REMEMBERING A PERSON
He used to pick his nose, roll up the bogies into little balls and slip them into his mouth to chew up. He’d do this looking out of a window, not realising that he was doing it.
He often annoyed one other boy by standing in such a way as to exaggerate his knock knees, the way they turned pinkly in on each other.
When teased – we’d call it verbal bullying now - he poked his tongue out and at the same time screwed up his face.
He was incredibly good at maths. You gave him a problem from your prep to do and he would suddenly be covering a sheet of paper with numbers like bees rushing out out of his head in all directions, and there was the answer.
He liked to sing The Lincolnshire Poacher, partly so that everyone would tell him to shut up and throw pillows at him.
At playtimes he often went to the hut of the two school gardeners to talk to them.
Once when we had a cricket match at Brighton College we were invited to his house for tea. Upstairs his father had a whole room for an electric train set, with shelves of rails going all round the room, cared little huts, stations, bridge. He made the engines himself out of cocoa tins. On the way back, as the coach went past the boundary out of Brighton, (there was a sign beside the road) he booed and everyone else cheered.
Rod, too, was interested in trains and kept records of train numbers and knew what the different types of carriages were called.
His father had a factory that made paper bags, and there was a slump and rod worried about it at the edge of the cricket field.
He was weak and always got beaten in fights. He was too easily provoked to lash out and then got the worse of it. But he was very brave in his weakness. He broke an arm making a rugby tackle in a match against another school. The other boy was big and all Rod could do was throw himself at his ankles.
At cricket he opened the batting and you could see he was scared of the fast bowlers but somehow managed to score by gliding the balls off his bat.
But when it came to school rules he was teased as being a ‘goody-goody’. Before leaving the prep school we had to ‘confess’ something, and he had nothing to confess. So he deliberately went out of bounds to another boy’s house the week before to have something to say.
He and I were exact contemporaries but like the other boys I looked down on him for being ‘a weed’ . One during a cross country race as I was getting near the finishing post I heard him shouting behind him. He wanted is to come in together as that would give our House more points I was so ashamed of being seen to come in with him and that put extra effort in a got away from him.
He got a scholarship to public school, and would have gone on to Oxford or Cambridge, but while doing his National Service – it came between school and university - he was killed in Cyprus – ‘by accidental fire’ it said. Second lieutenant. December 6 , 1956, aged 20.