Childhood & school days

Jane Bryden (his mother)
Jean Seagoe (his sister)
Ron Hedges (his friend)


When the children approached secondary school age his mother, Jane Bryden, could only afford for one of them to attend the prestigious Borden Grammar school for the full course - in those days, as males were raised to be the breadwinners and females the housewives, Bill was naturally chosen. His school reports show that he fully justified the choice on merit, his sister Jean Seagoe had many fine qualities but she was no great scholar.

Bill had the good fortune to join a particularly talented year at Borden; he excelled in the classroom, though with stiff competition. However some of his contemporaries were distracted by the talents they demonstrated on the sports field! Bill and his good friend Ron Hedges were neck and neck in class before Ron discovered the delights of the cricket field. Bill stayed in the background keeping the score whilst Ron punished the opposing bowlers; on one celebrated occasion the Borden School team demolished the parents eleven with Ron scoring 106 not out, against the parents' score of 18 - Ron Jarrett taking five of their wickets.

It is hard to comprehend that, less than twelve years later; four would have died in defence of their Country: Bill in 1942 on Augsburg raid, John Lester over Cologne in 1943, Ron Jarrett in 1942 at El Alamein and Brian Richards on his way to bomb Bremen. Ron Hedges would be seriously wounded by mortar fire in 1944, two months after landing in France on D-Day.

View the report in more detail
Ron Hedges (his friend)
Upon leaving Borden Grammar, most of the boys entered some sort of sponsored (indentured) training, Bill began a career in banking at Lloyds in Tunbridge Wells and Ron was articled to the County Surveyor's department in Maidstone. University was reserved in those days for either the very rich or extraordinarily gifted in society, the latter exemplified by Ron Jarrett who went to Oxford.