Stephen Thomas (Connaught 1961)
OM Gazette Editor 2009-present
The Editor of the Gazette is the keeper of a set of bound volumes of past
issues of both The Masonian and the Old Masonians Gazette. The collection
dates back to 1886.
The Fifty Years Ago article is usually drawn from
printed records of the relevant year: The Masonian, the OM Gazette and
the two volumes of A History of the RMS.
This Memories section closes,
however, with a look back at what was reported in 1960, the year of a
most tragic event. We also report on a service of remembrance which was
held on 2 April 2010 to honour the three boys who perished. OMs will
recall the letter from Bob Palmer which was printed on page 12 of the
2009 issue of the Gazette and which expressed his wish to show his
respects to the three boys and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
The text of the report from The Masonian (1960) is
reproduced on p132.
Also, Old Boys might be interested to know that
A History of the Royal Masonic School Vol. 2, p153, reports:
"Mourning was deep, and endured for a considerable time. Despite the
tragedy Snowdonia continued to be used for expeditions, but stringent
safety precautions, tight organisation and careful briefing ensured
that further accidents were avoided."
From The Masonian Vol. 19 No. 9
John Michael Brenchley
It was with deep sorrow that the School received the news of the
tragic accident on Snowdon on 2nd April, 1960, which resulted in
the death of these two boys during the School's leadership course
run under the auspices of the Cadet Corps. With them was also lost
John Etches of the Royal Wanstead School. It is boys of special
promise and ability who are selected for these courses and therefore
our loss is a loss of our best. The heartfelt sympathy of us all
goes out to the relations and friends of the three boys in their
A special memorial service for Brenchley and Evans was held in
the School Chapel on Saturday, 30th April .
The fine spirit of adventure encouraged by these courses must not
be diminished by this unfortunate accident. These boys had a fine
spirit which should be emulated by the rest.
Robert Palmer, who instigated the remembrance service, writes:
On Friday 2 April 2010, a service of remembrance was held at the
private chapel of David Long (Headmasters 1965) and Shirley Long
at Amerden House, Taplow to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
the deaths in Snowdonia on the Beddgelert Scheme of John Etches
(Royal Wanstead School) and Tony Evans (Headmasters) and
John Brenchley (Burwood).
Present were Mike Blamey (Derby 1959),
David Long and Shirley, Ian McIntyre (Derby 1961) and Joan,
Robert Palmer (Derby 1962) and Valerie, Tony Tilly (Lea's 1963)
and Carol, Malcolm West (Derby 1962). Also present was David
and Shirley's son, Cloudsley. Others would have liked to have
attended but were unable to do so and gave their apologies:
Ray Casbon (Headmasters 1962), Jeremy Davenport (Keyser 1963),
Richard Fawkes (Derby 1962), Gordon Metcalfe (Staff),
Roger Puddephatt (Connaught 1961), Malcolm Read (Devon 1960),
Bob Skillicorn (Lea's 1963), Peter Sutcliffe (Staff),
Stephen Thomas (Connaught 1961).
Sadly, Brian Ridgeway
(Headmasters 1960) who was on the front rope passed away,
in Australia, a number of years ago; see 2002 Gazette, page 134.
The service probably coincided with the time of death of the
three boys, starting at 1145 and finishing at 1220. Afterwards,
David and Shirley Long and their son very kindly treated those
present to an excellent lunch.
(L2R) : Carol Tilly, Malcolm West,
Valerie and Robert Palmer, Tony Tilly, Mike Blamey,
Shirley and David Long, Ian and Joan McIntyre
Outside the Chapel - Tony Tilly, Mike Blamey,
Ian McIntyre, Malcolm West, Robert Palmer,
Editor's Note: The photos on this spread were taken by Tony Tilly.
The report and the photo on the previous page were supplied by
Robert Palmer. My thanks go to both for so speedily providing copy
so that this last minute news could be included in the 2010 issue
of the Gazette.
Inside the Chapel - Tony Tilly, Ian McIntyre,
David Long, Robert Palmer, Mike Blamey, Malcolm West