521. Hilary Constance MOWLE was born on 9 January 1928 in Chester, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom.511 On 29 September 1939 she lived at 77 Earlsway, Curzon Park in Chester, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom.569 In 1954 she lived at Hatherley Court in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom.570 In 2003–2009 Hilary lived StreetAddress: 11, Marine Court, PO4 9QU; Age: 76 in Southsea, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.571 She died on 15 March 2015 at the age of 87 at 11, Marine Court in Southsea, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.520,572 Peacefully at home after a long illness. Cause of death indicated as Vascular Dementia and Cerebral Meningioma. She was cremated on 10 April 2015 at Portchester Crematorium in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.520 Hilary's funeral was held on 10 April 2015 at St. Ann's Church, H.M Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom520
Address given by Coll Macdonald (eldest Son)
Hilary Constance Macdonald (nee Mowle) 9th January 1928 – 15th March 2015
If life were to award Oscars then surely for the best part of the past 87 years Hilary Macdonald, Mum, would have been consistently nominated for and won the award for best supporting role.
From her early days as Matron, looking after young ladies in Cheltenham, through the move to Sherborne as a newlywed school master’s wife and young mother and into the role that she would hold for the next 22 years – that of Headmaster’s Wife – she was always there offering advice, council and so much more.
The position of Headmaster’s wife developed through the years. Starting at Maidenhead Grammar School when Dad was appointed Head in 1960 she took on the role aged only 32 and the mother of 2 boys under 3. At Portsmouth between 1965 and 1975 with Murray and I heading off to Prep School her involvement grew until, with the move to Uppingham, the role of Head and Headmaster’s Wife became a true partnership.
She was a consort attending, alongside my father, the endless plays, concerts and events held in a busy boarding school. She was a superb hostess and chef providing meals to countless new boys and girls, proud parents of sporting superstars, governors,staff, prefects and visiting dignitaries. But most of all she was always thereto listen and if required, offer advice, sound advice, to my father on the decisions, worries and challenges that he faced daily in the running of a school of 600+ boarders.
I say sound advice, in spite of the occasion when she apparently said “ straight on at the lights darling” – Dad followed the advice ignoring the fact that the lights were red. Thankfully no one was hurt when the car ended up under a large lorry.
It was from the entertaining of visitors to the schools that she gained so many of the anecdotes that she loved to tell – The visiting Bishop who having demolished a huge bowl of strawberries leant over to tell her how awful the strawberries were that year. And if that was not enough, then proceeded to ask his young hostess if she was enjoying living in Portsmouth. On hearing that she indeed was happy and settled he then suggested that she could perhaps look for a suitable plot in the local graveyard!! Somewhat less relevant then than now feel!!
She found Buzz Aldrin (the Apollo Astronaut) “very weird, I think he had found God in a big way round the back of the moon” she would say. And her description of Rowan Atkinson trying to handle a cup and saucer as well as a plate of sandwiches –“He really is Mr. Bean you know!!” was her summary.
As a mother she was so supportive in so many ways. Of course she was the parental taxi driver throughout our pre-driving days, perhaps the only one that lost one of her young passengers out of the back door on the school run – Luckily David Owen seemed to bounce and the bus behind us stopped in time!!
While I am on the subject of driving we cannot let the opportunity pass to mention her legendary driving skills. Clutch half in, or was it half out, the poor little Polo engine racing she would drive miles backwards and forwards to Morville, Bewdley, Anglesea, Uppingham and Chester to visit her sister, Tudy, extended family and friends.
She was extremely proud of the fact that she had never taken a test and that while learning her father had refused to let her drive forwards until she had mastered the art of reversing – which might explain a lot!
She was always enthusiastically optimistic, I can remember ringing home to provide updates of how exams had gone. If I said it was easy she would reply, “that’s a good sign– you must have prepared well”. If I said it was difficult she would reply, “that’s a good sign – you will have had to think hard and apply yourself”.
Her abilities as a hostess also impacted our lives with endless friends to tea or supper usually being fed Lemon Cake for tea and Spag Bog or Burgundy Beef for supper or, as we got older, Bacon Sarnies at 2 am following parties or the “Happenings” at the MacShack as the Headmaster’s house in Uppingham was known.
