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RGS High Wycombe: Where are you now?

Let others know how you have spent (mispent?) your life and where you are now.

Here are some notes submitted so far (in no particular order)

David Wiltshire    Peter Draper   Geoff Pask Brian Ransley  Rennie Vickers, Terry Williams John Saunders  Bob Mitchell

Bob (R.D.) Mitchell (1948 - 1956)

I attended the RGS from ’48 to ’56 as a boarder, mostly at Uplyme. After successfully navigating the next 3 years at King’s College, London I got caught in the last-but-one National Service intake. Surprisingly, that proved to be a really enjoyable 2 years, meeting some interesting fellow draft-dodgers, playing rugby and shooting when not counting jerry cans in deepest Dorset. This also led to a link with my eventual employer, Esso/Exxon.

After 35 years, and assignments in London, Brussels, New Jersey and Houston, I retired to Austin, Texas in 1997. Along the way, I was fortunate to get married (to Elizabeth) and we have been blessed with three daughters.

Following a transitional period consulting in the USA and Asia, I now seek mental stimulation by contributing seminars to the Continuing Education program at the University of Texas.

What did I really learn at the RGS? Maybe to recognize and accept my shortcomings, then get the most out of the few talents I could muster. I have a tremendous affection for the place - and some guilt that I did not have the wit to thank men like E.R. Tucker, M.M. Davies and R. Pattinson for what they did for me.

Bob Mitchell (July 2009)

Tony Hare commented "I assume that you were the "RSM" Mitchell with the very loud voice on the Parade Ground. As such you will be surely be remembered vividly by most of the school. I am slightly surprised that your CCF experience didn't lead to something more exciting than counting jerrycans in your National Service.."

To which Bob replied "Guilty as charged.. My fate in the army had been decided for me prior to entry – I had worked for Esso during the vacations and they got me assigned to the old RASC. And even though I got my pick of posting after OCS, I got shipped to No.1 Petroleum Reserve Depot near Wimborne. As compensation, they hired me as soon as I got out"

David Wiltshire (1943 - 1950)

Compared to those whose work took them all over the world mine was locally based. After National Service in the RAF I joined Ercol Furniture on April 1st (a very propitious day) 1953 and worked for them until July 1994. I managed the sales and service office for many years until the opportunity came along to retire which I readily accepted. Outside work I have always had lots of outside interests. I was very involved playing club hockey and in matters of administration at club and county level and playing local village cricket until I moved on to bowls which I have enjoyed since 1987. In 1980 I took up singing and still sing with Windsor & Eton Choral Society. I have been arranging their soloists for almost 25 years but am now handing over to someone younger. My wife and I are very keen on concerts, opera and the theatre. We live in Flackwell Heath. I spend a lot of time gardening and my wife teaches the guitar, no longer full time.

June 2009

David submitted some interesting photos and cartoons. Take a look now.

Peter Draper (1949 - 1955)

After leaving RGS I worked for Unilever and then Richardson-Vicks. The latter Company took me all over the world conducting Marketing Research. I lived and worked overseas from 1966 to 1990, mainly in New York City; Wilton, Connecticut; Cincinnati, Ohio (after we were taken over by P&G); Osaka & Kobe, Japan. As Vice President of Marketing Research for Richardson-Vicks Americas/Far East Division, I travelled extensively throughout the Far East, Australasia, South & Central America, Canada, Europe, etc. 40% of my time was on planes, at airports and visiting overseas offices. After resigning from P&G I became the Executive Vice President of the Japan Market Research Bureau in Tokyo. I was very lucky in my career. I took early retirement in 1990 and came to live in Sidmouth, Devon. I am still able to take an annual holiday overseas.

June 2009

Geoff Pask (1944 - 1949)

From Geoff Pask (08nov07)

I was recently surfing on the RGS website which I done several times during the past few months, and, for the first time, I located your website pertaining to "The Old Boys" which I have now reviewed and read in great detail.I would like to congratulate you for your creativity and for a job well done.
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Geoffrey A. Pask (Geoff), born in Beaconsfield and I was a student at the RGS from 1944 until 1949. I emigrated to Canada in 1957 and currently live in Cornwall, Ontario which is situated on the River St. Lawrence, approximately 60 miles west of Montreal and 60 mile south of Ottawa.
I was very pleased to find myself appearing in 2 of the school photographs and listed in 3 of the Greybooks. Details of all this is as follows.

School Photo from 1947. I believe my designation here would be "E14" as I appear in the 4th row up and am the 14th student starting from the extreme left.
School Photo from 1949. I appear in Picture G (not designated as such, but the last segment on extreme right) in the top row and am the 12th student in from the extreme right.
Note: I still possess prints of these photos which I obtained at the time.

