Colin Dermot Chilvers
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Colin Dermot Chilvers - Aberdovey, Wales, 1944

I attended the Outward Bound School at Aberdovey in early 1944 when I was just seventeen, having already completed my first trip as a midshipman, so I was made one of the Watch Captains.

I had been at boarding school and was used to some of the vigour's of boarding school but was not used to getting up at six am and standing under a diversion of a very cold mountain stream for a morning shower!

We were extended a little more each day so that we ran a hundred yards and I think that we had to do it in ten seconds. Slowly the boys that did not do it on day one had managed it by the end of the course.

We also were given a one way ticket on a train for 28 miles and then we had to work our way back with compass and map over Mt Cader Idris. I was proud that my watch was the first watch back.

We also sailed a schooner - The Prince Louis, in the Welsh Bays. Many of the boys had never seen the sea before. One of the points of this exercise and we were not aware of this at the time, was that in each course there was a boy from a Borstal who was nearly ready for discharge. One of his challenges was that at some time during the course he had to tell his fellow watch mates that he was from a Borstal and what had been his crime.

We had one boy in our watch who I found difficult to obey orders but if I asked him who he thought would be the best one to clean the toilets he would say that he would do it, he did not think the others would have any idea how to do it! Slowly I found he would do anything he was asked to but not if he was told to, so we got on fine and we all pulled as a team. During the last week he suddenly said at dinner that he was from a Borstal because he had hit his girlfriend's mother and nobody took any notice until he repeated it and then somebody said "O.K but pass the jam please!"�

It was then he realised that if he conformed, society would accept him and that was one of the many things that he got from the course. Deep down he was a very nice person.

My brother who had sailed on the Abraham Rydberg before being an apprentice with the Canadian Pacific and torpedoed on the Beaver Burn was sent to teach navigation at Gordonstoun School which had been evacuated to Aberdovey and so I was allowed to spend a Sunday with him and met Kurt Hahn whilst I was there.

"To serve, to strive and not to yield"