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Stephen Ward's grandfather knew Mr Irving's schoolteacher grandfather, he writes on Wednesday, April 28, 2004




Teachers in the Irving family line

Headmaster John Irving with the senior staff of Saints Mary & John School, OxfordTHE glimpse into your family history was most interesting. Your grandfather John Irving was my father's headmaster. My father held him in great esteem, as did so many in the East Oxford community.

Two of the teachers on one of the photographs, Mattie Grierson (right) and Skipper Phipps, taught my Dad. He never forgot them, nor of course Mr Irving, Mattie Grierson, teacherfor between them they contributed much towards making him, and so many other boys, true Britons.

He often used to recite poems to me, learned during his days at SS Mary and John: Kipling's Ballad of East and West, Newbolt's Play the Game, and Scott's My Native Land. My own grandfather didn't benefit from the improving educational standards of my parents' generation, only receiving some four years at a small East Oxford 'Dames' school.

Nevertheless, at the start of the Boer War he enlisted, and his education was twenty-five years in the British Army. He was one of the most generous, good-natured men I have ever known.

Clara CawdellAlthough my eyesight is no longer of the best, I was struck by your seeming likeness to your grandmother, especially when looking at the photograph of her walking on the front at Eastbourne with her sister.

It's nice for some of us to know who we are, and where we came from. Incidentally, I usually start the day clicking on your website. Your manly stance, as historian and fighter for the truth, acts as a daily inspiration.

Stephen Ward


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David Irving replies.

I have posted a better photo of teacher Mattie Grierson in my grandfather's dossier now (see image above). Britain's schoolteachers need their own memorial -- or do they? The Empire, and we who have descended from it, are their memorial.


 © Focal Point 2004 David Irving