03 May 2019
10 May 2019 £35.00
17 Jun 2019
30 Jun 2019
09 Sep 2019
Rossett Hall Hotel
05 Oct 2019 (£ TBA)
18 Oct 2019 (£ TBA)
OBA Annual General Meeting
March 25th 2019 at Drapers Hall
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Insight Spring 2019
Sir Keith Willamson (OB 1938-41)
With thanks to Geoff Crome (OB1939-47) who knew Keith from the age of 3/4.
Sir Keith was at Bancrofts School from 1938-41 and went on to have a distinguished career in the RAF
He died age 90 on 2nd May 2018
Obituary (Courtesy of The Times Newspaper)
The Falklands war was widely seen as a victory for the Royal Navy, but as commander-in-chief of the Royal Air Force during the conflict, Sir Keith Williamson felt that his men did not get the credit they deserved.
“At first the navy wanted it all to themselves,” he recalled of the conflict, “which was unfortunate.” However, Strike Command landed the first blows with the bombing of the runway at Port Stanley airport by Vulcans flying from Ascension Island. It was the RAF’s longest operational raid.
“We were showing them that we had the reach to strike Argentina,” he said. “The fact that it would have been politically unacceptable had nothing to do with it.” The operation led to the withdrawal of Argentine fighter defences from the islands to the mainland.
Harriers later supplemented the Fleet Air Arm but, Williamson recalled: “The navy were very sensitive about us getting into the limelight at all, and one has to accept that in the middle of a war one doesn’t want to start raising interdepartmental rivalries. The major lesson from the Falklands war was the same as the lesson from the Korean War: that air power was decisive.”
With the Falklands retaken, Williamson, who joined the RAF as an apprentice, became the first of those who had entered by that route to be chief of the air staff. In 1985, after three years as CAS, he was expected to become chief of the defence staff (CDS) after Field Marshal Lord Bramall.
Margaret Thatcher, however, chose that moment to break with “Buggins’ turn”, under which the three services held the appointment in rotation. The baton was handed to the first sea lord. For many years press and politicians had said the system should be scrapped; it was Williamson’s misfortune to be next in line when the government acted. It was suggested in some quarters that he had never looked right for the job. Naturally combative, he had won his spurs as an operational commander, not as a strategic thinker or “Whitehall warrior”.
He was fiercely loyal to the RAF and made no secret of his misgivings about the centralisation of power within the Ministry of Defence. With an energetic new defence secretary, Michael Heseltine, intent on building up the CDS at the expense of the separate chiefs of staff, Williamson’s temperament and left-of-centre views were out of fashion.
He was scathing about Heseltine’s reorganisation. “It had little to do with defence,” he said. “It had much more to do with Mr Michael Heseltine’s personal career, and I found that deeply offensive — and I still do.”
Keith Alec Williamson was born in Leytonstone, east London, to Percy and Gertrude. His imagination was fired by the dogfights over Essex during the Battle of Britain. “I can’t remember a time after the declaration of war when I didn’t want to be a pilot in the RAF.”
He went to Bancroft’s School, Woodford Green, but when his school was bombed he was evacuated to Market Harborough, in Leicestershire, where he attended grammar school. He had joined the Air Training Corps and, just before his 17th birthday, he enlisted as an RAF apprentice. After qualifying as a radio fitter at Cranwell in Lincolnshire in 1948, he was selected for a flight cadetship, passing out in 1950. “I’m not sure I was ever going to be a good radio fitter,” he recalled wryly. He was posted to RAF Fassberg in Germany. “It was a particularly exciting time. We’d just recovered from the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War had started and the RAF was expanding.” They were flying five or six sorties a day. “The whole of Germany was our low-flying area.”
At one point a Lincoln was shot down on a border patrol, and he and his comrades were ordered to fly around the area, ready to engage. “To a young man, that just heightened the exhilaration.”
He next volunteered for service in Korea with the Royal Australian Air Force, for whom he flew a number of sorties in Meteors, which he described as “a terrible aeroplane . . . I didn’t feel I was hastening the end of the war.”
In 1953 he married Patricia Anne Watts, the daughter of a wing commander. They had two sons, Timothy and David, who lead private lives, and twin daughters, Anne and Susie. Susie died in 2015.
