Poems by David Pollard

Marc Chagall  (1887-1985)
With Muse (Dream), Oil on canvas,
                 1918, Private collection]

Blue beyond blue
my angel cometh;
heady with the radiance of his gifts
           (I drank annunciation
            into the womb of art,
            its holy canvas
            with the power of sighs
            and mutilation of its threads of
            bones and voices,
            gaiety of mourning,
            struggles of stars
            flames of twilight,
            fire of dawn
            and the harsh wind over the steppe)
could see me from afar
touching my canvas with its painful song. 

God, I was young,
prodigious in my hopes, fleeing
from galley-slave and colours of all the demons
did I escape the pale,
westward to a new freedom.

The ancient past of modernism’s
mine to dream, the Bible lying in my hands,
its patriarchs and prophets,
Talmuds housed in wooden shacks,
hasids large as giants dancing on rooves;
falling stars translucent as the snow,
farm animals in the smoke of air
and wombs bearing their gifts
and prayers and prayers.

Thus could I scythe at our celestial nerves;
think them as gypsy colours,
see green and purple Jews and red
shooting from earth,
and see their pain
and, with an artist’s knowing,
prism their latent greys into the light.

From all those millions
            - all -
David descending with his harp
            to me
                        like glass in all the glory
                        of its tribal colours
recites the psalms’
long joyous kaddish of the world.






Käthe Kollwitz  (1867-1945)
[In Profile, 1933, Charcoal on Paper,
             National Museum of Art, Washington DC]

I do this work for you,
for you and for the others,
for myself,
images graven
            (thou shalt make no . . .)
but the need drives
into the prohibition of my ink’s
thick and aortic flush
            and drypoint of the soul
scorched from the hollowed trees of all our lands
on paper, virgin at its etching -
            held open for the burial of children
            (filled with their all too delicate futures)
and its command to mark in charcoal
their burnt passing. 

Dark fugue whose interwoven themes
are drummed into a pietā
of eyes half closed,
of delicate fingers tracing images
along the lines of time
to live the devil’s watch
whose flames lick at the
broken dwellings of our hearts,
leaving our hearths and shrines open
to air, the demagogy and machines,
the dying streets and rubble of our times.
            (The first killed Peter and the second too,
            murdered as Liebknecht for their art of living)
to image out the flocks of my lost boys
            - or ours -
from marrow to nerved skin
must try and fail to form the world anew. 

Nie wieder Krieg.


Jacopo Tintoretto  (1518-94)
[Oil on Canvas, 1588, Louvre, Paris]

And became old
             as a man does -
nor gods nor miracles,
just matter mixed
            - iron and chromium
               with walnut oils -
can do so little
slowly retiring into the fixity
that carbonized my bones,
into the cage of weaker
and more bitter dwellings of the body. 

Hardly Il Furioso now
who could spice up the new art
Robusti like my father to the baroque -
Michel’s design and Titian’s colour
            (my Paradise the largest oil
             in all the world)
to forms as fugitive as wraiths
of light and angels,
subduing colore into chiaroscuro,
only to desert themselves into
the ceremonial stuttering
of my art
as my memorial to its absence. 

And so my head at seventy
surrounded by the elegiac dark
of my remaining nights’ insomniac limbo,
almost a dreaming tint of knowledge
too huge and baffling
for the desolation of these human eyes,
their sadness at the drawn lids
of so much effort
to be more.

Rembrandt van Rijn  (1606-1669)

You want the portrait of the artist?
I’m your man.
I stare into the mirror
            is my world,
searching the fragments shipwracked
into the darker colours of life,
caught from out the quick
into the long retiring
of their own lost glows
and startled shadows;
almost into the fine dull fire they breathe
behind the varnish holds them be. 

You know that concentration
is a serious business of the fingers’ work.
The mind that feels through air
onto the canvas is the subject’s
sudden real
out of the whelming reds and browns
and years that take their toll
            of burghers’ pride in guilders
            for their memories’ sakes,
            of telling of my two sons dead
            and Saskia and my ruin,
all brushed into the work’s thick bloom
of truth that must be told
by me of me. 

