I’m currently cataloguing the records of the BFES/SCEA, an organisation established after the Second World War to provide education to the children of British Forces’ personnel stationed in Germany and around the world. The collection is full of teachers’ recollections of their time abroad. Whilst listing these papers I came across a letter from a teacher recalling one particular excursion in 1968 that made me smile. So in his own words, here is his story….
“I was deputy head at Colonge School from Sept 66-March 68. The number on the roll had dropped dramatically when the RAF left – I was being over-paid! I was interviewed and appointed to Bielefeld School and moved at the end of the Easter term. I left behind my wife and young family living in a very large house.
During my first term at Bielefeld School the Head told me he would like the fourth year classes to visit the city of Köln and the British Forces Broadcasting Station. He wondered if my wife could accommodate 28 children, their teacher, the MSO bus driver and me (her husband) for one night! I wonder how many BFES/SCEA teachers have asked their wives the same question! My long-suffering, wonderful wife agreed and so it happened.
We set off from Bielefeld School at 8am and arrived in Köln in time for lunch. After lunch we drove to BFBS just a few miles down the road. The children had a most interesting tour of the station and met ‘Uncle Bill’ – the children’s favourite. We all joined him for ‘Children’s Hour’. Some lucky pupils were allowed to read out requests live on air!
The next morning 7am breakfast. My wife fed everyone – a sack of 80 fresh German rolls, bananas, cereals and a choice of milk, tea or coffee to drink! I think she heaved a sigh of relief when we left. We toured the city, sightseeing, visited the cathedral and finally arrived back in Bielefeld late afternoon. What an adventure – what fun!
A week after we left, our next door neighbour saw my wife and asked ‘Is it true you have had a bus-load of school children staying in your house?’ She then said ‘We never heard nor saw them!’”