HM Dockyard Children's School Magazine 1947 contributed by Anita Marie Sackett
TEXT VERSION www.anitamariesackett.co.uk
H. M. DOCKYARD
MALTA G. C.
This magazine marks the beginning of a new era in the life of the Dockyard School. The "Old School" began life in what was then known as the Dining Hall (now part of the Cash Office) in Sheer Bastion during the year 1903. There it remained for seven years until, in 1910, a large house (later to become the Dockyard Subordinate Officer's Club and now destroyed by bombing)near Isola Gate, in Senglea, was taken over for use as a school. In 1929 still larger Quarters were required and the school was moved to Verdala, where it continued until, with the entry of Italy into 'the war in 1940, it was hurriedly evacuated to St. George's Barracks, to carry on, in spite of great difficulties and dangers, until September, 1942.
The "New School" was opened on 16th May, 1946 in Villas "Sunshine" and "Seafoam" at Ta' Xbiex. The staff consisted of Instructor Lieutenant Commander A. H. Miles, Headmaster, Instructor Lieutenant and Mrs. R. Meredith and Instructor Lieutenant and Mrs. R. H Mclntosh, and there were fifty-five pupils. By September the number of children had increased to 135 and Mrs. Dash, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Day had joined the staff.
This rapid growth made it imperative, that new quarters be sought and these were finally found in a disused emergency Army Barracks at }andak. The work of conversion was put in hand at once and the school moved to its present quarters in January, 1947. The pupils now attending number 270 and, the staff has been increased by the addition of Instructor Lieutenant and Mrs. A. Parr and Mrs. Robertshaw.
Here, in addition to accommodation for 400 pupils, we shall have Science Laboratories (now under construction) Woodwork and Metalwork, and, possibly, Domestic Science rooms, while outside we already have two cricket nets, a tennis and netball court almost completed and playing fields in course of preparation.
In spite of all these rapid developments in the school and the difficulties attendant upon them, the educational work, both academic and non-academic, has flourished and successes have been gained in both fields. On the academic side our congratulations are particularly due to Ian Cochrane and David Carey who gained first and second places respectively in the Examination for the Entry of Dockyard Apprentices, and to Sylvia Roebuck who was awarded first prize in the British Council Prize Essay Competition, while the other successful candidates, Michael Kingston, Edmund Doyle, John Hart, 'Charles Stoneman and David Arnold in the Dockyard Entry and Jeanne Wearn in the Essay Competition deserve special mention.
On the sports side our congratulations are due to Ian Cochrane, David Carey and Jean Henderson who were successful in the Royal Life Saving Society's examination for Bronze Medallion and to the ten others who gained Intermediate and Preliminary Certificates.
The various school clubs have made a very promising start. The Play-Reading and Dramatic Society, run by Instructor Lieutenant and Mrs. Parr, has done excellent work and been very well attended; the Hiking Club has proved most popular and Mr. Doy has organised some excellent tramps and trips for the enthusiastic band-of followers he has gathered together;
the Chess Club has had a more limited appeal, but Instructor Lieutenant Meredith has succeeded in teaching the rudiments of chess to quite a number of the senior pupils and there's little doubt that interest will grow with knowledge.
The library, organised by Instructor Lieutenant McIntosh has proved very popular and a large number of books is issued daily. Our great need is more and more books and any suitable books would be greatfully received by the Librarian.
In the House Competitions honours have, so far, been evenly divided. Nelson won the hockey tournament and were first in the combined work and games contest during the Spring Term; Drake and White shared the victory in the Athletic Sports while Stephen/ton were beaten in the work and games contest by only one point and put up a creditable performance in the Athletic Sports.
The new Dockyard School is in its infancy; its first year of life has seen many changes and considerable developments; but it now has very good, if temporary buildings, a good staff and an excellent spirit among its pupils. From such beginnings, I feel sure, great things will grow.
A. H. MILES.
'J'HE moon rose slowly, and gradually out of what had before been dark, looming forms, there now appeared silvery, unsubstantial shapes of birch and larch trees. The slender branches wove a lacy pattern against the white of the moon-lit summer sky, and a bird flew blunderingly across the clearing disturbed by a wayward moonbeam shining on its resting place. Then as the light grew stronger until the radiance was that of day, this tranquillity was disturbed by a family of rabbits coming out of their burrows to indulge in their nightly frolic. The little forms scuttled round the tree-trunks chasing each other and playing hide-and-seek, their white tails bobbing like tiny dandelion clocks swaying in the breeze. Occasionally one stopped in its revels to listen for approaching danger, but only a cursory watch was kept, for the magic of mid-summer had dispelled their customary fears.
