John Tottle, aged 93, died peacefully at home with his family on Friday 30th December 2022.
He started at QEH aged 11 in 1940. He wasn't thrilled about being sent away to board, and was deeply unhappy at first, using some ingenious tactics to get sent home. Only one of which worked - a brutal roughing up of his throat to fake an infection, that was doing the rounds, leading to a couple of nights at home in his own bed.
During the war, much to his dismay, he was one of the 32 boarders allowed to stay all through the war. Although, he was always proud of his war-time night duties of checking for incendiary devices on the school’s roof.
He was a withdrawn boy who was struggling academically, and he was eventually kept down a year which led his academic confidence to grow. At the same time a sports master, Mr 'Ick' Richardson "who ruled us by fear" encouraged this timid boy out of his shell and his sporting confidence grew. Suddenly he was one of the 'elite' and with this newfound confidence, he was never unhappy at school again. He would tell us that QEH had been the making of him.
He has left us a wonderful account of his days at QEH, the weekly communal bath, the camaraderie and VE day in 1945 and being allowed to join the celebrations.
In 1946 he started at Banks, Wood and partners to train as a Quantity surveyor which led to a life in the construction industry.
As an old boy, he set up the first OE website with his usual can-do attitude and an instruction manual and recorded some tapes, talking about his time at the school for the archives.
He was thrilled when his grandson, started and thrived at QEH in Carr; his old house.
The last time my father went to the Old Boys' dinner, I believe he said he was the oldest old boy there.
Always kind, he was an adoring husband of his wife Yvonne who survives him and a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He will be sorely missed.
The funeral of John Tottle QEH 1940 starter will be held on 3rd February at 2 pm for 2:15 at Memorial Woodlands, Nr Thornbury, BS35 3TA. Afterwards, in the Reception Rooms, there will be refreshments, all are welcome.
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