Williamson almost left the service, along with many of his colleagues, after the defence white paper of 1957, which ended national service and led to the disbanding of many RAF squadrons. Duncan Sandys, author of the white paper, “did more damage to this country’s ability to defend itself than any single person since Napoleon,” he said.
Williamson might have departed, but he was offered a flight commander’s post and thereafter rarely looked back. He commanded his first squadron at Leuchars in Fife (1966-68), flying supersonic Lightnings. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1968.
In 1978 he was put in charge of RAF Support Command at Brampton in Cambridgeshire. He sanctioned a TV documentary series about pilot training, Fighter Pilot, from which the RAF did not emerge with great credit. Yet as he later put it: “If you look in the mirror and you don’t like the image, you don’t blame the mirror.”
In 1980 he moved to Strike Command, and was in charge of the RAF during the Falklands war. Postwar concerns dominated the first half of his three-year reign as CAS. The hitherto neglected islands suddenly became a defence priority. Williamson took over in autumn 1982 and, after a visit to the islands, improved radar defences. He also insisted on basing Phantoms in the South Atlantic and persuaded his political masters to accept the need for a new airfield at Mount Pleasant.
He argued the case for the new European fighter aircraft and led the RAF challenge to Heseltine’s centralisation of policymaking. A number of his contemporaries felt he fought this dogfight too ferociously for the good of the service, as well for his own. In misjudging the strength of the tide against him, Williamson exposed the flaw which, in the opinion of his critics, made him unsuitable for the last great honour that was supposed to be awaiting him.
He retired to the country in 1985, to play golf, sail and watch rugby, on which he was eloquent and informed.
If there is a single message to be taken from his career, it is that we neglect our air capability at our peril. “Command of the air prevents defeat,” Williamson said, “as in every war since aeroplanes first appeared over the battlefields of Flanders. I believe that, bang for buck, you get far more value for money investing in the air.”
Sir Keith Williamson, GCB, AFC, Marshal of the RAF, was born on February 25, 1928. He died of undisclosed causes on May 2, 2018, aged 90
Steve Ferrari (OB 1967-1975)
It is with regret that we inform you that Steve sadly died peacefully on Thursday 17th January.
Steve was an active member of the OBA and President in 2005.
The funeral will be on Friday 15th February at 2pm at The Church of St. Edmund King & Martyr, Assington, Suffolk CO10 5LQ.
No further details at present.
Our sincere condolences to the family. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
OBA and Bancrofts School Newsletters now available
Insight Newsletter Autumn 2018
Henry Chaloner (OB 1907 - 12)
Henry was a WW1 survivor will be remembered as part of the BBC Remembrance Day Commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War.
When at Bancroft;s Henry was awarded 1st Year Art prize and as a result Rosemary his daughter with her brother Michael and sister Joan funded an ongoing 1st Year Art prize in their father Henry's name.
Rosemary contacted us as Henry along with many other Bancroftians fought in the First World War and survived.
Rosemary was approached by the BBC recently to tell the story of Henry Chaloner's war and she understands from the Producer, a brief film of this will be shown at the beginning of the BBC's Remembrance Day Commemorations on Sunday 11th November this year. Rosemary has attended "Visitation Days" in the past with her family and hopes to be able to do so in the future.
OBA Northern Dinner (Oct 2018)
The Annual Northern Dinner 2018 was a great success although attendance was a little lower than hoped. Those that did make the trip to Llyndir Hall Hotel in Rossett were not disappointed. There was great conversation all evening, anecdotes of memories past, a touch of the Monty Python what did the Romans ever do for us – the closeness of Chester might have played a part. A wonderful conversation at breakfast the next morning when Keith Perch wondered why the doctor he had spoken too (Mary Boulas’s husband) couldn’t help his knee problem, perhaps it was because he was a Gynaecologist! Nevertheless a great evening was had by all and when asked who had been good over the last 12 months all the former school house boarders raised their hands – always ones to claim innocence. Ed Sautter (OBA president) closed the evening with a great resume of what the school OBA and the wider Bancroft’s community are doing and we finished all looking forward to next year. This is great OBA event for the those based in the regions and a good excuse for us southerners to go to the north. Thanks to all who attended a great evening.
Bancrofts School - 4th Epping Forest Sea Scouts
This is very active part of the school community
Click here to learn more http://www.4thefsscouts.org.uk/home
Tim Bateman (OB1973-80)
It is with sadness that we report that Tim passed away on 13 October in hospital.