Grey Book for 1946. - Listed under Form 1Va
Grey Book for 1947 - Listed under Form Va
Grey Book for 1948 - Listed under Form Vuc

I noticed that you have a section captioned "What was your favourite story?". I recall that during a geography lesson with "Sam" Morgan, we were studying North America and/or Canada and we learned that Montreal was considered the snowiest city in the world. Somehow, this fact has stayed in my mind all these years. Little did I know then that I was destined to spend 40 years of my life (1962 - 2002) living and working on the Island of Montreal.( The city of Montreal
is a part of the island of Montreal. Yes, we still get a lot of snow now but it seems to be less now than that of 40 tears ago

Finally, I would like to mention that I possess a copy of the original (prospectus ?) booklet which I received prior to starting at the RGS in 1944. I am mentioning this as I found no reference to it n your website and wonder if you are aware of its existence. This booklet is undated but outlines the origin and history of the school, together with the rules and regulations, dress code, school hours, homework requirements and several other details.etc..and covers fairly well all the information that a new student needed to know. It has a grey cover, contains 11 pages, of which 2 are blank.If you would be interested in obtaining a copy of this, I would be very pleased to provide this to you.

Yours very truly,

Geoff Pask.

Brian Ransley (1947 - 1952)

Gidday to all,

My life after RGS has been a chain of accidents. Firstly I left school armed with a reference from E R Tucker saying that I was University material, then boarded a ship to New Zealand, intending to go back to school 'over there'. On arrival in July 1952, I needed to find myself a job until my father arrived in about 3 months. When I fronted up to take factory work for the few months, I made the mistake of wearing a tie and jacket. Being a British firm, they seized the opportunity of getting an English Grammar School boy 'straight off the boat', so I found myself working in the office! The third accident occurred with my dad's non-appearance until 10 months later, by which time my temporary employment had become more important to me than wearing short trousers with the other 6th formers in Auckland. This 'temporary' employer paid my salary for 18 years exactly. I married firstly in 1959 and shortly after was offered the job of taking over the management of their appallingly run timber business. I took this on and prospered as the only possible way to go was upwards. The fifth accident was in 1970 when the London parent company (Triang-Pedigree the large toy & pram conglomerate) was on the rocks. I was then instrumental in selling the NZ timber business to what was to eventually become the largest timber company in Australasia, and after some hesitation accepted an offer from the new owners. In 1975 I was made General Manager of that company, where I stayed until I retired in 1986 at the grand old age of 51 - another accident!

My job took me to many countries in the Pacific Rim, UK & Europe, including 12 trips to Japan.

I've tended to avoid being on committees as members apparently did all the work and received all the brickbats. However I was a founder and the Chairman of the local football club (round ball), on the Management Committee of the Auckland Football Association and The Auckland Golf Association. I held various positions in the NZ Timber Industry Federation and flirted very briefly with Rotary.

My early retirement co-incided with two of my daughters' times at Varsity. I was therefore more or less coerced into enrolling as a Mature (very) Student at the University of Auckland, taking BA subjects, on a very part-time basis. I studied my favourite subject Geography which had by then changed dramatically from Sam Morgan's days, as we had exciting things like Plate Tectonics and Climate Change to consider. I found that it was no longer important to know where the Himalayas were, as long as you know how they got there! I also took French,which got me back to where I was under 'Chunk' in 1952, as well as several History papers and NZ Sociology. In the latter, I was delighted to be able to argue with the Tutors on matters I had experienced and had occurred before they were born. Also it was a year or so after the fall of Soviet Communism which to some extent put a dampener on Karl Marx. I completed 13 papers towards my degree over a 6 year period before giving it away, having exhausted the subjects which did not have lectures on Wednesdays, which happened to be my golf day. I had a certain amount of satisfaction in telling the Dean of Arts that the University Calendar hadn't been changed for many years and it was about time that more lectures were scheduled for Mondays and Fridays, and to hell with the teaching staff's long weekends! The power of old age!

I have 4 daughters, 3 of whom live fairly close by and the youngest has been forgiven for living in Sydney. Also 5 grandchildren aged between 5 and 19 years. My time now is split between writing my family history, genealogical research, the occasional round of golf, regularly attending a gym and answering emails from RGS old boys, who like me are in their troisieme age and the only way to look is backwards! My second wife was born in Taiwan and each year we go back to the warmth of Taipei, during the Auckland winter, and often travel the long way round via UK.

Kindest regards to you all.

June 2009

Brian also comments:-

During the past nearly 20 years, I have been writing my life story. This includes several thousand words on RGS, warts and all. It was never my intention to get it printed (unlike Tony Clarke) but was meant only to be read by my descendents, who naturally enough are all NZers. Having lived here for 57 years I am influenced by my surroundings and the differences. The content could ruffle the feathers of those firmly steeped in the traditions of British Public Schools or selective Grammar Schools - maybe not. However included is a chapter on Sam Morgan, as he was somewhat of an icon to me. I should add that the first draft was originally written in my 50s when my memory was much better! Maybe Sam Morgan deserves an article on his own?

