We were thrilled to be able to reconnect with Old Bedfordian, Edwin ‘John’ Carvell (33-37), after finding an article about his 100th birthday celebration in a local newspaper. We discovered that we had lost touch with Edwin when he left the school in 1937, the year which saw the coronation of King George VI, so we decided that, after 84 years, it was time to track him down.
After looking through the school archives, we found a photograph dating back to 1936 (see below), of a young Edwin in the school’s OTC (Officer Training Corps), which we thought he might like to see. We contacted his son, Bernard, to explain that, as far as we were aware, his father was our only centenarian, and that we would love to send him a belated birthday card, with the photo we had discovered. Bernard was very pleased (and somewhat surprised!) to hear from us and was happy to oblige – sending us a great photo of his father holding the said card.
Born in Egham on April 20, 1921, Edwin was the fourth of six children. He was brought up in Bedford and joined Bedford School on 19th January 1933, after passing the entrance exam to gain a scholarship. After his father passed away, Edwin’s mother decided he had to find work to help with family finances and no amount of persuasion from his then form master, Mr. Woodland, could get her to change her mind. The Head Master at the time, Mr. Grose-Hodge, even expressed his sorrow that he would not be returning to continue his education.
Edwin was a member of the Territorial Army (TA) and was called to serve in August 1939, at the age of 18, just weeks before the outbreak of war. He served until June 1946, before returning to work for the Education Dept at Bedfordshire County Council. Eight years later, he moved, with his family, to High Wycombe where he worked in marketing and then became an export director.
The family moved to Marlow in 1963, where he still lives independently in his own apartment – his two sons, David and Bernard, both also live locally, along with his three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Bernard explained that, although it had been 84 years since he left the school, Edwin still has fond memories of his time at Bedford, “Bedford School is often a topic of conversation when reminiscing about his pre-war experiences in the town, and he often spoke about R.S.M. Blincow . In fact, my wife and I took dad on a tour of the town around 6 or 7 years ago and we drove into the grounds of the school briefly – a very impressive place!”
We are absolutely delighted that Edwin has accepted our invitation to come back to the school for a special VIP tour and lunch with the Head Master this coming September. Just goes to show, once an OB, always an OB!