He had suffered from a Glioblastoma multiforme Grade 4 (brain tumour) for almost 3 years. Tim stayed positive throughout his illness, he was loved by everyone who came to care for him, the staff at UCLH and the carers in the nursing home he went to in mid-July.He inspired love and loyalty amongst his friends and colleagues at Redbridge Council, his comic collecting friends and his friends locally.
He was involved with supporting green initiatives in his community in Ilford including helping organise the Green Fair in Valentines Park and will be much missed by his friends and family.
With thanks to his sister Philippa Bateman (OB1981-83)
Ralph Ellis (OB 1968-74)
It is with sadness we report the passing of Ralph Ellis.
The funeral will be held at Weston Crematorium at 1.30pm on Monday October 15th.
The wake will then be at the Nut Tree pub in Worle (half a mile from the service).
Weston Crematorium Ebdon Road, Worle, BS22 9NY
No flowers requested - A donation/comments page has been set up at https://ralph-ellis.muchloved.com/ and may I ask those who have sent condolence comments to me to now place them there?
Bancrofts School Insight Summer 2018
Online now - click image below
Interested in applying to Bancroft's for 2019 entry
This advert was in the West Ham United programme vs Wolves 1/09/2019
(better than the result on the day I have to say!!)
Bancroft Rugby Football Club
is 50 years old on 7th Sept 2018!
To celebrate the event the club will be holding a reunion dinner
20th October 2018 at BRFC in Roding Valley.
If you would like to learn more about the opening of BRFC in 1968 then click on the picture above for the full article or follow this link
Put the 20th October 2018 date in your diary and look out for more information.
With thanks to John Hasselgren for the article
Bancroft’s School is again delighted to be hosting a lunch
in the famous Long Room at Lord’s Ground, to raise funds to assists pupils to participate in sports tours.
Bob Willis, MBE (Warwickshire and England)
FRIDAY 30th NOVEMBER, AT 12:00 NOON
DRESS: LOUNGE SUITS
Tickets for the event, to include a champagne reception, three course lunch including wine are priced at £140 per head. If booking for a group the table size is 10 or 12.
We would be delighted to welcome individual applicants for tickets, but this is also an excellent opportunity for Corporate Hospitality in a very special and historic room at the heart of what is recognised the world over as the home of Cricket. The Long Room is not often available for such events and after the success of our previous lunches we are very privileged to be able to host another lunch.
Tickets and further information from:
John Lever, Jeremy Bromfield or Carl Greenidge at
Bancroft’s School, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 0RF - Telephone: 020 8505 4821(School) 07775616533 (JK mobile) 07548668666(CG mobile) or email: email@example.com
Ed Sautter (OB 1970-77)
OBA President 2018-9
First of all, many thanks Nick for your inspirational and energetic year as President - you have left a big pair of boots to fill. I am privileged to be the 3rd member of the (vintage!) 1970-1977 year group to become President of the OBA, following in the illustrious footsteps of Siggy Mensah and Malcolm Fleet. At school I was an enthusiastic classicist (thank you Carl Murray) and historian (thank you Jeremy Bromfield), and occasional thespian (I still say we were robbed by School House in the final of the House Drama Competition). I was fortunate enough to gain a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge to study law. That settled my career trajectory and for almost all of my professional life I have been litigation lawyer with the city firm Mayer Brown (some of you visited the office when we held a business breakfast here). I’ve now retired from the partnership and these days I work 2 ½ days a week in the firm’s internal professional risk team (some would say that this represents a step up in my productivity).
I am delighted to have a number of other connections with the School. My younger daughter Caroline attended the 6th form in 2010-2012 and went on to read Human Social & Political Sciences at Cambridge. And then, in 2013, I became a Bancroft’s governor, joining the Finance Committee and, just recently, I have also joined the Estates Committee. I am clearly a glutton for punishment in this regard as I am also Chair of Governors at Queenwood School, Hertfordshire.
It has also been my pleasure and privilege to be a member of the group (masterminded by Jeremy) that has been marking the centenary of World War I by visiting and laying wreaths at the graves of OBs who fell in France and Belgium during that conflict.
This is an exciting time, as we seek to enlarge the Bancroft’s community, and the School looks at ways of enhancing its ability to offer boys and girls from diverse backgrounds a wonderful Bancroft’s education.