All night the rabbits played, heedless even when a fox stopped on its night prowl to watch them. But fate was kind that night for the fox was chicken hunting, and the rabbits frolicked on unconscious of their escape, and when the moon sank in the east and the first light of dawn appeared they vanished back down their hole and left the glade silent and peaceful as when they found it.
JEANNE WEARN, Form 5 S.
Buds are swelling on the trees, Swaying in the whisp'ring breeze,
Newborn grass is showing green, Sunbeams dancing on the stream,
All the blooms are growing fast, Spring has come to us at last.
M. ANDERSON, Form 2 S.
The stream ran through the sunlit glade Rippling with clear and limpid note;
High in the boughs the fledglings made A pleasing tune from each young throat.
With brilliant flowers the gardens fill And children laugh and play at ease,
While from the clover on the hill Comes sound of gently humming bees.
And up and down the golden sand The creamy wavelets surge and run;
While everywhere the fertile land Is warmed and cheered by kindly sun.
Oh Summer ! linger yet awhile Do not depart from us too soon ;
Give us the pleasure of your smile Before we enter winter's gloom.
JEANNE WEARN, Form 5 S.
The Autumn now is ending, Flowers begin to fade;
The elm. its leaves is losing Nature's lost its jade.
The winds begin to rise, While rain clouds fill the skies.
The swallows now are going Robins begin to cheep
The birds forget their singing Field-mice begin their sleep.
The music of this hill, Will once again be still.
ROSEMARY TRUSCOTT, Form 2 S.
The berries of the holly Foretell a Christmas jolly
Amid the winter's glow;
How glorious are the flowers,
Splendid are the bowers Bright this winter's show.
MARGARET HARDING, Form 2 S.
SOME parents may have wondered why, about the beginning of May, their children suddenly developed a new, but none the less intense, animosity towards certain colours, and a deep-rooted affection for another. I, myself, one lunch-hour, separated two small boys who were vigorously fighting and enquiry into the cause of the combat revealed that they had come to blows through a debate on the several merits of red and green. Let me take this chance of elucidating all wonders. It is not your children's artistic sense appearing (although this is well developed at school), nor is it their natural pugnacity finding an outlet in trivialities. No, the explanation is that the four School Houses each have a specific colour and during the training for the Sports Day, House rivalry grew to such a pitch that even the colours were involved. - - Incidentally some senior members of the school have been wondering how the colours are connected with the Houses. The spirit of Nelson is epitomized in the bold red that belongs to the House of that name, and the blue of Drake House can be interpreted as the seas on which he so gallantly fought and which he was the first to circumnavigate, but whence come the green of Stephenson or the yellow of White ? Would some parent please give a solution to this question.
JEANNE WEARN, Form 5 S.
THE GOZO TRIP
AS the Tal-Handak Hiking Club was closing down for the summer, it was decided by the committee — Mr. Doy — to make the last outing an all-day trip to Gozo.
Owing to the difficulty of obtaining suitable transport it was feared that the trip would not take place after all, but by some stroke of luck we discovered that Mr. Grech. could oblige. The project went forward, and Saturday morning May 10th was to be "G-Day".
7.50 on the Saturday morning found two buses and about twenty children with Mr. Doy and Mr. Robinson at Castille Square. The buses moved off, and increasing from strength to strength, by the time St. Julians was reached, the expedition totalled over sixty.
After Sliema, the buses took the Coast Road past St. Andrews, St. Paul's Bay and Mellieha to Marfa, helped no doubt by the raucous singing which issued from one bus; -- no names mentioned —. One of the buses after nobly ascending Mellieha Heights, began to "cough" a little, but after the driver had said a few words to it in flowery Maltese, and had re-filled the radiator, all was well.
We arrived safely at Marfa to find two "jet-propelled-dghaisas" waiting for us. We piled into these, shouted to the coxswain in our best Maltese, and off we went to the tune of "A Life on the Ocean Wave". Then started a real Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, Mr. Miles' boat won, but what can you expect?
From the landing stage at Gozo we went in two red-and-grey Gozitan buses to Victoria where we disembarked and wandered off. The main points of interest seemed to be the church, the lace-makers, the greengrocers, and one of the many bars which happened to sell chocolate. Both Mr. Miles and Mr. Robinson treated people to lemonade which, by this time, we really needed.
After this respite we climbed into the buses and travelled off down a steep, rocky road to Xlendi Bay. Here some settled down on the rooks and some on the little pebbly beach. A number went bathing and came out shivering and telling people how warm it was. Mr.
