Date Posted... Oct 26th 2021




John Holland CO54

John Holland shares his memories of Truro School. 

I was a Truro School pupil for eight years from 1946 to 1954 and enjoyed my time there immensely. Being an only child, the school became an extension of my family and I found great enjoyment in meeting ambitious boys of my own age. I don’t ever recall being top of the class but usually came in the top 50%. Because I played rugby (football in my first term which was discontinued the following year) and other sports, life was pretty good. 

Five of my younger cousins were TS scholarship pupils who all went on to become teachers, Brian CO57 and Paul Robinson CO61, Edwin Bennett CO62, and Kenneth CO67 and Christopher Holland CO70. 

My first introduction was quite alarming. A certificate of “freedom from infection” recently signed by a parent had to be presented at the school gate before admission was allowed. It was a very windy day on my first day and when I handed the paper to the person collecting and monitoring admissions it blew away. I had to run to my father’s workplace in River Street, Truro to obtain a fresh one before I was allowed into school! 

From my junior school, St. Paul’s Practicing School, I managed to gain a scholarship. Three other lads from the school called Terry Hall CO53, Lionel Hodge CO53, and Peter Solomon CO55 were also successful. Terry became a postal worker and served behind the counter at Truro Post Office, Lionel entered the Nat West Bank and Peter became an architect and worked in County Hall. Sadly, they have all now died. I was very lucky that my parents fully supported my ambitions. At the entrance exam interview with Mr A L Creed (TS Headmaster 1946-59) I told him I wanted to be a doctor or a schoolteacher. I’m glad I chose the former. 

Although I was reasonably good at French and Latin my mind had already been set on biological studies and from the fourth form onwards my future course was determined. I spent three years in the Sixth Form and eventually managed to get a Cornwall County Council Exhibition Scholarship which enabled me to go to Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, London where I began my medical studies. In Upper Sixth biology, there were 3 other boys Chris Rigby CO54, Bruce McGregor-Williamson CO54 and Martin Eburne CO54. Chris went to Downing College, Cambridge, and Bruce to the Middlesex Hospital. Although I lost contact with Eburne, Chris entered General Practice in the Maidstone area and Bruce was one of the few remaining GP Surgeons in England during his time in Melton Mowbray. 

Mr Alan Scales (TS 1945-1976), who later in life became my patient, taught me Physics, Dr S. Robinson (TS 1952-1954) Chemistry and Mr. T.C. Davis (TS 1950-1954) Biology. There were two girl pupils from the High School in the year above doing A level Physics and Chemistry as it was not taught at their school. Mary Way, the daughter of the TS music master, Mr Stanley Way (TS 1922–1963) was one of them, she became a midwife and married a TS student called Robert Bond CO55from the Scilly Isles. They may well have been the first girl students. 

My main sport was rugby, I played for three years at Twickenham in the Public School’s Sevens and was Secretary of the school team in my last year. Roger Biddick CO54 (head boy) was the team captain. No doubt rugby helped me to gain a place at medical school.  

Unfortunately, there was virtually no career advice that I recall, and all my encouragement came from my parish priest at St Paul’s Church, Canon C Kelland Peake. He also helped another TS friend, John Fussell CO51 obtain an organ scholarship at Hertford College, Oxford. 

Other memories include the firing of a homemade canon built illegally by Peter Sevier CO51 and Nick Valentine CO50 from the physics lab, the highest building in the school at that time, over the main school. It meant making an explosive chemical in the chemistry lab, using an Archimedes ball from the physics lab and an old metal drainage downpipe from who knows where. In the early 2000s I met them at a Truro School reunion for former pupils of 1950/56. One came over from Canada, the other from Bristol. They told me that they were able to easily purchase fuses in Truro at that time!  

My long-lasting TS friends Peter Hoadley CO54 and Michael Kearney CO53 both became Civil Engineers, but sadly they have also passed on. I’m reminded that I followed Geoffrey Boughey CO50, one of two TS doctor brothers, into a family’s job when doing National Service. He later emigrated to Tasmania, his brother, Neil CO48 was an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Norfolk and had also been at Charing Cross Med School as a student. 

I believe I have been very lucky to have had a most enjoyable life. Eighteen months of hospital jobs, 2 in Cornwall. Two years in the army doing National Service, including 6 months in the Cameroons with the Grenadier Guards. General Practice in Helston (3 years), Bletchley (13 years) and Newquay (18 years). I have now been retired for 26 years in my beloved County. I’m still married to my SRN (State Registered Nurse), modern language teacher, German wife. We have two daughters one a retired nurse, the other a doctor and now a practicing Psychotherapist in Cornwall and a granddaughter doctor who qualified from Oxford Uni – something I’d always aspired to but could never have afforded. What more could I wish for? 

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