Who else can be reflected by his solitude
into the afterlife of his biography as I?
Who else can see the glass’s ripples
in the skin’s slow loss when poverty
allows no other subject
able to read his sentence into paint
as I?


Tribute to John Murry,

 Far too late I would like to pay my tributes to John Murry my English and English Lit teacher.  Seldom do people live  a mark in your life which you cherish and remember for your entire life.  John Murry was such a person.

I have arrived to Whittingehame in 1965 from Barcelona , Spain an Israeli kid whose father was a big shot businessman who had no time or patience for his kids. My parents and my kid brother moved on to Africa and it was decided that after two years at the American School of Barcelona I should continue my education in England rather than go with them to Africa .This has turned our to be the happiest decision they have ever taken concerning me but at the time I have felt rejected alone and quite miserable. I was fifteen at the time, a lonely miserable teenager.

Meeting Jacob Halevi for the first time gave me quite a fright and Shmatz's sinister welcome did not add to my joy either.

It was then that I met John Murry.  He was the first friendly face I met with his constant pipe and long aristocratic features.

He simply put his hand on my shoulder and quietly said: why don't you write me please an essay on the subject "might is right" so that I can determine in which English group to put you.

It goes without saying that my next day was spent at the library trying to figure out how to write the best essay possible in this vague subject knowing that I must be in his advanced English group or I will be doomed to Shmatz and his wife who had the time seemed to me like hell incarnated.

To cut a long story short. Murry has become to me what my parents had never been. Kind yet demanding, he was the first person ever in my life to have great confidence in my abilities and converted an a quite average student  into a straight A\'s one achieving later 9 o' levels and  5 A levels all of them  A's.

His mere confidence that I was Oxford material when my academic ambitions at the time amounted to not totally failing gave me the drive and ambition to excel.

His Charles Dickens reading to us in class while walking and smoking his pipe gave me a taste for great literature and his Keats Byron Shelly and all the other great poets he introduced to us  had opened the gates of poetry to me.

But a above all he was a kind, gentle,, sensitive and caring person who somehow saw my pain and loneliness although I had friends in school and dressed my open wounds with his calm smiling manner.

I would not be where I am today if it were not for John Murry.

I am sorry  I have come to do something about this great man too late. I wish I could have thanked him personally. But if any relatives of his are  alive ( to the best of my knowledge they had no kids  I wish him to know this.

 Thank You John

Ramy Matalon (1965-68)

May 1st, 2013




                                         He had no right to be dead without
                                         asking my permission. [John on his father]

             What now
after you were waylaid and slain?
My tears are gorse flower sharp
even after the long slow
            yesterevens that recall so much
close reading of my hopes,
all in the cautious armour you put on
of jest and the eye’s love
so I’ll not go unguided
down the side streets of
this complexity.

              Eternity has called you to the sharp sun’s thirst
that cruelled your lips
into expressionless corners,
that have so generously kissed Prometheus;
taught me the task of waiting,
risks of laughter,
dangerous ease of thought’s apparel,
to dig far from the easy furrow,
shrink from the caustic pleading of the nightingale
that calls together souls that should not meet;
second father,
severed artery
of my creative blood
that pulses still to your pulse on the inner ear
and drums itself to language
when it wills;
   who left me to the plight of my reflection  
   on the turning glass of life.
            On the dark ghost of sudden,
and with the merest ripple of a smile
you left me here with my mortality,
stirred with the love of how to say things right
and the long call of days.

            at least as long as I,
            will you also.


David Pollard
September 2011



I knew John for the better part of my life and he was like a second father to me, encouraging me to continue my education. He was a tireless critique and encourager. His death and that of Ruth before him, was a real blow. The poem was composed soon after. I hope other Whitniks who knew him will appreciate it for what it is.

The book in which it appears can be got at http://www.waterloopress.co.uk/#/authors-o-s/4555601196).

Thanks to Louis Mandel for letting me share this. 

David Pollard



Risk of Skin

Now over four years since his first volume of poetry for Waterloo Press, Risk of Skin marks a new phase in Pollard’s engagement with the essence of human existence. Rather more varied than the earlier volume it includes a set of obituaries, poems on historical characters, on creativity and mortality. The volume ends with a series of pieces on Keats and his circle which is a new departure for this poet. This is an inspiring and original book of poems.





