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Being Educated- 
A Memoir by Mike Knill
Mike Knill & Islwyn Griffiths
Mike Knill on one of his regular visits with Islwyn Griffiths
At 11am on Thursday 2nd February 1956, whilst sat in class studying English with Mr. Clive Gammon, I - together with five others, including Mike (Tyke) Edwards, Owain Picton and John (Jacky) Burton - was summoned to see the Headmaster, Roland Mathias.

As we traipsed along the corridors to his office, we were all aware that we had been caught out for breaking the school rules. It was stupid to think we could get away with such a thing, but then that was the chance we took.

We all wondered what would happen to us and we did whisper what excuses we could put forward, but in the end it simply was "It's a fair cop, guv." What heinous crime had we committed? Nothing serious, really, other than taking the afternoon off school the previous day - without permission. Why, you may wonder?

Well, simply, it was to go to Pembroke Borough Football ground at London Road, Pembroke Dock to see Pembroke Borough play Cardiff City in the Welsh Cup. What had made it so special for me and the others to see this game was the fact that a famous footballer of International Fame was playing for Cardiff that day and his name was Trevor Ford. You have to bear in mind that the date was only ten years or so after the ending of World War 2, and there was much interest to see this game by football fans throughout all of Pembrokeshire. The excitement that was generated via the local Western Telegraph and West Wales Guardian newspapers caused what would be described today as a real 'Buzz'. The local inhabitants would be able to see this great player playing in the flesh, and this game was not to be missed.

I cannot remember our exact strategy, but we did conspire and plan. After completing morning lessons, and having lunch, we returned to class around 1.30pm and were marked as present on the register. That done, we all dispersed allegedly to go to lessons in the Chemistry Laboratory with Mr. Norman Greenwood, but instead left school hopefully not being seen.

Walking into Ferry Lane to hike down to London Road, we joined the many hundreds of people, obviously all going to the game. Although I did not see them, some of the boys said that they saw teachers Dewi Ellis Williams and Emlyn Lloyd walking with the crowd, but we were to believe they did not see us.

We saw the game. The atmosphere was wonderful, the ground packed to capacity, the game fast and furious but above all seeing the legend Trevor Ford play with skill and also using his fierce bodily contact with the Boro goalkeeper, which he was renowned for, has and will remain with me forever. After the game, which ended in a 2-2 draw, we dispersed and went our separate ways.

Next morning, we gathered in the main Hall and when the Headmaster Roland Mathias did not make mention that he wanted to see us boys after Assembly at his Office we thought we had got away with it. How wrong we were!

We all walked together to his office and, after speaking to his secretary, were then marched into his room where he was sat behind his desk. The six of us stood in a line before him and were briefly interrogated. It did not take long before we all admitted that we had, without permission, attended the football game when we should have been in school having lessons.

I was told to remain in the room and the others were ordered to wait outside. I was then given six strokes of the very long and thick cane, but in all honesty did not to consider it be in any way painful. I can remember Mr. Mathias making the following statement to me before he punished me. He said, "Knill, you have been given the opportunity to receive a wonderful education, and instead of receiving the benefit, with others, had the audacity to gain an afternoon attendance mark and then leave without permission to see a football game." I would have agreed with him but I had never heard the word 'audacity' before, so I remained silent.

After we were all dealt with, all receiving the cane, we returned to class and it was then that I became aware of the meaning of the word 'audacity'. Education is a marvellous thing, and we all learn in different ways. Six strokes of the so called 'best' advanced my vocabulary list by one word on that day, but I will also always associate it with a great footballer.
After leaving Pembroke Grammar School, Mike Knill worked at the oil refineries at Angle and Milford Haven. He moved to Cardiff at 19 to start a career with the Police Service, retiring in 2001 after 32 years service. An awesome prop forward, he played rugby for Cardiff and Wales. Mike lives in Pendoylan, Nr. Cardiff
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Peter Preece ...cont'd
Raymond Garlick was immediately recognised as a committed, interesting teacher and, for some of us at least, he became a positive inspiration for our entire time at secondary school. His written remarks, for example, at the end of a corrected essay were full of direction and personal analysis — sometimes amounting to a small essay in themselves. In an extraordinary and compelling way, Raymond Garlick managed to make both English Language and English Literature ‘come to life’. Remember that, in those days, the teaching of English Language was firmly centred on grammar – parsing, clause analysis, précis writing etc, - yet, alongside all that, Raymond Garlick encouraged creativity and freedom of expression. His teaching was exceptional and well ahead of his time.

Concerning Literature, we were, of course, aware that both Raymond Garlick and Roland Mathias were poets - even if we did not always fully appreciate the quality of their work. In the teaching context, Literature, in all its forms, became something relevant to life in general and to our own lives in particular. We were taken to Stratford to see a modern production of Romeo and Juliet and to Bristol to see King Lear — but the most memorable visit was to Tenby.

