Reminiscences of Victor Dobb (HCS 1936-41)

I started at Harrow County in 1936 and left in 1941.  The Headmaster was Randall Williams, MA.  I do remember Swanny, Killer King, Whiffy King, Sorbo Hartland and Mr. Duke who was the Math master.  Have many memories of digging trenches in 1938 when we thought the War was coming and then in Sept 1939 some of the 4th Form were accommodated by Harrow School on the Hill, where we hid from Air Raids in the Church Crypt.  I have found my School report book and in addition to the names of Masters I mentioned, I note Stanley Robinson and Hugh Webber. The Art teacher was Neal.  I don't recall the name of the caretaker who ran the tuck shop, but I do remember the halfpenny licorice rolls. 

We had regular swimming classes with Swanny, who was the Phys Ed instructor and a real taskmaster.  The water was always cold and I dreaded having to jump in. 

One other memory I have is of several of us volunteering for fire watch.  We had camp beds somewhere in the basement and patrolled the roof when a raid was on, which was most nights during 1940 and 41.  I do recall us on the roof one night when Cricklewood was fire bombed; we could see the glow from the fires very well.  Was on the junior Rugby XV, and ran at White City for the school in the 100 yards.

I well remember as the class leaving school we met in the gym with Randall Williams who wished us all well (no fancy black tie grad parties) and said he had some applications for those who were interested for some banks and insurance companies.  I chose a bank and was given an application for Westminster.  Had my interview and was told clearly they were only hiring me at age 16 because normally they would only hire Higher School Certificates but, since they had so many staff called up they were lowering their standards.  My stay at Harrow County was a disaster; I was too immature to study and do homework and consequently was almost always at the bottom of the Class.  I was too wrapped up in the Air Training Corps and spent most evenings at the local RAF station.  However, when I started work I did well and was highly thought of until joining the RAF in 1943, where I qualified as an Air Gunner.  Served some time in Middle East and returned to the Bank when demobbed.  Got a little disenchanted with everything  and the Labour Governement and finally made the break to come to Canada in 1956 where I joined the Bank of Montreal in Montreal.  Transferred to Toronto in 1967 and to Vancouver less than 2 years later.  Switched to Bank of British Columbia in 1970; joined as Manager, Main Branch.  Thereafter promoted to General Manager and retired as Executive V.P. and Director.  The Bank sent me to Stanford for SEP programme in 1979, which, considering my poor school record, was one of the highlights of my business career. I think I was probably the boy at Harrow who would have been voted the one most likely to fail and many of the Masters, and Headmaster would have been surprised at the small success I did achieve.  I was a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Bankers in England and a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

Vic Dobb has lived in Canada for the past 44 years, including 30 in Vancouver.

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