The "Charles Crebbin" Letter

(N.B.  There is a reply to this letter, which you can read by clicking on "HERE"

Also, Charlie has written a second letter, which you can see, below by clicking on " HERE" )

From: Charles Crebbin - (1944-49)
Sent: November 2014
Subject: History Teaching by Pat Kneen

Dear Webmaster,

Some Old Boys may recall Pat Kneen’s History Football matches which were designed to encourage boys to remember significant historical facts and figures.   At the beginning of each school year each boy in his History class was allocated a football team for the year (mine, in about 1945 or 1946, was Charlton Athletic) and each Friday afternoon’s class would include a period of History Football.   The names of two teams would be called out (the first being the ‘home’ team) and the number of goals to be attempted would be determine by a roll of the dice.

If the dice indicated 6 then the home team would have to ask 6 questions (goal attempts) of the opposition.

I particularly remember one such match (but cannot remember the names of the boys involved) when one of the boys – one of the class comedians – was asking the questions.   His first question was “What famous event in British history occurred in 1874?”   His opponent didn’t know and the questioner gave the answer “Winston Churchill was born!”   Mr Kneen allowed that questionable goal to stand.   Then came the second goal attempt: “What famous event in British history occurred in 1884?”   Again his opponent didn’t have a clue and the questioner triumphantly said “Winston Churchill celebrated his tenth birthday!”   The class broke into laughter but Mr Kneen, stifling a grin, disallowed that goal and awarded a penalty to the opposition.

The fact that I still remember the year of Churchill’s birth shows that Pat Kneen’s History Football idea worked!

Best wishes,

Charlie Crebbin (1944-49)

Hi Charlie

You must have been "one of the high-flyers" at our school to have Pat as a teacher.  We only knew him from the "wrong end of a cane".  However, your's is the type of letter that we really appreciate.  You can really get a feeling of what it was like to be taught by a dedicated man who would never have been able to study at our school if he had not won a Scholareship; and then to continue on, as a member of the teaching staff and finally to become VP; all from ability and effort.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if we could have him as The Speaker, at one of our Dinners? - Mind you, I have sometimes wondered what it would be like if the Speaker was MA HILL. :-) :-) :-)

Cheers Webmaster.

P.S.  Would any other Member like to suggest (with reasons) another member of Staff who they would like for the job, if he (or she) was still living?

Here is a second letter (see above), from Charlie :-

From: Charles Crebbin - (1944-49)
Sent: August 2015
Subject: History Teaching by Pat Kneen

Dear webmaster,

Further to my earlier letter (5/11/2014) about Pat Kneen’s History football matches, and to various comments made by old boys about Pat Kneen’s reputation with the cane, I am reminded of my first encounter with Mr Kneen when I was in the 3rd form, in 1944
Mr Kneen was taking the place of the headmaster in the morning assembly and I was caught talking with one of my friends and was ordered to leave the hall and wait outside the headmaster’s office. I walked trembling up the grand staircase and stood by the headmaster’s door wondering about what form my punishment would take – caning on the backside or caning of the left hand?

Eventually Mr Kneen appeared and ordered me into the office. He said “What’s your name, boy?” I replied “C-C-Crebbin, Sir”. Immediately the frown disappeared from Mr Kneen’s face and he said “That’s a Manx name – what part of the Isle of Man does your family come from?”
I told him (Ballakillowy, near Port Erin) and all the fear disappeared from me when he told me, gently, to behave properly in the morning assembly in future and to go to my class. From then on, I was particularly grateful for my Manx ancestry! (I discovered later the Kneen is also a Manx name.)

Charlie Crebbin (1944-49)