London Branch Drinks - Dec 15
The Honourable Artillery Company was the venue for this year’s informal meeting of OCs in London.
The Honourable Artillery Company was the venue for this year’s informal meeting of Old Campbellians (OCs) in London (“Old Boars”). It was an apt and impressive venue at which to gather in the year where we celebrated the “Ring Of Peace” and remembered the wartime service of many OCs.
School Governor, Andrew Wilson (7177), kicked off proceedings with a welcome introduction and spoke of how the College’s glorious 100-acre estate remained a great attraction to prospective parents and pupils. However, around the world OCs remain important to the College; they inspire present day pupils and are the roaming billboards of what the school turns-out. The College works together with the Old Campbellian Society to engage with OCs and keep the CCB spirit alive.
Although many things have changed at the College over the years its ethos of encouraging the boy to find his strengths and to excel, to be confident and be a team player, remained engrained. Andrew noted the College’s recent academic performance, posting the best GCSE A* - C grades in the last 10 years. However, the hard work continues for all those involved in the management of the College and teaching of pupils. The College has built new boarding facilities and they are recognised as best in class, attracting boarders from around the world. Future plans to build a new sports complex, science labs and Ormiston block are in the making.
We were also very fortunate to be joined by a number of OCs who were willing to give of their time to speak about their service to Queen and Country. Richard Crossen (6965) and Walter Murphy (6907) spent their careers with The Royal Irish Regiment; Rob Agnew (8903) served with The Royal Signals and is currently serving with 2 Mercian; and Roger Knox (7340) served with The Parachute Regiment. Their words were informative, moving and amusing (no mean feat in combination). Those other OCs in attendance passed on their gratitude for the past and current service of OCs in the armed forces and shared an anecdote or two about teachers and students past.
In writing this short report I was reminded that, as George Orwell had pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf (Richard Gernier, Washington Times). Our speakers (although greying) looked anything but rough as they spoke eloquently and at length about their army service histories in recent times; however there is no doubt that the men under their command (and they themselves when required) were and are such rough men. In writing this I must also mention OC sqn Ldr Patrick "Paddy" Marshall (6777), shot down fatally just north of Baghdad in January 2005. They (and service men past and present) are owed a deep debt of gratitude, by all Campbellians and indeed by the entire country.
On a more flippant note, I suspect that the nearest the rest of us came to being “rough men” was our appointment with the bathroom mirror at home the next morning (suffering from our trip to the pub at the end of proceeding at the Honourable Artillery Company for the obligatory unnecessary extra pint(s)). It was a great evening. We parted with renewed commitment to support a thriving modern OCs and to assisting Campbell College - a school of which we have many fond memories and wish a very successful future.
At the next gathering of Old Boars, it would be great to hear from OCs who have experience of service in other ways - Social Service, Technology and IT, Medicine, Engineering, Journalism, the Arts, Sport… to mention just a few possibilities. Until the next time.
Arthur Stewart (7267)