Harrow County Staff

Mr. G. W. D'Arcy

"Of all the above (in the staff list - ed.), Geoff D'Arcy was the best teacher. I bet Michael Portillo will testify that he helped give him an interest in history and politics." - Paul Danon

Profile in 'Cadet' 1966

Captain G.W. D'Arcy is the contingent Quartermaster, a position which he has held since his arrival at the school on 1956.

A native of Lincolnshire, Captain D'Arcy was educated at King's School, Peterborough, where he gained a scholarship in History and English to University College, Nottingham.   He then proceeded to take a London University honours Degree in history, gaining a "First" at the age of nineteen.  He completed his professional qualification with a University of Cambridge Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.

His first experience of Army life came in the summer of 1940 when, having been previously recommended by his University Recruiting Board for the Field Security Wing of the Intelligence Corps, he was posted to a Searchlight Regiment on the East Coast!   He hastens to add that this was the result, not of some malign Staff Officer's distorted sense of humour, but of the changing needs of the military situation, which had rapidly deteriorated with the fall of France in June, 1940...

The next year saw him with a "Z" Anti-Aircraft Regiment in the Midlands... Captain D'Arcy left A. A. Command to join the Army Education Corps.

His new work found him in educational charge of troops on the wind-swept island of South Ronaldsay, part of the Orkney and Shetland Defences, where he also contributed frequently to the Forces' Newspaper, the "Orkney Blast."  He was almost resigned to spending the rest of the war in these congenial surroundings when early 1945 brought him the opportunity of service in Europe.  units were formed to make contact with liberated Prisoners of War and to make arrangements for their repatriation.   This service over, he helped to run a reception center for Displaced Persons at Luneburg.  It was at the defence Platoon H.Q. nearby that Himmler committed suicide, and Captain D'Arcy may sometimes be induced to reveal how exactly the S. S. Reichsfuhrer spent the last twenty minutes of his life!

Captain D'Arcy would have preferred to have remained in Germany engaged in work with Displaced Persons, but he was posted to India in the autumn of 1945.  There he served on the staff of the Royal Indian Military College, Jullundur, teaching English to Indian Cadets.  The syllabus included the teaching of English poetry, ranging from the works of Kipling to those of Rupert Brooke.  Despite his apprehension about the choice of set books, he found his pupils far more appreciative of "our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din", than of the "sly shade of a rural dean," in Rupert Brooke's "Grantchester".

He was demobilised in 1946, teaching at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar school, Blackburn, before coming to  Harrow County.  He finds the responsibility for the Quartermaster's Stores, a duty which, in many contingents is the province of a Permanent School Instructor, demanding but worthwhile.  he has attended each Annual Camp and most arduous training expeditions.  Annual camps have seen him combining the duties of Quartermaster and Adjutant, and usually, together with the Commanding officer, in charge of the marching in and marching out arrangements...

His leisure time is well filled.  At school, in addition to his work with the Corps, he is secretary of the Common Room and of the School Sports Committee.  His activities outside school include the membership of the Wykeham Players Amateur dramatic Society, of which he is also Honorary Secretary, and he has served for many years on the Parochial church Council and stewardship Committee of St. Michael's Church, Harrow Weald.

                                                                                        (Geoff Haines-Stiles, writing in "Cadet" 1966)

Obituary from the Old Gaytonian Magazine, 1990:

George William D'Arcy

Bill D'Arcy died last March aged 70.  He taught History and Economic History and was an outstanding scholar on a great staff at Harrow County.  He revealed to us all, masters and boys, a wonderful warmth of personality, radiating concern for each one of us m our individual needs. He had a great insight into his colleagues' and his pupils' natures. To me personally, in the prolonged and stressful crisis over reorganisation of education, he was a source of unfailing support and understanding. To his pupils, from the 'fliers' to the 'laggards', he showed each one what could be achieved and how he might achieve it with his patient help. He was one of the finest schoolmasters with whom I have ever had the privilege of working.

He gave his talents in teaching and in administration freely and far beyond the line of duty. Honour was for him a far greater matter than the rules. "An officer and a gentleman." said his cadets.

He was a true friend at all times and a quiet inspiration in his many qualities: sincerity, shining integrity, humility and care.  It was always a pleasure to enjoy the good humour and good learning in any conversation with him. In Shakespeare's words he was

.. , the kindest man,

The best conditioned and unwearied spirit

In daily courtesies."

His faith permeated all his relationships and everything he did,

Bill D'Arcy served Harrow County with a profound and unhesitating loyalty. Our deep sympathy goes to his wife, Elisabeth, who shared his love for the School, and to all his family and friends. His service is remembered with the greatest gratitude and affection,


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