Tribute to Barry Roach

Mr J. Barry Roach died in the Royal Sussex Hospital, Brighton in October 2003 aged 81. He had suffered from heart problems for a few years and had experienced several brief periods of hospitalization. Barry was known to many generations of Whittingehamians for his annual dramatic productions, which began with “Volpone” in 1951 and ended with “Once in a Lifetime” in 1965.  Under his guidance wonders were worked, with many changes to the concrete box which was the original stage at Surrenden Road..

Gradually the stage was enlarged, new curtains and electrical facilities of all sorts added, so that ultimately bigger and more spectacular productions became possible, reaching the proportions of the musical “True Blue” in 1961, with over 60 in the cast and dozens back-stage.  School productions became so popular that the hall was filled by regular Brighton theatre-lovers, and reviews appeared in the local press, “The Stage” and elsewhere.  Readers can consult the “Dramatic Society” volume on the web-site for further details


At the same time Barry was prominent in local amateur theatricals as producer and adjudicator, and it was probably inevitable that in the end he was persuaded to join a London college in the same capacity. He still lived in Brighton with his invalid mother, maintaining contact with several of his erstwhile Whittingehame colleagues and pupils.  After the death of his mother he lived alone. He had no relatives apart from a cousin who pre-deceased him, but his cremation service was well attended by represented by Whittingehamians and by many other friends who remembered and respected him.

Eldon Smith
June 21, 2005



Tribute to Peter Kleiner

Peter was an absolutely unique character both at school and at University, and I could give a score of remarkable stories - e.g. he won the "Observer" mace as a debater, was elected to innumerable committees, and was the only student member to sit on a national committee to establish rules to guarantee integrity in student elections. This card relates to some activity or other at Bangor, the university he chose because it taught electronics -- a brand new university subject. He was always elected, and this led to his cutting pracs, which he admitted because he had already done all that work under his own steam while at Whittingehame. He was sent down (he agreed that the authorities had no alternative because university rules stipulated that lab attendance was compulsory) . But almost immediately he won an open scholarship to Brasenose College Oxford, studying law. Again he was on all the committees, did not bother very much with assignments etc., but graduated with a good degree. He was snapped up by a London legal practice because of his legal/scientific background and his brilliant brain. Unfortunately he was dead in a couple of years. My belief (shared by all members of Whittingehame ) was that he would have soon become a national figure.  Eldon Smith



Tribute to John  Murry

John was a man of very many talents and qualities. He was warm-hearted and kind, and although he was sometimes exasperated he somehow got over it and laughed.  Indeed we shared much laughter over the years. I remember once we went together in the van to help Richard Acland in the famous Gravesend election  Just before the return journey a nasty fog set in, and somewhere en route in Kent we got hopelessly lost and were obliged to try to push each other up signposts in the hope that we'd recognize a place name which would really help.  We weren't laughing at all, but fortunately a Dubarry lorry, large for the time, pulled in and said he was bound for Shoreham, and that we'd be best advised to follow him.  This we did, so got home to Ruth and Ella safely in the end and laughed at our quite grotesque efforts to establish where we were - lost in the  fog.

But John truly stood out as a teacher and inspirer.  During the last few days I've received so many emails and other messages from former students attesting to their fondness of  -love of - English poetry and literature  as a whole, and the English language in general, brought into existence because of John's own brilliance. I remember talking to an ex-student who was just then sweeping the boards at Guy's Hospital of both surgical and medical prizes.  He had just returned from a summer holiday on the continent and the subject of our conversation was his delight at discovering links in Italy or France with the literary heroes to whom he had been introduced by John.  A few days ago I had an email from an accountant in Israel who told me proudly that the screen saver on his office computer was actually a quotation remembered from one of John's lessons -   a line from Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality

And they loved his chats  -in fact they went on ( usually about sci-fi) even after they left us, as John himself suggests in the preface to one of his novels  Out of those chats too emerged a remarkable un-censored intermittent student paper called "Vox Populi", some editions of which are still on the Whittingehame web-site and which continue to  reduce me to near-tears.  This was the product of John's sense of fun.