In 1983 Mum’s life changed radically. In April Lucy, her first grandchild was born but cruelly only 6 weeks later Dad died suddenly and the planned for retirement together was cut short almost before it had started.
Her life changed totally but she threw herself fully into the new role of GrannyMac as she was to be known by almost everyone, young and old, from then on!
With the arrival of Peter in 1985, Katie in 1989 as well as Murray’s marriage that year to Angie bringing a ready made set of 3 additional Grandchildren; Jason, Ben and Jayne and finally Shona in 1991 she had her hands full in a whole new range of support functions.
Looking after various young people so that parents could go on holiday, collecting from school and feeding others and even coming to Cornwall with us so that she could sit in the caravan allowing Lindy and I to go out for an evening. (I do however know that this was a mere excuse to allow her to keep coming to her beloved Crantock, to see the many friends that she had there and share a LGB (Little Green Bottle) with them!.
Cornwall also brought out that optimism in her that I have already mentioned. We could be sitting in a caravan or worse, on the beach under a groundsheet in torrential rain when you would hear her utter her well-known phrase “it’s getting brighter”!!
After Dad’s death she managed to develop a totally new set of interests of her own. She became a steward for the National Trust at Uppark, a governor for the Home of Comfort,attended NADFAS, organized trips to The Welsh National Opera and of course she was in, what I call, the cruising part of her life!! Not driving slowly round the streets of Portsmouth but Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Capitals, The Med and seemingly most of the rivers of note in Europe!! These holidays with friends and family were a real joy to her – you could tell by the 1000s of photos that came back.
She also so enjoyed being a part of the Christmases at Ashwell with the ever-expanding Taylor family. Continuing the support role by peeling spuds and washing up for 28 (yellow Marigolds in evidence as always), offering moral support to the latest fiancé to join the clan as well as taking part in more than one of the grandchildren’s many theatrical productions, often as narrator and occasionally even being given a part!
In the end though,the supporter became the supported.
After her“episode”, whatever it was, 3 years ago Mum became increasingly frail and more and more confused as the evil that is dementia took control.
Murray and particularly Angie promised her that she would not go into a home or hospital and moved into look after her with Angie taking the role of carer on a full time basis. Somehow, it is to their eternal credit they managed to keep that promise and with the exception of a few late night trips to A & E to deal with a dislocated jaw – the result of the increasingly frequent fits that she suffered- and the occasional holiday in respite care Mum spent her last days at home.
I for one know that they put their life on hold for those three years but I also know just how much that meant to Mum and I certainly wish to go on record saying on her behalf a huge thank you to them both and their team of helpers: Wendy and Jason, Lex,Ben, Callam and Liam and Jayne.
I started by saying that if life were to award Oscars then Mum would have been the winner but for the last 3 years, the awards for best supporting role would, without a doubt, have gone to you, Angie and Murray.
To conclude I must just mention all the lovely and totally consistent comments in the letters that we have received from so may people since mum’s death. Hilary, Mum, GrannyMac was to all; a genuine friend, a huge wit and really wonderful person to have known.
Some memories of Granny Mac, from the grandchildren (Presented by her eldest Granddaughter, Lucy):
• Her house at Marine Court, with walks by the sea and visits to the canoe lake to feed the ducks and swans
• THAT black tin on top of the fridge that contained the chocolate biscuit cake - a recipe now legendary amongst family and friends
• A good roast, lemon cake, and delicious food generally
• Nadfas – to this day I don't really know what it is
• Her talent for arts and crafts such as knitting,sewing, tapestries and china restoration - which despite much encouragement she definitely didn't pass on to her granddaughters (well to meat least)
• Cornwall – years of coaxing us back along the beach path when our legs were tired, and driving us back when Mum and Dad would have made us walk – there was usually a race to get to her car first.
• The booster seat she needed to see over the steering wheel
• She was always very well groomed – as children we used to sit next to her at her dressing table helping her do her makeup, and in our teenage years she would tell us off when we had chipped nail varnish and save us her freebies from Clinique or Clarins.
• She was also very refined with a love of opera and ballet and treated us to many fun evenings out at the theatre. She used to love taking Jayne to ballet classes (followed by lunch with Mary and Peggy in the pub.)
