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LAST UPDATED : Saturday, February 22, 2014 14:01

Stop Press News: Carol and Michael Weaver's book "When Duty Calls..." which celebrates 100 yrs of Woodbridge School CCF is on sale - Click here


The Old Woodbridgians Website


The site for former pupils, staff and friends of Woodbridge School, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK.


The OW Golf Match vs the School - Sort report and Photos - Click here

Stop Press News

The OW AGM - Important changes - see below


Dear Fellow Old Woodbridgian

The time has come again for the AGM and to make decisions about the future.  There is a growing feeling among OW Committee members that we are at a crossroads and need change to secure our future. 

Our Headmaster, Stephen Cole, and his wife, Jane, have been constant and brilliant supporters of all OW matters over 20 years and their contribution is greatly appreciated. 

Our OW President, Annie Fitzgerald, has come to the end of her term of office and has now resigned as her work commitments are about to become more demanding.  Our Honorary Treasurer, Jennifer Humphreys, is now expecting a second baby and has resigned as she, quite understandably, feels she now cannot devote the necessary time to the job.  Our thanks are due to both for their contribution over the years since they joined the Committee. 

There is so much work that needs to be done and the question arises as to whether we can continue into the future relying solely on a few enthusiastic volunteers.  We need a new website and have done for some years.  We need a new OW Magazine which has not been published since the untimely death of our wonderful Registrar, Michael Weaver.  We need more work on the database of 4000 OWs to improve the number of reliable email addresses we hold.  The list goes on and on.  

It is strongly felt that we need to review, renew and strengthen our relationship with the School. The Headmaster is convinced that he wants a greater partnership, mutual understanding and support between the OWs and School.  So, it is the objective of a greater partnership that is driving us towards a new way of operating. 

Instead of the OW Committee operating as an independent body with few resources to carry out its tasks, it is proposed that we dissolve the existing Committee and Officers and formulate a new Old Woodbridgian Liaison Group.  This will consist of an elected OW Chairman and two or three OW members PLUS the Headmaster and two or three School employees with particular skills.  The meetings would be during the working day and not in the evenings and, in this way, the School and the OWs would unite together behind the cause and have at its disposal many more of the technical capabilities and resources that the current regime lacks.  

The role of President would be refined and a high profile person appointed, possibly on an annual basis, who would speak at Dinners and other functions but would not routinely attend Group meetings. We now need nominations for the above OW officers which should be sent to the email address at the foot of this letter ASAP. 

We now need to enact these proposals at an AGM with a proper vote from OWs to give a mandate that this is the agreed way forward.  The details of when and where the AGM will take place are attached and we would very much like you to be there.  If you can attend please let us have names and numbers so we can provide suitable refreshments. 

Please email ken.bailey@ipswichroad.plus.com if you can attend.    


Your OW Committee



The Old Woodbridgians
Saturday 22 March 2014

4.00pm in the Tuckwell Room at Woodbridge School


  • Chairman’s opening remarks
  • Present
  • Apologies
  • The President’s Report
  • The Treasurer's Report
  • To adopt a Proposal to dissolve the existing Old Woodbridgian Committee together with the posts of President, Vice President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and Committee Members
  • To adopt the Proposal to establish a new Old Woodbridgian Liaison Group (OWLG) as detailed in the attached Draft Memorandum of Understanding 
  • The Election of OWLG Officers for the Year 2014-2015 
  • The Chairman of the OWLG 
  • The President of the Old Woodbridgians
  •  2 or 3 Committee members of the OWLG
  • Any other business.


Please note: 

If you have any nominations for the new OW Officers please let me have them before the meeting by emailing ken.bailey@ipswichroad.plus.com 


Please attend the AGM if you can – just let us know names and numbers at the same email address.


First Draft of Memorandum of Understanding between Woodbridge School

and Old Woodbridgians on the Modus Operandi of the

Old Woodbridgian Liaison Group (OWLG)

