Newsletter of Old Boys & Friends of 70
London BB Company
We hope you enjoyed reading the first edition
. All the feed back we had was
certainly positive.
How best to reach all OB’s however is a bit of
a challenge.
Our current list of 205 names of OB’s and
Friends, maintained by Dave Richardson,
throws up the following stats:
178 have a ‘latest known’ postal address
67 have known email addresses
27 of those listed have no contact detail at
We know that some of the ‘younger’ OBs
in touch via Facebook. We have therefore
established a presence on this website to help
us reach more OB’s [see page 8]
Reflecting on our First Edition
Reflecting on our First EditionReflecting on our First Edition
Reflecting on our First Edition
More Trophy Success for 70th
More Trophy Success for 70thMore Trophy Success for 70th
More Trophy Success for 70th
Captain Chris Buss’ Company diary for
the summer months reads as follows:
March – Junior Section Win Battalion five- a -
side football
April – Win England & Wales outdoor five- a-
side football in Nottingham [see pic page 8]
May - summer session starts more relaxed
time for everyone. Company staff attend
mayor making where ex camp medical officer
There is a cost of c
ourse in producing
, largely due to printing. Fortunately
we were able to cover our initial outlay, via
Chris Buss and the 70
Centenary Funding. We
are also grateful to Chris for helping us reduce
our printing cost on this Edition.
In summary we will endeavor to
get a copy of Reflections to
all OB’s who want a copy,
in the most cost
effective way...
Please help us in this
by completing the
enclosed brief
Thank you
Brian ‘Prof’ Prichard becomes Mayor of
June - Jim Ballard hospitalised with heart
valve replacement – now recovering
July - National Athletics runners up again in
August- time for a break!
Well Done Lads and Best Wishes to
Peter Knights’ Memories of
Lieutenant Roly Clark
During the 2
World War, many 70
officers and
staff, including the Captain, were called away on
armed service. During these difficult times,
Lieutenant Roly Clark stood in as ‘Officer in
Charge’, to keep the company going.
This was not easy for Roly, a skilled carpenter
working in the building industry covering the vital
‘home front’ effort.
However despite his work commitments, Roly
could unfailingly be found on Sundays at the
Company Bible Class as well as the Tooting
Junction Baptist services.
Together with his very supportive wife Ivy
[herself a Lifeboy Leader for 25 years] they
raised a family of four in Hawkes Road, Mitcham
[Owen, Jean, Peter & Avis]. Roly and Ivy exerted
great influence in their road and neighbouring
streets, attracting very many boys to join the
With Roly in charge during this time the Company
continued to grow. Camp was started up again
and it was again that Roly’s dedication and
sacrifice came to the fore. Not many in this day
and age would give up one week of precious
limited holiday to go to camp, but Roly did.
It was at camp in 1950 that Roly on arriving at
the campsite was confronted with a bit of a
shock. Owen, his son, was sporting a heavily
bandaged head. He had been accidentally struck
with a pickaxe while digging the latrines!
Roly’s first comment on seeing Owen, typical of
Roly, was ‘stone the flipping crows!’ Loving
concern for his son then followed.
Roly Remembered
Roly Remembered Roly Remembered
Roly Remembered
Roly was a good athlete and loved s
He managed the company’s football team
and cricket teams. It was Roly who played
a key role in setting up the Old Boy’s
football team
Odin, a
team that was very
successful for many years in the 60’s and
Roly was a team player par excellence,
someone who could be relied on totally.
A man of integrity and wisdom. A true
friend. Loyalty and dedication were
unreservedly Roly’s hallmarks.
“A true friend. Loyalty and
dedication were unreservedly
Roly’s hallmarks”
Peter Knights
The built in storage cupboards between the then
‘Senior’ and ‘Junior’ halls remain today as a
testament to my father’s dedication and
carpentry skills.
Dad always had a tremendous admiration for his
captains and fellow officers. He also appreciated
instructors like Bryn Rance who dedicated their
skills and expertise to company activities
Perhaps my strongest memories of the BB is the
lasting love and affection both Dad and Mum had
for any lads who had once been one of ‘their
boys’ in the Lifeboys or main Company. They
were always delighted to hear of news from any
Old Boys.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been
born into such a loving and Christian family. At
the same time I always felt being part of a much
larger family.
They say that smell is
the most lasting of memory
senses. Certainly the smell of Duraglit [Metal
Polish] and Meltonian [Whitener] take me
immediately back to my childhood homes in
Hawkes Road and Oakleigh Way and to Friday BB
drill night.
Here my brothers Owen and Peter would be
carefully painting the white stripes on their pill
boxes and polishing their various badges and
buckles. Sometimes, if I was good, Dad would let
me clean the cap badge on his striking Glengary
officer’s hat!
