At the OP Centenary Dinner on April 21st, 2017 12 members of the unbeaten 1st XV in 1962 reunited for the first time in 55 years.
Shown in the image above are:
Back row: David Hamner, James Neale, Roddy Adams, Shaun Maynard, Julian Coles, Chas Realf, Andy Shanks.
Front row: Bob Roberts, Mike Ramsden, Roger Lane-Nott, Less Byrne, Robert Wingate.
One member of the team, the “tower of strength” No. 8 G.F.M. Thomas, was in Kenya and unable to attend. Openside wing forward C. Race has died. And one, the “reliable” full back A.A. Wilson, could not be traced.
The reunion was organised by the speedy left wing Bob Roberts who, along with flyhalf Les Byrne, later played for the England Under-19 XV. The current Chairman of the Governors at the College and the hooker and captain of the 1962 side Roger Lane-Nott enthusiastically supported the initiative. Prop Julian Coles had traveled from the USA, second rower Shaun Maynard from South Africa, blindside wing forward MIke Ramsden from India and scrum half Andy Shanks from Spain. On the day after the dinner, the team reconvened in The Swan pub in the village to lunch with its coach Lionel Stephens.
Steve later wrote: “The lunch at The Swan was, for me, a very emotional occasion. The OP who initiated this was Bob Roberts who took three months to trace the team. I had met since they left only four. The others were totally unrecognisable. At the end I was given a lovely card and a 1st XV rugby shirt with all their names on it…It was one of the most moving occasions of my life.”
Bob Roberts added: “What a magical weekend, like a fairy tale. I keep expecting to wake up and find it was a wonderful dream, was it really real? As Mike Ramsden said ’55 years transformed itself, seeming like just yesterday, a Sci-Fi Back to the Future.’ Every one of us took a leap of faith to make the journey, some at considerable expense and family inconvenience. Wow, did it exceed expectations. A memory of a lifetime!”
Richard Devitt (53-58) and Jeremy Sanders (56-60) met by chance in near the Arctic circle in 2016.
Richard writes: “I was accosted by a v pangbournian type voice, saying ‘You’re Devitt aren’t you? You won’t remember me – I was junior to you at the NCP’ and the small world clause sprang into action again. In the phto we’re enjoying a joke, probably about ‘Mobbers’ (Max Findlater)! Earlier in the trip, and there were only 100 of us, I had found someone I had been at prep school with!”
Richard Kendall (75-79) who is based in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA as CEO of HAECO Americas, a large aerospace and aircraft maintenance company, recently visited Sylvan Heights Bird Park, owned and run by Mike Lubbock (57-61). He was on his way back to Greensboro with his family from the North Carolina coast at the time.
He reports: “Mike and his wife Ali and son Brent were most hospitable and Mike took three hours out of what was quite a busy day for them at the park to show us comprehensively around not only the bird park but also the breeding centre that was the start of their activities in North Carolina. It looks as though they are well on their way to a record number of visitors this year!”
A biography of Mike Lubbock was published in 2014. It is reviewed in the Book Review section of this website.
Earlier, at the start of April, the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus announced that it had selected HAECO Cabin Solutions, a division of HAECO Americas, as its supplier for the Centerline Ceiling Stowage (CCS) compartment line-fit option for the new A320 Family aircraft. Delivery of the new units will begin in the first quarter of 2018. The CCS is designed to hold crew luggage, onboard wheelchairs, life rafts and other emergency equipment and comes in two sizes.
The award is a milestone for HAECO Cabin Solutions which became part of the Hong Kong-based HAECO Group following the acquisition of TIMCO Aerosystems in 2014. “Being a supplier for the A320, known for its innovative cabins of exceptionally high quality, affirms HAECO’s dedication to those same values in our products,” Richard informed the media at the time.
Chris Ledsam (64-68) and his wife put in appearances at the West Country lunch in Brixham, Devon, in April – something of a first for Chris who has not been back to the College since the term after he left nearly 50 years ago.
Now living in Portsmouth and running a company that makes paper cups, Chris did 20 years in the Merchant Navy after the NCP, mostly in Blue Star and P&O Ferries, before coming ashore. A long time friend of Edward Bence (64-68), the owner of the Berry Head hotel where the lunch took place, Chris was pleased to see several other OPs of his vintage at the event.
Frank Cox (55-59) attended his first reunion since leaving the NCP 58 years earlier when he and his wife were at the excellent West Country centenary lunch in Brixham, Devon in April. He said that he enjoyed the experience so perhaps it won’t be another fifty years before his next appearance!
After the Nautical College, Derek went into the Merchant Navy for a few years before changing course and joining the Fleet Air Arm and then the RAF. He served for more than 25 years, flying both jets and helicopters. Aged 50, he then became a helicopter pilot in the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry, flying in all conditions and living near Aberdeen. Three years ago, he retired and moved with his wife south to Cornwall for family reasons. He now lives near Launceston.
- Val Were (Hesperus 1938-41) is only one of two born and bred New Zealand OPs and is probably the second oldest still up and running at 93 after Keith Evans (33-37). Val was hoping to be at the Centenary Gala Dinner at the RNZYS on 25th February, but decided a couple of weeks prior to the event that he wasn’t up to it. He was, however, promised a ‘Welcome Pack’ with all the ‘goodies’ in it, including a short history of the College. So here he is with the organiser of the NZ reunion, Robin Paine (55-58; right in the photo) being presented with the pack at his retirement village in Auckland.
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Philip Bellamy (48-53) lives in Switzerland. In retirement he spends much of his “free” time making radio-controlled boats and now has a fleet of some 30 or more boats, most of which are models from the Coastal Forces. Through model boat building he got to know another OP resident of Switzerland – Chris Gilson-Taylor (57-61). Philip also is a major contributor to and Honorary Vice President of the Surface Warship Association.
Instead of going to Dartmouth from the NCP, Philip was employed by the Ministry of Defence before going to university for five years to gain a B.Sc. and then working on several defence projects until 1961. At this point he got an offer to go to Switzerland to work on guided missiles. This proved to be a short-lived job as the Swiss decided to buy a missile off-the-shelf rather than build their own. Philip’s next project involved him in designing, building and testing the main chasis for the ESRO 1 satellite – the first European satellite. This meant working in France and Holland. Once the ESRO 1 project ended Philip set up a company with the Eurotherm Group to work on industrial process control systems – a business that lasted to his retirement.
The new OP Rep in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, James Mackenzie (87-92), reports:
“Ian Busby suggested I share with you news on some recent success that I had at work in 2016. Each year the top sales individuals from across the country at Rogers are selected to be part of what is called a ‘President’s Club’. I was fortunate enough to win a position again in 2017 for sales achievements in 2016. This year’s recognition trip is to Cancun, Mexico (in May). I’ve been fortunate enough to have been selected on another five occasions since I started working at Rogers so this new award makes it six in 10 years. This isn’t necessarily something I generally talk about a lot but Ian thought it could be considered in a future OP issue.”
Well done James! And let’s hear about other OP achievers!
- Chris Andrew (77-84) writes:“I am wondering if there is a list of OP Clergy or Readers in the Church of England? I am a Licensed Reader/Lay Minister in the Diocese of Gloucester and it would be interesting to know if there are likewise colleagues around the world.I attach a recent photo of myself (l) with the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, which may be of interest.”If any OPs can help with this inquiry, please contact email@example.com