Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham

About the 1935 U.III.A Group



Form U III.A (OLSA Ref B-S2 7/4)

This item was originally listed as "undated, 1930's?" by OLSA, but dated by ourselves as 1935, using our knowledge of particular pupils and the form title on the mount

It is of special interest to us for several reasons and we are grateful to OLSA for permission to publish a copy here. As well as marking the mount with all the names of the pupils, the donor (not known to us) has also added notes on two war deaths of people shown.

WWII is perhaps the first thing of note about this group. They finished school in 1937 or '39, depending on whether they were in the VIth form or not, but all of that age group were prime candidates for the war effort.

From the notes on the mount and research by Keith, we believe that Walter Owen (304) was a Flight Sergeant in the RAFVR and died in action in Nov 1942, aged 20. He is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

Similarly, we believe that William Meekin (210) died while undergoing flight training with the RAF at an airbase in the USA. Training was rushed in wartime and one of the US camps specialized in advanced training aircraft fitted with complex equipment for night, or otherwise 'blind', operation. Leading Aircraftsman Meekin is one of 23 British Servicemen buried in a military cemetery in Florida associated with these operations.

There may well be other instances of sacrifice amongst this group not known to us or noted by the donor.

The group contains the earliest image we have of Jim Kent (106) who's record we can now trace from a pupil in this group, through being Head Boy in 1939, and returning as a Physics teacher at both Greengate St and Counthill. He was also a keen supporter of the Old Boys Association and a long term regular member of the HSOB soccer team. Perhaps not so well known was his contribution to the war effort through his early development work on RADAR.

This phenomenon of Greengate St pupils returning to Oldham, and usually the school itself, as teaching staff is not uncommon. We were surprised at the first few instances we found, but there is now a growing list. On consideration it makes a great deal of sense. There are advantages to both the teacher and the Authority in this arrangement. Oldham was also about to start building Counthill, more than doubling its Grammar School places and staff requirement

In this photo, as well as Jim Kent, Fred Llewellyn (205) definitely returned as Sports Master at Counthill. In addition, there is a strong likelihood that Harry Smith (303) also returned to teach at Counthill. The initial volume of the Counthill school magazine records Mr H Smith, an old boy, joining to teach Physics (with Jim Kent) when the school opened in 1951. Photographs support this, though there is an appreciable time gap.


Named Photo