Starting Year 1933
Gateshead Secondary School
(later called Gateshead Grammar)
These are names on the 1939-45 War Memorial showing this Intake Year
James Conway Burns
Ronald Albert Freestone
Henry Oswald Pennington
John Aylwin Williamson
From the Hardyeans' Club in Dorset
Robert BARRASS (? -1962) we were advised of Mr Barrass' death in May, by Michael James.
The 1962 Durnovarian reports that at the Commemoration day on 19th July, Headmaster Mr
Hamilton paid tribute to four masters who were leaving including Mr Barrass, thanking him for his services as head of the Chemistry department, Commanding Officer of the CCF, and
Housemaster of Hodges House
Michael James forwarded the text of a eulogy read at Mr Barrass' funeral by his son-in-law Roger de Freitas, in which he was described as a "philosopher,gardener, intellectual, scientist, soldier, walker, sailor - a man of great energy both mental and physical, of strong convictions, sound arguments and great integrity.
After being Head Boy of Gateshead Grammar School he won a scholarship to Cambridge in 1939, and was called up into the RAF in 1940. He was awarded the DFC for courage in flying at treetop height spotting enemy guns at Monte Cassino. After the war he returned to Cambridge and completed his degree, having married Win in 1943. He had a great gift for teaching. All his life he loved explaining, encouraging and helping others to understand things... He had a great love of the British countryside, particularly the fells of Cumbria where he had spent part of his childhood.
After retirement he moved to Wales and spent many hours cultivating organic fruit and vegetables and sailing in Newport Bay.... He was a great reader, a favourite author being A E Housman and only two weeks before his death he and Win visited Ludlow in Shropshire where Housman's work is set. The Curator of the Housman Society was thrilled to have a visitor who was able to quote spontaneously from his works." Mr Barrass would be remembered "as a devoted family man, a great husband and father and a fantastic grandfather. And a pretty fine father-in-law too."
..I refer to your Newsletter, issue 88 for Autumn 2002, concerning the obituary notice of
Robert BARRASS, DFC, who was a Master at Hardye's School, formerly a Head Boy of
Gateshead Grammar School.
Nick Barrass was a member of "F" Troop, No 4 Commando, Ist Special
Service Brigade, and joined us in Normandy replacing an officer killed in action on D-
Day between the bridges over the Caen Canal (Pegasus Bridge) and River Orne.
Lieutenant Barrass' home address was in Gateshead.
During early September 1944, No 4 Commando returned to England, but returned to
the Continent in October to join the 4th Special Service Brigade in training for the
assault on Walcheren Island, Holland, to help open up the Port of Antwerp. "F" Troop
became known as "3" Troop, and was in training at Coq-Sur-Mer, (Den Hann), Belgium.
On 1 November 1944, the 4th Special Service Brigade attacked Walcheren Island, No
4 Commando being responsible for the successful assault on the Port of Flushing.
Unfortunately Lieutenant Barrass was killed by an enemy sniper near the Statue of
Ruyter, in Flushing, the same day.
The coincidence of surnames and Gateshead prompted me to have a chat with Colin
LUCAS, Honorary Secretary, whom I again saw the following day at the Hardyeans'
Club luncheon on 27 September last. Colin informed me that his enquiries had
established Robert BARRASS and Nick BARRASS were brothers.
I am indebted to Colin for his interest and very quick response to my query. Many
Thanks Colin, for a job well done. Today we live in a small world due to air travel,
television, etcetera; I much appreciate the Club's Newsletter, which on this occasion
brought back good and bad memories.
Lieutenant BARRASS' grave is located in the British War Graves Cemetery, Bergen-op-
Zoom. I enclose a photograph of his tombstone, which I took on 1 November 1984.
Lieutenant BARRASS was a fearless and very good soldier, who was well liked within
"F" and "3" Troops, an accolade to be proud of from his Officers and Men.