The 2011 Edward Lutley pub lunch mini reunion followed by a strawberry tea invitation at Chilton

Old boy Edward Lutley made a surprise visit to Chilton CanteloSchool, when he was in the area, and received the invitation from Dr John & Mrs Jane Price to their Strawberry Tea which was kindly extended to the Oldies. Edward then thought that it might be an idea for all the Oldies to meet up for a pub lunch cum mini reunion beforehand at the Rose & Crown at Trent. This pub was an excellent choice and we all enjoyed ourselves as you can see in the photos below.

The Chilton Cantelo School Strawberry Tea was attended by present day parents, masters, 10 oldies, pupils and even the Town Crier of Yeovil, Bruce Trigger.

It was a wonderful Strawberry Cream Tea in a typically old English setting which was enjoyed by everybody. We are indebted to the Headmaster and his wife for inviting us.

Thank you also to all the Chilton Cantelo School old boys and girls who were able to attend. They were:

  • Richard Cotes-James
  • Edward Lutley
  • Peter Liesching
  • Nicholas Collis
  • Stewart Whitfield
  • Shaun O’Connor
  • Gareth Derbyshire
  • Mark Audemars
  • Sally Potter
  • Clive Lewis-Hopkins

Photos from the day

All photos are by Clive Lewis-Hopkins unless otherwise stated.

What a hip little site!

The following lines refer to Neil C. Smith’s old Chiltonians website which has disappeared from our screens. I wrote them back in 2002, when I had my old hippy head on, and posted them on Neil’s notice board. It was a hip little site indeed and a lot bigger than this tiddler!

What has happened to you Neil? Clive Lewis-Hopkins.

April 19th 2002 03:31:21 PM
Name Clive Lewis-Hopkins.
Period at Chilton Cantelo School: first half of the swinging 60s

Say something: Gents (+ Ruth Thomas who was like the only bird at the school at that time).

What a hip little site. I was hanging ten one day in a cyber cafe waiting for the surf to pick up in weston-super-mare when I discovered this site. wow. Cool stuff. Great to re-discover my past life as the golden boy of chilton cantelo. Playing sea cadets, smoking pipe virginia, scrumpy half a crown a pint, oh such a life. But i was young back then and what i wouldn’t give to know then the things i know now. Remember “lift up your hearts” at 10 to 8 in the morning. It was, like, freaky man. gotta hop through. Peace to you all. Good karma. “Magic mushroom” or “the wild one” to my alreet surfer mates.

The Hawker Sea Hawk parked in the grounds of Chilton Cantelo school

Those of you who were at Chilton Cantelo School when this plane was parked on the lawns in 1988 or thereabouts would be interested to know that it’s now part of the Peter Vallance Collection at Gatwick Aviation Museum at Charlwood, Surrey. You can read all about its interesting history at

Chilton Cantelo School Sea Hawk WM983
Sea Hawk WM983 in the grounds of Chilton Cantelo School circa 1988

It has now been repainted and has had various registrations including WM983, XE489, XE364, G-JETH, & FGA 6.

Photo taken by Neil C. Smith.

An email from Michael Brake

Hullo Clive!

I was browsing through the internet recently and came across the Chilton Cantelo [Cotes-James era] and was immediately bombarded with names and faces I have not seen for years! What a very pleasant surprise indeed!

My name – Michael Brake – there under the pupils – list 14th January 1966…

I arrived in the school, fresh out of [then] Rhodesia – to be placed under the immediate guidance of Adrian Brooking-Clark. He thought there might be family ties [as the name – Brake had Somerset origins]

Was soon running with Rex Carslake [or tried to partially keep up with him!] and soon drinking Port [sometimes vintage] with Nick Harris… was sad to see his obituary, but smiled about him now enjoying Lyme Bay…, seeing the reunion photograph of Dave Wilson and the Thomas-Peter brothers, Rex, Ruth and others evoked great memories.

Looking through the list of pupil’s names as well – remembering many old friends…

I see myself with others [Mary, Fiona, Nick, ZDZ etc] in a photo taken by Glen McLean in the “PHOTOS 65-69” section.

I am, and have, for 30+ years lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Was in the hotel business in and around Canada.

If there is a sharing email addresses site, please feel free to include mine:

I hope that there will be another gathering of the clans sometime as it would be fabulous to catch up with old friends again.