  • All pupils who have attended, for however short a time, The Abbey (which includes Queen's House) or the Senior School will be considered as OWs. The Group will take responsibility for ensuring invitations are sent only to appropriate age groups.  
  • All staff (including support staff) should be invited where appropriate to functions. After ten years service, either on the support staff or the teaching staff, on any of the sites, staff should be made honorary OWs. This should be backdated to those living staff members with ten years service or more. 
  • All OWs will be members of the OW community for life at no charge other than the current levy of £3.00 per pupil. The School reserves the right to raise that termly amount if necessary.  The amount will be collected from Year 3 pupils (at the Abbey) and each term until they leave. 
  • All OWs, as defined above, will be represented by the Old Woodbridgian Liaison Group which will have the following aims and objectives:
    • To create a closer working relationship between School and the OWs for the mutual benefit of both parties.
    • To bring all OWs together by providing a common forum to deliberate on matters concerning the OW membership and Woodbridge School.
    • To formulate a programme of events each year to keep OWs in touch with the School and each other. 
    • To unite both past and present students and staff of the school.
    • To provide a medium by which interest in the school shall be generated, promoted and sustained among the past pupils.
  • The Group will consist of the following members:
    • The President of the Old Woodbridgians will be a high profile person who will represent Old Woodbridgians at important events and speak at these events when necessary.  The President would only attend Group meetings when needed.
    • The Chairman – who will serve a 3 year term of office and will carry executive responsibility for arranging, chairing and managing Group meetings.
    • The Headmaster who will be a permanent member of the Group.
    • Two co-opted members of School staff will serve on the group for a period of time and performing duties as directed by the Headmaster.
    • Two or three selected OWs will serve on the Group as requested by the Chairman and Headmaster.  These OWs will be replaced as new OWs offer their services.
    • The Liaison Group shall be the governing body of the OWs
    • The Liaison Group may meet as and when it deems fit and the quorum shall be four (4) made up of the Chairman, Headmaster and two other members.
  • The OWLG will keep the School fully and properly informed of any information about former pupils, including changes of address and ensure that all such information is forwarded and recorded on the development office database.




Albert Holmes (1915 – 2013)
Former physics master and scout leader at Woodbridge School


Albert was born a Yorkshireman and was proud of his strong Yorkshire pedigree.  As a boy he was an active supporter of Yorkshire Cricket Club, Bradford Park Avenue Football Club and Bradford Northern Rugby League Club. He was the first of his line of the Holmes family to achieve a university degree, a first class honours in Physics from Leeds University, and it was his choice of subject that eventually led to both his sons choosing Physics for their own Bachelor’s degrees.


During the war he worked for the Admiralty at Arrochar, Scotland, as a physicist working on the degaussing of ships to protect them from magnetic mines. After the war he resumed his career as a teacher, first in Wellington, Shropshire, then in 1949 he moved to Woodbridge.


Albert settled down to a career as Head of Physics at Woodbridge School. Living in one of the houses behind the pavilion, he could open the back gate and simply walk to work across the playing field. His enthusiasm for the subject and the way he instilled the rigorous intellectual discipline that the subject demanded was to shape the careers of many of his pupils.


He also ran the Boy Scouts at Woodbridge School. We have many family pictures of him in shorts in his scout uniform heading off with his kit bag to summer scout camp. He was very happy when they finally allowed Scoutmasters to wear long trousers! He rose to the rank of District Commissioner.


Albert was a keen sportsman. He played cricket for a local team, Campsea Ashe, and captained the staff football team in their annual match against the Sixth Form. The school pupils came to believe the rumour that he had once played professionally for Huddersfield Town. With a twinkle in his eye, he was happy to let the rumour persist!


While at Woodbridge, Albert commenced a second career teaching Mathematics in the evenings to American airmen at Bentwaters Air Base. Our house was frequently visited by airmen making up missed classes and they never forgot his kindness and willingness to sacrifice his spare time at weekends. He was officially honoured by Bentwaters on several occasions and taught there for 30 years, from 1950 to 1980.


In the late 1960s Albert left Woodbridge School to become a Lecturer in Physics at what was then called Ipswich Civic College (which later became the Suffolk College). On retirement he moved with his wife Doris to Felixstowe and subsequently to Frinton. He took up Bowls and he became an important member of both Felixstowe and Frinton Bowls Clubs, as a team member, captain and administrator. Numerous trophies adorned his home and he was very proud of these achievements.


Another big passion in Albert’s life was his support for Ipswich Town Football Club, and he regularly attended matches at Portman Road from 1949. In 1997 he was honoured by the club with a “long-serving supporter” award, which he received on the pitch from the Chairman. He featured in the 2009 book “Ipswich ‘Til I Die”, which was signed by some of the players, and for his 96th birthday in 2011 the club gave him a seat in the Director’s Box and a birthday cake at half-time. Soon afterwards his increasing frailty prevented him from attending any more matches, and he moved into a care home in Walton-on-the-Naze. He died peacefully in his room on 3rd October at the age of 98. He didn’t quite make his century, but he had a truly remarkable innings.


David and Jonathan Holmes





Those who attended the Dinner, as well as those who didn't, may have omitted to order any merchandise that you might need in the run up to Christmas.

There are 4 items available at the moment, as listed below, and you can print your 2 page order form by clicking here.




