School Memories 1917
My teacher Mr. MacKenzie had been discharged, poor man, from the Army with shell shock and every so often would show signs of it. Needless to say some of the lads ( for the first time it was boys only ) would mimic him. But he was a good teacher.
Here I must confess to playing truant every now and again in the afternoon to go swimming at the Ealing Baths with one or two mates. We would go by tram – 1 penny each way, 2 pence for entry and towel and costume – making sure to get home at the usual time. We knew we were fairly safe from the school attendance-officer ( Corky Morris ). He had a false leg and was known to be a good customer at the “Northcote Arms” and it being wartime nobody bothered. Of course we knew all the best spots where “scrumping” would be worth while – cherries, Hammond’s orchard; apples, Walter Moore’s; plums, gardens in the Park. I have been caught in all of them. But we used to get a walloping on the spot and be told to “Go home and tell your father”. More legitimate spoils were walnuts in the Park and mulberries from the Manor House Grounds. And of course the leaves came in handy for silk-worms. There was only once I can remember feeling sore in more ways than one, being punished twice for the same offence. We had always been told by the headmaster to go orderly home. But we started fighting in the school passage and P.C. Phillips, who was at the High Street watching children across the road, came and gave us both a clout and sent us on our way. Next morning we were told to report to the headmaster, who gave us four of the best for not doing as we were told.