2 Chris#
Newsletter of Old Boys & Friends of 70
London BB Company
April 2013
The The
xt xt
ll we have reached number 10 after five not uneventful years...
Thanks again to Alan and to all past contributors.
Details on page 8, but the date for the next Reunion is…
Saturday October 11
All quiet on the website front over recent months, but have just added five Bugle Band
Marches, with first and second bugles, to the Audio / Marches section. Despite their
simulated sound, these will hopefully stir the memory... Have a listen and please let me
know of any marches I have missed - the music for 'Jellico' is promised for November.
If you
would like a CD of these please get in touch.
Please keep Alan, Avis and family in your prayers and thoughts and also Bill Pizey who
continues to undergo treatments and tests. Bill asks that his regards be passed to all. We
also heard recently from Jack Mayhew who is well.
Please keep us in touch with any news.
In this Edition
Owen Clark was not a
tall man
but as a
Christian, sportsman and teacher he
was a giant! We have devoted much of this edition to covering the story of Owen’s amazing
life, as recounted by his wife, children, brother and best man.
In the last edition we challenged the wit of OB’s with our caption competition… you will
see from the results that you did not disappoint.
Cricket has long been a favourite sport for many OB’s. We include further revelations about
the ‘Seveno’ side, still ‘playing the game’.
Most of us would agree that memory loss is sadly a condition of our advancing years.
However memory aids, as taught long ago in the company First Aid classes, are put to the
test. You may be surprised with the results!
Page 2
Owen is centre stage
Owen Clark
Owen Clark Owen Clark
Owen Clark
The Early Years 1933 to 1961
The Early Years 1933 to 1961 The Early Years 1933 to 1961
The Early Years 1933 to 1961
Owen was born in 1933 and was thus at the beginning
of the w
ar evacuated with several other children on the
Mitcham Bordergate estate to Caversham, just across
the river from Reading, which at the time was
considered a safe area.
Here was a complete change from the restrictions of
family life so that at weekends h
e enjoyed going out
with a scruffy lot of very young children over the
surrounding farmland, roaming along the river bank or
round the town, playing knock down ginger and in
season scrumping from neighbours’ back gardens. It
was perhaps more “Cider with Ro
sie” than “Lord of the
Flies”. However the residents must have thought it was
one of Hitler’s dirty tricks.
But it was too good to last and in 1943 he returned to
the constraints of family life in Mitcham except for a
brief respite during the doodlebug pe
riod in 1944 when
the family went to Canvey Island and another gang was
formed. In due course he went to Mitcham County
School and although allegedly regarded as the class
clown eventually left with good exam results.
At this time the church at Tooting was served by very
enthusiastic pastors who recognised the value of the
youth activities in bringing youngsters into the church.
They realised
that without young people the outlook for
church growth would be bleak. In particular Chris
Parnell was very keen o
n getting young people involved
and spent much time with them and in fact he started
the youth club, staffed by ex-servicemen. After he left
to go to help the Cape Coloured people in South Africa,
the church was fortunate in getting Eddie Gabb who
followed a similar line with the youngsters. This
support paid dividends as old boys became officers and
then deacons. The church and company in effect
mutually reinforced each other. The church also had
regular missionary weekends and sponsored two
missionary families who had left to go to India and
South America. So there was a regular call for young
people to follow these examples of overseas service for
the sake of the Gospel.
Meanwhile both of Owen’s parents, Roly and Ivy, were
church members and served one in the BB and the
other as Life Boy leader. He attended all the usual
activities including bible class and Sunday school and
later the Young People’s Fellowship and church on
Sundays and other BB activities during the week. He
was a good gymnast and sportsman as well as a
drummer playing in a massed band at the Albert Hall
and before King George VI in 1951. He had a good sense
of humour and was very popular both with the boys and
girls. He was promoted to staff sergeant in the company
before leaving for National Service.
On leaving school Owen first worked in the laboratory at
Lactogal at Mitcham Junction and then, when he took an
external BSc. he worked near the college at Kingston
getting a deferment from National Service until he got his
degree, which, what with working all day and studying at
night took some doing. He joined the Royal Signals and
was sent to Cyprus which was a difficult posting as troops
were generally confined to barracks because of terrorist
activity (EOKA) and he worked long shifts handling coded
messages to and from London
When he returned from National Service Owen had a
serious frame of mind and after a spell of teaching his
upbringing and the strong church encouragement clearly
influenced his decision to become a missionary teacher.
After the Belgians had left the Congo in chaos in 1960
there was a civil war! Owen went there in 1961 during a
period of comparative calm under the auspices of the
Baptist Missionary Society.
Peter Clark