”
Yes, I was one of those from Col A whom enjoyed a week sailing on the Broads - he was quite different to the stiff housemaster at CH.
As for the saying, although I agree with it I never heard it before
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by eucsgmrc »

"Never touch a younger boy ..." -I don't think I ever heard him say that, but it certainly was commonly believed to be a Kit quote.

We all understood that his missing leg was a war wound, but we didn't have a clear idea of where or how it had happened. Tanks and D-day were mentioned, but that was probably just our speculation rather than anything he told us.

If he ever needed to use a miltary rank - which was rarely - I believe it was Captain. Not particularly distinguished, but perfectly creditable.

He was very hostile to smoking, as indeed the school rules required him to be. On the other hand, he was strangely oblivious to suspicions that we were drinking (equally forbidden) in spite of manifest evidence under his very nose.

Looking back on things, and comparing them with what some of my contemporaries write in this forum, I think Kit ran quite a civilised and well-behaved house. We didn't have much in the way of bullying and sexual scandals. He did use corporal punishment, but that's how the world was in those days. He tolerated me, who must have been exceedingly annoying to him sometimes - or perhaps he simply didn't take me as seriously as I took myself. He was, I suspect, a better and more intelligent man than I ever recognised at the time, and he held himself to quite a strict standard of responsibility.

Whether he was a good teacher I leave to others. He didn't, so far as I remember, ever have to teach me Latin, and he failed to teach me any history, but so would most others have failed.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by Ajarn Philip »

My only memory of Kit is of him getting around on his single-pedal bicycle. In my day the story was that he had lost his leg in a plane crash returning to England at the end of the war.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by Fitzsadou »

Here’s some more about Kit Aitken. In the mid 50s he coached the Colts rugby team and for a while his co-coach was (surprisingly) Gad Malins. I believe that Kit had played for some prestigious rugby team before the war.

He normally only taught junior forms and I understand his subjects were mainly English and History and not Latin, but I’m not absolutely sure. However he did teach me as a grecian, in a sort of light hearted way at the end of my final year. It was a class called “Current Affairs.” The topics considered ranged very broadly and he always kept up our interest.

As for the question of his apparently mild toleration for boys’ beer consumption, in contrast to a strong antipathy to cigarettes, it is surely explained because he was non-smoker and very fond of beer. His junior housemaster for many years was Corks Cochrane, whose fondness for beer was even greater than Kit’s and they got on very well. An important corollary is that when he had a skinful Kit never made undesirable visits to the junior dormitory, quite unlike his neighbour and senior housemaster in Col B, Buckie.

Although not a member of Col A, I agree with eucsgmrc that Kit ran "a civilised and well-behaved house". He clearly was regarded with much affection, for there existed for some years an informal group called the “Col A and Kit Aitken Society,” or some such name, which met (and drank?) in London. Perhaps some former member could tell us what they got up to. I know of no other master who was honoured in this way.
Last edited by Fitzsadou on Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

Fitzsadou wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:20 am Here’s some more about Kit Aitken. In the mid 50s he coached the Colts rugby team and for a while his co-coach was (surprisingly) Gad Malins. I believe that Kit had played for some prestigious rugby team before the war.
The rumour was "Harlequins"
He normally only taught junior forms and I understand his subjects were mainly English and History and not Latin, but I’m not absolutely sure. However he did teach me as a grecian, in a sort of light hearted way at the end of my final year. It was a class called “Current Affairs.” The topics considered ranged very broadly and he always kept up our interest.

I had him my first year and I think it must have been English. I do remember I had major problems with one homework which involved indecent assault and devices for raising and lowering boats in rivers. I couldn't understand about raping locks. (Remember where I was brought up the nearest town was 15 miles and I had no company there). He didn't explain.
His junior housemaster for many years was Corks Cochrane, who fondness for beer was even greater than Kit’s and they got on very well.
Someone else on here (no names!) could tell the odd story there. I had one day with Corks in London. It started long before sunrise in a pub at Smithfield Market. From there a stroll over London Bridge to a pub past Borough marked - a courtyard with attractive balconies. Then a club in the City. Can't remember the next one (?2 . 3 ) before a final pint at a club in Soho by which time my kidneys were pickled. A good day in good company.

As for Kit, though I encountered a slipper and cane frequently (a boy in Peele was always ahead of me) I do remember him coming into the dayroom late one evening having had a few. His comment was along the lines of "I've just beaten my record" referring to strokes. I don't remember the crime but I missed on that! Oh! happy days
Although not a member of Col A, I agree with eucsgmrc that Kit ran "a civilised and well-behaved house". He clearly was regarded with much affection, for there existed for some years an informal group called the “Col A and Kit Aitken Society,” or some such name, which met (and drank?) in London. Perhaps some former member could tell us what they got up to. I know of no other master who was honoured in this way.
Don't forget that around their 15th birthday most Col A boys had holidayed with Kit on the Broads; we understood him outside the school environment
[/quote]
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by sejintenej »

Ajarn Philip wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:45 am My only memory of Kit is of him getting around on his single-pedal bicycle. In my day the story was that he had lost his leg in a plane crash returning to England at the end of the war.
One morning the pedal was removed and put on the other side! He had to walk back to the House.
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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by Foureyes »

To fill in some of the details:
Kit was born 2 August 1911 in Smallburgh, Norfolk.
School unknown.
University. Trinity College, Oxford. 'Good' degree in History.
Joined C.H. staff 1934. Junior housemaster in Prep.
Moved to Giggleswick school just before the war.
Commissioned Royal Norfolk Regiment 1941.
Returned to C.H. September 1946.
Coleridge A 1946-1966.
Retired. 1972.
Died.1 May 1974.

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Re: Ernest Christopher "Kit" Aitken

Post by Ajarn Philip »

Further to the above, Ancestry.com has a record of Kit arriving at Bristol on the SS Ariguani - travelling 1st class... 8) - from Kingston Jamaica on 12 September 1938. Address, the Vicarage, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. I have a screenshot of the page, but can't post it.
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