21st November 2014
It is with sadness that we report the death of one of the oldest Old Boys of Ermysted’s, Roger Smythe, at the age of 94.
Roger started at Ermysted’s on 15th September 1932 in class iii c, staying until December 1936. He had previously been at Brougham Street school in Skipton 1925-32. Roger’s father, Wilfred V Smythe, was responsible for introducing electricity to Skipton. The first sub station was, quite amazingly, at the original Ermysted’s school building on Shortbank Road next to the Cross Keys pub. It is still a sub station to this day and bears a plaque to confirm its history. Roger recently recalled that he remembered the town and the school being lit purely by gas. After leaving school Roger joined the RAF and was a spitfire pilot in the second world war. He stayed on in the RAF after the war and became a test pilot. During his life he was also a racing driver and a fine amateur boxer, among many other things. The last entry about Roger in the Chronicles of Ermysted’s, in the Autumn 1945 edition, records that he was in Canada training pilots, and that he had married a Canadian and had a young son.
Jonathan Linsley Stevens, who was at school 1969-1975, met Roger at the Bexhill Royal Air Force Association club where they were both members and developed a friendship with him. Jonathan recently got in touch with us and as a result we sent an Old Boys’ Tie for Roger, who was presented with it (pictured) just a couple of weeks before his death.
Roger died in the Conquest Hospital near Hastings following complications from heart surgery, not long after celebrating his 94th birthday in the hospital. Jonathan reports that Roger’s death came as quite a shock as he seemed in pretty good health for his age and had been expected to make it to 100. “I know he was very proud of being an Old Boy of Ermysted’s,” says Jonathan. “He had fond memories of learning to box at Ermysted’s (‘anything to avoid playing rugby’ were his words). I am very proud to have known him and also very proud that we attended the same school albeit 32 years later in my case.”
Roger’s funeral will be held on December 5th at Hastings Crematorium at 3.30pm.
Photograph shows Jonathan Linsley Stevens presenting the Old Boys’ Tie to Roger Smythe at the Albatross Club (RAFA Bexhill).