A.B. Douglas

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Known as ‘The Bird’ from his somewhat hawkish appearance, Bruce Douglas served Gresham’s for a total of 42 years.

Appointed to teach maths in 1921, he became housemaster of Farfield and second master in 1942. Advising headmasters with candour, authority and loyalty, he considered it his duty to act as their handbrake as well as their support.

Bruce Douglas had many interests and took a full and active role in school life. He was a great supporter of the OTC and Debating Society, an enthusiastic rugby coach and referee, and organised many expeditions. In later years he discovered that it was possible to umpire hockey matches from the comparative warmth of his car, parking on the touchline and using the horn and indicators to give directions.

Remembered for his toughness as well as cheeriness, Bruce Douglas was known for his common sense and his dry humour. His sayings, such as “We’ll have that talking stopping” were often reported, and he is reputed to have dismissed an earth tremor in 1931 as ‘nature’s nonsense’. He was similarly dismissive about the anachronistic Honour system, citing an absence of fear and an atmosphere of tolerance and self-motivation as the over-riding ethos of the School. To mark the quarter centenary in 1955 he compiled the School Register from 1555, which was published with a history by Rev. Linnell.