And he nourished their chess, and their appreciation of pictures, their theatricals and so much else besides..And there was never any trouble or discontent.  Boys being boys, sometimes they "try it on" or "take the mickey"   but never with John  - he was too loved and respected.  And in the Masters' Common Room.  there was never a single cross word, for he was always  friendly and benign, though he never failed to express his deeply-felt principles One cannot  hope to complete the list of his qualities, and I feel a wonderful sense of pride in being able to say we were friends


Photo of John and Ruth Murry taken in recent years



The Welcoming Matrons of Whittingehame

My first introduction to Whittingehame was in the winter of 1949 – when England was still living under post-war restrictions - sweet rationing being one of them! We on continental Europe had been basking in American munificence under the open-handed Marshall Plan, flooding goodies into Antwerp, my home town.

So there I was standing in my knickerbockers at the footsteps of Whittingehame College, near to midnight, having crossed the Channel alone on the Ostend ferry. "Alo! Il y a t-il qu'elqun a la maison?" I shouted, not expecting an answer. But someone did appear at the top of the narrow staircase next to the main stairs. This gentleman turned out to be our cook, William, whose welcome was warm and kind.

As I had turned up a few days early, the school was empty except for a few boys who had not gone home for the summer vacation. My first impression was one of light and warmth, and this impression never left me during my 5 years of boarding school.

My second encounter on this first night was with an Israeli boy , Yoram Polani, who within minutes of my arrival had, in typical Israeli style, to test where I stood vis a vis himself as to strength and pecking order. After a violent tussle lasting a few minutes we knew where we stood! 40 years later I came across the same character, more worldly and suave.

When the term actually started, I was bathed in a semi-torpor, having to adjust myself to my new environment, the surroundings, the utterly unfamiliar language, the boys, the new subjects and the masters. But I felt good and at ease. I try desperately to evoke some memorable incident from my subsequent years at Whittingehame, but nothing exceptional comes to mind - no deaths, no bones broken, no epidemic, no sexual assaults - one could call it a happy time. In those days our minds had not been corrupted by TV or tabloids, and anything unacceptable was swept swiftly under the carpet. We were cocooned within the safe walls of our school, and the masters were not gossipers or bearers of tales. The classes were always orderly, and we respected our teachers as was expected in those days, and they in return treated us with benevolent superiority. The matrons were motherly, and I'm sure some other boys could tell some interesting stories about them!

Apart from Headmaster Halevy, whose frequent unelucidated referrals at morning assembly to Maimonide's "Guide to the Perplexed" only perplexed us even more, the master who stands out most vividly is Mr Smith. In my days that was the only name he was called by. How he gained the epithet "Schmutz" – which means "filth" in German, I cannot imagine, as it was totally inapplicable to this vivacious, honorable little Welshman.

The total lack of intimacy between pupil and teacher at Whittingehame in the fifties, I feel was very beneficial to our growing up. Nowadays, at the slightest misdemeanor, the teachers go into the background, psychologists counselors are called in, and a whole battery of semi-clinical noxious assaults are made on the poor pupil - leaving him in a worse state than before. At Whittingehame, this did not exist. You were overtly punished according to the misdeed, and that was the end of it. 

To those who lived in Woodlands, they may remember this imposing Victorian building, when compared to the presumptuous pseudo-Bauhaus architecture of Whittingehame College proper. Woodlands stood in its own grounds, majestic and proud, and I always wondered who inhabited this unique house before the arrival of the numerous Jewish boys who were to run up and down its creaky wooden stairs.

The front door facing Surrenden Road was used only by Headmaster Jake Halevy. His visits were rare - he used to glide in and out. The rumours in those days had it that that his visits were associated with his extra-curricular duties - to which one of the matrons, so it was understood, was not unwelcoming. This was an accepted fact by the boys who were aware of this state of affairs - being pubertal adolescents who were well aware of the desires and penchants of the flesh - and especially as we knew the headmaster's "other half" (may they all rest in peace). This grey (sometimes violet) haired woman, always ready to harangue anyone in sight was to be kept out of range: If you were collared by her all she could do was to berate you - no wonder her husband keep out of sight!

