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News > Heritage > Memories of Bradfield Shooting

Memories of Bradfield Shooting

Personalities of the 1956-7 team
21 Mar 2024

Memories from Bradfieldian Mike Cole Hamilton (H 54-57)

"My Houseman, Alan “Guts” Young despaired of me, I was unspeakable at any ball games.   I was later able to land an aircraft on a ship at night and was rated Mastershot (396/400) the year after I left Bradfield – but I couldn’t, and still can’t, hit a ball to save my life.

But I had a conviction I could shoot…….and I was right.   So, many happy cold weather afternoons on the miniature range under the benign discipline of Regimental Sergeant-Major Sandy Munnoch.   Tucked in to his boxed-in seat behind the telescope, pipe alight with “Monkey’s Tail” a black roll of tobacco that looked like liquorice and actually smelled nice, he clearly enjoyed himself and we enjoyed him.

A slight diversion, Sandy was also RSM to the Combined Cadet Force and a force to be respected on parade.   Square and upright, superb in his Black Watch kilt he didn’t waste a word, but the words travelled.  His orders could be heard clearly on Pallel and his voice was audible in Greathouse Woods.

Sandy was never seen without head cover.  He always had a cloth cap on the miniature range and bonnet with hackle on parade.  Then, at the 1956 rehearsal for the CCF’s Annual Inspection all was revealed.  Sandy bellowed a reminder “Don’t forget to get a haircut!”  Pause “An’ I’m no jealous!” And he swept off his bonnet to reveal a head as bald as an egg.

One winter evening his small motorbike wouldn’t start, so down by Mill Stores and the bridge to the Art Schools, we all gave him a push and he puttered off into the dusk.  Sadly, we never saw him again, he died that night.

Company Sergeant-Major Matthews took over, another most agreeable man.   And the usher in charge of the VIII was Mr. Williams, the assistant music master.    They supervised our introduction to 303s on the outdoor range in the valley between the College and Englefield.   They even let us try a Sten Gun!

On trips to Bisley, both were in uniform, Mr. Williams as a slightly self-conscious 2nd Lt.    He was a sport.   On the bus trip back to Bradfield he always contrived a 30-minute stop in Wokingham, he and CSM Matthews made a point of vanishing ostentatiously into a nearby pub. So did we, but furtively and a bit further away.   On one trip back Fugelsang announced I’d got my colours, Mr. Williams slipped me a ten-bob note (50p, you could get several beers with that back then!) and arranged a somewhat longer stop.   Fading happy memories of Simonds Old Berkshire Ale!

We were an agreeable group in the VIII, no dislikes or irritating personalities, it was a good summer in 1957.   I often wonder where everyone ended up – I know Michael Joy rose to great heights.  I have a signed copy of his book “Upon a Trailing Edge”.   If you haven’t read it, strongly recommended – historical (including Bradfield) and aviation medical data liberally laced with countless unexpected small references that inform and amuse."

Professor Michael Joy's book titled Upon a Trailing Edge can be found here

Pictures above and below from Mike:

"Michael Joy (A 53-58) and I were both in the Shooting VIII, the picture below was taken during the 1957 Ashburton Shield shoot (I'm the Sailor) and the team picture above "Bradfield VIII" posed (inevitably!) outside Snaker near the end of that Summer 1957 Term.  Michael and I are both seated, he one in from the left, I at the end on the right.   I left at the end of that term, served an apprenticeship in Marine Engineering and then joined the Navy to fly."

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