When the new Queen returned from London to Windsor, the school got passes for a party of senior boys to go to Windsor Castle to see the Queen. I was fortunate enough to go as well as my father was asked to take some of the boys. As a doctor, he was one of the few who had cars in post-war Britain. We drove from the school to Windsor, where we parked in Windsor Great Park and then had a long walk to The Long Walk where we found a suitable spot near the castle. The Royal procession travelled up the Long Walk and in to the castle. One of my memories of that day was finding a Wasp's nest in the ground at the base of the tree where we were standing to watch the procession. Luckily it was uninhabited when I dug it up!!
At school we all received Coronation mugs, very nice ones. I kept mine for a long time but it disappeared some years ago, lost or broken in one of the moves.
Scouting was always a major activity at Caldicott. It is something that I regret seeing passing in today's modern schools as it did teach a great deal of self-reliance. I am sure that a lot of today's problems are due to boredom and not having any interests outside computer games, TV, etc. The lessons learned stood me in good stead. On a camping holiday in Cornwall some years later, we had a severe gale and when the morning dawned, bright and sunny, ours was the only tent still standing or not flooded out!
Thank you Mr Cooper for your training in camping.
There are so many memories of that time. Mr Rice, the groundsman, taking delivery of the new John Deere tractor, a strange looking American machine in green with yellow stripes, which replaced the old Fordson which had seen better days.
I don't know how many pupils appreciated the grounds at Caldicott. There were many species of plants there, which were very rare and unusual, many collected by Mr Cooper's brother, the gardening author WE Shewell-Cooper. I remember looking out of the sick-room window and seeing the huge green leaves of the Indian Bean Tree there with its long pods of seeds, the many azaleas and rhododendrons, the huge cedar trees, the long yew hedges that flanked the main drive way with their archways and other secret ways through!
There were other things as well, the bamboo thickets below the main lawns, the wood and lake, which was out of bounds, at the bottom of the long playing field, and the scene normally for the really muddy sections of the bicycle trial.
Caldicott also gave me a love of cars. In later life I went on to do a bit of rallying and marshalling on International rallies but Caldicott was foundation of my interest. Mr Cooper originally drove MGs for the Works team in various trials and his study had many photographs and trophies. He had a green MG TC, I think it was, before he traded it in for a more practical MG Magnette. Mr Anderson had a black MG TA with the high ratio rear axle. I believe it had competed before the war at Brooklands and was geared for speed rather than acceleration. Mrs Reddington had her Austin 7 saloon, a car that was as small as she was large. It used to take on a decided list to starboard when she got in and drove home.
I only went back to Caldicott once after I left. My good friend, Ross Barnes, was still there, having not managed to get into Charterhouse in the Common Entrance - at least I think it was Charterhouse he was down for.
After that I lost the desire to go back as so many of my memories would have been shredded! Perhaps I will go back just to see how much has changed. I wonder if the air raid shelter, the carpentry shop, and the huddle of sheds that were Forms 1, 2 and 6 are still there. Then there was the corrugated iron shed that housed the model railway, the little brick store room against the brick wall that separated the kitchen garden from the gardens by the archway, in which many hours were spent developing films and printing them. Alas very few of mine have survived apart from one film of the scout camp at Aber, probably in 1956 or 57.
I was told the Yew hedges were gone to provide more playing field space - don't know why, you can't make a pitch any bigger! Were the scouts and the Summer Camp at Aber disbanded and consigned to history? So many questions and I don't know if I want to know the answers.
The Bristol Brabazon made several appearances but it suffered many mechanical problems and I don't think it actually made it to the flypast on the day. There were a lot of American aircraft there as well … I particularly remember the squadron of Lockheed Lightnings, strange twin fuselage aircraft with the cockpit on one fuselage.
Many of the World War II aircraft were there of course, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lancasters, Mustangs as well as civil aircraft of the period De Havilland Rapides and many others. The more modern jets were represented in the form of the Gloster Meteor, Vampire and Hawker Hunter and the new V- Bombers, Vickers Valiant, Avro Vulcan and, my favourite, the Handley Page Victor.
On the day of the Coronation, I was fortunate enough to see most of it on our new television, a 12" Ultra black and white set that my father had managed to get installed in time. The BBC mounted a huge outside broadcast to cover the route and the Abbey, I believe the largest outside broadcast ever undertaken at that time.