• The books at her house – Tintin and Asterix when we were little, detective novels when we were older
• Her 80th birthday - our family meal in her latest favourite restaurant, The Dragon, and her first ever visit to a casino courtesy of Dee!
• Her interest in the latest technology and gadgets,which even extended to email – I found this email in my inbox from 2006 headed "techno-granny"
Hi Lucy. Many thanks for your text and email address. I think it was me not Daddy who got it wrong. I had put a . instead of an @!!! I am still very much a learner. Angie has been a marvellous teacher as she has been on a course. my address is firstname.lastname@example.org all seems rather long winded but we chose it from what they gave us. Daddy said I should be granny mac atgreenbottle!!!!! Lots & lots of love Grannymac XXXXXXX
• Finally, her love of socialising and hosting family and friends: the Castles, the Asburys, Mary & Colin, the Meads, Marion and Dick, Mary Husselgrave and Ali.. to name only a few.
These are just a few very happy memories of our special Granny Mac.
Hilary Constance MOWLE and Coll MACDONALD J.P. M.A. were married on 25 August 1955 in Chester, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom.511 Coll MACDONALD J.P. M.A., son of Coll MACDONALD and Elizabeth MURRAY, was born on 21 January 1924 in Rochford, Essex, England, United Kingdom.520 He was educated from 1929 to 1937 at Alleyn Court Prep' School in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England, United Kingdom.573 He was educated from 1937 to 1942 at Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom.573 Coll was awarded an Open Scholarship to Christ's College, Cambridge in 1941 at Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom.574 He was awarded a Stovin Exhibition in 1942 at Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom.574 He was educated from 1942 to 1943 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom.574 Coll served in the military Pilot in R. A. F. V. R. Rank F/O from 1943 to 1946.574
Service Record - Locations and Dates:
Location From To
ACRC London 24/07/1943 14/08/1943
No 9 ITW 14/08/1943 19/09/1943
No 14 EFTS Elmdon 19/09/1943 10/10/1943
ACDC Manchester 24/10/1943 13/01/1944
In transit 13/01/1944 26/02/1944
ITW Bulawayo 26/02/1944 23/04/1944
No 20 SFTS Cranborne 23/04/1944 28/05/1944
No 25 EFTS Belvedere 28/05/1944 15/09/1944
No 20 SFTS Cranborne 15/09/1944 09/03/1945
In Transit 09/03/1945 18/03/1945
No 22 PTC Cairo 18/03/1945 20/03/1945
No 5 (M.E.) ARC 20/03/1945 05/05/1945
73 OTU Fayid 05/05/1945 16/07/1945
No 22 PTC Cairo 24/07/1945 11/08/1945
In Transit 11/08/1945 12/08/1945
No 9 PTC Mariupur 12/08/1945 20/08/1945
ARC Poona 23/08/1945 27/08/1945
No 8 (R)FU Yelahanka 29/08/1945 27/10/1945
No 1 O&CTS Poona 27/10/1945 05/12/1945
No 35 PTC Calcutta 07/12/1945 13/12/1945
No 79 Sqdrn Meiktila 13/12/1945 13/01/1946
No 26 PTC Rangoon 13/01/1946 15/01/1946
No 125 Sqdrn Tengah 15/01/1946 08/02/1946
In Transit 08/02/1946 12/02/1946
Jungle School Bhopal 12/02/1946 17/03/1946
In Transit 17/03/1946 31/03/1946
60 Sqdrn Surabaya 31/03/1946 26/05/1946
60 Sqdrn Batavia 28/05/1946 19/07/1946
IORC Singapore 19/07/1946 14/08/1946
HMT Monarch of Bermuda 14/08/1946 05/09/1946
104 PDC Hednesford 05/09/1946 07/09/1946
CUAS 12/04/1947 30/09/1948
86 Res Centre 03/02/1952 11/04/1953
ITW = Initial Training Wing
ACRC = Aircrew Reception Centre
ACDC = Aircrew Despatch Centre
SFTS = Service Flying Training School
EFTS = Elementary Flying Training School
PTC = Personnel & Training Command
ARC = Aircrew Reception Centre
ME = Middle East
OTU = Operational Training Unit
IORC = Immediate Operational Requirement Centre
PDC = Personnel Despatch Centre
CUAS = Cambridge University Air Sqdrn. He served in the military in January 1946 in Tengah, Singapore.575 He served in the military Far East (No 60 Squadron RAF) from March 1946 to July 1946. Coll was educated from 1946 to 1948 at Cambridge University - Christ's College in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom.574 He received a Bachelor of Arts degree on 23 June 1948 at Cambridge University - Christ's College in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom.576 In 1949 he was a Woodhouse Fellow and part-time Lecturer in Department of Greek at St. Andrew's College, University of Sydney in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.574 From 1950 to 1951 Coll was a Lecturer in the Department of Classics at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.574 He received a Master of Arts degree on 8 March 1952 at Cambridge University - Christ's College