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Letters

Letters from the Chairman
Tributes to Derek Cole  
Obituary - Charlie,” “Roy” , “Cressie”, “Sir Mr Roy W Cresswell, MC  
From the Editor

Dear Fellow Old Grammarians,

TOGA DIRECTORY OF MEMBERS:  £1.50

The Pilot issue in 1998 proved enormously popular. The latest update (No 9) went on sale in October 2005 and is available from Mary Thomas (Editor). It contains names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of all members (unless any member specifically requests otherwise). All members are asked to let me know as soon as possible if they prefer not to have an entry in their name or prefer to omit telephone numbers, e.g. where they have an ex-directory number


Another year gone since I wrote my last report. The time seems to go so quickly and I rarely get the opportunity to thank you all for supporting our Association. Particular thanks go to my committee members who give up their time so willingly to keep our Association functioning. Our Secretaries, Mary (Power) Thomas and Sylvia (Copeland) Harris, and our Treasurer, Sue Ansell in particular deserve our thanks. You can best show your appreciation by supporting our reunions, sending items for our newsletter, maintaining your membership and last but by no means least, if you can give up a few hours a year, consider joining our committee which urgently needs younger members. However a very special mention of thanks should go to Pauline SEATON nee ROSE, who collects news from all years. We would be lost without her eagle eye and her front room for meetings! Thank you Pauline  - I look forward to seeing many of you in the not too distant future.

Colin Graham,Chairman (43-51)

Tributes to Derek H Cole (Pupil 36-43 and Staff (Physics) 47-55

One of his finest moments; Captain of the MCC against the Australians in 1958

We make no apologies for such a long tribute to Derek Cole. Former pupils queued up to send their very personal tributes and memories of an inspiring teach and a lovely man. We sent all the tributes to Mrs Elwyn Cole and their three sons. Mrs Cole was at TGS with Derek. His prowess as a Devon County Cricketer made him a legend in his own time, only retiring as Chairman shortly before his final illness. We could not print all the tributes.

I had contact with Derek when he taught me Physics at TGS until we gave each other up. Then when I returned to teach in the area we played hockey together for Dawlish.He was a great sportsman and a gentleman and a sad  loss for us all. (Colin Graham Toga CHAIRMAN, Teignmouth)

Not so much a remembrance of either cricket or physics from me. Not
everyone in Toga will realise that Derek was in fact an old Grammarian long before he returned as a teacher. He was head prefect (head boy), in what year I can't remember, but it would have been about 43/44/45. He was also one of the "fire watchers", who took shifts on the school roof at night during the war, on the look out for incendaries dropped by the Germans. Ken Joslin, one of his contemporaries was evacuated from Clacton on sea with us, was another of the fire watchers. I envied them both, being too young to be allowed to take part.  (Peter Bow, S Africa)

I have just read your account of D.W.H Cole's passing. Brian Mallet, of cricket ball throwing glory, described him as a lovely fellow & I certainly enjoyed a few contacts with him. Of course I knew I could take Derek on as a cricketer & padded up to his wily spin bowling. I think he got me out 4 or 5 times in a 6 ball over, once a stumping by Alan Macdonald. I do quite vividly recall his departure speech made in our assembly hall - details have gone but we sat entranced. A Dawlish lad, see they made them good from there so it must have been the water. (Cyril Gough- Australia)

A big chap with a big spirit. He helped me gain an Open Schol. to Exeter to read Physics. Shortly after he began teaching at TGS he played for Devon CCC and I was one of a group of 20(?) boys who went to Torquay to watch him play against Gloucester, a side containing Tom Graveney the England cricketer who was, I think, the father of the present Chairman of Selectors. Needless to say every run by DHC was cheered to the echo and he made a good score (but don't ask me to remember what it was!). (David Cornelius-Hayling Island)

