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We hear a lot these days about encouraging the younger generation into pastimes such as model boats and model engineering and probably these issues have always been a topic for gloomy discussion. The very fact that we are still at it probably gives the lie to the gloomiest predictions. Anyway, this train of thought was brought about by a discovery in a dark corner of my workshop:
Many years ago (in a different life) I was involved in primary education and following a BBC schools tv series on Nelson and naval history the class project developed into one about ships and all things naval. One group was fascinated by sailing ships after we had visited both HMS Victory and the Mary Rose ( still lying on her side then) and inspired by some drawings of different rigs in a Model Boats Scale Special they made some simple models to illustrate them. This is what I found, along with an Airfix HMS Manxman and two of those superb 1/700 (?) waterline models, of HMS Hood and the Bismarck, these three made by me to add to the display. These pictures show all these items which have survived years tucked away among the junk in the garage! The sail models were simply made with balsa, dowel, cotton and cartridge paper for sails, and some had even started to acquire rigging and staysails before the term ended. This all happened many years ago and I have been retired from teaching for 20 years, but I can still remember the names of all the different rigs, despite never having been a sailor - I hope it inspired some of the class into modelling, if not getting involved in the real thing.
Did something similar to your pupils when I was at school in 1961 along with our English teacher who was an ex R.N. skipper. Whenever we had a boring lesson someone would ask about the war which meant we had tales about his life with the Atlantic convoys and what it was like being sunk a few times. But most of all we all respected him, he kept us enthralled as well as imparting the knowledge we needed to pass our exams up to A level.
Hi Colin As you might have seen from another of my posts on this forum, I also had a teacher with a WW2 naval background. When the new head arrived in the mid 1960's we knew he had won a DSC but not what for. Only after I had left school and my mother gave me a copy of one of his books, which she had got him to autograph, did I find out. He had been on MGB's during the latter part of the war, on MGB658 where he rose from navigating officer to Captain before the war ended. "Motor Gunboat 658" is a cracking good read, as are his 3 other books on the coastal forces in WW2. His name was LC Reynolds and you can read his obituary here: http://cfv.org.uk/obituary/view/leonard-charles-reynolds All the best Smiffy