Writing my story is not really an ego trip. I am a genealogist and family historian and think it is a pity that many know little about their parents or grandparents, not to mention the previous generations. In my case, there is also the large physical distance between my family's past and the present generations. Whether I will release 'the book' to my children & grandchildren in the not too distant future, or leave it to be distributed on the reading of my will, remains to be seen! Maybe that depends who dies first!. I should add that my story is a part of our family history, starting with Thomas Ransley a London hairdresser and bigamist (c1765 - c1830). Morals never seemed to be a strongpoint with the Ransleys, present generations excepted.

For a very detailed and most interesting description of life at RGS in this era you cannot do better than to read Brian's article entitled "RGS MEMORIES: HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD". This appeared in the September 2005 edition of the OB Newsletter but this has since disappeared from the ether, sadly.  (Check out this page for some OW newsletters which have survived) Brian has also contributed some sporting programme excerpts on his own page on this website.

Rennie Vickers (1947- 1952)

1952. "Pilgy" Jones gave me an application form from the Bucks County Council, County Treasurer's Department which was offering a salary of £150pa to boys and £140pa to girls, to be trained as accountants. I applied and along with 5 other boys and 6 girls started work there in September 1952. We didn't do much accounting but Bucks NALGO did provide good opportunities for football and cricket!

1954. HM dropped me a line and made me an offer, too good to refuse, of 28 shillings (1.40) per week to join her services for two years. I spent most of my time in the RAF based at St Eval in Cornwall.

1956-68. I worked in the office of a timber and builder's merchant in High Wycombe, which suited a lad, who at that time, was intent on having a good time and not taking life too seriously. Who could in the swinging sixties?

1968. Now married, with a daughter aged 2 and a son of 6 months, I thought that I should "get out of my rut" and find something more challenging and financially rewarding. I joined a German based electrical switchgear manufacturer at its UK HQ in Aylesbury. As the Company progressed worldwide and at home, I had many opportunities to travel to meetings within Europe and further afield. Most memorable were 3 trips to Canada during 1978/79, when the Quebecois Nationalist Party was getting rather tetchy. I assisted in staff recruitment and training when the Canadian office relocated from Quebec to Toronto, as did many other companies at that time. Then in 1983/84 I had 3 spells working in the Australian office, the last of which was not very pleasant, as I had to sack my mates, the incumbent managers, and introduce the staff to their replacements, who had flown out with me from UK. I got the feeling that the German directors often chose to opt out of awkward jobs and the call would go out "Get Vickers to do it". During all of this, my first marriage came to an end; and in 1984 I married Pat, who had 2 daughters from her first marriage.

1996. Aged 60, I retired from the Company, having been in the position of Company Secretary for a number of years.

Our first grandson was born soon afterwards and since then the kids have produced 4 more grandsons and 3 granddaughters, all of which have kept Pat & I very busy! When time allows, I have a keen interest in genealogy, which is how I came across Brian Ransley after 52 years. Pat and I love our cruise holidays and have been lucky enough to visit parts of the World, which unfortunately "Sam" Morgan and "Tus" Sheppard could only ever have dreamt of visiting, when imparting their considerable knowledge to we "reluctant to learn" pupils. I failed my Geography " O" level. Sorry gentlemen!

June 2009


I joined the RGS in September 1947 as a late starter at age 13, and there were 16 of us in a Shell form. I stayed on for 2 years in the 6th form to take ‘A’ levels (having taken the last year of the old School Certificate), and as extras I ran for the first X-Country team for 3 years, was Chess Captain in my last year, and was RSM of the School CCF in my last 2 terms.

Extended National Service of 3 years was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieut. I had, in the meantime, given up my place at Culham College, where I had intended to train as a school teacher, and so worked for over a year at Barclays Bank in High Wycombe and Princes Risborough, before deciding that I should seek my fortune overseas. Thus I joined the old Bank of British West Africa (now absorbed into the Standard Chartered Bank) and served in Sierra Leone for 13 years. I had a great time there, having married Anne in 1958, and we had 2 sons (both born in Aylesbury) with us until their education called us back to UK in 1969. I then spent the remainder of my working life as a corporate treasurer, the last 20 of which were as the Group Treasurer of P&O, a wonderful, old-established Royal Charter company, sadly gone to the dogs since I retired in 1993!!

My main tasks were arranging funding for the group, and especially the financing of many modern and large cruise ships.

Before and since retirement, my wife and I have travelled to all parts of the world, and intend to do so whilst health and money last. We live in Great Kingshill, just 3 miles from the School, which makes it easy for me to keep in touch with the Old Boys activities, together with other local voluntary work.

John Saunders  (1963 - 1970)

Status at the time of the 1947, 1949 and 1952 photos: unborn (although I was conceived around the time of the 1952 photo)
What I have done with my life: wasted it, but enjoyably so for the most part
Where I am now: living happily and just the right side of the poverty line in Kingston-upon-Thames
......and looking after his own RGS website of course

June 2009



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