The only individual able to assuage her constant ire was the ubiquitous Mr. Eldon Smith. This lively little Welshman - who kept good supervisory control over the whole school, keeping everyone in check. His grasp even extends to the present day. His charm has not been lost with the passing of time and still exudes its powerful effect. Former pupils having reached 70 and over still bow and doff their caps with reverence to this smiling, quick talking Welshman - always accompanied by his faithful companion – who herself has not lost any of her sweetness.

In 1965 I decided to visit the school. I drove past Preston Park, which evoked a strong nostalgia for days past, when we used to walk down to buy a delectable Wall's ice cream at the Pavilion, cast side glances and the local talent, with the peaceful walk down Surrenden Road, past the sports track. As I stopped the car opposite the house in the trench-like dip where Mr. Smith used to live, all that was left of the school was the lone central spiral staircase pointing to the sky! The building was gone, removed, destroyed. I could not believe it. I took a few steps up the staircase leading nowhere. No more leading to the bedrooms, no more patter of feet up those well-paced steps, no more young hands grasping the hand rail. What happened to our lovely school? Who did this? I felt personally aggressed, and then fell into a deep, momentary melancholy. The walls of the chemistry lab still stood , and one of the blackboards still had some writing on it. That page of Whittingehame's history was well and truly closed.

Willy Goldberg


Reflections on old photos.

A  picture is worth a thousand words they say.....THEY.....the ubiquitous THEY. But they're right. The photo albums in the web site are treasures, bringing to life a bunch of scrawny kids, and an era of history too.

Memories are big when we think of childhood. We know we were rambunctious, energetic little beings, knee high to a grasshopper, wiry and shapeless. But we forget the details because to remember is to re-live small lives from an adult perspective. Then come the photo albums and reality exposing us for the little squirts we were. Bare, hairless, knobbly knees, stockings around our ankles; ties akimbo; collars crumpled. There didn't seem to be any fat kids in the albums either. Granted the boiled cabbage and turnips we seemed to eat at every meal were not exactly to cordon bleu standards but we were never hungry. Interesting to think of that now when 45% of British men are overweight and 17% are obese.

You can't tell from the photos but it's a safe bet that the shoes we were wearing, hurriedly polished with yarmulkes for morning inspection, were scuffed, dirty, down-at-heel and probably tied with broken laces. Chances are we were smelly too. How many times a week did we have baths anyway? Twice??

Bad enough one or two like us in a family but what an undertaking looking after a hundred. It makes the unfaltering kindliness of Miss Mackay (didn't see any photos of her) more of a wonder; likewise the gentleness of Eldon and Ella Smith. Much though it pains to give the old bastard any credit it probably also explains in part the short temper of Billinghurst. I was never convinced he wasn't an anti-semite..

How do people like Mendel Horowitz find themselves in a zoo like that? Life and history can be cruel But Jake brought him in out of the cold and he was probably grateful for his job - the taunts and cruel disrespect of little middle-class Jewish tikes notwithstanding.

Looking at these wonderful photos now, the most striking impression is of our size. Even the big kids look small. Ray Nettler, Corky Landau, Geoff Lederman ( no snaps of him either), Winston Senior, Billy Phillips, my brother Walter. No surprise that the simian Jake and florid Billinghurst seemed to loom over us like doom.

And somehow we were so middle-European looking. Maybe it was just the mid-century style of clothes. But it doesn't take a giant leap of the imagination to see us filling those frightening photos of our relatives only a few hundred miles to the east being herded at gun-point on to cattle wagons at railway stations. We were so small, so completely harmless.

In one respect Hitler knew what he was doing, massacring the children too. I think of the brains in my own class, Henry Markson and Harry Woolf; exactly the sort of people no dictator would want within a country mile of his territory. I don't know what became of Henry but we know about Harry. How many leading professionals, scholars, scientists, business people did we produce? More than our share.

And wasn't Edwinsford beautiful - the mansion as well as the setting? I remember thinking so at the time. For all our chaos, we breathed life into the place. I hope someone is doing that now.

Max Wolfe,
St. Andrews N.B.