His wife Elwyn Brooks was a schoolfriend of my sister Doris.They used to visit us at Teignmouth and I remember them coming to the back beach where Doris and Cyril had a permanent hut - Doris still does in fact - and in no time DHC and I were throwing a tennis ball at each other as hard as we could until we realised there was a crowd of people standing on the end of the Point carpark watching us. Fame!! (Bill Gallin - Axminster

Thanks for the message re Derek Cole, and I was saddened by the news of his death. I have a memory of him teaching me cricket in the gym after school, and trying desperately to get me to play forward at the right ball instead of standing rooted to the crease. He did eventually succeed, and it became my strongest stroke throughout my cricket playing days. (Reg Brown,Glos)

On the schoolboy cricket field, I recall him saying "as a bowler, all one needs to do is bowl a good length and, as a batsman, all you have to do is to punish the bad balls". (Easier said than done in my case!). In the Physics Lab I am sure no one could match his speed, and accuracy with: (i) Getting the answer from calculations with many numbers (and decimal places) by 'approximating'....it took us ages using 'logs' ("what are those" the students of today - with their calculators- may ask!)ii) The 'soft' boardrubbers to regain the attention of any of us who dared to daydream. Possibly the most significant piece of advice he gave me was when I had to choose between Imperial College and Manchester University to study Civil Engineering. He said that he knew nothing about Civil Engineering, but he recommended Manchester as I had a place in a Hall of Residence (as opposed to 'digs' in London) and this would probably make me "a better man......even if not a better engineer". I do not regret taking his advice - now fifty odd years later, I have come to accept that maybe there are some men better than me, and still hold out hope there maybe a few engineers worse than me! (Incidentally, my elder daughter was a student at Manchester 25 years ago, and my other daughter's eldest son is presently in his first year there!). Mary, I apologise if the above is rather lengthy but, as will be evident, Derek had a big influence on my life and I have found it difficult to pen just a few words. I hope you will be able to extract a little something that meets your requirements. (Alan MacDonald, Harrogate)

I only remember one comment from all the school and service reports which I received. I spent one term in the sixth form before leaving to join the RAF. Derek was my form master. He wrote on my final report from the TGS. "Although Brian cannot claim academic distinction socially he has been a considerable asset."I have never forgotten that kindness. (Brian Aldridge)

He taught me Physics which then served me VERY well in developing and continuing my career developing cars and bits for cars. Yes I know I have a lot to appreciate him for. (Roger & Barbara Savidge- Wales)

I was so sorry to hear about Derek Coles' passing as I have such good memories of him. Not only was he a fun teacher he also spent time with the Teignmouth ladies Cricket team and taught me how to bowl with a wicked spin ... my sincere condolences to his family (Dilys Evans, Santa Fe)

I was very sorry to receive the news that Derek had passed away. I was one of those fortunate pupils to have received some cricket coaching from him during his short time as a teacher at TGS and I have many happy memories of those times . He was an inspiration to all of us budding young cricketers and was widely recognised as the finest all rounder of his era playing minor counties cricket and could no doubt have gone much further in the game had he wished to pursue cricket as a career.. Please kindly add my name to any message of condolences sent to the family by TOGA. Kind regards. (Cyril Boyne, Teignmouth)

Thank you for the sad news of Derek's death.I have already told you earlier that in 1955 Derek finished our 'Old Boys' cricket match with a magnificent six over the walnut tree. The following year ,when I was captain I wanted to avoid the same fate so I put his side into bat first. That meant that he had to declare his innings to give us a chance and the result was a boring draw, much to the chagrin of the Headmaster, who was more concerned with entertaining the parents. On a more serious note I think it was his inspired teaching style that encouraged me to study physics up to A-Level at school and then later-much later- to pick up my pen again during the second year of The Open University. I also remember with affection the time I was caught chasing girls in the bushes. I was required to report myself to the duty teacher in the staff room. Derek answered the door and listened
to my honest confession. 'Were you looking for a ball' he said. No sir, I was chasing the girls!. ' Were you looking for a ball? ' he said again, with a bored look on his face. 'Oh yes Sir' . 'Then run along young man'.. (Peter Trist, Exeter)