in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom.577 From April 1952 to July 1952 he was an Assistant Master at Harrow School in Harrow, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom. From 1953 to 1955 Coll was an Assistand Master at Bardfield College in Bradfield, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom.574 From 1955 to 1960 he was an Assistant Master at Sherborne School in Sherborne, Dorset, England, United Kingdom.574 From 1960 to 1965 he was a Headmaster at Maidenhead Grammar School in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom.574 From 1965 to 1975 Coll was a Headmaster at Portsmouth Grammar School in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.574 From 1967 to 1975 he was a Justice of the Peace in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.578 From 1 September 1972 to 31 January 1973 he was a James C. Loeb Fellow in Classical Philology at Harvard University in Cambridge City, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.579 From April 1975 to July 1982 Coll was a Headmaster at Uppingham School in Uppingham, Rutland, England, United Kingdom.574 He died from a heart attack on 20 May 1983 at the age of 59 at 11 Marine Court in Southsea, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.520,580 He's funeral was held on 26 May 1983 at The Cathedral in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom520,581
ADDRESS by William Cooper in Portsmouth Cathedral at the funeral of
COLL MACDONALD on Thursday 26th May, 1983.
There will be some in this cathedral who could speak more eloquently than me, but I needed no persuasion to be in this position - strength, yes, to do justice to a close friend of nearly thirty years, but persuasion, no, for two simple reasons. First, Coll himself was not eloquent and he would have been suspicious of too much eloquence about him. Second, I think that he would be happy to be bade farewell by one of his oldest friends, surrounded by many other friends in a congregation, the size of which alone is a testament of the esteem and affection in which he is held.
'Why, Oh why' my younger daughter, said when she heard the sad news. Coll had many years of happiness and service ahead in which to enjoy the fruits of his considerable labour. Well! It is a comfort to know that there are so many things which we do not understand, and indeed what would life be if we did understand everything - especially in advance?
Coll of course does understand now and the heartache is for us, and more
p a r t i c u l a r l y for Hilary, for Coll and Lindy, and for Murray, for whom our hearts go out on t his saddest and longest of all days.
Death highlights life and it is only the end which makes us appreciate fully the reality : as Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote
'Knowledge by suffering endureth and l i f e i s perfected by death.'
The reality of Coll was very clear t o me as I prepared these words, and images, some my own and some from others, came crowding i n - from Sherborne, Maidenhead, Portsmouth, Cornwall and of course from Uppingham.
'Coll was a good man - a gentleman in all senses of the word' was the first
impromptu sentence of a telling short portrait from a former colleague. He was a real man too - no show, no a c t i n g , no pretence and no vanity: he was a man you had to know - shy, yes - austere maybe but not forbidding (he was not brought up as a Scottish Presbyterian for nothing!). He was a complete person, balanced, sane and upright . Though admitting in his last sermon i n the Uppingham chapel that, of all his Headmasterly duties, he was least at home in the pulpit, he had a thought-through Christian faith which came to him by discipline, and which he lived out in his purposeful and structured style of life .
How then would he like to be remembered?
First , I think , he would like to be remembered as a scholar - and a classical
scholar, who had a deep feeling for his subject, both for its content and for
its relevance in modern education. Three years a University lecturer, he came back to his subject at various stages of h is career, writing, researching and lecturing and not least during this last year at Southampton University. His deep knowledge of the classics coloured his whole philosophy. He made it his job in every school which he served to further Scholarship, whether by the widening of the curriculum, bringing the Arts and Sciences closer together, or by improving academic standards and setting a premium on scholarship, which was acknowledged by all as a major contribution during his seven years at Uppingham.
