I joined St Josephs in September 1946, from St John Vianney Primary School, along with Len Hanby. Our first year was spent in the buildings away from the main block, with Bro Butler as our form master. I can recall my first French lessons with Monsieur le Brun. He must have made an impression on me, because with the later help of Bro Murray, I secured a French pass in GCSE. I had a number of different Latin and Greek teachers, but by the age of examinations, it was all Greek to me. In retrospect, I felt that the class I was in gave Mr Melling, a rather insecure teacher, a hard time. I enjoyed games and physical education though Alf Pope’s indoor lessons were brutal. I remember he often threw the medicine ball at the smaller members of the class to start ‘mat ball’, a very extreme form of indoor rugby. I can recall my speech training lessons with Mr Priestley, a great teacher, and I can still recite parts of Tarantella and The Bells. The thing that sits in my mind was the overpowering smell of fish, which permeated the whole main building on Fridays. I can recall music lessons with Mr Pickles, and getting into trouble for singing Smelly Tripe instead of Cherry Ripe. Class lessons in violin teaching were a hoot with Mr Fleming. We seemed to spend the whole time tuning the violins and breaking the bowstrings.

Many teachers left me with impressions, some physical. I got my fair share of the whalebone strap, ruler and cane. Teachers I recall Mr Gill, a gentleman! Bro Ring, who had some sadistic tendencies, but taught me a lot about cricket, Mr McKenna who threw the blackboard duster very efficiently, Bro Carol and Boris Biggins who made us learn pages of history by heart. The latter master seemed to have lots of trouble in his lessons with collapsing desks!

I left in the summer of 1951, armed with a basic education, which eventually enabled me to survive very well as The English National Squash Coach and the Hong Kong National Squash Coach.

My brother Bernard Hartley, 1951-1957, joined the school from St John Vianney the year I left. He always felt he suffered, because he was always referred to as my little brother. He wore glasses and must have felt insecure in the early years. I think he learned his smoking habit behind the bike sheds. He obviously had some good teaching and achieved outstanding results in his ‘A’ levels, and went on to Manchester University. He had a very successful career in the teaching of English as foreign language, and was best selling author for the Oxford University Press. Sadly his heavy smoking caught up with him, and he sadly passed away in 2002. It was a pity I could never persuade him to join the Old Boys.

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