How sad to hear about Derek. Having taught me, who managed 9% in one Physics exam and who had many a board duster whizzing in my direction during the fifties, he then went on to teach my brother at Dartmouth RNC in the 60's, however, according to Derek, my brother was very much more scientifically orientated than I. I am however, lucky, not to have a cauliflower ear from his board duster rage. Poor at Physics, excellent at dodge ball and all allied sports he said.! I always, however, held him in the deepest respect and learned many of my own teaching skills from his own. RIP Derek.Katherine McLees 48 - 54. Now Kate Force (Exeter)

Thank you for sending the sad news of Derek Cole's death. Of course my main memories of him are concerned with cricket. When we failed to persuade the powers that be to provide cricket for girls in school and started the Teignmouth Ladies Cricket Club, Derek generously agreed to be our coach and we benefitted greatly from his expertise and encouragement and a few of us made one or two appearances for the county women's team. Had you been intending to ascribe our contributions, I could have have signed myself as none other than Slasher Aggett (aka Rev Vivienne Aggett, Batsi, Greece)

I received the following comment from Roger Cole, Derek’s son (of three sons): Dear Mary, Thank you very much for your kind thoughts. It is quite extraordinary how your society can maintain contacts and memories in
the way that you do. Neither I nor my brothers have ever known any such set up. I do not have any personal photos which I can send you, I'm afraid, but this (above) was probably his finest sporting hour. Perhaps you have already got it from another source. Good luck with your society. May it flourish for many years to come. Kind regards Roger Cole

Many records, but this one remains in our memories. In 1954 he hit three centuries; including an unbeaten 235 against Dorset that remained a record for 44 years, eventually broken by Nick Folland in 1999 with 249.


OBITUARY Charlie,” “Roy” , “Cressie”, “Sir Mr Roy W Cresswell, MC

I first met "Cressy" as a small girl of just eleven and was, initially, rather overawed by this larger than life man who was, if not in Army uniform, wrapped in a somewhat tatty very chalky gown which flowed out behind him as he went about his duties. I remember a loud bellowing voice which cut short many a misdemeanor, but  also a very quiet serious voice which held one's attention if one had any intention of learning any history. He managed to make what could have been a very dry subject interesting for me, though I do remember more than one pupil being rudely awoken from reverie with a sharp rap on the knuckles or by the desk lid being picked up and allowed to drop. Any reverie was brought to a sharp end, painlessly. Even when remonstrating with his pupils, Cressy had a twinkle in his eye and my impression was that he really enjoyed his teaching, his pupils and his subject. As I gained in stature, maturity and experience of secondary school, I came to appreciate him as a kind, wise and fatherly sort of teacher whom I respected and of whom I was very fond by the time I managed to achieve an "O" Level. It was also the only subject in which I ever came top of the class in end of term exams so that this teacher-pupil relationship was a bit special. Many years later I returned as a teacher to TGS and remained in the Comprehensive version (Community College). I was so delighted, on my arrival as a "new girl" to the staffrooms, to find Cressy and
Mrs Joan Cressy there to take me under their wing as a young teacher trying to fit into staffrooms where many of the incumbents were members of staff who had taught me and who knew me "warts and all". Both of these very kind and caring people mentored me with advice I found to be invaluable with regard to "fitting in". As a member of staff I could see that Cressy's pupils and staff were still full of respect and affection for him, his popularity was still evident and he was greatly missed when he retired. I still hear from Old Students who talk about Cressy with very fond memories. 
Kate McLees Force (Pupil 1948 - 53 Staff 1970 -80)

We send our very sincere condolences to Mrs Joan Cresswell, daughters, Sheila and Rosemary and their families.

