Derek Porter
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Derek Porter - Aberdovey, Wales, 1945

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to us by Derek Porter, published with his permission:

"First let me say how pleased I am that not only is Outward Bound still surviving, but that by raising more funds you are endeavouring to provide a wonderful experience to even more young people. I am of course biased, not only because I personally had the benefit of attendance, but because I had a very long connection with the Boy Scout Movement that has objectives that are comparable in many ways.

[...] What effect did Course 43 have on me; how did I benefit? First it showed me the need for firm and positive leadership. [...] The instructors at Outward Bound brooked no nonsense but it was discipline with a purpose. Second, it was easy to exert leadership in a known and friendly environment but it was very different outside one's previous experience. The example that I would quote here is that of suddenly being told to take charge of the 10oar cutter and bring it safely into dock. Thirdly it is important not only to learn from experience but also to look for appropriate ways of developing that new knowledge. Take a broad view; life has its ups and downs.

To try to sum up I will say that Outward Bound was an important formative part of a continual learning process that, for me, continued for over forty years."�

The following are excerpts from Derek Porter's memoirs, which he has also kindly permitted us to publish:

"There is something [...] that happened in 1945 for which I have to thank the Scouts and that is that I was put forward for a bursary to attend the Outward Bound Sea School at Aberdovey in Wales. I was fortunate to be granted an award and, with another Scout from our Troop (Ken Piper), spent four weeks there (18 August - 13 September) on Course No 43. The school had been established by one of the Steamship Lines to prepare boys for a career in the Merchant Navy. However, it was now run as a Trust and its facilities were open to anybody in the given age range who would 'accept and adhere to certain conditions demanding self-discipline and prove himself a responsible and co-operative member of his Watch and the School community'. There were three test groups, namely: Practical Seamanship; Physical Standards; and Cruise at Sea, plus a Land Expedition. Although much of the training was new to me there were a significant number of skills that I already had by virtue of my membership of the Scouts. Knots, whipping and splicing, use of the compass, map reading, and general athletics came very easily to me and I felt sorry for those for whom everything was new - they had a hard time coping with the intensity of the course. Our days started with a run down to the sea at 6.30am to have a cold dip (it should have been a cold shower in the school but they were not working!) and back to get dressed. It was then almost continuous work until after the evening meal when the rest of the day, until light's out at 10pm, was ours - that is provided that your personal journal was written up for the day and ready for inspection! Once again I had taken part in something that was to lay foundations for my later career."�

"My first real brush with Authority came in 1947 and concerned the school rules; in particular that which dictated that, even at the age of seventeen, boys and girls were not allowed to talk to each other, even on their way to or from school. At 10o'clock one morning I was summoned to the Head's office and confronted with the statement that he had reason to believe that I cycled to school every day with a girl. I confirmed that his informant was correct and, after agreeing that I knew the rules, was then told that, as Head Boy, I was setting a bad example to the rest of the school and that I should stop this practice at once. Furthermore he would have no option but to strip me of my title should he find that I had not acted accordingly. As I had been breaking this rule for some twenty months, and as I considered it to be archaic, I politely replied that I had no intention of stopping. Recovering from his shock, 'Tiny' drew himself up to his full height of 6ft 3ins. and ordered me to go away and think about the serious implications of my refusal: I was to report to him at the same time on the next day and tell him that I had decided to obey him. All my friends were naturally impatient to know what was going on and why I had been summoned to the office. I painted the scene for them, and added that I was not going to give in but that I was going to hand in my written resignation before the Head got a word in on the next day. My encouragement and delight can be imagined when, to a man, all the prefects wrote out their resignations for me to hand in at the same time! So it was that, feeling very composed I carried out my purpose and told the Head that he should consider the appointment of twelve new Prefects as well as a new School Captain! This stern, giant of a man, capitulated and from that day forward boys and girls were allowed to talk to each other, and soon, even to walk on each other's playing field during school breaks. It was nearly the middle of the century, two world wars had been fought, and Queen Victoria's reign had at last ended!"