OW Dinner Raffle Prizes 28 September 2013

A huge thank you to all prize donors listed below

Raffle Prizes

28th September 2013

OW Huw Turberville Signed copy of The Toughest Tour
Planet Music Martlesham 5 Music lessons value £80
Woodbridge School Paper weight
  Cuff links
The Swedish Shop Hand Bag
  Clutch Bag
Sweet shop Box of assorted old fashioned sweets
Hasnips Bicycle lights
Woodbridge Wines Wine
OW Helene Shaw Prize
Arks & Rainbows-Kesgrave Decopatch Craft Kit
Riverside Theatre Voucher
Woodbridge Golf Club 4 ball on Forest Course
Barretts £15 Voucher
Kitchen Shop 2 Brandy Glasses
25 Hairdressers £40 voucher
Marshall Hatchick Wine
Just Hair Cut & Blow Dry
Kings Head Bottle of wine
Notcutts Garden Centre £10 voucher
Jackie Macpherson Prize


When Duty Calls

In 1908, when the Liberal Government called for the setting up of Officers’ Training Corps in the private schools of Britain, Woodbridge School was one of the first to respond and a cadet force of 30 pupils was formed. The School was only one hundred strong in those days. The uniforms and guns arrived early in 1909 and so began an unbroken tradition of training and preparation for leadership in the Nation’s military forces.

Carol and Michael Weaver’s book, ‘When Duty Calls,’ traces the narrative of cadet activity at the School in the century that followed. The first OTC graduates served in the trenches of World War I and in Gallipoli and a chapter is reserved for their poignant letters home. Old Woodbridgian Arnold Gyde was one of the first men to step ashore in France with the British Expeditionary Force and his exploits were ultimately recorded in an autobiographical account, ‘Contemptible,’ an important document in our understanding of the Mons campaign. Harold Rosher was another former pupil whose remarkable bravery with the Royal Naval Air Service deserved publication in an unique volume.

The cadet concept survived the Great War and the recession and in 1938 we find the pupils digging trenches and bomb shelters and former OTC members preparing to face the threat of Nazi Germany. In 1939 Old Woodbridgians again faced the call to duty and P.R.Walker distinguished himself by shooting down the first Messerschmitt 110. Anthony Tuke and Donald Gibson played key roles in what was the last traditional sea battle of modern times, The Battle of Matapan. The future was the aircraft carrier. The stories of these warriors and many others are related in the volume.

After the War the introduction of peacetime conscription made the existence of a school cadet force a vital component of modern education. Several OWs comment that military service held no horrors for them - they had been boarders in School House during the years of rationing! Gliding and flying were extremely popular in the post-war era and OW President Kenneth Bailey gives a colourful account of the flying experiences. The 1960s provided the biggest threat to the continued existence of a cadet force at school, now the CCF. Attitudes were changing fast and a new generation of youngsters opposed the compulsory element of uniformed service at school.

Remarkably, the last forty years has seen the most vigorous era of cadet life with adventure training camps and trips to bases across Europe. The admission of girl cadets in the 1970s put Woodbridge School in the vanguard of cadet activity nationally. Nearly three hundred cadets serve in the CCF in these centenary years, and RAF and Naval Sections widen still the opportunities available for young people. A number of Old Woodbridgians serve in the forces at this time and ‘When Duty Calls’ went to press the bravery of Alex Barclay who gained the Military Cross in Afghanistan, could be recorded in its final pages.

The authors claim that the volume represents the fullest account of any school cadet force in Britain and it certainly reflects the changing nature of a dynamic century. It is noticeable too that OWs turn up in all corners of the globe - atomic bombs tests in the Pacific, the conflicts in Korea and Malaya, Iraq and Afghanistan,  even at the death of Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison.

Humour is not neglected in the pages of ‘When Duty Calls’, and a section of personal experiences reveal the vital importance of seeing the less than serious side of military life.

Carol and Michael Weaver both taught History at Woodbridge School and this is their fifth monograph. Michael Weaver was the Registrar of the Old Woodbridgians and used to monitor the charity archives in the old schoolroom, Seckford Street until his untimely death on December 21 2011.

Obtain ‘When Duty Calls’ from The Alumni Office, Woodbridge School. The cost is £10.00, postage free. Cheques may be made payable to ’The Old Woodbridgians Society,’ Please indicate whether you would like a signed copy.


Previous Events

OW Dinner, OW Match, and Sekforde Cycle Ride reports and photographs are now on the OW Society page for your perusal.  Read all about it, see what you missed and make sure you don't miss the event next year!!

Other news items on School and OWs are on the Editorial page. Have a look, we'll add more soon.

Website - ex President Ken is now well established as joint-editor of the website and we are working with renewed efforts to update it and to add new material. 

Look up our feature 'The Woodbridgian' - which is a detailed account of the Woodbridgian Magazine from 1882 to the present day and how it reflects the changing nature of the school in particular and education in general.





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