In 1953, Raymond took a small group of sixth-formers, by train, to Tenby Arts Club to see and hear Dylan Thomas read parts of Under Milk Wood. I have a clear image of the end of the performance when Raymond was speaking to Dylan, who, apparently, promptly asked him to go for a drink. Unfortunately (or otherwise) Raymond had us to look after. What is not widely acknowledged is that our sixth form students were already well acquainted with some of Dylan Thomas’s work. Despite the exigencies of a heavy syllabus, we had studied Fern Hill in detail. We were also introduced to the poems of R S Thomas and many others.

When I left PDGS, Raymond and I corresponded regularly. He was a person for whom I had massive respect. It was because of his influence and encouragement that I began to write poems, some of which were published before I left school. There is a particular visit to North Wales that I remember; Raymond was then living in Blaenau Festiniog. One thing Raymond did on this visit was take me to meet John Cowper Powys. Not surprisingly, I was overwhelmed by the very presence of this great old man who had known Thomas Hardy, Vachel Lindsay and so many others. Raymond explained to me the amazing extent of this man’s compassion. He said he was capable of feeling compassion for a piece of discarded newspaper lying in the gutter of a street on a wet Saturday night. That is not something easily forgotten.

Contact with Raymond was maintained, even when I went to teach at KASTEEL EERDE, a co-educational, international boarding school in The Netherlands. Raymond came to visit me, one holiday, and was very taken by the school and its setting. The Head, Cees Oudshoorn, was so impressed by Raymond that he promptly offered him a job. For me, it then became an enormous pleasure to have my “idol’ as a colleague. Everyone respected him, not just as a gifted intellectual but as a kind, extremely sensitive person. The strong link with our past was maintained when Roland Mathias’s daughter, Mary, came to us for a time as a senior pupil. It was at this time that I came to know Elin, Raymond’s wife, and lestyn and Angharad, his children. We all lived at the edge of a vast pine forest, and I can still see Raymond setting off for a long, daily walk with his pipe and his walking cane. Contact became more sporadic, when I left to teach in Somerset, and then Raymond became a lecturer at Trinity College, Carmarthen. Nevertheless, we have remained in touch ever since those early days at PDGS. We last spoke, by telephone, in January of this year. If ever there is one person who helps to shape someone else’s life, then that person for me is Raymond Garlick.
Peter Preece was born in 1936 at Square Island, Pembroke, grew up in Stackpole and was educated at Pembroke Grammar School. He studied English and French at UC Cardiff. Peter’s poems, stories and articles have been published and/or broadcast since the age of 18. He secured a Welsh Arts Council Bursary to write a novel Fredwyn (Accent, 2004). Peter has taught at International School EERDE, The Netherlands, and was then Deputy Head of Chilton Cantelo House in Somerset, which is a progressive co–ed international boarding school. His last teaching appointment was at Gowerton Comprehensive School in West Glamorgan. Peter took early retirement forced by serious eye problems in 1974. He returned to live in Pembrokeshire in 1985 and is currently active in voluntary work with various organisations, including St John’s Church, Templeton and Narberth Food Festival.
Click to read Optimism & Life Force:Raymond Garlick interviewed by Alexandra Trowbridge-Matthews, originally published in Roundyhouse Magazine in 2004
Optimism & Life Force
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William Smith Remembers
Roland Mathias... cont'd
Raymond’s comments about his studies at Bangor University just two or three years previously persuaded me to go there. It was the time, late 1949, when Raymond and Roland were putting together the first number of ‘Dock Leaves’, later to become The Anglo Welsh Review, and I was roped in – filling envelopes, seeking subscribers, eventually becoming business manager until 1976. It was then that I saw how many hours Roland devoted to reading manuscripts, proof-reading, and writing very detailed book reviews which showed his scholarship.
A stroke, in 1985, curtailed Roland’s writing and lecturing, but he never lost his love of history or his affection for Pembroke Dock. When he and Molly came to York, we took them to Byland and Rievaulx Abbeys and his detailed knowledge provided a wealth of information and brought back memories of the pageant held in Pembroke Castle, for which he had written the script. Molly’s sudden death was a tremendous blow, and only a few months before he died, we stood looking out at his garden in Brecon, and at a painting of it on which Molly had been working, and he said that that garden was her memorial. What he could still enjoy were the visits of Raymond and Islwyn Griffiths and of old pupils of PDGS who passed through Brecon “recalling those happy years in Pembrokeshire.”
My own links with the school were long and close. My mother started attending the school in 1907 and her two sisters in 1902 and 1904. I was a pupil there from 1944 to 1951 and did a brief period of teaching there in 1954, also attending the International Camps in 1955, 1956 and 1957. William Smith
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