(21 August 1921 – 1 August 2019)
We heard from John’s daughter Patsy that he passed away peacefully on 1 August 2019 in Tasmania. He was in his 98th year and had lived a long, interesting and fulfilling life. Much-loved husband of Elizabeth for over 71 years and father of Jacqueline (Sandie), Richard and Patsy, he had seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
John joined MCS in 1931 as a chorister. His daughter sent the school some memories he had written of his time at school. In them, he recalled fees when he joined as being £90 a year (including full board), with his choristership being worth £75 a year, so his parents only had to find £5 a term! He described it as being hard work, with their Eton suits, stiff collars and a busy routine of singing. He also recalled the choirmaster and organist, Dr Haldane Stewart, who always played the organ in a pair of old slippers! John’s school days involved Latin, Greek, Maths, English, Geography, History and games (no Science or Art, and no Music other than what he learned in the choir). Like so many choristers before and since, highlights looking back were May Morning and the carol service on Christmas Eve. John rowed at school, and would have been the youngest boy at that time to row in the first IV, but developed a serious ear infection, which was treated with an experimental operation through the eardrum. Mercifully, for a keen musician, the operation was successful.
John emigrated to Tasmania with his family in 1960 as a Ten Pound Pom and taught there until his retirement in 1976. He loved it in North West Tasmania. During his time as a teacher, he instilled the love of music in all his students and was an inspired teacher. Patsy added “I should know, as he taught me in grades 5 and 6 of primary school on the remote and isolated west coast. We staged musical productions and sand in eistedfodds. He was so much fun. Dad was a truly inspiring man and an English gentleman to the end”.