Lydney Grammar School Magazine Summer 1947.
Setting out is always exciting, and the crowd which gathered
on the station platform on July 29 did not lack high spirits. Excitement
had, in fact, discouraged
early morning eating, and as sandwiches were soon disposed of, the refreshment
rooms en route were besieged. Bookstalls were stripped of literature for
money, yet lay heavy in the pocket and the way seemed long. The Staff spent
their time trying to arrange orderly parties to everyone's satisfaction.
The day was still young when we came upon the rounded dumpiness of Dorset and wondered afresh at the odd names of the stations preceding Bridport. Our anticipation was not gratified until we caught a glimpse of the blue sea lying between Thorncombe Beacon and Golden Cap. And so we had arrived.
It was reassuring to be greeted by Mr.Thomas Mr. Barlow and their band who had done yeomans' work as the advance party. The camp field appeared to be as we left. it some eight years before-certainly, the camouflaged Army tents were not all neat in appearance as our old white ones---but the smell of canvas and paraffin was the same. Only the festive toadflax which used to adorn the hedge had given way to meadow sweet,Dr. Howells and his party dealt successfully with the unwieldy Army ovens and we ate our first camp meal at, 11 p.m. Few people slept on the first night and there were many fantastic excursions to see the sun-rise. It did not take long, however, for people to conform to the routine of camp life. A prodigious "camp," appetite" appeared almost overnight and the consumption of bread rose suddenly from 16 to 26 quarter loaves a day. Bathing parades were enthusiastically supported, for few of us have been able to enjoy sea bathing during the last few years.
Gradually "types" began to appear and people who had remained in the obscurity of 5C or 4A emerged as personalities capable of christian names or nick-names. All carried out the rather onerous orderly duties with good-will and there were few bottlenecks. The whimsical water supply caused some trouble but it was dealt with cheerfully. Orderly officers vied with each other in the splendour of their menu and he was a popular man who could skimp sufficient butter from his fat quota for the day to manufacture cream buns to accompany the nightly cocoa.
There is always a remarkable tolerance in a camp community and here, in the
end, highbrows and lowbrows alike were humming "Jute box Saturday night." Then
too, Dr. Howells contributed his mite towards a record of the "Warsaw
Concerto!" The supply of discs was never sufficient apparently to satisfy
the insatiable appetite of our one gramophone.
The organised excursions to West Bay Lyme Regis and Weymouth had to be staggered tOo accommodate the large numbers. There were numerous games of rounders. Camp fire revealed talent as to singing in close harmony and Mr. Thomas sang his usual tuneful ditty. We can now understand the popularity of history lessons after seeing Mr. Laycock's dramatisation of "Dinah."
Certain things-the use of the word "keen" for superlatively good, the Creamola with the "nutty" flavour, Mr. Pitt's perpetual offer to "blow up," Nita's zoo, the romances-are part and parcel of every camp. This camp seemed more sophisticated than prewar camps perhaps because there were no first or second formers. However, in spite of the adult nature of camp, Miss Davson was called up to minister to a surprising number of ills.
The time punctuated by a short visit from Messrs. Parfitt, Laycock and Davis, passed all too quickly and there we were taking a farewell look at Golden Cap and the sea. Some of us were off to "fresh fields and pastures new", some to sink back again to the obscurity of a School number, but all of us refreshed in mind and body.
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