TORMORE SCHOOL, Upper Deal, Kent

by Robert Brow   (   Aurora, Ontario    April 2008

Michael Garton sent me this information:
In your internet entry you ask whether anyone knows when Paul Spurrier
took over.  I can tell you.  I went in May 1955 and that was FGT's
last term.  PKS took over in the Autumn Term 1955, and, together with
his sympathetic wife, he breathed a breath of fresh air into the
school and it moved forward a lot, ie became more humane and kept in
tune with the changes of the time.  His son Julian was there with me
and my contemporary.  (Like me, he became a solicitor/lawyer, but
later on he had a slightly chequered career.)
He added that he visited the old site of the school and found it is
now replaced by a housing estate.  The following is extracted from my
In September 1933, at the age of nine I was taken to Tormore School,
Upper Deal, Kent. I spoke English like a Frenchman, and I was teased
mercilessly as a "Froggie."
The Headmaster was known as "Fidget." Mr. F.G.Turner's passion was to
produce boys who would go on to get first class honours at Oxford or
Cambridge. I soon discovered that this required learning all the dates
of the kings and queens of England, writing Latin poetry, and reading
classical Greek at sight. French would be no problem, except that Mrs.
Meredith forced me to learn all the grammar which I never even knew
existed in Belgium. There was soccer before the Christmas holidays,
rugby till Easter, and cricket in the summer term.

I must have got a bit of religion. Every Sunday we had to put on our
Eton collars and form a crocodile to walk five minutes to Morning
Prayer at the local Anglican church. We then had to learn the Collect
prayer for that week off by heart. There was also a weekly Scripture
class, but the only bit of theology that I remember was "Joshua the
son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, were the only two who ever
got through to the land of milk and honey."

I acquired some useful skills. We wore shorts, and our stockings were
held up by garters. I could slip off a garter, take aim, and flick a
fly off the ceiling during the daily hour of prep. Later, I learned to
do this with an elastic band, which gave me great renown. In the
summer term we each had a six-by-twelve foot garden plot, and once I
won the garden prize. I also got the bed making prize for the best
envelope corners in the school.  I failed choir.

At Tormore, Mr. Turner believed that corporal punishment was the stick
that made boys learn. I never got "four of the best," but every week I
knew that if I didn't get my next lot of interminable Latin and Greek
verbs off pat, or my equations done, I would be called in to "Fidget"
to bend over and get the blue marks on my bottom that I often saw on
A senior red-headed boy was a terrible bully. He terrorized the
younger boys till finally Mr. Turner had to intervene. He called
Dillon's parents down and gave them the choice of having their boy
expelled, or having him slippered by all the little boys he had been
mean to. They gladly chose the latter. The bully had to bend over a
chair, and I remember using my gym shoe to whack him as hard as I
could on the bum. I was impressed by the fairness of this British
justice, none of us younger boys were ill treated again and Dillon did
as well as the rest of us.
The downside of being sent to Tormore was that the shock of trying to
learn to speak and behave like an Englishman gave me an excruciating
stutter. It never left me till I went into the army, and even now my
face can contort and the words get stuck when I am in a tense

**David Mertens (Journalist, Tormore 1953-59) wrote to confirm the above
item about Mr. Spurrier

Robert Brow





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