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Peter Remfry Remembers

We stumbled out of bed into our dressing gowns and tumbled out of the dorm. to stare aghast at the old hall blazing away. Even from that distance at Roding House we could feel the heat on that cool clear night. Tom Gardner, Dick Newman and Mr. Wheeler shepherded us all to the new Gym where the excitement was virtually uncontrollable as we crammed around the open fire-escape door to the right of the stage to get a view of that incredible spectacle.

I still have some amazing photographs of that night but they are in my parents attic in West Sussex and I'm based in Johannesburg.

I remember Brian "Whiff" Freer very well. Do you remember on Wednesday evenings we were allowed to listen to the gramophone play the one-or-two records we managed to club together and buy for the house? We could listen to Telstar and Little Eva's Do The Locomotion and that was it!

Sometimes Whiff would read a story to us. Do you remember how fit he was? He could jump up, spin around and land sitting on a top bunk from a standing position with the greatest of ease. Do you remember Flag Night!!!

Loved all your nostalgia, it brings back so many wonderful memories of my days at Elmbridge.

I especially remember being out of bounds on a regular basis during Sunday morning church. Le Shirley was out on the prowl and I think he saw me down by the canal. I flew across that canal and dived into a hedge in the field on the other side. "Leash" came very close to my position, I felt certain he would hear my heart that was pounding away.... I could hear it quite clearly!! However, he just turned around and walked away. I couldn't believe my luck.

The climb a tree idea worked well for me as too. Escaping the older boys by hiding in a tree was particularly rewarding, they would be scrabbling around below cursing my ability to vanish into thin air. The down-side of this skill was that it made them even more determined to beat me up when they were eventually able to trap me.


Roger Bradley Remembers


Yes, I do have fond memories of Elmbridge including those infamous April Fools Day pranks. Such as;

Moving all the Masters Dining Room contents onto the lawn outside before breakfast, Placing the "To The Library" sign ontop of the Gym roof and Moving the Young Farmer Club - Masters landrover precariously over the school swimming pool (on planks)


Roger Francis Remembers


I am an Essex boy through and through - which seems rather odd when you consider my first few months of life were spent in Kettering! (My mother was evacuated to the town in Northamptonshire in '41.)

I attended Elmbridge for two years, leaving in 1955 after passing the 13 plus. I am sorry to tell you this, but my last term was spent in Roding Dorm - bunk sharing with Dicker. My "house" was Scott (colour yellow if I remember correctly), the "house" that never appeared to win anything.

Remember having to write home every Sunday evening? It was considered by the school, our duty to compose some form of correspondance to our parents. The letters were "inspected" by the masters under the guise of checking the grammar and spelling etc. We all believed that it was for some other purpose - to ensure that we were not complaining or moaning about our situation!

After all, we were sure that NCC stood for Nazi Concentration Camp!! The bulletins were handed out once a month to be sent home with our letters.

Like you I have very fond memories of that period in my life - remember Auket and Barrett the Fairlop dormitory prefects? They were allowed to give us the slipper if (in their eyes) we misbehaved and, adding insult to injury, they used our slippers! You may also recall that when they left school Watson and Contantine took their place.

I lost contact with all my old Elmbridge school pals shortly after I left in '55. Something I soon regreted.

My career, following my move to the grammar school (Dagenham County High), was scholastically unspectacular although I did manage a collection of "O" and "A" level passes. On the sport front I was far more successful and - apart from the usual school football and cricket selections - represented Essex at four successive Inter-Counties Athletic Championships. (Captain of the team in 1959.)

On leaving school, in 1960, I joined Ordnance Survey as a trainee surveyor and apart from a 3 year stint abroad, with an oil exploration company (1966 - 69), have I have remained with the Department to the present day. (I retire in September this year.) I have managed to reach the dizzy heights of middle management!! Forty years in four lines!

My work for Ordnance Survey has kept me travelling about much of the Country, but mainly concentrated in the South East and South Midlands of England. For last fifteen years, however, my home has been in a small village in North Buckinghamshire - Nash.

My job is in a fairly high tech industry, with each of my surveyors handling data on numerous types of computers. The survey industry has changed considerably over the last decade or so! I do, however, emphasise the fact that I manage the people, not the equipment!! (This is my way of saying that my skills are somewhat limited in the world of computers compared with many, but I have been working with them since 1969.) My wife considers herself to be a "PC Widow" in bad weather and a "Garden Widow" when the climate is a little more friendly.

My contact with Ilford ended almost 40 years ago when nagging injuries stopped my "career" in athletics - I was a member of Ilford AC. The injuries were my own fault, I preferred the socialising to the training! (Didn't we all?)





When I left Elmbridge at the age of 15, I went to work at Plessey's in Ilford. This job lasted about a year, during this time I came to realise that an electronic career was not for me. My next destination was the North Thames Gas Board, as a service technician, which I found much more to my liking. Because I was born in December 1940 this made me eligible as one of the last group of boys to be called up for National Service, well if I was going into the forces then maybe I should sign up for the R.A.F and make that a career choice, my friend Tony Newham had already done this. It was at this point that my parents informed me that they were considering emigrating to Canada and would I hold back on making any firm decisions till they could discuss this with me. Well after a lot of discussion it was decided we would all apply to emigrate to Canada.


I arrived in Toronto Canada in July 1958, I was interviewed for a job as a Steamfitter apprentice and started work in August, with Comstock International a heating, air conditioning and process piping company, I worked with them for 28 years then left in 1986 to take up a position with the Royal Bank at a data center as an opperations and maintenance technician. In 1999 the bank sold all its property and I stayed with the new owners at the same location.