The times leading up to the annual displays were
always busy and memorable. Dad and fellow
officer Percy Sore, another practical man, were
usually called upon to make a variety of props.
One display, I recall, had a Scottish theme and
required the making of a 12ft ‘lightweight’ caber.
I still remember this being assembled over a
period of several days across our kitchen floor and
under the dining table!
Avis Rance [nee Clark] remembers her Dad, Roly
Avis Rance [nee Clark] remembers her Dad, RolyAvis Rance [nee Clark] remembers her Dad, Roly
Avis Rance [nee Clark] remembers her Dad, Roly
It was during my time i
n the Lifeboys and later
the 70
that I first came to know the Clark
family. This association developed into a long
and happy relationship, initially with Roly’s
eldest son Owen.
When Owen took up his missionary calling to
the Congo, I came closer to Roly. We both
joined Tooting & Mitcham FC to become Vice
Presidents! We enjoyed so many Saturday
afternoons at the Sandy Lane Ground, whether
winning or losing!
I remember the Clark family home at Hawkes
Road. Before the days of centrally heated
houses, Roly had his own idea for warming his
home throughout. He would light a fire in the
living room and then proceed to open all the
interior doors. Visitors during any cold weather
tended to keep their coats on!
total commitment to the company meant
being present at Longley Road for PT Classes
and Drill nights every
On top of this
there were two further invlovments each
Sunday for Bible Class and Church evening
Roly will always be remembered for his
extraordinary devotion and dedication to the
and the Longley Road Church.
He will always be in the minds of the hundreds
of boys who passed through the ranks of our
beloved Company.
Bernard Shaw remembers Roly
Bernard Shaw remembers RolyBernard Shaw remembers Roly
Bernard Shaw remembers Roly
“It was a privilege to be his
“It was a privilege to be his “It was a privilege to be his
“It was a privilege to be his
Bernard Shaw
Bernard ShawBernard Shaw
Bernard Shaw
Page 3
Keith Holbrook
Keith Holbrook Keith Holbrook
Keith Holbrook
[1947 to1953]
[1947 to1953][1947 to1953]
[1947 to1953]
Having read Chris Buss’s excellent book ‘ A
Positive Contribution’, the thought has since
occurred to me that though it contains many
stories of happy, funny and memorable times,
there is no occasion relating to when one
wished fervently to be somewhere else. On
another planet maybe!
I had two such experiences. The first happened
soon after joining the Company. I was a shy,
somewhat nervous twelve-year-old and like all
new recruits had to undergo a couple of weeks
elementary drill before thought fit to join in
company drill in the main hall.
The time came for me to do just that. Lt
Gordon Ferriman was the drill officer that
evening and after the ‘tallest on the right,
shortest on the left etc.’ instruction and we
had formed into two ranks it was a surprise to
me when we were ordered to start numbering
from the right. So far- so good. Then came the
command ’company form fours’. What’s that all
about? Not sure, best stay put. I now became
uncomfortably aware that Gordon was staring
at me. Then the command ‘Company, form two
deep’. A long pause. Then with narrowed eyes
and a stare that seemed to go straight through
me, came the order, louder this time -
‘company, form fours!’. Realising this time that
something was expected of me and a nervous
glance round told me what it was, I quickly and
gratefully shuffled into position though not
without some embarrassment.
A minor incident? Yes, but it didn’t feel like it
at the time. From a somewhat inglorious start I
subsequently enjoyed drill but never forgot the
confusion and panic I felt on my first drill night.
times when one wished to be
times when one wished to be times when one wished to be
times when one wished to be
somewhere else…another planet
somewhere else…another planet somewhere else…another planet
somewhere else…another planet
Keith Holbrook
Keith HolbrookKeith Holbrook
Keith Holbrook
The other occasion I wished to be somewhere
else happened a couple of years later. I was
the junior member of the company’s first aid
team and we had entered the annual battalion
As I recall, the practical part, which came
first, went well. Then came the oral, where
individually we all had to answer questions
from an examiner. Eventually it came to my
turn and I entered the room to face a rather
stern looking officer, which did not fill me with
confidence. ‘Describe the workings of the
human heart’ I was asked [I could have told
him about my heart- sinking like a stone!]
Whether I had not been listening when the
subject was covered or it hadn’t been taught I
don’t know. But I gave it a good try but got my
ventricles completely mixed up with my
auricles, the aorta with the pulmonary. I
struggled on until the voice of the examiner
cut in saying, not unkindly ‘all right son, that’ll
do, you can go now’. I didn’t waste any time
making my exit!
Needless to say, that was one of those years
when the 70th didn’t win the competition.
