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A Memoir from 1958/9 from Ken Carter


The year was either 1958 or 1959 and it was the time of the Annual RAE Technical College Christmas Review which was performed on two consecutive nights at the Assembly Hall. The incident in question took place in the home of Mr Smith, the Vice-Principal of the RAE Technical College at that time.

One night after a Carol Service in Farnborough Parish Church a number of apprentices attending the service were invited back to the Vice Principal's home for coffee and refreshments. The party included Mike Benson, Judy Parfit, the writer, and two or three others. Inevitably conversation turned to the subject of the said Technical College review which, that year, seemed to have been especially memorable.

At the review one sketch involved a party of grave diggers going about their job of preparing graves. During this task the participants freely discussed the identity of the pending occupants of the graves being prepared until at one point the script arrived at a line where one of the grave diggers, played by Graham Rood (then known as Rudolf), was heard to exclaim "We're digging for old Smith ..........".

t was this line which seemed to have caught the imagination of the Vice Principal who had been present at both performances of the review. Mr Smith observed that:

" When Rood said the line "We're digging for old Smith ......." he looked me directly in the eye on both nights. The problem was that I was sitting in a completely different part of the hall on each occasion" - a comment which gave rise to great laughter all round. Then the topic of conversation changed.

Light-hearted perhaps but nonetheless a simple sketch with a seemingly throwaway line brought to special significance by the turn of events and which has stuck in the memory ever since - sorry, no photograph. I hope my memory is as accurate and as crystal clear as the events of that evening seem now, it was a long time ago.

Does any one else remember this sketch or have a photograph? Can anyone remember who the other actors were? Actors(?), I recall that there were three people partaking in the sketch one of whom could have been Ted (Sawdust) Lovesey. Please respond if you can add any further information.


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