M.G.S. Magazine - July 1958

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MGS Magazine 1958
Articles written by pupils


The highlight in my A.T.C. career was when I was selected by the Royal Air Force for an Outward Bound Course.

The Outward Bound Mountain School is situated at Eskdale in the foothills of the Lake District. It is a fine house, built in the 18th Century, and was the country seat of Lord Rea. The school has many athletic facilities including shot putting, javelin, running, jumping and swimming. It is run by a staff consisting of the Warden and 10 instructors, who are to be greatly admired for their fine physique, stamina and enthusiasm. Eighty boys, from all walks of life, are sent there each month by various sponsors to see how they can stand up to physical hardship. It was most certainly the hardest month I have ever had. Each day began with "Tarning". This involved getting up at 6-0, running barefoot down to the lake in front of the school, there doing 10 minutes P.T., running around the tarn and then finishing with a swim across the tarn.

The day's work really began after breakfast when we started on our various schemes. One party of 10 boys would be sent climbing. When our party went climbing we set off for 4 days on the hills. We climbed up into the hills and formed a base camp at about 1,500 feet. From this camp we were split into groups of 3 with an instructor in charge of each. The groups then went to a selected rock face and started climbing. When it was my turn to climb I was feeling rather jittery-the boy who climbed before me had fallen off his safety rope. After climbing about 400 feet I came to a very thin ledge, about half an inch wide, on which I had to hang. I could feel my fingers slipping but, on looking down 400 feet, I thought "I gotta stick on". Eventually I was instructed to carry on. I then looked at my fingers-the tips were all bleeding! After a few such climbs I began to like climbing and really enjoyed our last one.

Climbing was not our only interest. We spent another 3 days on the hills, but this time we used bivouacs instead of tents and we did not form a base but kept moving camp. One of our nights was spent on Scafell Pike, 3,210 feet-rather cold and windy! On this 3 day scheme we were taught how to cook on an open fire and how to build "bivis".

All the various schemes were building up to our final scheme. This time we were divided into groups of 4 and sent on the hills by ourselves, without an instructor. The main idea of this scheme was a grilling examination-an examination in which a fail could mean anything from a fall on a rock climb to getting lost on the fells. It was indeed a test of whether you had learnt what you had been taught. We were instructed to "sign in" at 6 posts, each of them at the summits of mountains. We were given 3 days in which to complete this scheme. Now this could be done easily in the time but the instructors asked us to plot a very elaborate course, taking in as many mountains as possible. In our course we included 28 peaks, among others Steeple, Pillar, Great Gable, Robinson, Glaramara, Bow Fell and Harter Fell, climbing through 18,000 feet. Two of the boys in our party almost collapsed through exhaustion and the other fit boy and I had to carry their 40 lb rucksacks as well as our own for about a quarter of the way home.

The whole course had been planned so that when we were feeling really tired after 3 days on the hills there was another energetic job to do on returning to school. For example, on returning from our 53 mile trek we had to run a 3 mile cross country race! Perhaps this was to instil into us the school's motto-"To serve, to strive and not to yield".

The part of the course that I found most interesting was the Solo Scheme in which each boy was entirely on his own, During this 24 hour scheme I had to walk about 20 miles, make a camp and spend the night there. I had also to walk to and survey a site, having been given a grid reference, and to state its possibilities for an encampment of troops.

With regard to the athletic side of the course, the Warden pointed out to us at the outset that initial physical fitness was not so important as steady improvement throughout the course. Thus a weak boy who made an improvement in his physical abilities was thought more of than a boy who was very fit to start with and had made little or no improvement during the course.

Looking back upon the course I find that it has changed my whole outlook on life, I find now that I can never accept anything as impossible and I find I am able to stick at a problem until I have mastered it. The month I spent at Eskdale was filled with many great experiences and I am moist grateful to the Royal Air Force for having given me such a wonderful opportunity.

R. B. Wills


The age of twelve and round about
Is really very queer:
We grow too old to play with dolls,
Too young for boys to fear;
Too old to play upon the swings,
Too young to wear a bun,
Too old for dressing up with things
Outside, beneath the sun;
Too young to see a horror film,
Too old for big mud pies,
Too young to put on powder puff
In spite of all our tries.
There's many more that I could tell,
But now I cannot think,
For how can I end up my poem
When pen's run out of ink?
Pauline Lockwood (2 Alpha)


At dawn the reapers were already in the rye field. The early morning was one of the kind which results in a hot, clammy day—and the workers felt it. They were uneasy, grumbling about their work, wages and anything else that came into their heads. The night before, there had been some sort of argument with the "boss" and several of the men hadn't got over it. However, they set to work, unwillingly, it is true, but after all they were being paid for it.