Thanks for a very interesting site!

with best regards,

p.s. I attach an old photo of me in front of that old Bofors Gun and the infamous Jaguar

Michael Brake
Michael Brake, Chilton Cantelo School

Thank you Michael for this interesting email. More emails like this about life in the Cotes-James Era of Chilton Cantelo School wanted for publication (preferably with a photo).

Please send them to us.

An email from Edward Lutley

Dear Clive,

It’s funny how once stirred, memories start flooding back; I started looking and had forgotten that you and I had played in the 1st XV Rugby team, I was the smallest member of the team and made Hooker.

I’m quite happy for all my details to go on display! Including email address, who knows who it might bring in? Have also sent other more recent photo’s which may be of interest?

I arrived at Chilton Cantelo January 1960 and left July 1964. Got married to Diana Meakin 1.5.1971 with Nick Harris as Best Man. Diana and I met at one of Richard Blyths parties in Thurlstone,Devon.which several Chiltonian’s will remember!

I settled down working for the last 35 years in Trade Decorating Industry along the South Coast between Eastbourne and Poole. I retired early, two years ago and took a trip around the World for 5 months visiting friends and family, flying over 32,000 miles between continents we backpacked, stayed in Hotels, Motels hired camper vans and drove over 15000 kilometers across Australia and New Zealand.

But no matter what I’ve done in life it is always those happy care free days of Chilton Cantelo I remember, Saturday nights out in Yeovil on our bikes, boozing it up at the Crown Inn at Trent, and having to dive out of a small window in the bogs with Nick Harris and others when a master came in un-expectantly. I was also camera man for the Devise’s canoe race and ended up at Bathampton visiting Diana, eventually arriving back 10 p.m and having to ring Captin James to collect me from the station explaining I had got lost and no photo’s. John Venus teaching us the ropes! And knots. Tony Beeston’s attempt at one handed wire- flying, ending up legs wide apart across the railings. Oh Ouch!!! Oh Matron!!!

I hope other people will respond to this site, as with passing of time these records will be sadly lost. Come on Old Chiltonian’s get in touch via Chilton Oldies site.

Edward Lutley

Thank you Edward for these words and your great photographs. Pity you didn’t take any photos of the Devises Boat Race as they would have come in handy for me now! Never mind I can see the attraction that Bathampton had to offer and am sure that you had a great time. Sincerely, Clive. 🙂

Edward Lutley can be contacted at

A true story from 1978

Dear Clive,

I noticed your web-site on Chilton Cantelo School and that you are interested in stories from the Capt. Cotes-James era. I have a little story which I think is well worth mentioning. It comes from February 1978, which seems a long time ago now (!), and so I can only tell it as I remember it. The school comes in, heroically, a few paragraphs down, so please bear with me…

In 1978 I was living at No 5 Lower Chilton Cantelo. My husband was an aircrewman based at nearby RNAS Yeovilton. No 5 was one in a row of labourer’s cottages, originally attached to Lower Farm, as far as I know. The older Mr & Mrs Kerton were at Higher Farm, and Cdr Goodford at the old vicarage. The school was run by Capt. James, whom I never saw, but as we locals plodded along the road to Mudford, we were often obliged to step quickly into the muddy edges of the lane to avoid being hit by this posh white car that would come hurtling by at goodness knows what speed. My friend would say, “Oh, that’s Captain Cotes-James, from the school!” And we’d step back into the lane, muttering and somewhat disgruntled, as you can imagine.

In February 1978 the weather had been cold, but bright and sunny, when suddenly, there was a great change and snow fell thickly, steadily. In 24 hours we had inches of snow, and drifts in the lanes. Thick blizzards continued for several days, sometimes I couldn’t even see Lower Farm House from my window at No 5. I had to dig my way out to the coalshed through a yard that had deeply drifted snow in it. On one side of the lane cars were half-buried. The lanes in and out of the village were filled in with very deep drifts that the men could not walk through. Instead they walked across the fields where the snow was less deep to help the farmer dig his cows out of the field where they were trapped. The farmer at Hinton Farm was Mr Bartlett, and a farmer called Tom Wills had cows in the fields around Lower Farm. They could not send the milk out, so they stored it in bags for a few days and then had to pour it away. Some men from our hamlet managed to get to Mudford, but the little village shop there soon ran out of supplies. Mudford was cut off from Yeovil, and the whole south-west area was declared an emergency area.