During the coming year, I am looking forward to spending time with old friends and making new ones, so please say hello!
SPECIAL NOTICE FOR OBs' DAY 1st July 2018
Dear Old Bancroftian,
We wanted to make you aware of a special event which will be held in the Prep School hall at 3pm on Old Bancroftians’ Day, July 1st , namely a celebration of the life and contribution to Bancroft’s of Tony Duncan, the Preparatory School’s founding Head. The Prep School remains a happy, dynamic environment where the children love to learn. This is Tony’s enduring legacy and a great debt is owed to him by so many Bancroftians.
Tony is still an inspiration to the current Prep School pupils. Shortly before his death last October he took part in the Adelaide City Bay Run, raising more than £14,000 for cancer charities- the Prep School was proud to donate £1,000 of that sum as a token of all he still means to us. We are keen to give others the chance to come together and remember Tony. Tony’s wife Carol will be here with us from Australia on July 1st ; Peter Southern, the Head of Bancroft’s at the time of Tony’s appointment will introduce proceedings; current Prep pupils will play pieces of music which Tony enjoyed.
It may be that you would like to contribute a memory of your own which could be incorporated into the event either by being read out, or you may feel you would like to speak yourself. As well as individuals sharing their memories , we wondered if groups from particular year groups might like to speak collectively. Please do use the following address to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing as many of you at 3pm on July 1st, OBs’ Day, as are able to attend.
All best wishes
Joe Layburn Head, Bancroft’s Prep and Amanda Campbell - Chair, OBA
Dr Peter Scott (Headmaster 1996-2007)
It is with great sadness that we have been advised that Dr Peter Scott passed away peacefully in hospital on 28th Feb 2018 after a prolonged illness.
I am sure he will be remembered with fondness by all for his time as the Headmaster at Bancroft's and for his association wiht the school, the OBA and the Drapers' Company.
Peter was a very supportive and approachable Headmaster who was respected by the whole Bancroft’s community. He will be remembered for the positive impact that he had during his years as Headmaster.
Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.
If you would like to share a memory of Dr Scott or send a message of condolence to be included in a book of memories and messages to the family then please send your contribution to:
The funeral will take place at Bancroft’s School Chapel on Sat 24th March at 12.00. The family would be pleased to see those of you who are able to come to remember him and to give thanks for his life.
There will be refreshments afterwards in the Dining Hall which will provide an opportunity to share memories of him. If you will be attending then, please email email@example.com to confirm.
In recognition of his commitment to Bancroft’s School and his legacy of introducing additional Assisted Places during his time at the School, the family have asked that, in lieu of flowers, anyone who wishes to, could make a donation to the Bancroft’s Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2012 to provide means tested awards in addition to Francis Bancroft Scholarships to allow more talented students to attend Bancroft’s, regardless of background.
Should you wish to make a donation to the Bancroft’s Foundation, please click here
Bancrofts School Insight Magazine Spring 2018
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OBA Spring Newsletter 2018
ONLINE NOW - Click image below to access on line
OB Adam Waller (1957-1963)
We were recently informed by Howard Waller (OB 1954-61) that his brother Adam passed away peacefully on Saturday.
He had been ill for some time. He sadly lost his wife, Ann in 2014 and his older brother Stuart in 2013. He leaves a son and daughter.
The funeral will take place on Monday 19th February at St Mary's Church, Brent Eleigh, nr. Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9NP at 14.15.
All OB's are welcome.
He was a keen sportsman, playing Rugby for the Old Boys 1st XV. He was a member of the OBGS for many years.
Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.
Important Notice to all OBA Members
With immediate effect access to the OBA membership directory has been suspended.There is a change in Data Protection Law and the regulations for use of personal data. These regulations are monitored by The ICO (The Independent Commissioners Office) see https://ico.org.uk/. The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.The OBA along with Bancrofts School and the Bancrofts Foundation will in due course be contacting all stakeholders to ensure that we are compliant with these regulations and how we hold and use your personal data.If you would like to make contact with other OBA members then please contact Susan Day in the OBA Office at Bancrofts School Tel 020 8506 5714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We apologise for this change which is necessary due to changes in the law as potentially we could be subject to significant financial penalties for non compliance and use of personal data.
Bancroft Insight Summer and E news Autumn 2017
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Library copies of OBA and Bancrofts Insight Newsletters
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