Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe - Rugby 3rd XV, 1961/62

Back row (left to right): Dave Blythen, PB (Paul) Spittle, RN Broadley, Roger Forward, Chris English, Roland ("Rolly" Beresford) Smith, Peter "Dan" Archer, MPA "Sol" Solomon.
Front row (left to right): PRJ (Paul) Lane, John Jeskins, Dave Clark, Geoff Boireau, RMS (Sid) Fox, Tim Owen, RG Thomas

Can you help to identify members of the 1961/62 RGS rugby 3rd XV, pictured above? If you think you can, please email me. If you click here, you should be able to see reference numbers magically appear against each person in the photo (click here to switch it off again). Then all you have to do is tell me the boy's reference number and whom you think they are. Email

Peter ("Dan") Archer (5UR in 1961/2) kindly sent me the above photo, which is of the 1962 RGS Rugby 3rd XV. Peter himself appears at 'B7' (that's second from right, standing row). The only other person he's been able to identify is the captain (holding the ball - 'A4') who is Geoff Boireau (Geoffrey Warren Boireau, 6M3 in 1961/2), who was tragically killed, aged only 24, in a potholing accident in Mossdale Caverns in Yorkshire on 24 June 1967 along with his five companions. Geoff Boireau also appears in the 1956 RGS photo (click here and look for 5G8) and here in 1962, in boy scout uniform, being presented to the queen (he is one of the two senior scouts in the photo, the one without the spectacles - the one with spectacles is Pat Taylor who later became a master at the school). Geoff Boireau was the son of an American serviceman who had been in the UK during the war.

Peter also tells me that another person in the photo is Roland ("Rolly") Beresford Smith (6M2 in 1961/2) who died in a flying accident on 2 February 1966, aged 22, while serving in the Royal Air Force. He can also be found in the 1956 photo here (look for 4E16). 'Rolly' is the boy standing 3rd from the right ('B6'). Like Geoff Boireau, 'Rolly' Beresford Smith was an Uplyme boarder and succeeded him as head of the boarding house.

Chris Antill (who succeeded Boireau and Rolly Smith as head of Uplyme) has written in to identify John Jeskins (A2) and Dave Clark (A3). Thanks, Chris. Also, I'm pretty sure, based on a comparison with the 1962 cricket team photo in the September 1962 Wycombiensian, that B8 is MPA Solomon (5UA). Ian Bevan has now identified PB Spittle (B2), R Forward (B4) and RMS Fox (A5). Another tentative identification: B5 as Chris English (based on Nick Avery's identification of him as C76 in the 1962 photo) and also B3 as RN Broadley courtesy of a Chris Antill hunch. Many thanks. Nick Avery has identified TPK Owen (A6). I think A7 might be RG Thomas 6M2. Finally, John Jeskins wrote in to identify PRJ (Paul) Lane (A1) and Dave Blythen (B1).

I thought it might help to append the report on the team's performance as reported in The Wycombiensian, May 1962:

3rd XV

Played 12, Won 7, Lost 5, Points for 144, against 87

Initially, the 3rd XV showed great promise this year, but, with the loss of Davies, Solomon and Jarvis to the 2nd XV, co-ordination in the three-quarter line and superiority of weight and height of opposing scrum marred what might otherwise have been a memorable season. The three-quarters, while showing promise as individuals, often found themselves on their own when confronted with the opposing full-back, a fault due, in part, to the inevitable abduction by the 2nd XV of various players as the need arose. The standard of hooking, for which Blythen and Owen must be given credit, compensated in most matches for the scrum’s deficiency in weight, and the experience of those who played last year often gave the team a valuable advantage.

The forwards continued to play with courage and the tackling all round improved greatly by the end of the season. M. J. Jeskins, who replaced D. G. Orchard at full-back halfway through the season, developed his own effective style of “kama-kazi” tackling, and the team’s confidence in the accuracy and strength of R. Forward’s place-kicking was rewarded. P. R. J. Lane consistently evaded his opponents, and Thomas, with more experience, would partner him very well at fly-half.

Over all, the 3rd XV have won their fixtures this year by team spirit, determination and fitness rather than by strategy or brute strength.

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