In June 200O Benji Feuchtwanger, a Whittingehamean from 1943-46, who farmed in Gedera (South of Tel Aviv), died peacefully in his new apartment near Dov Airport, Tel Aviv. Together with his loving wife, Chava; the luxurious apartment had been carefully planned for retirement, but he only had the pleasure of living in it for less than one year. He contracted cancer for the second time in 10 years, fought bravely, but was overwhelmed by its aggressive attack on his body.

He was a larger than life character, both physically and mentally. Like so many of his generation his family came to Palestine in the early 1930's believing that their new country would succeed through hard physical work. He was multi lingual. He spoke German, Yiddish, French, English and Hebrew and Arabic. He was a passionate Zionist believing in hard work and absolute integrity in his business dealing. He shared with many of those who had left their European roots a liberal attitude towards Arabs. He trusted and employed Arab families to live and work on his farmland. He was proud to be their employer and trusted friend. On many occasions he was called upon by them to be an adviser on family and/or marital problems. He remained until his last years confident that Israel could establish harmonious relations with its Arab neighbours and people's other beliefs. The last time we met , October 1999, however, he expressed for the first time, his concern that the new fanatical 'Jewish' religious sects whom we often had discussed and whom he believed could be controlled by the democratic process were becoming a serious threat to their host country and that Israel's democratic political system which never anticipated their absurd behaviour was not armed with the will or the authority to deal with them.

His father, Alfred, son of an eminent Berlin gynaecologist, was consultant to the German Royal family before 1914, and became a Zionist whilst studying at University. When Hitler came to power in 1933 he immediately emigrated to Palestine. His father, together with a German chemist, patented a technique for the economic reclamation of silver from photographic waste film imported from Europe. Previously the reclamation process had been too expensive to be worthwhile. The family set up a chemical plant in the new town of Tel Aviv, from which reclaimed silver was traded internationally. This led to the establishment of the Feuchtwanger Bank which was a pioneer of the present large Israeli financial industry. For a time after the Declaration of Independence the Labour party swung further to the left and Benj i's father became disheartened by the way the country's finances were being handled. He was outspoken in his criticism and fell out of favour with the Government of the time who fought back by encouraging the popular press to pillory him as an avaricious capitalist. Benji always said how hurt his father was by the way the Socialists treated him. As a consequence he left his banking business in Israel and lived and worked for the rest of his life in Switzerland.

Benji's maternal grandfather was also a Doctor of distnction. He carried out research at Heidelberg Medical school. He published papers in the 1920's on the surgical treatment of cancer; his name was Dr. Hirsch. He carried out research at Heidelberg Medical school. He published papers in the 1920's on the surgical treatment of cancer of the breast. These were revolutionary in so far that the Halstead operation, first described in the 1890's and which is still being carried out, involving total mastectomy, was challenged for the first time. He showed in these early publications that the operation now referred to as Lumpectomy , whereby only the part of the breast affected by the cancer is removed was as effective as the radical and disfiguring surgery of the Halstead operation.

When Hitler came to power in 1933 Benji's maternal grand father was on vacation in Switzerland. He telegraphed Heidelberg University to say that he would be emigrating to Palestine. He never returned to Germany.

In the last ten years a German medical historian, writing a book on the surgical treatment of breast cancer, contacted Benji asking for details of his maternal grandfather and apologised for the way his grandfather's eminence and research had been ignored by successive generations of German doctors.

Like so many young Jewish Palestinians Benji wanted to leave the traditional professions and work on the land. He went to a local agricultural college and decided to come to Reading University, which, after the Second World War, was internationally recognised as the best European agricultural college. In 1943 he travelled to Liverpool with his father on a British troop ship and then by train to Llanelli, the nearest town to Whittingehame college. The intention was that he would learn English and get the necessary qualifications to be enrolled as a student in Reading University Agricultural College.

I first met Benji at Edwinsford, one week after he had landed in England. On the first day of the Autumn term of 1943 we were the first to arrive at the school. He spoke no English and was wandereing around with a rubber pillow which had been left on his bed from the previous term by a boy who was allergic to feathers. It was his only pillow and not havig a cork he couldn't inflate it. His first words to me were "Ich moechte gumi" "Ani rotzeh gumi" - literally "I want rubber". I knew no German or Ivrit at the time but realising the problem cut a twig of the appropriate gauge from a tree, blew up his cushion, and stuck the twig in the cushion's orifice. Little did I realise that this bit of innovation would be the beginning of a close friendship which would last more than 50 years.