I Remember When……….
I Remember When……….I Remember When……….
I Remember When……….
Page 4
Page 5
Gerald ‘Geb’ Rance [
Gerald ‘Geb’ Rance [Gerald ‘Geb’ Rance [
Gerald ‘Geb’ Rance [
1948 to 1953]
1948 to 1953]1948 to 1953]
1948 to 1953]
I have many memories of the various
assortment of badges awarded to boys from
a wide range of subjects. Standards were
high and there were no “giveaways”.
I think that the one badge that stands out in
my mind was affectionately known as “the
Pip”. It was small in size in comparison to
the other badges but the recipient wore it
with a great deal of pride. It was achieved
by attendance at both Drill Parade nights on
a Friday evening and Bible Class on Sunday
mornings for
a period of 6 months during the
winter session, October to April. Only two
absences were allowed during that time, any
more and you were unable to qualify even if
absence was due to illness.
I am amazed that so many boys eventually
wore 5 or 6 Pips on their badge armbands.
shows that the Pip was a symbol of the
dedication and enthusiasm that so many
boys gave to the 70
London at that time.
I Remember When........
I Remember When........I Remember When........
I Remember When........
Alan, ‘Spadger’ Smith
Alan, ‘Spadger’ Smith Alan, ‘Spadger’ Smith
Alan, ‘Spadger’ Smith
[1946 to 1952]
[1946 to 1952][1946 to 1952]
[1946 to 1952]
In May 1951, I was selected to take part in
the Massed Band that escorted the last
stage runners carrying the message to King
George V1 at Buckingham Palace to mark
the opening of The Festival of Britain.
Every boy had to be dressed in a dark blue
suit. Unfortunately I did not possess such a
thing in those days so Percy Sore and Roly
Clark kindly loaned me a jacket and
trousers [whose they were I can’t
Through their generosity I was able to take
part in the parade. However as neither of
the owners of the clothing was anywhere
near my size, braces had to be on the last
notch and the jacket was so tight across the
shoulders, I do not know how the seams
stayed intact
Photos of the day show me with trousers at
half mast and squeezed into a jacket…
enjoying myself nevertheless. A very
memorable day.
Erryck Onyemachi
Erryck Onyemachi Erryck Onyemachi
Erryck Onyemachi [1979 to 1992]
[1979 to 1992] [1979 to 1992]
[1979 to 1992]
I went through from 1979 till 1992... from a
6 year old to staff sergeant... but there
were others... with the same sort of 10 yrs
experience of BB... although, I was the last
member to ever join the band... I couldn't
play the bugle to save my life, but I could
remember the drum patterns so became a
4th drummer.... luckily Mr B allowed me to
switch... playing the bugle was seen as right
of passage and I was allowed to skip the lip
numbing exercise thank goodness!
The ‘PIP’ Badge
The ‘PIP’ BadgeThe ‘PIP’ Badge
The ‘PIP’ Badge
Spadger’s trousers at half mast
Spadger’s trousers at half mastSpadger’s trousers at half mast
Spadger’s trousers at half mast
in front of the King!
in front of the King!in front of the King!
in front of the King!
Sad to Report….
Sad to Report….Sad to Report….
Sad to Report….
We are sorry to learn from Martin Dennis, that the two Walsh brothers, David
and Derek, passed away within 6 weeks of each other in 2005.
OB’s ‘do
OB’s ‘do OB’s ‘do
OB’s ‘do Lunch’...
Dave Richardson reports:
In July, eight OBs, all bar two now 'gentlemen of leisure', met for lunch:
John Ward Keith Holbrook
Alan Verrills Martin Richardson
Dave Richardson Jack Fishpool
Martin Dennis Gordon MacPherson
After exhaustive research [well someone had to do it...] I had located a pub by
a Cricket Green in Staplefield, Mid Sussex which seemed to offer the required
attributes of good food and real ales...
The weather on the day proved kind and as you will doubtless guess a good
time was had by all.
We spoke of many things - 70
recollections, absent friends, OBs we have lost
contact with, personal circumstances and of course we put the world to
rights... As always when OBs meet the talk flowed readily with good humour in
Regrets? - no one took a camera... but there will hopefully be a chance to
rectify this at a future gathering.
Note: Only 7 Months to Go!
Note: Only 7 Months to Go!Note: Only 7 Months to Go!
Note: Only 7 Months to Go!
The next Old Boys’ [and Friends] Reunion
Saturday 15
Saturday 15Saturday 15
Saturday 15
May May
May 2010
2010 at Tooting Junction Church Halls
We are planning another OB’s lunch gathering, this time in Staines at
‘The Bells’ on Monday 26
Details from Dave.