Tower Ramparts school trip

SCHOOL trips are a mixture of education and adventure for pupils.I doubt few have such an unusual background, as the one made by pupils of Tower Ramparts School, Ipswich in 1957.

SCHOOL trips are a mixture of education and adventure for pupils.

I doubt few have such an unusual background, as the one made by pupils of Tower Ramparts School, Ipswich in 1957.

The wonderful mountain air and scenery of Switzerland now attracts thousands from our part of the world every year, but travel was not so easy 50 years ago. Former Tower Ramparts teacher, 88-year-old Roy Lee, who now lives in retirement in Anglesea Road, Ipswich, was a teacher at the school for around eight years from 1949.

Roy had served with the 67th Medium Regiment of the Territorial Army during the Second World War. He was captured by the Germans near Tabrook, Libya in June 1942 and transported to Italy. He was in poor physical condition and suffering from several life threatening diseases.


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After five months in a military hospital, where he learned Italian, he was given work in the fields of northern Italy. In August 1943 friendly Italians told him that prisoners of war were being transported by the Germans to Poland, so with two other prisoners he walked, dresses as Italians, for five days and after several lucky breaks made it into neutral Switzerland. After some time sleeping on straw in a school hall he was put into a hotel in the ski resort of Adelboden. The British government was paying the bill and Roy enjoyed a fine time, even learning to ski.

At that time Switzerland was surrounded by occupied countries and it was not until September 1944 when allied troops moved through Europe that Roy was able to get back home.

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So where else to take the boys from Ipswich on a school trip, but the beautiful town of Adelboden?

The journey from Ipswich was by train. They left Ipswich Station soon after midday on July 16 1957 and were pulled by steam locomotives travelling across France and Switzerland arriving 24 hours later. It must have been quite an adventure, in a time when few had television and had seen little more than a few photographs in books of the Alps. It was all a huge contrast to the flat landscape of Suffolk.

Roy said: “I thought it was a superb environment for young people to stretch their eyes, legs and imagination. The other two teachers on the trip were Mr Finbow and Mr Foley. We stayed on a farm. In the Alps farmers live above a barn in the winter with their cattle below. We had the building for our stay. We slept on bedding we stuffed ourselves with hay. The farmer brought us fresh milk every day and we drank water from the mountain steam. We lit a fire every morning to cook our food. It was a wonderful time for us all.”

Roy has kept the booklet for the trip, which had some interesting advice to the boys on the trip: “The chalet must be kept clean and tidy at all times. Each boy will be responsible for his bed and kit. The chalet is one of a group used by international parties. We shall represent Great Britain and will be judged by our behaviour, remember this at all times.”

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Were you one of the boys on this trip inspired by Roy's time as an escaped prisoner of war?

Write with your memories to: Dave Kindred, Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

SAILING the seven seas in huge ships by wind power alone is a skill now known by relatively few. Until the 1930s huge sailing ships were a regular site in Ipswich Dock. I recently featured the mast manning ceremony at HMS Ganges when boys covered the rigging in an annual spectacular ceremony recalling the days when sailors had to risk their lives climbing masts and rigging to alter the ships sails to suit wind conditions.

The visit to Ipswich recently by the replica of the Discovery amazed most visitors as to how tiny the wind-powered ship was. In December 1606 it was one of three ships which set sail for the New World with 105 settlers who in May 1607, found Jamestown, which became the first permanent English speaking colony in what would become the United States of America.

Mrs Millbourne of Thanet Road, Ipswich, was one of thousands who enjoyed the visit of Discovery. It prompted her to send me this photograph from her parents' collection featuring a sailing ship in Ipswich Dock.

Mrs Millbourne said: “The ship must have looked wonderful with all its sails up. My father has written the name of the ship on the back of the photograph The Melbourne.”

HOW many times have you heard 'I wish I had kept the receipt' said, or mumbled it to yourself when you want to return an item to the dealer?

I recently featured motorcycling memories in Kindred Sprits, with photographs of riders on bikes from the 1920s and 30s. Thanks to a reader, not only are we now able to put a name to the rider featured, but the original receipt has been kept for 81 years!

The rider featured in the photograph by Ipswich photographers The Titshall Brothers was Mr Harold Spall of 111 Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, on his Rex Acme, which he purchased from C E Hammond of St Nicholas Street, Ipswich. Harold traded in a Douglas for £8 and his final balance was a little over £43.

The receipt was sent to me by a member of Harold's family who wishes to remain anonymous.

Do you remember Hammond's shop in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star.

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