John Taylor
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John Taylor - Aberdovey, Wales, 1960

Excerpts from John Taylor’s Logbook

Monday May 9th

PT and shower at 6.30. Pretty good breakfast of bacon and tomatoes. Went down to jetty and started on the 1and ½ tons and 27ft cutters. We cast off and after a little while we managed to entangle ourselves from the jetty, an extremely fast current made things very difficult, especially as it was our first time out in a cutter. We all had a turn at rowing, and me like a stupid chump stayed on the oars for a bit more practice when some of us were asked if e wanted to change places with those who weren’t rowing at the time, but after a considerable time my mere 9 stone 10 lbs began to sag a little, especially at the wrists. Rowing was much easier of course in the eddies and it gave you quite a boost to see the cutter moving at a considerable speed instead of watching the water gushing past. We noticed a dolphin shark on our return to the school, I should say it was a good 95 pounder.

In the afternoon we canoed about 5 miles with Mr Hayler as our very able instructor. There are about 16 single canoes and 6 doubles and while I’m talking about numbers of vessels, there are also 5 cutters (1 and ½ tons, 27-28 ft long, rowing and sailing type) and one ketch, two life boats, one powered and the other not. In the evening we had the very moving ceremony of signing the pledge, where every boy in turn agrees to the rules and conditions laid down by the school.

Wednesday May 18th

We were Duty Watch again today but were lucky again because there were only three watches in at breakfast, ourselves at lunch and three at tea again.

We broke the school record on the 12 ft wall in 1 min 40 secs and also the Fire Drill records in 1 min 37.4 secs, also the horizontal bar record in 1 min 2 secs. In both the bar and wall I was the last man over and in my opinion it is by far the hardest. After this we went for lunch.

In the afternoon we did athletics and I managed to improve on my shot put, putting 27’ 10”. But I’m afraid I’m still hopeless at high and long jump and I also dragged in the 2 mile, just about completed the course in 14 mins.

We marched back to school for tea and afterwards had the pleasure of watching a real television after an absence of 12 days. Can’t say I’ve really missed it very much. We saw Real Madrid beat Eintracht by 7 goals to 3, an extremely good game.

Friday May 27th

We arose at 0715 hrs, which is extremely late to what we have been getting up at, almost a Leofric Hotel standard at that time.

We were split up into three groups and went out on a local expedition, local meaning about twelve to thirteen miles round. We all had a turn in map and compass reading. We were given a fairly simple route through the forest and up to a point I had visited before, at a height of 1538 ft. My feet weren’t particularly good today but I managed to hobble along somehow.

We arrived back at 1700 hrs in very high spirits, whistling the fabulous ‘Colonel Bogey’ tune. I think we all felt a sense of achievement after we’d got back after getting around, on our own, and only making one small mistake, and even that was planned by our instructor.