The Old Pocklingtonian Old Pocklingtonian 2017-18 - Page 25

OBITUARIES speak them but he appreciated them and brought an enthusiasm to the classroom that meant I too became enthusiastic about furthering my studies in modern languages. But it wasn’t just his enthusiasm for his subjects that made Paul such a good teacher, it was also the way he encouraged you to try just a little bit harder – but only because he knew you could. Never one for unnecessary hyperbole, Paul would return homework with a cursory ‘good’ and a look that said he was pleased with your work which made you want to do even better next time, for Paul. In my final year at Pocklington I had the pleasure of boarding ‘chez’ Chambers, together with Chris Smith (71-76) and Nigel Montagu (71-76). Paul and Margaret always made us feel very much at home and I remember fondly the breakfasts with homemade bread and homemade sausages and very occasionally some homemade black pudding. Paul and Margaret were both very patient with us and I recall Paul, on one occasion, explaining (not unreasonably) that a three-bar electric fire was probably not the best way to make toast in our bedroom. However, we must have been relatively trustworthy because we were occasionally left to babysit the girls, Anna (86-90) and Catherine (90-92), and to look after Dylan the dog. Such evenings would be rewarded with a bottle of Paul’s homemade elderflower wine and was often spent playing (and replaying) Hotel California on Paul’s hi-fi because it generated a lot more bass than my own tinny machine. my languages with an unexpected question in French or German, particularly if it included a subjunctive. However, it was only once Paul and Margaret had retired to Colombiers that I went to stay, once again, chez Chambers. As always, good homemade food would be on the menu and we would catch up the years over a glass or two of wine. Paul and Margaret came to stay with us when I was living and working in Paris. I wanted him to know that all his hard work, teaching me French and German, had borne fruit as I was living my languages. He said that was ‘good’ and he gave me that look and I knew. The last time I saw Paul was a few years ago in Cockermouth. As usual, time had flown by and we thought we had forever to catch up … How often was I using my languages? Every month? Excellent! We had lunch and said we must do this more often and when I left we hugged – clearly too much time spent in the French culture. Paul was a great teacher, mentor and friend and I have no doubt that it was due in large part to his encouragement that I have gone on to use my languages in so much of my life. He will be missed but I am sure that, given half the chance, he will be somewhere with a smile on his face, testing out someone’s use of the subjunctive! If any OPs would like to contact Paul’s daughter Anna for further details, please send her an email at (with permission). (Chris de Jong, 66-76) Living ‘en famille’ with the Chambers felt very much like home from home. One day in 1941, when out from school to see the dentist, he went into the army recruitment office and without the headmaster’s or his parents’ permission, and a year under age, he managed to sign up to join the war effort. On leaving school, his matron packed his bag with a change of clothes, a pair of pyjamas and a silver serviette ring. He started his training in Fort William where his pyjamas and napkin ring were seen as something of a novelty by the hard lads from Glasgow. Thus began a 35 year distinguished career in the army. He served in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Parachute Regiment before he was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers and latterly the Royal Military Police. He saw active service in World War II, the Korean War, Palestine and the Malayan Emergency. During peacetime, he served in Cyprus, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany amongst many other postings in the UK. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His final posting in the Royal Military Police, before retirement, was close to Pocklington, in York. He married Joyce Dawson in 1951 with whom he had three daughters, Alison, Gail and Caroline. On retirement from the Army in 1976 he joined the John Lewis Partnership in Oxford Street, heading up Security and Customer Services as Assistant General Manager, where he stayed until finally retiring at the age of 65. On those rare occasions that I returned to Pock after university I would always try to catch up with Paul and Margaret. Paul wouldn’t hesitate to test out The couple had many enjoyable years living on the south coast in Poole and more recently in Stradbroke, Suffolk. Gerald Ian Chatham (36-42), but always known as Ian, was born on 18 July 1924 in Peking where his father was employed by Jardines the import/export business as an accountant. At the age of five, he moved to Scotland with his mother and sister and attended George Watson School in Edinburgh. At 13 years old, he attended Pocklington School where he was a student for five years. Here he excelled in sport where he made the rugby first XV and cricket second XI but his main achievement was winning the victor ludorum for athletics three years running. He often spoke about his cross country runs around the carrot fields and also, when World War II had started, being in the dormitory when a bomb hit the school. He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement with his daughters, 8 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. His passion was always his family and his garden, where he spent many hours, ensuring large splashes of colour were there for visitors to admire the whole year round. In recent years, his health deteriorated and he died peacefully in hospital shortly after his 94th birthday. He visited Pocklington a few years ago and right up to his final days spoke about his time there with great affection. He recognised that the school had prepared him very well for his full and eventful life. (John Westnedge) 25