TRIBUTES TO Mr Roy W CRESSWELL which appeared on the Discussion Forum of our website. www.toga.org.uk

Readers may be interested to know that many old staff went to Roy Cressie's funeral, Dr Thompson, Nigel Judd, Dr
Brian Cook, Pat Massey, Musk Frost, Erik Peckett, Margaret Behenna, Trefor Thynne, Alec Henderson, Roger Ford and many more. If only they would come to reunions and answer when I ask them for NEWS. Colin Graham , TOGA Chairman attended, with Pauline Seaton nee Rose, Mo Hutchings, and several others. TOGA sent a condolence card to Mrs Joan Cresswell. Both their daughters, Rosemary and Sheila are TOGA members, and although Rosemary lives in USA, we did see her last year. Cressie loved to talk about his illustrious war achievements. He was awarded the Military Cross for holding a Pillbox long enough for many soldiers to escape . We used to ask him about the war as a red herring if the lesson was boring, which never failed, and History lessons were the better for listening to his exploits of which he was very proud. .Mary Thomas nee Power 48-54

Just a couple of memories of Cressie as I was not really very well behaved in his class but I do remember asking a lot of questions and I do remember him saying that I was born 50 years too late as I would have made a good suffragette!! but the memory which has always stayed with me is the remark he put in my autograph book when I left - it was "it is better to wear out than to rust" - I was a bit annoyed at the time but have passed this remark on to many of the pupils I have taught - so perhaps he taught me a more important lesson about life than History!!!!! - Incidentally I am still working even though I am a "golden oldie" Ruth Smith Laidman

Dear Old Cressie, he tried manfully to inject some history into my brain. Didn't his wife used to teach biology? I have
also been trying to remember the name of his successor, who gave me my only ever D on a report with the comment "Far too often away. Work produced has been good." I came fourth in the next exam. Carol Harvey
When I arrived at TGS in 1946 Mr Cresswell was my first form master and occupied one of the classrooms along the
bottom, Room 9 maybe. Oddly enough his nickname was not Cressie but Charlie during my time at school.
I have no recollection of his teaching, perhaps because I dropped History as soon as I could. He remains an avuncular affable figure in my memory. Colin Graham, TOGA Chairman

It was with great sadness that pupils of the old Teignmouth Grammar School heard of the death of “Charlie” Cresswell just before his 88th birthday, after a long illness. First memories of him were in 1947 when he appeared at school as our new History Master. His colourful jerseys, which he had knitted from odd balls of wool as a Prisoner of War, brightened the class as well as his sense of humour. He had been in the Army at Dunkirk in WW2. There he held a Pillbox for 2 days until capture. This enabled a great many retreating soldiers to escape. For this he was awarded the Military Cross for Gallantry. He took over from dear old “Tommy” Thomas (himself a WW1 veteran), as Army Officer in the School Cadet Corps, and ran it with Mr Les Bossom who ran the RAF section. Many old boys will have happy memories of summer camps he organized, not to mention the manoeuvres on the school field and rifle range. Later he took over the Eisteddfod with Mr Joe Bolt. This was a wonderful event, held at the end of each Easter Term, as children were able to display skills and talents not usually shown at schools. Previously hidden talents came to light and children blossomed!. We shall all miss him. A very special teacher , a Bon Homme”. Sylvia Harris nee Copeland TOGA.


From the Editor


HAS YOUR EMAIL CHANGED? OR YOUR ADDRESS?
Please let me know for the Directory? I have tried to email a number of members through the year and their emails have come back as UNKNOWN.

Our grateful thanks to all our contributors and to especially MaureenHutchings, without whom the Newsletter would take even longer, to the Committee who work as a team stuffing 500 of these into envelopes,labelling and stamping. Thanks to Kate Force (McLees) and Nigel Powerand David Thomas who proofread. Ed. Mary


NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS –YOUNG ONES!!

We always need new Committee members; the job of a Committee Member is not arduous,
3-5 evening meetings a year, held in Teignmouth, 1 in Exeter, but new blood ensures the future of the Association. Please contact any of your Committee if you are interested. If you enjoy the NEWS, please think about it.

Mary Thomas (nee Power, 48-54)
Secretary & Editor, Membership Secretary