Harrow County School for Boys

Dr. Reginald William Hartland (Modern Languages 1921-50)

by George Thorne

With ... moving words the Headmaster closed the eloquent tribute which he paid at the Assembly on October 11th, 1950.  We were denied the pleasure of Dr. Hartland's presence at this official farewell, but in consequence of his long illness it was vital that his strength should not be overtaxed by the strain which the occasion would inevitably have imposed.

It certainly does not seem like twenty-nine years since we first met him in the dark and dingy room which served as the sole Common Room after the First World War.  I can picture him now, rubicund, cherubic and bright of eye.  Somehow some of the dinginess seemed transmuted by his alchemy.  Many were to be the occasions when we should witness a merry and mischievous twinkle in those same eyes during witty interhanges in which he revelled.

We early recognised the quality of his scholarship - he graduated at Birmingham University in the first division with distinctions in English, French and Latin.  Awarded a University Scholarship, he proceeded to his M.A. in French, gaining also the Churton Collins prize for English.  Then in 1927 came the supreme achievement when the degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred on him for his theses entitled "Walter Scott et le Roman Frenétique," later published in Paris.  Thereafter, text books in French added lustre to a reputation not confined to these shores.

We also recognised his innate benevolence, and capacity for friendship and fellowship.  One could not be with him without experiencing a richer and deeper sense of the life more abundant.  The earnest and conscientious attitude towards all his scholastic obligations. the religious convictions, the modest demeanor, the buoyant spirit, the love of nuance as revealed in his garden and imparted to his special classes - all are facets of a jewel resplendent in its iridescence.

The army claimed him in the Middle East from 1916-1919, and during the second World War the ardour with which he relentlessly fulfilled his duties in the Home Guard must have proved an example to many a younger  man and a stronger man.  Doubtless the physical demands of this service must have exacted its toll.

Dr. Hartland is greatly blessed in his home life.  Not a little of his joie de vivre is derived from the devoted ministrations of his gracious and artistic life's companion.

Such, then, is the one who is going from us - one who is compassed about with a cloud of witnesses to testify to his abiding worth.  All this was finely expressed by Dr. Simpson when he wrote to him:

"It is sad and it is triumphant. How happy you must be and your dear wife behind you, to know how well you have kept your faith through so many years, and for how much goodness you have successfully laboured, for long in difficulty and danger, in scholarship, in gentlemanliness and in good fellowship.  Yours pre-eminently is the crown of trial, the 'mens conscia recti' the true pomp and circumstance of just departure."

Dr. and Mrs. Hartland are retiring to a bungalow in an attractive setting at Lymington in Hampshire, where they will take with them the warmest and most affectionate wishes of the entire School.

So, as we bid them Godspeed, let our one-time colleague and all-time friend, have, as is most fitting, the final word:

"Naturally," he writes, "after twenty nine years of close association with the staff and Boys of H. C. S. I feel sad to place so many miles between us.  Yet time is stronger to unite than distance is to sever, and you will all keep a warm place in my affection.

"I thank you, the past and present Staff and pupils for your good comradeship, kindness and cheerful inspiration, and I fervently hope that happiness and success will continue to attend you."

George Thorne

Source: Gaytonian, December 1950


HARTLAND, R. W. Walter Scott et le roman ‘frenetique‘: Contribution à l‘Étude de leur fortune en France.

Leblanc, Maurice - La Caraffe D'Eau and Des Pas Sur La Neige. Oxford rapid-reading French Texts based on word-frequency. OUP 1938 reprint. Edited by R. W. Hartland.  6½" x 4½", 64pp, dark pink card, sb. Vocabulary and questions.

Hank le Trappeur (Rapid-reading French Texts, Gr.1.),  L. Boutinon, G.C. Scott, R.W. Hartland, G.C. Scott (Editor), R W Hartland (Editor)


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