Miles organized a very complicated relay race in the water against Mr. Robinson, and won easily. Lunch came next and after this some swam again and some went lizard-hunting on the cliff. But let me tell you it is quite unnerving to have lizards' tails hopping around while you are trying to finish your sandwiches.
Soon after lunch we scrambled into the buses and went by a very unadopted road to the head of Ramla Bay. When we looked down from the top of the steep path and saw the lovely bay tasking in the sunshine and with hardly a ripple on the water there were many cries of "Oh ! why didn't we come here first?" It really was a beautiful place and we hastened down the rocky path to see who could get there first. Most people went bathing again but some indulged in a strenuous game of rounders, which made us both hungry and thirsty.
As we tramped up the path to the buses we wished that "Every valley should be exalted, and the rough places made smooth". Once on the road again we entertained the Gozitans with "Summer is a-coming in" and "Roll out the Barrel" till we reached the landing stage.
On the return voyage Mr. Doy's boat won, due to the 100 yards start it had. Back once more in the familiar Maltese buses we went off to G]ajn Tuffie]a, where we had tea, then went down to the beach for a last stroll. On coming back, we had our photos taken, and then returned home — still singing.
We hope that Gozo was able to recover from the invasion, but nevertheless we all enjoyed ourselves; the most popular verdict being: "It was jolly good for 7/6d."
SYLVIA ROEBUCK, Form .5 S.
'J'HE 15th Annual School Sports were held at Kalafrana on Thursday, May 8th, by permission of Captain J.P. Wright, D.S.O., R.N.
The Sports Field presented a colourful arena with the bunting-lined tracks and the white clad competitors with their coloured house flashes. The meeting proved highly successful and the parents and spectators, numbering some 850, enjoyed an afternoon watching the school at play. Equally enjoyed by the school, were the parents' races.
The standard of athletics was good, particularly the girls under 131/2 section. Next year, with more practice prior to the sports day, we shall look forward to improved performances.
A very close contest for the House Championship resulted in a tie between White and Drake Houses. Congratulations to the members of both of these houses; and to the members of Stephenson and Nelson Houses — better luck next year. The award of "Victor Ludorum" to J. Blower was worthy recognition of his magnificent all-round performances.
Mrs. Kelsey, the wife of Rear Admiral M. H. A. Kelsey, presented the cups and prizes at the end of the meeting, and was then presented with a bouquet on behalf of the school by Anne Higgins.
In closing we should like to thank the Kalafrana sports staff and Lt. Cdr. (A) J. H. Mills, R.N., in particular, for all their hard work, without which the very full programme of 40 events could not have been so successfully completed, and the success of our sports assured.
15th ANNUAL ATHLETIC SPORTS
KALAFRANA — 8th MAY, 1947
Organiser: Mr. McIntosh.
DURING the Summer Term swimming and life-saving classes were held each Saturday morning. They were remarkable for the
immense progress made by the junior members. Some came boldly down to learn life-saving having a maximum endurance of
about five strokes. By the end of the course, however, all were swimming very confidently.
The results of the Royal Life Saving Society Examinations were most satisfactory, every entry passing in splendid style.
THE BRONZE MEDALLION I. Cochrane, D. J. Carey, Jean Henderson.
THE INTERMEDIATE CERTIFICATE A. B. Amos, A. D. Cooper,
Anne Sitters, Cynthia Seymour, Audrey Billinness.
THE ELEMENTARY CERTIFICATE J. A. Williams, P. H. Harrison, Anne Henderson, Anne Barnett, Joan Dainton.
A. D. Warren (Captain), Joy Graves, J. Blower, A. B. Amos,
DURING the Winter and Autumn Terms hockey practices and games were held each Saturday morning on Manoel Island.
The initial practise periods proved very popular, upward of thirty children attending regularly. From these practices it proved
possible to select quite a good team.
As no schools on the Island play hockey it was found difficult to obtain suitable fixtures. Two very enjoyable games were played
against the W.R.N.S. however, the first being drawn and the second lost by a narrow margin.
Next season it should be possible to further strengthen the team and enlarge the fixture list.
During the Spring Term a series of House matches were played which were very keenly fought. Few of the games finished with
more than a goal difference in the score. Nelson emerged worthy winners thanks largely to Warren's steadiness and good play by
the Junior members of the house.
'J'HE remains of last years youthful team have been considerably strengthened by the new senior members of the school.
Net practice has continued each Saturday morning at Manoel Island. Improvement has been shown in batting and bowling but
the fielding still leavesa lot to be desired. We are hoping the construction of nets at school will produce greater interest in the game and rapid improvement in the standard of play throughout the school.
