Harrow County Staff

Mr. Michael Morshead - Science 1950-57

Michael Morshead died in approximately November 2008.

I was saddened to read of Michael Morshead’s death. Actually whilst I knew his name, from signatures on this or that, he was never anything other than ‘Mr’ or better ‘Lieutenant’ Morshead in my day.

He was my physics master for two years but more importantly he was the RN Section of the CCF well before being joined by the economics master Mr Goff.  As written elsewhere on this site conscription ruled and the CCF generally, and the Army Section in particular, was dominated by Colonel Bigham (even if the rank was acquired he made the most of it).  In those days at the age of 12 my main aim was to get into long trousers and 4th Harrow Scouts with another day a week of shorts did not appeal, so in 1950 I became a cadet in the Army Section.  I enjoyed the Ordnance Survey map reader elements but had never hankered after carrying or cleaning a Lee-Enfield rifle and those army boots and the itchy greatcoat were a great price for long trousers.  Certificate ‘A’ Part 1 was the great escape. After passing this hurdle one could join the civilised haven of the RN Section. 

Lt. Morshead RNVR was the antithesis of Col. Bigham.  Army Field Days wandering around Chalfont being shouted at whilst carrying a bolt-less rifle looking for the ‘enemy’ gave way to a trip out to Chatham or Portsmouth and messing about in boats.  He was human, interesting and humorous.  His rank was genuine, he had served during the war in Minesweepers, and had a treasure-trove of anecdotes.   We found the fact that his last ship was HMS Pickle very funny, only much later did I learn that it was the honoured name of the frigate that in 1805 brought the news of Nelson’s death from Trafalgar to Britain.

I was sufficiently inspired that when I left HCS it was to go to sea and eventually obtained my Master’s Certificate whilst serving as a Navigating Officer with P&O. On leave in 1956 & 1957 I returned on a couple of Fridays to see the CCF, then led by both Lt. Morshead and Sub Lt. Goff.   I guess I really returned to boast about having been to Australia and Hong Kong (beyond the package holiday world 50 years ago) but also to renew friendships and join them sailing on Brent Reservoir.

He was a good man who communicated his own enthusiasm for both physics and the sea to those of us fortunate enough to have known him.

Ian Aldous


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