Second, I think, Coll would like to be remembered as a schoolmaster: not all
scholars are schoolmasters and not all schoolmasters are scholars. Coll was
both. He had a vision of what a school community should be, whether a boarding school or a day school. Uppingham has, for the last seven years, been an open, free and happy environment for its adults to live in, and this has been very much the consequence of having a Headmaster, and headmaster's wife, who think that human beings and human relationships are the most important aspects of a community.
That was the tribute recalled by the Chairman of the Uppingham Trustees at Coll's last Speech Day.
When Coll left Portsmouth, the Grammar School magazine article which was his Valete, referred several times to "our Headmaster".
To me, an outsider, that said a lot.
Perhaps, as I have heard said, Coll was not a boys' Headmaster, whatever that may mean, but boys have a habit of growing into men, and I have no doubt that Old Boys from all the schools which he served, will recall a man who, however difficult to approach they may have found him when young, was a human being who cared about human relationships . Nowhere was this emphasis more apparent than i n the generous and indefatigable hospitality which Coll , and of course Hilary, gave to young and old alike in all their homes.
Third, we can remember Coll as a Samaritan: he picked up pieces. 'He was at his best in a crisis ' said another of his former colleagues - and he certainly had a number of crises With which to deal. There was no passing by on the other side, or blaming somebody else. He faced the problem squarely and others could lean on him: to those who wanted to talk he was a patient listener and they received his undivided attention. You knew too that your confidences were completely safe: the frailty of others did not shock him either, and he gave shrewd and sound advice.
Fourth, and last, Coll was a servant. I can remember a particular conversation on the beach at St. Ives, in spring sun - better than anything we have had this May. Coll was relaxing, and relaxed, 'AS a Headmaster' he said *you are the servant of everyone'. He was not complaining: he liked being a Headmaster but the burden in the previous term had been heavy.
Coll was indeed a servant of others, and we all know that Hilary supported him with unstinting devotion. He was a man who saw clearly what his duty was, however uncongenial. The low point of his seven years at Uppingham, as he himself said, was when he spent many weeks on his back: others were having to do his job - he felt that keenly. .. . . . . . . .
Coll was also a man who served the community - a highly respected Magistrate on two benches, with a clear mind, and a deep sense of what was just: he gave of his time and energy when he was already a very busy man.
We in Sherborne are going to miss him too: only last Monday, he would have been elected the Master's Representative on the governing body of Sherborne School. This would have been a new challenge which he would have relished. 'It is our loss', said one of my colleagues.
So Coll - scholar, schoolmaster, Samaritan and servant - now prematurely embarked on the journey from which no traveller returns, we say thank you for your friendship, and thank you for your service to so many.
We might feel that you had earned the comparative leisure and enjoyment of the years which seemed to l i e ahead, but . . . . . in the words of the hymn by another Macdonald -
'My fancied ways why should'st thou heed?
Thou comest down thine own secret stair:
Comest down to answer all my need,
Yea.; every bygone prayer.
I firmly believe too i n the words of another hymn, w i t h which I will close -
'As for my friends, they are not lost;
The several vessels of thy fleet ,
'Though parted now, by tempest toss'd,
Shall safely in the haven meet Coll was cremated on 26 May 1983 at Portsmouth Crematorium in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom.520 A memorial Service for he was held on 8 July 1983 at Uppingham School Chapel in Uppingham, Rutland, England, United Kingdom582 Address given by P. D. Gaine Esq At Coll's Memorial Service
LORNE HOUSE, UPPINGHAM, RUTLAND
It is but a short year, almost to the day, since Coll Macdonald occupied this
pulpit to take his leave of Uppingham: six even shorter weeks ago, after the news of his untimely death had been announced to an almost disbelieving Common Room and School, a short service of remembrance and farewell was held in this Chapel,late in the evening:a service that sprang as it were from the immediacy of the moment and from the desire of the community to be quiet and reflect on the sudden loss of one who had so shortly before loomed so large in our lives: a Headmaster, a giver of advice in our troubles, and a supporter in our aspirations, whether we were teachers or taught: to the youngest boy or girl, or to the more recent arrivals to the Common Room, a figure made distant by the very nature of the position to which he had been called: to the more senior of the young, and to those of the Common Room who had been fortunate to come to know him over the years, a mentor, philosopher, and friend. And now, for no reason that any of us could very well understand, we would see him no more. And so, as the bell rang, the School gathered, every one who came coming of his or her own free will, and the Chapel filled with boys and girls young and old, and masters and mistresses junior and senior, and those who serve the School in many other capacities, to pay their quiet respects, and to pray a little, think a little, and perhaps most poignantly of all, to sing the great evening hymn 'God that madest earth and Heaven.' That was our farewell, and I feel that it would have made him proud, and that it would have made his family proud too.
