Portsmouth teacher and violinist who was a goalkeeper at 60

Rum issue - Grog being issued from the rum tub onboard HMS Endymion<CORR>  in 1904. PPP-140721-161020001
Rum issue - Grog being issued from the rum tub onboard HMS Endymion<CORR> in 1904. PPP-140721-161020001
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Seen on the fo'c'sle  of HMS Implacable are Portsmouth Sea Rangers in 1937. Lord and Lady Baden-Powell are in the middle. 'Picture: Robert James Collection

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Brian Preston contacted Remember When from his home in Cuxhaven, Germany, with memories of growing up in Portsmouth and his time at Portsdown School, Wymering.

In his picture of class 4A, class teacher Mr V Hull is in the centre of the front row. Brian is second from the left in the same line. He went there from early 1947 until Christmas 1949.

Class 4A, Portsdown School, Wymering, Portsmouth, 1947

Class 4A, Portsdown School, Wymering, Portsmouth, 1947

Brian was born in Highbury Grove, Cosham, in 1933, and being six when war broke out, has vivid memories of that period.

His father was in the navy so was away for long periods. He says: ‘My mother, younger brother, sister and I moved home several times in Portsmouth in the early years of the war because of bomb damage to our houses.

‘Among my wartime memories was seeing the burnt-out shell of the Guildhall not long after it had been destroyed by incendiary bombs; the sentry box on Portsbridge where a solider stood guard with his rifle and the barrage balloon on the north side of the creek.’

The family moved to Suffolk in late 1941 but returned to Portsmouth in 1947 to a newly-built council house in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove, near its junction with Credenhill Road.

Brian adds: ‘At that time the greater part of Paulsgrove was still under construction. The buses from Southsea via Cosham ran only as far as Walford Road.’

He started at Portsdown School and remembers that Mr Hull played violin in the school orchestra. ‘Although he was 60 he was the goalkeeper in the teachers’ football team when they played the boys.’

Brian was made captain of Drake house (green), the others being Nelson (red), Beatty (blue) and Jellicoe (yellow). ‘Albert Kingston was school orchestra leader and was also head prefect.

‘I got to know him well. His nickname was Stormy because he was earnest and sincere. His brother Eric, a cheerful boy, was known as Sunny.’

When Brian left Portsdown he went to the Southern College of Art, Portsmouth, learned German in his spare time and in 1968 moved with his wife and daughter to Germany.

Meanwhile, the second picture here shows grog being issued from the rum tub in HMS Endymion in 1904.

For more than 300 years, from before the days of Nelson, the Royal Navy dispensed rum. It was introduced in 1655 on the West Indies Station as an alternative to beer which did not keep. It was in general use by 1731.

The ration was two gills (half a pint) a day divided into two issues: one in the forenoon and one in the afternoon.

The rum issue was finally abolished on August 1, 1970. The reasons for abolition were much the same as for reductions in the past – men were much more efficient without it.