Rhubarb 2019

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b


truth. Yet optimism somehow prevails, and even his failure held the seeds of success.’ Charismatic, in the widest sense, Grahame Dangerfield was a knowledgeable, interesting and amusing friend and colleague in whose company it was a joy to be. He had an eclectic range of friends and acquaintances with whom he would discuss the problems of the world, always interspersed with humour. DAVIS – On 11th March 2018, Bruce Campbell Davis (B, 1951- 1955). This obituary kindly provided by Wendy Davis, Bruce’s daughter: Bruce Campbell Davis was born on 4th April 1938 in Calcutta, India, the only child of Arthur Cuthbert Davis and Marjorie Davis. Following the war Bruce and Marjorie, now a widow, returned to London. Marjorie had to enter the workforce. Bruce was sent to boarding school, first to Swanbourne House as a nine year old. I remember asking him whether he was upset, and he said no but some of his classmates used to cry. Bruce did not seem to be able to understand this as he thought school was great fun! Bruce attended St Edward’s School from 1951 to 1955. Marjorie remarried and moved to Ireland. This meant that at half term Bruce usually remained at School and it was during one half term he was introduced to sailing, a sport and interest that remained a large part of his life until the end. Bruce enjoyed a variety of other sports at St Edward’s including diving, hockey and rugby. After he had completed his O Levels, Marjorie organised with a next-door neighbour, Winston Forbes, for Bruce to commence work at the Guardian Insurance company, Bruce remained with the same company through acquisitions, mergers and name changes for his entire working life.

Bruce met Pamela Small when they were 16 and he returned to Ireland from School for the holidays. People who remember them commented that, from that time, Pam and Bruce were inseparable – two halves of a whole. Pam and Bruce married in 1963 and settled in Dublin building a house and starting a family. They had two children: Wendy (born 1964) and Ian (born 1967). Bruce continued to sail, in a Dublin Bay Mermaid. When Bruce decided he wanted his own boat, Pam said if he wanted a boat, he had to sell the car, which he did. Family outings from then on involved travel by public transport. The family emigrated to Australia in 1970. Pam was influential in the decision to purchase a trailer sailer that was suitable for the family to sail together. Ian has maintained a lifelong interest in sailing and sailboarding. Pam and Bruce enjoyed a productive retirement together, travelling, regularly moving to new houses, and spending a few years in Margaret River. While Pam loved Margaret River, Bruce was not so keen on the cold and damp, so they returned to Perth. The last years were difficult as Pam was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and she had to be transferred to a nursing home in 2015. Bruce visited nearly every day and her passing left a very big hole in his life.

Bruce was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and heart failure and died peacefully with Wendy, Ian and Ian’s wife Mei by his side. DAWSON – On 29th September 2018, Michael John Dawson (D, 1941-1944). These words are taken from the tribute given at Michael’s funeral by his half-brother, Christopher, Captain in the Indian Army. A sister, Brigid, was born in 1930, and then Judith Anne, myself Christopher Patrick, and then Heather Patience. Now only Judy and I survive. Michael attended preparatory school in Scarborough and then in Westoe, North Yorkshire. From there he obtained an Exhibition worth the princely sum of £30 to St Edward’s, Oxford. He mostly had good memories of St Edward’s despite being beaten on at least two occasions, once for swimming in the school pool after lights out, and the other for wearing dirty shoes despite having been reprimanded for the same crime only the previous day! Happier memories of the School were of sumptuous cakes and jam tarts bought from a shop outside the gates which was generally out of bounds for the boys except on Saturday, though Michael found a loophole in the system! Michael was at St Edward’s in the latter stages of the War and he clearly remembered the many American airmen who would visit the boys to teach them how to play softball and, more importantly, how to chew gum. He also remembered seeing many Flying Fortresses (B-17s) in dire straits returning from bombing raids, with holes in their wings and fuselages. They were clearly visible at only and were passed to us by Michael’s widow, Valerie: Michael was born 21st November 1927, the son of Cyril Dawson, a former

about 1000ft as they staggered home. It was something never to forget. What surely drove Michael to a military life was a visit to St Edward’s in 1943 from an Indian Army Recruiting Officer as a result of which he, at age 16, recklessly put his name down. A year later he found himself steaming to Bombay to join the Madras Regiment with which he served from 1945-7. He then joined the Parachute Regiment and was posted to Palestine where he found himself in the midst of the conflict over the establishment of a Jewish State. He received the honour of ‘being mentioned in Despatches for bravery and distinguished service’ of which he was rightly immensely proud. He left the Army, very briefly tried his hand at market gardening, and then joined the RAF as a pilot officer. He married Valerie, a midwife, in 1956 and they had postings in many different parts of the world including RAF Kinloss, Gibraltar, RAF Bruggen, Germany and Tengah, Singapore where Michael was Commanding Officer of 45 Squadron. His first son Alistair was born in 1958 followed by Andrew in 1961. Michael was pleased to end up back in his beloved Yorkshire at RAF Leeming. Once he had retired he and Valerie eventually built their own house at Constable Burton, near Leyburn, primarily, I suspect, for the shooting on the Wyvill Estate and the company he enjoyed with members of that family. He and Valerie would go on long walks in that lovely part of the world with a troop of dogs inevitably in support. Above all Michael loved his family and was immensely proud of his boys Alistair and Andrew and their success in life. He loved his grandchildren Amelia, James and Kristina. Valerie enjoyed a long, happy and faithful life


Bruce Campbell Davis

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