Canon Peter Nicholson - a Memory of North Walsham.

I was a pupil at the Paston Grammar School from 1936-42. It was a wonderful school where boys from all over N.E. Norfolk made many friends so that when they left school and started work in the area, they co-operated in so many ways. Major Percy Pickford D.S.O., M.C. (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) was the headmaster. He had served with great distinction in the First World War and was very keen that we should all join the school Cadet Corps. During the war, the East Lancashire Regiment drilled in the playground and we all stood around and watched and looked forward to the day when we could join the Forces. On the playing field, the soldiers would carry out signalling practice with Aldis lamps so I leaned the Morse Code so I could note down what they were saying. This served me in good stead when at seventeen and a half I joined the Royal Corps of Signals and served in Italy and India. I bought my first foreign stamp album at Leeders shop for the princely sum of one shilling. I think stamp hinges were a penny a packet. We had some very good teachers: Mr P. B. Birkinshaw gave us a solid grounding in English; Mr N. S. Lachlan taught Latin; Mr Norman Cutting, organist of Cromer Parish Church, taught music; Mr S. G. Hare taught science; Mr S. Hare taught History and Geography and always gave a special lecture on Empire Day; Miss Emma Limb taught art; Mr C. G. V. Couper taught History and P.T. and Captain Brown taught wood and metalwork; Mr H. Grantham-Hill taught Maths. During the war three senior boys took turns to firewatch each night. We would sit in our two-hour shift in the staff room window and watch for "enemy action"  One evening, a farmer's son was on duty with me. He brought in several eggs from the farm and so we crept down to the science laboratory late in the evening and started to cook the eggs over a bunsen burner. The door opened after a while and Mrs Pickford walked in and said: "I don't really think you should be doing this in  here". We felt sure we would receive the cane from her husband the next day but, no, she did not tell him. However, when I became precentor of Peterborough Cathedral, a party of ladies from Norfolk came for a tour of the cathedral and the Dean told me that as I, too, came from Norfolk, I had better take them round. The last lady through the door was none other than Mrs Pickford. She recognised me at once and said "I'm sure they don't let you fry eggs in here". Happy, happy days. Thank you! North Walsham.

A memory shared by revpnicholson on Jun 13th, 2008. Send revpnicholson a message

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