The Leas School,  Hoylake

Frederick  Lynton  ASHCROFT

b 30 Dec 1917,  Wirral, Cheshire, England

d 6 Dec 2006,  Cornwall, England

Fred's parents were Arthur Lynton Ashcroft, flour miller, and his wife Kathleen Margaret Williams, daughter of Octavius Frederick Williams, stockbroker. Kathleen was cousin to Gerald Hassal Williams (OL), grandfather to a few Williamses who attended The Leas in the 1960s and 1970s. Fred himself attended The Leas too, in the 1920s.

From The Leas Fred went on to Stowe, which he left in 1935. On 12 January 1940 Fred (already in the Territorial Army) entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; on 10 May 1940 he passed out of Sandhurst, Order of Merit A, and the following day was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, The King's (Liverpool) Regiment (the rank and regiment of Gerald Williams's brother Harry when he died in France in the year Fred was born).

Fred's first marriage was not a success: he married Jean Langford Hyslop on 18 September 1940, just a few months after gaining his commission. Perhaps absence on war service was a factor in the end of Fred's marriage; they must have divorced, as both remarried.

Fred married Jean Ruth Mellalieu on 25 September 1947. There were four children of the marriage: two daughters, and two sons, Peter and Bill, both of whom attended The Leas. Peter later returned briefly to The Leas as a trainee teacher.

After the war, Fred was appointed a director of the family flour-milling firm Edward Hutchinson Ltd, which ceased trading in 1960. He had not intended to become a teacher, and had had no training - he agreed to join as a stopgap when the school found itself short in 1963. This must have been fairly clear to the boys when he started, and Fred was subjected to some merciless teasing and trickery. Fred soon won the affection of all; and, far from being just a stopgap, he stayed for many years.

From the initials of his firstnames, Fred's nickname simply had to be FLAshcroft, abbreviated to Flash. Back when he started he was usually nicknamed Eric, because of a slight likeness to the comic actor Eric Sykes.

Fred taught Maths and Geography - in the way of small schools, he probably also had to teach other subjects from time to time. After 1967, Fred took over many of the tasks which had been carried out by Ken Sutton, eg timekeeping for sports (both for standards and for finals), and supervision of air-rifle shooting.

After retirement in April 1978, Fred moved to St Agnes, Cornwall. His last years must have been hard to bear: both his sons died before he did, and one daughter died fairly soon after.

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