To date, four matches have been played. The two against the W.R.N.S. were won and those against H.M.S. "Falcon" 2nd and
A.M.D.W. were lost. The defeats were mainly due to bad fielding. We hope to reverse these decisions in the return fixtures.
THE DRAMATIC SOCIETY
Organiser: Mr. Parr.
Committee: Sylvia Roebuck, J. Lowe, Jean Henderson, P. Blockley.
IN January a preliminary meeting of the society was well attended and we resolved to hold as many play readings as possible,
use the maximum number of "props" available and to add variety, encourage talks on the history of drama, synopses of plays
and films etc. These resolutions did not prove to be mere phantasies for to date we have had seven major play-readings and three
talks, all encouraged by audiences numbering between 30 and 60 and all during the lunch interval. To improve the dramatics
every play-reading was preceded by a rehearsal and for the last three plays we experimented with the stage in the hall.
Another aim was to try all possible talent and although this resulted in some variable acting, it did enable us to keep a record of
the players and their roles for future casting. Unfortunately the balance of talent is heavily in favour of the girls and next year
our aim must be to restore the equilibrium. Variety in the type of plays has not been lacking, though the emphasis has inevitably
been on comedies, farces and thrillers. The best roles have been filled by Sylvia Roebuck, Mary Davie and Peter Blockley.
February 6th: "A Thread of Scarlet". A melodramatic thriller.
February 13th: "Drama in Ancient Greece". A talk by Mr. Parr.
February 20th: "The Faggot". A comedy.
February 27th: "Drama in Elizabethan Times". A talk by Jeanne Wearn.
March 6th: "The Clown of Stratford". A comedy.
March 18th: "Shivering Shocks". A thriller.
March 20th : "Great Aunt Jemima". A farce.
April 24th: "Elizabeth Refuses". A miniature comedy.
May 22nd: "The Faggot" (A repeat). A comedy.
May 30th: "The Plays of Sheridan". A talk by Mr. Robinson.
THE CHESS CLUB
Organiser: Mr. Meredith.
THE Chess Club started in January as a lunchtime activity, having Form III and IV Senior room as a home. Some fifteen enthusiasts
turned up, learned the fundamental rules and moves, and for the rest of the Easter term found enjoyment and surprise at theii
achievements, with the club's three sets of chessmen, Considering the short time the game had had to take root, some excellent
chess was played, and the talent shown, promises well for the school team we hope to raise next Autumn.
Remember, chess is an excellent method of training a logical mind and everyone joining the club will be taught to play.
THE HIKING CLUB
Organiser: Mr. Doy. Secretary: Jeanne Wearn. Treasurer: Joan Atwater.
FEBRUARY 6th became a landmark in the history of the school at the hands of a few seniors who joined together to form a Hiking Club, with a first excursion from St. Paul's Bay to Ghajn Tuffieha and back. Goodwill and keen spirit prevailed and by February 20th the membership totalled 20 with long hikes from Rabat to Dingli Heights, and 2ejtun to Delimara Point, to their credit.
By this time the need for a Club Secretary and Treasurer became apparent and great satisfaction throughout the season has been given by the election of Jeanne Wearn as Secretary and Joan Atwater as Treasurer. It was decided that a subscription of 6d. per person should be levied throughout the season, this sum to be used to cover expenses. Now the club had reached a peak of interest and popularity with a membership of 35 who met at Castille Square or Kings-gate to take part in hikes designed to cover most of the island.
One of the most interesting and pleasant visits, was on February 28th when 16 hikers tramped from 2urrieq to the Blue Grotto, where we were fortunate enough to hire a boat and explore those impressive cliffs and caves. The following week we had immense fun exploring the famous Hassan's Caves and having our teas gazing down upon a roaring sea some fifty feet below us as we peered over the edge of an opening in the caves.
Easter holidays offered opportunities of good hikes so we made several all-day visits complete with lunch and tea. From Rabat to Ghajn Tuffieha we appreciated the contrast of the wild Maltese countryside and the intensive local agriculture. A trip from St. Paul's Bay to Qala Mistra turned our attention to the unexplored north, revealing fine swimming places for times later in the year. Mellieha Bay to Anchor Bay and on to Ghajn Tufneha with the ground covered with spent mortar shell and empty cartridge cases proved most exciting. So the story goes — Qrendi to the prehistoric remains of Hagar Qim; Rabat to Sant'Anton via Musta; Mellieha Bay to Paradise Bay and St. Paul's Bay to St. Paul's Island. Our interest was held by the north for here we found steep cliffs to climb, hills and caves to explore and sandy beaches from which to sunbathe and swim since the weather had become far too hot for marathon walks.
