Page 214 - Hymerian_2017_18
P. 214

  From: Mike Cowburn
Sent: 13 March 2018 18:37
To: Old Hymerians
Subject: Hymers Teacher Who’s
Dear Hymers,
I’ve just received the
2016/2017 Annual Magazine –
what a magnificent record that
is! I was staggered to see Tony
Swain’s letter with a clip from
the School Photograph featuring
me in the bottom left hand
corner, two rows in front of
Mr Birtles. I was actually in
UIIIA at the time but as I was so small, I was put in the front row.
I can confirm that Tony is correct. It is Miss Allan next to Alfie Birtles and
Mrs Ashworth next to Mr Bunker. They all wore gowns, of course. Miss Allan’s
was of the type with the sleeves partly sewn up from the bottom, forming a
pocket in which she kept a squash ball. When riled, she could grab hold of the
sleeve and wield it as a threat, but I don’t think she ever hit anyone with
it. Mrs Ashworth (Cinders) was my favourite ‘master’ (we had to call all of
them ‘Sir’). She was able to make algebra so clear and logical and gave me a
good grounding for Jimmy Hilton’s more advanced work.
To the left of Mr Bunker is ‘Flash’ Forsythe (French). His favourite punishment was to give ‘Lines’ to be copied out repetitively. Some of us could tie three pens together and write three lines at the same time. I enjoyed his classes because the language intrigued me so I could overlook his mannerisms. I think he may have been gassed at some stage in WW1, but he never spoke about it.
Like Tony, I too worked at Blackburn’s on the Buccaneer, but I was in the
Development Department and made the prototype formed Perspex canopies and wing
tip light covers.
I had left school in 1950, too young to go to University straight from School.
With a New Year’s Eve birthday, I had taken the 11 plus at 101⁄2, and then
Hymers only took 6 years to HSC (A levels), so I took an apprenticeship at
Blackburn’s with day release for a Bachelor’s degree. I went on from there
to the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield for a DCAe, converted to MSc when
Cranfield became a University.
That’s when I came back to Blackburn’s, but I only stayed a couple of years
because there were so many Graduates around. Many emigrated to Canada, as it

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