Today we are here for a different purpose: we are here to make memorial to, and give thanks for, the life and work of that man. The life was a full one,and a distinguished one. A headmaster at 36, he served three schools in this capacity, ending his career here in this place .A scholar of note, in the field of Classical Scholarship in general, and more particularly in the specialised field of Roman Oratory; his editions of five of the speeches of Cicero, and his translation for the Loeb Classica Library of the Catiline speeches of the same author, stand with his many articles as a permanent and abiding testimony to the quality of his mind. A Fellow and Lecturer at the Universities of Sydney and Otago, the former a particularly distinguished seat of Classical learning; a Justice of the Peace for the City of Portsmouth, and Deputy Chairman of the Juvenile Bench in that City before he came here; then similar public service as a J.P. here, and in the last months of his life again in the City of Portsmouth to which he and Hilary had chosen to retire. Other public service too, as a Governor of Portsmouth High School, and of other schools beside, and about to become, before fate took him from us, a Governor of Sherborne, that great School at which he had taught Classics with such pleasure before he became a Headmaster for the first time. Many of you know well these aspects of his career; few of you will know of his service with the R.A.F.V.R., which he joined as a young man of
nineteen a year after leaving Rugby. Few of you will know that he was one of the first men to pilot the new jet aircraft, and that he saw service in Rhodesia and the Middle East. Few of you will know, because he will not have told you, and those of you who knew him well will not be surprised. For he was affected by the death of so many of his young comrades in arms, and saw no object of public veneration in his own feats. That is not to say though that he was not intensely proud, in the secret places of his heart, of having been a part of the defence of the values of liberty and decency-the Latin virtue of Humanitas, in those dark days. Of all this we make memory, and for all this we, and properly countless others not with us today, give thanks.
It was his Headmastership of this place, however, that touched us most nearly.
He came to us from Portsmouth,and from a job that he had deady loved, and that he had found perhaps the most satisfying of his life. Portsmouth was the place where his family grew up, and where the roots of young married life were put down most strongly, and it is no accident that he and Hilary chose to return thither for what was to have been a rich and fruitful retirement. But I suspect that it was of his Headmastership of this School that he was most proud. The headmastership of a great School is an arduous task: responsibility rests on your shoulders for seven hundred of the children of other people, and with you the buck stops. Looking after other people's children is being placed in a situation of awesome trust: your judgements will decide success and failure, and failure will not lightly be forgiven, You have also the careers and prospects of some seventy members of the teaching staff in your hands they will expect your time and attention: they will expect you to remember their problems and their aspirations: additionally you are responsible to the Trustees for the successtul administration of a business with a multi-million pound annual turnover. If you fail, in these competitive times, it may fold, and all within it. From none of these threefold tasks did Coll shrink. His critics might have said that he was not a 'boys' headmaster'. If that means that he did not care for each and every one of them they were wrong, and if that means that he did not worry in the night about his judgements and their justification they were wrong too. We here remember too many moments, some of them too poignant to mention, where the depth of his concern and the agony of his burden was only too plain to see. If, however, they mean that he did not see himself as being every boy's Housemaster, Form-master, Tutor, rolled into one, then they were right: but that is not the sort of 'boys' headmaster' who will successfully run a place as large as Uppingham. He did his job, and delegated to others theirs. When they travailed he supported them; when intervention was needed the helping hand and the good advice was there, and in the last analysis the support you so much needed. No boy or girl he helped, or colleague he supported have I ever heard speak disparagingly of him: of this too we make memorial, and for this too we give thanks.
