Frederick Hulm – BaA 40-48

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Submitted by Quentin Hulm

War broke out and he and Jim were confined to bunk beds in a reinforced bomb shelter under the stairs.  All sounds, no sights.  As Pa went off to Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex, however, he had memories of the sky over Liverpool filled with the beams of searchlights and the flashes of guns and bombs.  Indeed whilst at Christ’s Hospital the whole school slept two to a bed and two underneath in the service tunnels beneath the school.

As the son of a Widow, Pa was eligible for Christ’s Hospital School, provided he was “presented” by a Governor.  He was always quite pleased I think that “Miss Minet” appears to have selected him based on his mother’s description of him as an “average” boy and sent a photo of him looking like Just William.  Conversely the other applicants appear to have been described by their mothers as being of varying dazzling intellect.

Exciting events during these years include a doodlebug V1 bomb landing in the Masters’ car park during a Cricket Match.  This demolished a row of garages, did a lot of damage to the infirmary and blew out half the windows at that end of the school, but no one was hurt.  A stirring speech by General Montgomery on a visit to the School in 1994 and, on a beautiful summer evening seeing a clear blue sky full of aircraft towing gliders passing over the school in what he believes was either D-Day or Operation Market Garden, the Arnhem Landings.

On Victory in Europe Day, Pa was “Senior Junior” and recalls leading the whole junior dormitory down the emergency stairs to attack the senior dorm with pillows.  I quote: “We escaped with only minor injuries and no punishment which would have been quite inconceivable at any other time”.  We only learned from our American cousins quite recently that his Brother Jim had cycled to Christ’s Hospital school from his school some 60 miles away to be with Pa on VE day.

Pa recalls being described in a school report, aged 12 as “feckless”.  He therefore rather enjoyed, a similar school report for me at a similar age in which Max Williams noted that “Quentin’s nuisance value remains quite incredible”.  He also thought it particularly unjust that I was caned for having too many minor punishments, a similar thing having happened to him.  He recalls complaining to a Mr Pink “But sir, it’s not fair”.  “Fairness boy, what has fairness got to do with it? life is not fair”

Pa clearly loved Christ’s Hospital