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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Memories and Memorabilia

school building

1947 Joint School Trip
to Eindhoven, The Netherlands

from Dave Lewis, Lyndon Harries and trip participants Malcolm Lloyd,
Denise Jones (née Phillips) and Margaret Harries (née Davies).

In March 1947, a party consisting mainly of pupils of the two Aberdare Grammar Schools embarked upon a trip to Holland organised by the World Friendship Association, (WFA)1. This short-lived organisation had as its aim a desire to bring people of different nations together in a simple and practical way. In 1947, 40,000 men, women and children were to spend a holiday abroad in the private homes of their hosts. In return the British pupils were expected to entertain foreign guests on a reciprocal basis. Ten countries joined the scheme: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
The first photograph2 is believed to have been taken on the platform of Aberdare Low Level Station, shortly before the party departed. The tall man in the black overcoat is Councillor W. Lawrence, who may have been there to give an official farewell to the party.
At Aberdare LL railway station

Four boys back left: Malcolm Warden, ?, David Thomas, Raymond Erasmus. In the front two rows are the following individuals, from the extreme left: ?, Peter Anthony (with the black mop of hair), John Oliver (Hirwaun), ?, ?, Rhiannon Davies, Malcolm B. Lloyd, (to Malcolm’s right, and you can just about see him looking to his left, is Peter J Clarke), Mr Emrys Prosser (Ynyslwyd Secondary Modern teacher),
Colin Lane, Councillor W. Lawrence, Kathy Marsden, Rhoda Jeffreys, Nellie Oliver, Jean Williams (behind), Patricia Marshall,
Pauline Jones, Greta Vile, Jean Buxton, Marjorie Jones, and on the extreme right is Miss F. Tippett, (P.E.)

Additional pupils who have been identified: above Councillor W. Lawrence, is Aeron Davies – he is right at the back, partially obscured; five faces to Nellie Oliver’s left, just peeking behind two other girls, is Joyce Griffiths; the girl in the centre of group at the rear is Carol Coombes.

The Aberdare party on arrival in London embarked on a bus tour of some of the sights of the capital, in particular The Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament, where the next two photographs were taken. The group of students from both grammar schools, together with some from The Gadlys School, were met at Parliament by the local MP, David Emlyn Thomas3. Unfortunately the photographs do not show clearly all the Aberdare pupils who went on the trip.
At the Houses of Parliament

Rear row on left includes: Brian Selwyn, Colin Lawrence, ‘Darcy’ Richards, D. Colin Davies, Miss Fenella Tippett (AGGS games mistress)

Front row from the left includes: Mr Emrys Prosser (Ynyslwyd Sec Mod teacher), Pat Thomas (ex-pupil), Miss Jenny Lewis (ABGS Secretary)
Denise Phillips, Marjorie Jones, Ethelon Evans, Gillian Bowen, sister of Howard Bowen, whose father managed the Aberdare Co-op
Ann Jenkins, Carol Coombes, Jean Watkins, Pauline Jones, Dilys Thomas, Margaret Kerry Lewis, Ailsa Griffiths, Barbara Lewis,
Jeanne Challis, Pearl Rowberry, Greba Kerslake, Rhiannon Davies (who became a reporter on the Aberdare Leader)
Anita Thomas, and extreme right is Joan Lewis (sister of Dave Lewis).

 
 
This next photograph shows almost all of the Aberdare party and includes D.E. Thomas the Member of Parliament for Aberdare who welcomed the group to Westminster.
At the Houses of Parliament

Click on the small segments of the photo below to reveal some of the names of the pupils.

far left middle left middle right right
 
Leaving London from Liverpool Street station they took the boat train to Harwich and whilst on the train had dinner. They arrived Harwich (Parkeston Quay) Station by about 10:30 that evening. This station is now known as Harwich International.
At Harwich they boarded the Oranje Nassau (below) and after their night crossing arrived at The Hook of Holland at about 8:00 am the next day. From The Hook they caught the 10:00 am train to Rotterdam, then on to Venlo, which is about 35 miles east of Eindhoven on the Dutch/German border.
ORANJE_NASSAU

The Oranje Nassau
built in 1911, survived WWII and then chartered to the L.N.E.R in 1946 for ferry service from Harwich to The Hook.

 

There the pupils were billeted with various families. Malcolm Lloyd was an exception as he was sent temporarily about 9 miles north of Venlo to a farm in Arcen, in the municipality of Venlo. To meet up with the Aberdare party he either caught a bus or cycled to Venlo. The farmer incidentally had a very large, new American Ford, that Malcolm recalls had cost him £2,000, - a princely sum in those days; the farm also gave him the opportunity to try horse riding with the guidance and help of the farmer’s son. During their time in Venlo, the Aberdarians went to a scouts’ camp, night clubs(!) and enjoyed cinema visits to see Tarzan’s Secret Treasure and Mrs. Miniver! Also, lots of parties — the Dutch were great merrymakers.
Footnotes
1 The WFA suffered from a number of problems: financial; public health incidents, in August 1947 an outbreak of infantile paralysis in the UK resulted in British school groups having their trips cancelled; organisational problems whereby some foreign children arriving in London had no host families (this incident prompted questions about the WFA being put to the Home Secretary in Parliament), as well as a fatality in 1946 when a boy from Accrington GS was crushed to death by a rotating cogwheel on a visit to a windmill at Koog aan de Zaan in Holland.
2 On the back of this photo is printed: ‘Eric Warrilow, press and commercial photographer, Merthyr’ and dated, ‘April 2nd, 1947’.
3 D E Thomas was the Aberdare MP from 1946 to 1954. He was preceded by George Hall (elevated to a peerage in 1946), and succeeded by Arthur Probert (ABGS 1921-1927) who held the seat until 1974.