Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ron Collard writes.....

I have just seen a copy of Nick Parry's e-mail, dated 28 Sep 2005, regarding his grandfather, Arthur Jewitt, who was deputy head in my days at PCGS. II was delighted to learn of the website and have just paid my first visit! What great memories it brings back!
I was at the school over the period September 1949 to June 1954. I was interested to see the panoramic photo taken in 1952 which not only includes my own boyish features but also many class mates and long-standing friends.
For my last year at school I was the Flight Sergeant of the Air Training Corps (1610 Squadron) with Flight Lieutenant Bernard J Cook (physics) as my CO and Flying Officer George Winter (biology) as my Adjutant. Lieutenant Colonel A Jewitt occasionally gave us talks on his experiences as an Inteligence Officer in the war, mostly explaining the techniques used in interrogation, with the occasional "case histories".
During my time in the cadets I was fortunate to be awarded an exchange visit to Sweden, and a Flying Scholarship which I completed successfully at Croydon Airport. I subsequently served 19 years as a pilot in the Royal Air Force before gaining the Air Transport Pilot's Licence. After serving as a Commercial Flying Instructor for a couple of years I joined Mission Aviation Fellowship for 19 years, flying in Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya and Tanzania.
I am now retired and living in Ripon, North Yorkshire, only a couple of miles from my brother Harold who was also at PCGS during the war years with my other brother, Fred, who died 10 years ago.
My main and most significant memory of school was the Christian Union. From a mere four fellows praying together every lunch-time in the French store cupboard, the CU grew over the years to the point that meetings had to be held in the library (and occasiuonally in the gym) with two "sittings" for each meeting: one for juniors and one for seniors. I am still in touch with some of the lads, not least Murray Mash who became my best man at my wedding in 1957 and whose eldest daughter later married my eldest son! We are, of course, still in touch! Among others I have met over the subsequent years are Graham Docwra, Rev Jim Baker, Rev Kestor Carruthers, Rev Dr John Balchin and (now deceased) Rev John Murray. Both Kestor and John were senior Army chaplains.
Thanks so much for instigating the website and I look forward to more frequent visits!
Yours sincerely,

Ron Collard

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Fas et Patria

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