Update: George Eldridge (1952-1957)

George Eldridge, a pupil at the school from 1952-1957, recently discovered this site. This led him to reconnect with his school friend Jim Tarrant. George now lives in Australia, and would be very keen to speak to other Bournemouth School alumni of the same era who have also migrated to the antipodes. He has sent use the following update of his life since leaving the school.

I joined Bournemouth School in 1952 and left (very early) in 1957 to join the Metropolitan Police Cadets in London.

I was at the school in the days of the Headship of Mr. Parry and how could one not mention the man himself – Mr. Jasper J Dodds! I sat through many a history lesson from Mr. Dodds, wondering who in my form would be the most likely to be on the receiving end of a solid wooden backed blackboard duster! There was also a fair degree of personal trepidation involved in this as JJ’s aim was not always what he would have liked and the person struck was not always the intended recipient! Ah, how times have changed! If you had been struck by the duster you suffered in silence and certainly would not have reported the event to your parents thus fearing another session from either Mum or Dad – or even both!

After joining the Metropolitan Police I transferred back to the (then) Bournemouth Force that which in 1967 was amalgamated with the Dorset Force. After that, as anticipated by the locals, things changed and not necessesariy for the better. I saw the writing on the wall and rather reluctantly resigned and entered into Teacher Training as a mature aged student.

I studied PE at a now defunct college in Kent where I met my wife and we married in 1971. Four years later we obtained 2 year teaching contracts in Melbourne, Victoria at the conclusion of which we returned to the UK in very late 1977, as we both then had family members living. This was a mistake as we had enjoyed our time and the lifestyle in Australia and we found it somewhat difficult to re-settle. The Victorian Education Department had kept our teaching positions open for us and in March 1980 we returned to Melbourne and have lived in Victoria ever since.

Although my wife returned to teaching, I realised I was not cut out for it (despite the hours and holidays!!). I applied for a position with the Australian Federal Government and remained so employed until I retired in December 2004.

I turn 74 in April of this year and I am proud to say that despite residing in Australia for the larger part of my life I will always be an Englishman. That can never be taken away from me. However, let me tell you Australia is an awfully tricky place to live if you are a `Pom’ when the all blooming conquering Aussies are handing out their usual treatment during an Ashes series!!!!!!!!! More recently the One Day World Cup international defeat by Bangladesh was also the trigger for much merriment from Australian friends!!

I think often of the School and what may have happened to those I knew. I am very willing to provide my email address to anyone who may like to contact me.

We¬†have removed George’s email from this update. However, if you would like to get in touch with George, please leave a comment here and we will forward your details on to him.

Jasper Dodds on film

Norman Martin (1942-47) has sent in this photo of his form group taken in 1946 and featuring the renowned J.J. ‘Jasper’ Dodds. Norman writes:

My only memento of my time at Bournemouth School is [this] photograph taken in 1946 showing the 5th form of that year presided over by J.J. himself and flanked by two of the veterans of that form, Messers Mudway and Hunt. Some of the members of that form had carried over from previous years and as the youngest member, aged 15, (5th from the left, back row) I recall thinking that I had joined a class of young men. Charles Gray was another member of that form but was apparently absent that day. (Charles Gray was to become a famous actor – perhaps best known as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever?)

Jasper Dodds was indeed unlike any other member of staff at that time. He was a strict disciplinarian. He demanded (and got) everybody’s absolute attention, no one ever failed to hand in homework and his was the only class whose pupils always lined up outside the room whilst waiting for him to arrive for a lesson instead of sitting around larking about! And all this without ever having to raise his voice. Fifty years on, I have to say I count myself fortunate to have come under his wing and to have seen him in his prime.

At the time there were very few private cars on the road, Jasper drove to school in a pre-war Morris 8 registration number CEL 57. The fact that, even today, the number comes easily to mind speaks volumes. Everyone’s radar was tuned to this vehicle and it needed to be because to be spotted by J.J. walking along East Way from the bus stop in Charminster Road without wearing the school cap was practically a capital offence. The sight of CEL 57 appearing over the top of the hill as it approached the school was the signal for the bareheaded ones to make themselves scarce.

Of his own time since leaving the school, Norman says:

I left school to work for Preston & Redman the solicitors in Hinton Road. After National Service I joined the Trust Division of Lloyds Bank and managed branches in Guernsey, Ipswich and Nottingham before retiring as head of financial services in the North West region based in Liverpool.

John Douglas Jones

John Douglas Jones (1939-46) has written from Clifton in Bristol. He remembers with affection the staff who provided him with a sound grounding for his career in the aircraft industry. He writes:

I moved to Bristol to start my apprenticeship with the Bristol Aeroplane Company and have lived in Bristol ever since. I retired in 1989 having specialised in the design of Composite structures for 35 years. Modern military and Civil aircraft are progresively using increasing volumes of these materials.

I have been a keen sailplane pilot for 60 years and still play an active role in the technical aspects of sailplane operation. I would very much like to hear from anyone who would remember me from the period at school.