D. B. Harrison

MR. D. B. Harrison joined the Staff in July, 1947 when he came to take charge of Physical Education and Swimming in the school.

He was responsible for the introduction of Rugby Football to the school and it was his enthusiasm and patience in the face of all difficulties that brought about the present healthy state of the game when we are able to field four teams regularly every Saturday.

The School's record in Swimming during the twenty years in which he had charge is one that can scarcely be equalled elsewhere.

All who knew him were stunned to hear of his death on the 24th September, 1967.

A funeral service was held at the City Road Crematorium on Friday, 29th September. At the Service six of his colleagues acted as bearers and the School was represented by the Headmaster, some twenty members of the Staff, ex-colleagues, the Head Prefect and other boys from various forms. Representatives of the Old Edwardians' Association also attended.

Mr. Harrison was a man of such youthful vitality that it is still difficult to accept that he was so struck down in his prime.

He was a genial, kindly man with a quiet confidence and zest for life. Not for him the histrionics and the dramatic moment, but the calm observation delivered when others were becoming heated. He took no delight in over-complicated instructions, particularly written ones, and yet the Swimming Sports which he organised were models of smooth efficiency. He preferred people to paper.

He had a fine understanding of boys and particularly of their difficulties and weaknesses. Such was his understanding that he inspired them to give of their best largely by following his own example of honest, unstinting effort. It is significant that, of the many tributes that boys and old boys have written, a large number come from those who start by saying they had little prowess in the Gymnasium and go on to say how greatly they were encouraged by him and how much they owe to him.

The many successful athletes, swimmers and Rugby players whom he encouraged and inspired in their youth never fail to acknowledge their debt to him and many kept in close touch with him long after they had left school.

 

 D.B.H. ( Photo by G. Mackay)

As a colleague he was a most charming man. Always quietly cheerful and with a delightful sense of fun, he was a skilled raconteur, probably at his best when retailing stories of his experiences on his travels in Europe-usually resulting from the breakdown of his varied motor vehicles. Many a newcomer to the Staff found him of the greatest help in settling in. His practical commonsense and his consideration for others did much to inspire a friendly atmosphere in the Common Room, in whose interest he worked so hard.

As a friend he was sincere and true and above all compassionate. My personal debt to him for help and support in time of stress is great indeed.

He was above all else a believer in the unity of the family, and it was a proud moment for him when his son became the Captain of the 1st Rugby XV in this School.

In final tribute to him I quote from a letter received from a former colleague who, a few years ago, took charge of School Rugby:

"He was one of the gentlest and most genial colleagues I have ever worked with and the generous way in which he let me reap of his sowing in the School's Rugby, though never stinting his support and help, was a living lesson in manliness from a very great teacher."

We must be thankful that we knew him. He gave much and gave it cheerfully. We shall miss him.

J. C. H.

[KES Mag Autumn 67]