Douglas Wrexham Eric Forrest,
Douglas Forrest was born into a well established family
in St. Elizabeth. Douglas was the third of five children.
at a private school ran by Miss Lilly MacLarty in Black
River and then followed his brothers footsteps by winning
a Parish Scholarship to Munro College. Munro had no
space and he was sent to Cornwall College for one Term
before returning to his native parish.
When Douglas Forrest
entered Munro, he came under the influence of a legendary
Titan of Jamaica education, the controversial A. E.
Harrison. It appears that Douglas Forrest absorbed the
Munro model and dedicated his life to that system. Certainly
his insistance on discipline, hard work, never say die,
on sports as a means of forming Character, and on Christian
worship as the basic could have been from his Munro
But his other attributes-
his generosity and love of music, were probably from
(Bishop) Gibson’s influence. Above all, his complete
disregard of class, or race, or background, brought
thousand of boys from every corner of polyglot society
to feel and act as one. His belief that a teacher must
be firm, but fair, and that every case must be treated
on its merit, earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Chips”.
[While at Kingston
College (1926-1991)], he taught French, English and
Mathematics and when George Clough resigned in 1935,
he became Second master. He retained that position until
1956,when the new Lord Bishop of Jamaica was obliged
to resign as Head Master, and he took over the reigns
for which he had prepared for thirty (30) years. His
efforts were recognized internationally, and he was
Knighted by the French Government, of whose Alliance
Francaise he had been a founding member. In 1971, he
resigned at age 62 but stayed on staff, continuing his
rigorous teaching, until 1991 when at 83 his health
failed. He passed on in 1995. Both houses of Parliament
rose to pay him homage.
The History of Kingston College -- by A. S. R. Johnson
Mr. Douglas Forrest was more than a Headmaster to the
boys at Kingston College. To most of the boys he was
a father, and to many he was the father they never had.
more than any one else created the atmosphere of a family
among the students. The feeling of kinship and brotherhood
was nurtured. Belonging to the Kingston College family
and making your contribution to it’s vast legacy
meant more to the boys than perhaps any thing else.
Our headmaster was absolutely free from any prejudice
whatsoever. It made no difference to him whether you
were wealthy or privileged, poor or destitute, bright
or dunce, black or white, Christian or atheist. We all
felt we were special to him and he was the finest example
to us as to what justice was. To the strong he gave
love as he did to all, but he was particularly protective
of the weak. It was as if he lived the parable of the
lost sheep. He sought out the weak to give support,
and would encourage others to give support to them.
His extra lessons in French, Math and his extra classes
to the Choir boys who had difficulty in learning the
repertoire are a testament to that quality. He would
visit your home if he thought it would contribute to
solving your problem. He would look at the conditions,
speak to the parents or guardian and take the responsibility
to create condition at school to facilitate the student’s
development. In this regard, he would reserve a classroom,
which had proper lighting for boys taking final exams,
so those very poor students without electric light at
home could study late at nights. He always checked to
see that every thing was all right and would sometimes
bring a snack during these extra sessions. Whether these
sessions were studying at nights or extra classes, his
fatherly nurturing presence was always felt.
Our headmaster felt the pain with you whenever you were
hurt. Whether this was an accident or an injury suffered
during a sporting event. If he did not take you to the
doctor himself he always made his car available to transport
the student. Any one could drive his car so long as
he had a driver’s license. Some of us in sixth
form learnt to drive using his car.
He taught us the
true values that mattered and was not caught up with
the acquisition of material things for the sake of it.
The values of honesty, truthfulness care for your fellowman,
loving your neighbour as yourself, being non-judgmental
of the weaknesses of others, tolerance and compassion,
but most of all to be brave and to stand up for what
is right regardless of the consequences. These valves
became our guide and our shield in times of trouble.
These values are what our school motto stands for. As
a sixth former I got a canning from Mr. Forrest for
coming late to choir-practice. I took the canning willing
after he explained to me why I was being caned. He said,
“ You are the Captain of the choir, you are the
leader and soloist, much more is expected of you, that
is why you are put in the position of leadership. I
expect a higher standard of behavior from you so that
those younger boys have a good standard to follow. You
have let me down, and I am disappointed in you. I am
giving you a caning so that you will never forget this
for the rest of your life.” After he had caned
me, he said my son, never forget this, “ to whom
much is given much more is expected, now go out and
lead by example.” I am grateful for having had
the opportunity to share the formative years of my life
with Douglas Forrest. For there is no other person who
has influenced me to the extent that he has.
majority if not all KC old boys share that feeling I
know. That legacy is embodied in the spirit of all of
us, old, present and those to come. To KC, Douglas Forrest
is an icon, that rare breed of very special human beings
that God in his wisdom and mercy has risen up among
us to serve, to lead, to manifest the truth of his word,
his precepts and his commandments.
lives, in all of us who met him and loved him. He lives
because his values are what we live by and with which
we move and have our being. May this tournament be a
fitting tribute to his legacy and may every participant
perform in the competitive spirit embodied in our motto,
"Fortis Cadere Cerere Non Potest.”
Taken from the
program of the Inaugural Staging of The Douglas
Forrest Memorial Tennis Classic Nov. 6-7,1999.
-by Winston “
Life member KCOBA