The early days of the foreign boys at Whittingehame were not easy. The school was very British and quite arrogant about it. Benji, often persecuted by the English boys for being foreign and by the other Israelis for being fat (his compatriots called him 'Shemen', - 'Fatso'). He always said that I was his only friend in those early days ready to fight his bullies.

In December 1946 we left school together. The pattern of Whitingehame had changed radically when it left Wales in 1945. It was settling back in Surrenden Road, Brighton, from where it had been evacuated in 1939. Boys from the Middle East were arriving for an English education. Whereas the indigenous pupils of Whittingehame had in the past, been typical immature English schoolboys, the newcomers had often lived the life of mature men, often have been trained in subversive underground activities. Unlike the English boys, they were very sexually aware. Nocturnal escapades through dormitory windows and down to houses of ill repute, dance halls and 'Sherrys' night clubs were escapades undreamt of by the likes of myself. - On my 16th. Birthday I was encouraged by one Israeli student, Grunfeld, to celebrate with an escapade. Grunfeld had been trained by and had undertaken missions with the terrorist Organisation, Irgun Zvie Leumi. His parents, not wanting him to be caught and possibly hung as a terrorist by the British, had sent him to England for an education. On one of his first days at school he was told to stand in line by the gym teacher, one Mr. Tucker. Grunfeld pulled out a knife and challenged Tucker's authority to tell him what to do. Tucker having been an unarmed combat instr-ucture during the war fortunately knew how to deal with situations. We innocents watched as Grunfeld and his knife parted company - knife flying in one direction and Grunfeld through the air to land on his back on the parquet floor of the corridor.

Grunfeld's advice on the night of my birthday was that 1 should celebrate by going into Brighton, visit 'The Clock Tower Ballroom', a local dance hall, where he would introduce me to some of his girl friends.

His instructions were as follows. Leave outdoor clothes in the toilets downstairs and when all the lights were out make a visit to the toilet, change into outdoor clothes and exit through the toilet window. We would meet later with others on the trolley bus. I was instructed to sit well away from anyone I knew and not show signs that I could recognise anyone of his group. Grunfeld's instructions were followed to the last minute detail. All went well. After midnight Benji and I returned the way we had come. In the toilet we changed back into pyjamas and crept back to the dormitory. I found a body in my bed. To my horror it was Jake who asked "where's yu bin?" - the only unconvincing reply I could muster was "I went for a walk, Sir". Benji and I were demoted that night from our prefects' duties and privileges and sent to sleep with the juniors upstairs to be soundly reprimanded in Jake's study the following morning.

Benji and I left school together in December 1946. 1 was 17 and he four years older. I was destined to go into my fathers outfitting business - a shop in Rochdale. Benji had found to his dismay that although accepted for Reading, this University did not teach what he wanted to learn, Mediterranean Agriculture. His father, a colleague of the Baron Rothschild, had consulted the great land owner and it was decided that Benji should seek his agricultural training in France. He knew not a word of French and the Baron suggested that he should go to work in Ferriere (40 Kilometres East of Paris) where Baron Rothschild had a large agricultural Domain in the centre of which lies the 'Maison Anglais' originally designed for Baron Edmund Rothschild by the same architect who designed the Crystal Palace for the London, 1852 exhibition. Benji was to work on the farm and to take intensive French language instruction to enable him to read and write and speak fluently in one year so that he could be enrolled in a Southern French University Agricultural College.

My career as an assistant in my father's outfitters shop in Rochdale came to halt rapidly. I knew I was colour blind but the customers didn't. In those days ladies would come in regularly to buy shirts and ties to match their husbands complexions and suits. Ties were, like shirts, kept in boxes on high shelves and not displayed openly as today. It was the duty of the shopkeeper to climb up and down ladders retrieving boxes which contained shirts and ties and advise on the right material and combinations of colours. I was hopeless at this. One day I was severely reprimanded by the local doctor's wife for not only confusing her with the hundreds of ties I showed her, but above all for putting her newly purchased stiff husband's Tuxedo in a small paper bag so that when he took it out for the annual medical Ball it was cracked across the front. My father, as always, was sympathetic when I told him that I could not contemplate a life in an outfitters shop for the next forty years. Not knowing what I should do I joined Benji as a worker on Baron Rothschild's farm in France.

