(Pictured above is Brian's rugby team)
National Service & Beyond
Brian was called for national service and spent two years in the Royal Navy before becoming a teacher at Northampton Grammar School.
“I spent two years in the Royal Navy – very usefully acquiring Russian at London University and having the pleasure of living on the edge of Hyde Park and being able to attend the theatre and the Proms whenever I wished. There was frequent rugby and on 3rd June 1953 I joined the massed crowds to cheer the Queen as she was driven in her coach along Coronation route.
“I was promptly offered a teaching post at Northampton Grammar School – for rugby as much as anything, and was in the (elderly) staff team which beat the school XV (but we did include two senior England players).
“A move to the Crypt School, Gloucester, followed and among various places of worship the beautiful, impressive cathedral figured frequently.
“I also kept up my association with the Royal Navy and did regular exercises in the intelligence world – which provided numerous visits to France, the states (USA) and The British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).
“A source of great joy and everlasting happiness was meeting my wife-to-be, Dorothy, at the French Circle in Newport and soon after we were married, I was lucky enough to gain a language teaching post at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This was a whole-time existence for which I was able to draw on my languages knowledge and military awareness and frequent trips abroad resulted. During a reorganisation at Sandhurst, I was lent to the French Military Academy, St-Cyr, for a term and later a similar exchange saw me at Dartmouth several days a week.
“In France and the UK, I was not just teaching – I ran or helped run the staff rugby XV, the army rugby referees branch, film club, wrote military history (Napoleonic), etc. The most rewarding post was as secretary of the Royal Memorial Chapel – unbelievably rewarding.
“I even managed to do some naval duties – interpreting for French and Russian ship visits to UK, working in intelligence centres and government offices and – the supreme reward – acting as interpreter for a visit by HMS Avenger to Odessa on the Black Sea – where I and a selected group of sailors had a box at the Ukrainian National Opera for a performance of La Traviata.
“This, however, was not the peak of one’s bliss. Our Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, was also present in Odessa and the Ukrainian President was flying him home in his personal aircraft. Sir Malcolm very kindly made available to the interpreters for their return to the UK the aircraft he had come in – one of the Queen’s Flight – with everything provided. Needless to say, I was reminded during the flight of the numerous occasions on which I had been presented to the Royal Family at Sandhurst.”