Harrow County School for Boys

The Law Society and the CCF (1946-66)

by Hugh Skillen

Shortly after his arrival as Headmaster in 1946 (which coincided with my own, as I was appointed to teach Modern Languages by his predecessor, Mr. Crowle Ellis) Dr. A. R. Simpson was keen to establish a Combined Cadet Force.  He called a meeting of hose who had recently been released from their duties with the Armed Forces.  There were probably half a dozen of us.

At the end of the meeting he offered me, as the senior officer present (I was a Major (rtd) of the Intelligence Corp), the privilege of being the first O.C.  I asked for clarification on the compulsory nature of the membership.  When he said it would be compulsory, except for Scouts, I said I could not accept as even the Armed Forces recognised the status of consciencious objectors.  Fl/Lt Bigham, who had been in the Equipment or Technical Branch of the RAF accepted and formed the Cadet Force with Fl/Lt James as his 2i/c.

Those who were too young or refused had to take part in classes at the same time as the parade on Friday afternoons.  The most popular of these were the Afro-American Music Society, run by Paul Oliver, the Art Master, and the Railways and Airways Club run by Messrs W. G, Duke and Walter Lane.  As soon as I qualified by taking my Ll.B degree in 1949, I offered to form a Law Society.

It was heavily over-subscribed each year, possibly owing to the vogue of Perry Mason on the TV at that time!  The class was limited to 65, the number that could be accomodated in the Lecture Theatre.  It was a two year course comprising Criminal Law, Law of Contract, etc., concluding with Industrial Law and Administrative Law to assist those going into employment.  Some of the younger ones went round a second time on these courses.

I had spent a year at the Radio Hamburg station (Nordwestdeatcher Rundfunk) after the war ended as denazification officer (officially termed German Personnel Officer) interrogating all employees and freelance contributors, including members of the Great Symphony Orchestra, Entertainments Orchestra, etc., and arbitrarily punishing ex-members of the SS by sending them to their own concentration camps and depriving lesser criminals of their houses, car licences, bank balances, etc. by signing a note to that effect to be executed by the administrative staff of Radio Hamburg.  I had kept a quantity of the official Fragebogen (193 Questions in German and English to be answered in duplicate by every applicant for any job whatsoever in Western Germany). These I distributed to my smaller classes which Dr. Simpson asked me to run for all members of Lower Sixth Science.  He felt that as they concentrated on Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology they needed some cultural leavening.  These classes were in addition to the 2-year courses mentioned above, comprising two periods a week in Lower Sixth Science.

Dr. Simpson was quite punctillious about asking me formally each year if I would undertake these law classes as my contract of employment did not include that subject, he said.  Twenty years later, it all ceased very suddenly, in the middle of the course, when a new headmaster decided with the C.O.  Cadet Force to change the timing of the parade.  He omitted to inform me, and I expect others, that the alternative activities would cease.

The subject was never mentioned again.

Hugh Skillen

Source:  The Old Gaytonian, 1987

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