At that time my husband was away in the arctic with the Royal Navy, and I was at home with our first baby, just one month old. We were dependent on commercially produced baby-milk powder to feed our baby, and I was extremely worried as we had very little left at home. I had been expecting to go into Yeovil to buy baby milk and groceries. The snow had arrived without warning. The coal-man had also been due to deliver that week, and we were nearly out of fuel. Rob Garrad at No 9 was able to bring unpasteurised milk from the farm, but none of us were very happy about using that, and I was desperately concerned about the health of our baby. There was no telling how long this situation was going to continue. The older locals could not remember anything like it.

I think it was three days into this crisis when two tall young men turned up, astonishingly, on our doorstep. They were freezing cold, despite being clad in very good winter gear, including hats with earflaps and gauntlet-style gloves. (I had heard that the temperature was minus 15 degrees). I asked them to come in, and albeit a bit shy, they did so. They were very pleasant and polite, one dark haired, one fair. How on earth did they get here?! The fair one was the main spokesman. He explained that Captain Cotes-James had organised some of the older boys from the school to go out in pairs to help the locals in the village. In particular there was to be a helicopter-drop of food at the school in the coming days, and they were collecting a list of food items we might need. If we had no money handy to pay now, we could pay the school when things had returned to normal. I requested a few things, which the fair one wrote down, though his hands were so numb he could hardly write. I also wrote a brief note to the Captain explaining my situation with the baby and the urgent need for baby milk-powder. The young men, probably, sixth-formers, set out again into the snow. It had taken them a couple of hours to get this far.

I was still worried, as the continuing snow storms could delay the helicopter delivery. However, a couple of days later the young men returned carrying heavy back-packs, distributing food to those who needed it. They also brought me a note from Mrs Cotes-James.

The helicopter had not brought baby milk but she had phoned the police in Yeovil who would get some for me at a shop in the town. They could not bring their vehicles any nearer than the bridge at Mudford, as very little snow-clearing had been done except for the major roads. So a boy was sent from the school to make his way over the fields and along the riverbank (that’s what I understood at the time) to collect the boxes of baby milk from the police. These he brought to our house at Chilton Cantelo.

I cannot tell you how relieved I was. To me this was a life-saving situation, and these school boys were brave young heroes. About a fortnight later the snow melted and we were cut off by flooded lanes for a short while, but the danger had passed. Things soon returned to normal, and again we locals would be plodding up from Mudford, me pushing a small pram now, and again we would dash for the hedge to avoid the posh white car racing by us. But now I would give the car a grateful and happy wave, and the driver would toot his horn in greeting.

I hope you enjoyed my story, I’m glad to say “Thank You” again to any of those young men, now middle-aged no doubt!, who may recognise themselves in this story.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Terri Ball
Snow drifts 1978 phone box Lower Chilton Cantelo at Lower Farm
Eileen Cotes-James letter

The boy who came to Chilton Cantelo School by fighter jet!

Old Chiltonian Dan Donnelly has come up trumps again by supplying me with an old newspaper cutting from around 1974 of the Chilton Cantelo Air Force.

I was aware of the Hawker Sea Hawk at Chilton Cantelo School but I had not heard of this Sea Venom pictured in the photo below.

According to the newspapers text this Sea Venom joined the school’s fire engine, ack-ack gun, bofurs, and the radio station. At the 2010 Chilton Cantelo reunion I remember someone mentioning a radio station in the middle of the school woods!

I understand that Captain Cotes-James bought the plane from H.M Government for £40. The plane was unveiled after Rear Admiral J.E.H McBeath and Rear Admiral Ray Rawbone were piped aboard.

Apparantly Captain Cotes-James aquired the Sea Venom after asking Rear Admiral Rawbone, who was then the commanding officer of the neighbouring Heron Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm, if he had any old aircraft lying around! The Fleet Air Arm and the Ministry of Defence were most obliging. I remember his son Mike Rawbone, who was a Chilton Cantelo Millfield School boarder as a fellow school boy when I was at Chilton Cantelo in the 60’s.

If I remember correctly Mike Rawbone was the only boy who came to school at the beginning of term by jet fighter!

This Sea Venom FAW.22 XG691 is now at Flambards Aircraft Park in Helson, Cornwall.

D.E. circa 1974