Around nine o'clock the reapers downed tools and trooped to the old barn where sandwiches awaited them. It was then that the trouble started. Old Jeb Thompson was telling his son, Jack, called Tom because of his surname, how different it was in the old days, and several older folk agreed with him. They told one another about their higher wages, and smaller fields, and farm house tea when they had finished.

Suddenly, "Let's go on strike!" yelled Sam Ledgard, an angry glint in his eyes. There were yells of agreement.

"But we've nothing to strike for," protested Tom, but he and all the other unwilling men were caught up in the rush to the farmhouse, where they sat around till dinner time.

They knew the "boss" was always amicable with a good meal inside him and they took advantage of this.

The "boss" was sitting in an armchair, reading the newspaper. Angrily, but with a little respect in his voice, Jeb put the matter to him. "Guvnor," he said, "We's 'ere to' tell yer as 'ow we want a rise, or else we goes on strike."

"O.K" threepence an hour extra and knock off at five," drawled a voice.

That was the beginning of the end. What the men did not know was that the boss had handed over the farm to his son, a gad-about, who knew little about handling money or running a farm.

The demand for more money made the crop sell at a loss instead of the profit which had been usually obtained. The farm was abandoned; the reapers had to find other work in the cities and mining towns.

Jeb and Tom moved to a dirty little coal-mining village. The change of air killed Jeb, but Tom married and now has a grown-up son who works in the mines.

We see the three of them, sitting round a roaring fire. Tom smokes his pipe and tells his son, "In my young days, things were different… …………"

His wife smiles, she has heard it all before.

Joan Gospel (4 Alpha)


Just beyond the half-way line
The winger gets his pass.
He beats his man and cuts inside,
The football to his laces tied,
As he streaks across the grass.

At once he closes on the goal
With a sudden burst of speed.
His ears are deafened with the loud
Imploring voices of the crowd,
But these he doesn't heed.

The towering centre-half back
Is the last man left to beat.
With a quick step and an agile skip
The winger gives his man the slip—
The goal yawns at his feet.

"Shoot! Shoot!" they cry, and so he does
Like a bullet from a gun.
But then the crossbar seems to crack,
The flying ball comes hurtling back,
He's missed an easy one!

But with a most prodigious leap
He meets it with his head,
And back like lightning goes the ball.
He has not missed it after all—
Into the net it's sped.
J. Rogers (2 Alpha) 23


It all began when old Giles Fomby bought an old painting from his village's jumble-sale. It was a water-colour painted by some artist called Heinzkel, but old Giles had never heard of him. The painting itself was of an old wizened man sitting in an old wooden armchair. His face was of mixed features and expressions, perhaps not a very good painting. All the same there was something about it; surely it was the eyes-they were dark-blue, and seemed to blink back at old Giles, whenever he looked at it.

Well, old Giles hung it in his parlour, above the mantelpiece, where everyone could see it. On Christmas Eve, Giles had some friends coming to dinner. He busied himself by rushing around the house dusting and cleaning everything he could lay his hands on. Soon his friends came, and he invited them into the dining-room and they all had a splendid meal.

After the meal everybody went into the parlour. Cliff Reynolds was a dealer in paintings and other antiques. He noticed Giles' painting as soon as he stepped into the room. "That's a fine bit o' work y' know, Giles: it'll be worth a few hundred at least. It's genuine."

"Ach, nay," replied Giles, "it's nothing. I only bought it at a village sale. It's not worth the paper that it's painted on."

"You're wrong there, lad, I'll be prepared to give you six hundred in cash for it," said the dealer.

"What!" answered Giles, "are ye off yer rocker, man?"

"All right, then," bargained Cliff "I'll give you eight hundred in cash for it, no strings attached."

But no, Giles wouldn't give in. He'd got a soft spot in his heart for his painting, and neither words nor money would make him give it away.

That night, as it was stormy and cold outside, Giles invited his guests to stay indoors and sleep at his house. As he had only two camp-beds, his own bed and his housekeeper's making four, Giles had to sleep on the sofa that night.