Under him the School flourished as a social and academic institution, and came to rival more closely than perhaps ever before the other seats of academic learning with which we aspire to compete. His penultimate year as Headmaster saw us take our place in The Times Educational Supplement list of academic awards among Schools with far more reputation as nurturers of Scholars than ours, and above many Schools usually thought of as 'academic' and of which we have been thought the poor cousins in this respect. It is the statistics of his last years that we are proud to unfold to prep schools who have no idea that such is the case, and if the message is being reflected in the opinion of our customers who are now coming to us because we compete with the best in our dealings with clever children, for this all of us whose lives belong here must be thankful.
But all this hides the man. Under Coll Uppingham was also a warm, free, and relaxed place for a man to live and work,and for children to grow up. Conscious always of the dignity of his fellow beings, he would listen with patience to any who sought for his advice. He and Hilary offered the hospitality of their home freely, to those in statu pupillari, and those not. Public performance, and public entertaining is such, he never found easy, and small talk found him awkward and unrelaxed. But the blessing of a perfect partner, companion and foil, made their home always one to feel at ease in. It was,however, in the company of family and friends that he was at his best, and it was here that his gift for humour,and his huge enjoyment of the ludicrous, found rein. Many of us will remember him laughing, propping himself on one hand on the desk in his office, at the recitation of one of those stories in which any community abounds, and many of us will remember the pleasure with which when relaxed he would tell stories against himself. It is maybe a pity that everyone did not have the opportunity of observing this very real side of him at close quarters: many of us felt that he would have liked more opportunity to reveal it himself, but Headmasters are like Prime Ministers, Admirals and Bishops. They cannot be all things to all men. He also loved his teaching, and it was a sadness to him that again the nature of his position kept him distanced somewhat from the classroom, both in terms of the time available, and the natural aura that his
So, as the busy world became hushed, and his work was done, he prepared himself with Hilary to relax and enjoy the years that were to lie ahead. They had the joy of their plans: there was travel and the planning of it - to the Classical lands and beyond. There were friends to meet again, and old ones who would come to stay and share their family life with them. There was more work to be done on his beloved Cicero: there was teaching again in the Department of Classics at the University of Southampton: there was public service to be undertaken once more, on the Bench in Portsmouth. There were the family moments: the expected grandchild whom by God's grace he lived to see: the full enjoyment of the felicity of mature age unencumbered by the worries of the daily round. But this was not to be, and Hilary,and young Coll and Lindy and Lucy and Murray are left alone but for one another, their friends, and their memories. But for the expectations at least that there were: for the things that he was able to look forward to, if not to enjoy, we should be grateful, and though it is impossible to find a reason in what happened, save in recourse to the idea that it was God's will, we may be glad that to the end he has happy, optimistic, and rich in the possessions of human relationships, surrounded by those he loved above all else.
Coll would never have doubted that whatever happened had a significance in the mind of God. So often in circumstances like these one is seeking to give a religious interpretation, a spiritual solace, where there was no belief or certainty. And such can seem to border on the hypocritical. In Coll's case we need have no fear. His own faith, from his Presbyterian upbringing, and continuing through his reception into the Church of England after his marriage, was a real and deep one: based on intellect, intuition and experience it believed what it professed. When William Cooper in his memorable address in Portsmouth Cathedral at Coll's funeral said 'Coll of course does understand now, and the heartache is for us'..this was no mawkish sentiment of which Coll himself would have been embarrassed. So we may give thanks to God for his life, and call it into remembrance without fear. We may express to Hilary, young Coll and his family, and to Murray our gratitude, and remind them that we too will remember, each of us greater or lesser things, in greater or lesser abundance.
I have in my possession a copy he gave me of a rendering into Latin hexameters of the end of Tennyson's Ulysses. I end with that poet's own valedition:
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep,
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
He had his estate probated on 29 July 1983 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom.580
Hilary Constance MOWLE and Coll MACDONALD J.P. M.A. had the following children: