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News > Churcher's Chat > Churcher's Chat - Series 1, Article 2

Churcher's Chat - Series 1, Article 2

We chat to John Bushell (48) about his memories of Churcher's...

Do you remember your first day at Churcher's?

My first day at Churcher's was mandated by Adolf Hitler. His heavy bombing of Portsmouth resulted in a number of parents asking if their children might be taken early as boarders, so my brother Peter and I together with John Blake, the Greenburg brothers and Rodney Franklin were dropped at Mount House nearly a week early. Summer was ending and the weather still warm so apart from a great time wandering the empty school, Headmaster "Bill" Hogarth gave us some small plots at the bottom of the field under his office window to garden. We were given air raid alarm drill which was; on the sounding of the alarm  put on our dressing gowns, pick up our sleeping bags and move down to the cellar where we could sleep until the all clear was sounded. Mr Cottle was the house master for Mount House in which he had a family apartment, and Miss Tribe was the Juniors matron. 

What was your favourite subject and was there a teacher that particularly inspired you?

Throughout my time at Churcher’s my favourite subject was History in its many forms. Both in the English language as taught by the “Gus” Kershaw or by the Master of History the Rev “Woody” Woodward.  The readings of Chaucer by Gus were a cause of great amusement and stayed with me long after leaving, and the presentation by Woody of the Plantagenets, Tudors and Stuarts has led to a lifelong interest in military history .

Although only coached for a year in geography for the Civil Service exam for entry to Sandhurst, I must mention the care that Mr “Tut” T.C.Turner took over my learning of Projections, Sanson-Flamsteed, Mercator and the like. In earlier years he would rule his class with an 8 foot bamboo (which he called 'Beelzebub') which hit the desk of any unfortunate whose attention had wandered, with a resounding bang.

Mr le Grice was my first sports coach. His attempt to persuade me to box failed on the first bloody nose. For my last three years “Paddy” Eaton coached the rugby team and we had some great games against RGS Guildford, Brighton College and Peter Symonds at Winchester.

What did you do after leaving school?

Having passed the Cambridge School Exam and been through the various selection Boards I enlisted for my National Service in the 12th Lancers and spent three months basic training at Barnard Castle in the same camp at which I had spent two weeks on a CCF Course the year before. Sandhurst followed with a Commission in December 1949, and 34 years of service, much of which was spent with Colonial, Commonwealth or Associated Forces overseas.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Always be polite and respectful. Arrogance and contempt are for losers.

What would you say is one thing that makes Churcher's special?

Churcher’s is a sound ship with a great crew that can fly a long commissioning pennant.


Thank you very much to John for taking part in Churcher's Chat.

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