Updated 19 Jan 2009

Retford Grammar School

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Memories 1942-49

by Roy Cordall

Roy Cordall was at Retford Grammar School from 1942-49. He very kindly supplied the webmaster with copies of The Retfordian July 1947 - July 1950 (scanned) and his Higher School Certificate exam papers 1949 (some of which have been scanned). Roy also sent the description of school life below, and the team photo.

Edward House                       FIRST XI                       1949

    Having come from a non-academic background, I've always considered myself fortunate to have had a Grammar School education and to have been a pupil at G.G.S. from Sept 1942 to July 1949. My memories of school life are now very fragmented - I achieved a School Certificate in 1947 but failed my Higher School Certificate in 1949. I enclose my exam papers should you wish to archive them. I played cricket for Edward House and the School (encouraged by my grandfather as my father was a serving soldier) and continued playing (as an average performer) until my early 40's. After the war, various inter-school rivalries were renewed and we played cricket against Mansfield Queen Elizabeth, Mansfield Brunts, Newark Magnus, Lincoln Grammar, Sheffield Woodhouse and Scunthorpe Grammar and a variety of adult teams including Danehill Training College, Firbeck Colliery, Retford Wednesday, Barnby Moor, Wiseton and Retford NALGO. Wartime schooling was difficult - for a period we shared our days with Yarmouth scholars who had been evacuated to the area, involving a shift system and limited timetable. Air-raid warnings resulted in more interruptions with the occasional need to sit in almost complete darkness in the shelters whilst declining French verbs! To the best of my recollection the Gym was never used whilst I was at school, other than for non-gymnastic activities. Obesity wasn't a wartime problem - I cycled to and from school as did many other Retford lads. The Worksop area lads came in by train and those from elsewhere used buses where necesary. I have no recollection of a School Dinner Service - there was a nearby 'British Restaurant' for those who could afford it but many brought sandwiches. The School Magazine of July 1947 includes the comment "the School Canteen, like the Nation's Post War Recovery, grows by fits and starts, but at long last seems nearly ready" The Post-War 'Retfordians' have, as a title page, a photograph of the School Porch, taken from the road. Each time I look at this photo, I am reminded that the iron railings to the right of the gate remain in existence whilst those to the left were removed when the Government ordered they were to be used to sustain the war effort (in 1941?). Those to the right were 'saved' when it was found that the ironwork was totally unsuitable for its intended use. The 1947 panoramic photograph which has triggered so many memories for me also prompted a re-reading of The Retfordians in my possession, especially the July 1947 issue which reflected on the worst weather of my 16 year old life - the great blizzards with ten weeks of unbroken frost and deep snowdrifts followed by severe flooding which effectively separated East from West Retford. What I now do not recall is whether it prevented me from going to school at any time! Perhaps one of your readers may have the answer. Please thank David for his contributions - whilst we were never friends as such, we are, at the very least, Old Boys. Roy Cordall of Nottingham.

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