I was married to Beverley in May 1965 and our son Jeff was born May 1967 followed in 1976 by our daughter Jennifer. We purchased our first house in 1972 in Scarborough, one of the suburbs of Toronto. In 1992 we sold the house and bought a 50 acre farm north west of Kitchener Ontario.


We sold the Farm and bought a house in town (Palmerston). In February I retired and am enjoying my hobies. (Model Trains HO)

This is a very brief description of what has happened to me since leaving school.




John, after arriving in Adelaide, South Australia in June ’65 (15 years old) I started work as an office boy for Commercial Union Insurance Company. In June 1969 I received my call-up papers for National Service and served two years in Sydney with an Army Aviation posting (light planes and choppers)

This was all during the Vietnam Campaign but fortunately I did not have to do service overseas. I was very lucky with my posting and was promoted to Corporal before being discharged in April 1972, when I returned to my old job in the Insurance Industry.

After doing 22 years service with underwriters I took the plunge and joined a local insurance broker in 1987 as a Commercial Manager. To cut short a long story I now own that Insurance Brokerage which employs nine people




I have just visited your web site for the first time and it has brought back many fond memories. I was at Elmbridge from 1953 to 1956. I enclose a copy of School Bulletin # 46 to add to your collection but this appears to be at least one page short. I have all other bulletins through to # 55. I also have all my school reports which make interseting reading.

I too was in the scouts and remember taking over the air raid shelters just as you described.

Did you ever belong to the Young Farmers Club? I remember being on Pig Swill cooking duty which was a great job on a cold winter afternoon. We collected the waste food from the back of the Kitchens and took it back to the farm where there was a shed(?) with a wood fired boiler which we sat round and made toast and baked spuds with items we retrieved from the pigs food. Oh happy days.

I also remember that my first real estate transaction was to buy one of the "Camps" for ten shillings. A lot of money in those days. As you look down the field with the canal on your left it was th camp dug out well to the right under a hawthorn bush.

Incidentally I was on the trip to London Airport which you described. I remember it well and still think about it having now travelled many thousands of miles by air all over the world mainly on business but often for pleasure.

I have been living in Australia since 1985 but have been fortunate to get back to the Auld Dart at least once a year.




I was at Elmbridge in the early mid fifties and went in to abbey then I think forrest. My close friends were Roger Little, Garth Almond, Terry Summers, Malcolm Simmons, Robin Went etc. I think it is exactly 50 years ago this year and your name rings a bell but i cant place you. I live in Kingston Ontario with my son, I am single and have two more married sons and 5 grandchildren. Unfortunately I had to retire from teaching as I am terminally ill with an inoperable heart condition that keeps me house bound a lot of the time, but I do spend the winters in England and in Spain next winter if all goes well. I used to be a great fan of the cross country runs and came in in the first few usually and was under 14 hockey captain. I hated Bert Blowers as I found him to be a bully and liked Lisper, Nipper and the rest were ok. I was in an art class once when tony Hughes I think his name was gave Boston that was the art teachers nickname a good fight as he kept picking on him it was quite a show and Tony got expelled. I used to go down to Brighton with some of the lads instead of going home for the short break and even stayed out all night at a girl friends farm who I got to know through the young farmers club. Well as you well know there are many stories and the time served me well, I hope the photograph did not scare you too much I will be hard to get a likeness after all this time ,I do not have any from that era.


Mesage from Adrian Sebborn


Hi John,

For anybody who wishes to know. I was at Elmbridge from 1965-1970. I was in Abbey and a prefect in my last year. From there I went on to Palmer's College in Grays and from there to Westminster College, Oxford. There I met an American girl, Jane, who was over on an exchange program. We were married shortly after I graduated. I've lived in the USA since then. Although I live in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I teach computer programming and networking in Bennington, Vermont.

My younger brother, Philip, (Abbey, 1969-74) is living in Mayland.

Please feel free to provide or publish my email address for anyone who wants it.



Mesage from Paul Beale


I came across your web site recently, searching for information on the Old Boys Association. My name is Paul Beale I attended Elmbridge at Fyfield from 1980 to 1985. I was in Fairlop House our head teacher was Roger Cryer.

When I left Elmbridge I immediately began employment as a trainee general insurance broker, after 2 years moved onto London working for a larger brokerage for another 2 years. I then moved over to the Life, Pensions and Investment business working for a leading UK insurance company as a Financial Advisor.

January '93 I left the UK to work for an International Financial Planning Brokerage, opening a new office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as an Offshore Financial Planner; my 2 years in Dubai were measured with much success as the top sales consultant for the Middle East and 3rd Worldwide.

Feb 95 I left Dubai and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia working for another Company. After one year, I decided to establish my own brokerage, with my head office in Jakarta, Indonesia. Here in Jakarta I met my wife in 1996, we were engaged in 1997 and married July 1998. Our first daughter; Vanessa was born in Sept 1999, and second daughter Vivian born on 13th Feb 03 (just three days old as I write this email). My wife and I own our Company Global Management Services, we provide Independent Financial Advice exclusively for expatriates and high net worth international investors. I can honestly say that my days at Elmbridge will never be forgotten and especially those friends in my classes during those five wonderful years.

I truly believe that Elmbridge gave me the foundation to success; as I learnt to stand on my own feet, fight for what I wanted, and learn to cope under enormous pressure. Despite leaving with only two O’levels and 8 CSE’s I plan to retire at the age of 40, at which time I will immigrate to Australia. Occasionally I visit the UK and would welcome emails from my old mates at school. Please send me your emails to

Lastly Elmbridge Fyfield & Cranley is listed on the following webpage: - here you can also find some of our former friends. Regards Paul Beale, Jakarta, Indonesia, 15th February 03.



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