The Leas School,  Hoylake

Desmond  Alfred  WAREING

b 29 Nov 1926,  Worcester Maternity Hospital, The Tything, Worcester, Worcestershire, England

d 27 Oct 2008,  Bethshan Nursing Home, Newtown, Powys, Wales

Desmond's parents were Cyril Alfred Wareing (d 1952), insurance inspector, and Clarice Lilian Ironmonger, daughter of Alfred Ironmonger (d 1954), master tailor.

Desmond seems to have come to The Leas after military service; he was commissioned (20 Sep 1947) as 2nd Lieutenant, The King's Regiment, and served in Trieste.

Desmond was very active: he ran the school's Scout Group, and took some scouts each summer to a camp in Wales, a joint camp with the West Kirby scouts. From September 1952 Desmond ran the school's Meccano Club, a prep-time club which met some 3 Tuesday evenings per term; it was so popular that only a handful of non-Meccano boys would gather in Second Form to do prep or read books instead. The popularity of the Club's Meccano sets is mentioned in the Dec 1941 magazine, but in later years they were eclipsed by other occupations. One of the gadgets the club would use was the giant EpiDiaScope, rather like an early overhead projector in that it could show opaque objects (Epi) or transparencies (Dia).

Desmond was also in charge of the showing of weekend films, either 16mm on a tungsten-bulb projector in the middle of the audience, or 35mm on a carbon-arc projector in a projection booth added by the RAF to the back of their Nissen-hut theatre. He organised lights and scenery for stage productions. And he managed a model railway (?and a Scalextric track) in a hut next to the theatre; the tracks would all be cleared away to make room for a dressing-room when a show was on.

Desmond taught Science, and in later years Woodwork too, after the death of Harry the Carpenter. When Desmond entered a classrom, he would stride across in his squeaky shoes and short-sleeved Aertex shirt to throw open all the windows, even on the coldest of days.

Desmond took the tenor part in the school choir, standing behind the trebles (on the left as you look at the altar). He would sing with great gusto his favourite hymn, to the bouncy tune Truro, "These things shall be: a loftier race than e'er the world has known shall rise, with flame of freedom in their souls, and light of science in their eyes".

Desmond was renowned for his cars, which he rebuilt and maintained himself: a Bentley (Marmaduke), a Morris 10 (Minnie), and even a Rolls Royce (Oswald). At the start/end of term it would often be Desmond who would drive any Irish contingent via the Mersey Tunnel from/to the boat in Princes Dock, Liverpool.

He had two main nicknames: Pongo (transferred from a 1930s-40s footballer Tom 'Pongo' Waring); and Rat (perhaps inspired by his twitching moustache) - he lived up to his Rat nickname by wearing a rat-like woggle on his Scout kerchief, and by charcoal-drawing a large rat on his long-tailed kite (part of a bedsheet stretched across bamboos).

Desmond lived with his mother in West Kirby, first on Salisbury Avenue, later on Princes Avenue. After his mother died (28 Oct 1984) and the school closed (1985), Desmond moved to Machynlleth, Powys.

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