As the clouds rushed across the moon, they cast eerie shadows. Some of these came through Giles' parlour window. These terrible shadows made the painting" move as if it were alive. The eyes sparkled and stared; Giles could feel a cold sweat coming over him. He felt the blood draining from his face and his arms and legs became numb with fear. The painting was moving, coming towards him with slow, jerky footsteps. Instinctively Giles reached out his trembling hand and grabbed the nearest thing he could find-a thick volume of Shakespeare! He hurled the book at the painting. There was a crash, and the sound of falling masonry. Poor old Giles almost fell out of bed with fright. Shakingly his hand reached out to put the light on. Then he saw what he had done. There was a gaping hole in the picture, where the man's head should have been. Beyond it was another hole, in the wall!

This time he jumped excitedly out of his bed to examine the hole. Inside his hand felt a very old, dusty book. It was filled with stamps.

Old Giles ran out of the room to show his friends his wonderful find.

Looking through the book, he found that it contained four or five precious Victoria "penny-blacks" and at least ten "twopenny-reds." The most valuable ones of the lot were in the Spanish and Australian sections, the total amounts going up to over five hundred pounds. The whole book, it was later found, was worth over two thousand pounds.

If Giles had sold his painting he would probably never have found this treasure. The next evening he looked out for a moment at the gathering dusk, then got a chair, climbed on to it and carefully took down the (useless) water-colour from the wall.

Mark D. Bawcut t (2 Alpha)


"Thanks very much," said Inspector Gargen to the newsagent, as be scanned the paper. "It's a bad business about the churchwarden being murdered over in Falcon Wood. There are rumours spreading through the district about a wild……."

At that moment a tall, slim man, slightly stooping, shuffled in. His hair was snow-white and his straggly moustache was streaked with grey. Across his forehead was a long, diagonal scar which seemed to throb angrily against his brown skin. His eyes were curiously flat and lifeless, as though somewhere behind them a light had been obliterated. He collected his papers without a word, and went.

The Inspector looked at his watch abstractedly and then exchanged farewells with the newsagent. Walking outside, he was confronted with a strong icy wind which was lancing down the street, howling like a hungry wolf and telling all alley cats to find a warm cellar. Gargen winced, then briskly walked on down the street pondering the old man. He stopped at the only gas-lamp (really half a gas-lamp for it could hardly keep alight) and looked again at the headlines: FALCON WOODS MURDER-and underneath-CULPRIT MAY BE WOUNDED.

"Find out what you wanted?" asked a voice. It was a polite voice but Gargen got a vivid impression that all was not well and did not answer. The man came forward, a gun glinting in his hand.

"People don't normally use guns to help them to ask questions," said Gargen.

"It a new technique," said the stranger. He was a tall, spare, shock-headed man and, in his own way, handsome. He had dark hair, dark eyes that had the sheen of a gun-barrel, and the whitest face that Gargen had ever seen. It was a frightening pallor that made the stranger's head glimmer eerily in the gas light and gave his eyes the shapelessness of two black holes.

"Move now," he commanded. Gargen obeyed, then suddenly whirled round. The wind swept the newspaper into the stranger's face and Gargen followed up with a punch to the body. The stranger leaped up and hurried off. Gargen fell into pursuit, realising that the stranger was making for Falcon Woods.

The darkness enclosed them as they entered. Then Gargen lost track, heard a knock and saw the glare of a light through the trees. A twig snapped behind him. He whirled round and came face to face with a wild man dressed in strips of gashed cloth. His hair was long and tangled, his beard was filthy and knotted, and the moonlight reflected madly from his glittering eyes. All this Gargen saw in a split second, then the maniac grabbed him; an arm like steel went round his waist and a huge, dirty hand closed over his mouth. The world wheeled dizzily and then

M. Muddiman (4 Alpha)

Big bull,
Very dull,
Sees Fred
Very red,
Fred runs,
Great guns,
Fred's lost!
Fred's tossed,
What a flight!
End in sight,
Poor Fred,
Now dead.
B. D. Newman (2 Alpha )

When the gun fired, the recoil broke it away. While it was running about the deck it cut three men clean in two.

* * * * * * * * * *

David raised his army of trained soldiers, while Absalom only had pheasants.

* * * * * * * * * *

The ship had a very large canon on board. Suddenly it broke loose as they were at sea; the man in charge of it had not fastened it safely. It was a very heavy canon. The captain gave orders to the men to recapture it. This was not easy. With the sway of the ship the canon went backwards and forwards, crashing into the ship's sides. It was only by a miracle it did not burst them.