The official closing date of the season was May 10th when the hiking activities were celebrated by a wonderous trip or voyage to Gozo. Although membership totalled 40, we decided to invite non-members so 63 people took part. A detailed account of our Gozo expedition is related elsewhere in this magazine.
In conclusion it is sufficient for me to point out the eagerness and fullhearted enthusiasm which each member has shown towards making these hikes really worth-while from both the social and educational viewpoints.
Housemaster: Mr. Mclntosh. Housemtstress: Mrs. Mclntosh. Prefects: P. Blockley; Betty Dennis. Colour: Blue.
FOR Drake the year started very badly indeed. Despite the most valiant efforts of the whole team we were unable to notch a single point in the hockey matches
Several times it appeared a draw might be forced but at the last minute the point was snatched away. Of the team, Blockley played very steadily while Cooper and Sexstone combined well in the forward line.
Cynthia Seymour played very well in the half-backs while Rolfe was a most promising junior.
Luckily the House is not lacking in brains and we made a good recovery when the points for class work were announced.
In the Sports, though lacking winners in most of the individual events we were able to produce strong relay teams for all but the open events. These did magnificently and enabled us "to tie with White House. The whole House can congratulate itself on this result for it was achieved by a united effort.
Housemaster :Mr. Meredith. Housemistress : Mrs. Meredith. Prefects: A. Warren, Joy Graves. Colour: Red.
The introduction of the house system into the School at Christmas, intensified all school activities. Nelson House by dint of good team work, succeeded in winning the Inter-House Hockey League during the Easter Term. The numerous junior school members of the team augurs well for next year's competition. The Shield for all round excellence was also won by our House for the Easter Term, but only by one point. The junior school members of the House obtained many demerits and nearly cost us the Shield. This term more effort is required by the juniors if we are to retain the shield.
This term, the school sports found the House wanting. We finished a very bad fourth. Much more enthusiasm and practice will De required next year in Nelson House is to reverse this year's placings.
The House bears a great name and our leader's message applies to us: "Nelson House expects every member to play his part."
Housemaster: Mr. Parr. Housemistress : Mrs. Parr. Prefects: Jeanne Wearn, B. Amos. Colour: Green.
After a life of nearly six months the House has lost its growing pains and is achieving the unity so important in a healthy house system. In its infancy the mixed hockey team under the captaincy of Amos, began weakly, but made a strong recovery, eventually tieing for second place in the hockey competition. On Sports Day, although the green colour was not supreme the House struggled hard to gain 89 points to the victors 98. J. Blower of Form 3 Senior proved to be the outstanding athlete of the day and we offer our heartiest congratulations to our "Victor Ludorum". Our team strength proved dominant in the Tug-of-War contest, though it has been rumoured that a Stephenson man blew down the opposing team, thereby losing his voice for three days.
At the end of the Spring Term, when combining the points for Sports and Studies we were in second place, only one point behind the winning house. This term with a combined effort we hope to reach the top of the ladder.
Housemasters: Mr. Robinson, Mr. Doy. Prefects: P. Hopewell, Sylvia Roebuck. Colour: Yellow.
SINCE the formation of the House system at the commencement of the Easter term, White House has shown a tendency towards
success in the sporting sphere but has been most disappointing where Studies are concerned.
The hockey team showed great promise, being only beaten twice during the two rounds of the competition, and we finished
second to Nelson. The main feature of the side was a strong defence in which J. Lowe and E. Hayston were prominent; our
forward play was patchy and there was a tendency towards crowding together too much but Dennis, Sylvia Roebuck
(who 'also captained the team with great determination) and Stevens played some good games. Our delight at doing
reasonably well at hockey received a sharp setback when we discovered that in the final House placing for the term
(Sports and Studies combined) we were a very bad fourth. This was due to certain individuals, who were not pulling their
weight and it is to be hoped that black looks all round and a word or two here and there have produced results. From the first
monthly class placings this term it seems that slight improvement has been made.
Our greatest triumph, however, occurred on Sports Day, when we tied with Drake for the House Championship and also
won two of the four other cups presented. This splendid success was due to the excellent performances if individuals such
as Joan Williams, who was outstanding in her age group, and also to our combined victories in the relay events, which
reflects credit upon all the House. If the spirit of enthusiasm, which is so essential to a healthy House, and which was apparent
in the preparation for the Sports, can be maintained, along with greater endeavour inside school, then the "White Knight"
can be victorious in this term.