France in 1947 was devastated. 95% of the livestock including the horses had been killed by the vindictive retreating German army. Food was rationed - I paid for my accommodation with 7 pounds of coffee I brought from England. The villagers who had collaborated were still being shunned and were not welcomed in the village shops. They were always served last wherever they went. Monsieur Dubois, the farm overseer had never left the village in his 60 years, planned all work. Agricultural machinery was being dragged by hand or bullocks. Benji and I worked and talked hard about the future. Our only recreation was going for long country walks. There were hardly any vehicles on the roads, and I only remember meeting one of his acquaintances in the next village. Although Benji had only been in France six months, his French was excellent. I, who had learnt French verbs for four years at Edwinsford from an Irish teacher, could never understand or make myself understood. To this day when I try to speak any French I'm asked what part of Ireland I come from. When the war of Independence broke out in 1948 Benji returned immediately to Israel and being left on my own and being concerned about a two year called-up for military service in England (compulsory military service didn't finish until 1960) I made up my mind to return home and become a medical student. Having left school at sixteen and only having the equivalent of an 0- level I did not have a chance of being accepted. Particularly as the policy of the Universities was to fill 90% of their places with servicemen. I was told that if I could pass the Higher School Certificate and pass my first year medical exam (First M.B.) in one year - it was normally a three year course, before I was due for my military service, I might get a place. To cut a long story short, I did get to medical school and obtained a deferment from military service, and qualified as a dentist in l955. I corresponded with Benji during my years as a student and afterwards. His career had taken him to South America to study cattle breeding. By selective breeding he subsequently bred a small heard of cattle, partly from Bramah stock, which could thrive in the dry climate of Israel. He was subsequently sent by the Israeli government to Uganda with an agricultural mission to advise the new country on streamlining their cattle breeding industry. He travelled to Germany and became an agent for a company manufacturing small tractors which could be used in restricted land areas. Benji's cattle breeding projects in Gedera came to an end when a treaty was signed with Rumania arranging for Israel to buy meat from Rumania in exchange for permits allowing Jews to emigrate to Israel. An American film company prolonged the life of the herd for a short time by hiring them for a film set. He reverted back to growing citrus fruit. In the 1980's the Spanish orange industry became ascendant in the European market, the price of labour to pick the fruit in Israel rose and the industry could no longer compete. As it became uneconomic to grow grapefruits and oranges many of the old fruit trees were culled and Benji turned his attention to developing fruit and vegetable production.

It was not until 1967 that we met again. Benji was married to his lovely wife, Chava. He had two daughters, Lilly and Shearer, exactly the same age as mine. Chava was pregnant and later gave birth to their son, Ehud. I went to Israel for the first time. I was with a Zionist mission. Benji and I met again after twenty years by arrangement in a coffee bar in Rehovat. In his old battered ex army Jeep we rode together through country lanes to Gedera where I stayed on the farm for a couple of days. We talked as if 20 years ago had been yesterday. Before I left we visited Yad Mordechae. This is a moving museum village dedicated to the kibbutzniks who held up the whole Egyptian army in the war of Independence and thus stopped them joining forces in the North with the Jordanians. The outcome of our meeting was that I bought an apartment in Israel. Our two families spent happy times together in England and Israel.

Having attended several Whittingehame reunions it is evident that many old boys from that school have enriched their lives with the bonding of a friendship similar to the one I describe above. I will always be grateful to my parents for the opportunity they gave me to go to a school which not only extended my horizons to enjoy a world outside the very parochial upbringing of an orthodox English home situated in an isolated Lancashire town, Rochdale, but gave me the opportunity to make a friend of Benny, a perfect gentleman, an ideal Israeli citizen and a man from whom I learnt so much.

I'm sure that all who remember Benji will join me in offering condolences to his wife Chava, daughters, son and grandchildren.

Winston Senior, 1943-1946