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2015 · issue 4

23

OBITUARIES

Travers Cosgrove (OD 1934)

Travers Cosgrove was an Army officer who

was awarded an MC in Germany in 1945.

He later worked at British Rail where he

improved safety standards and luggage

handling systems.

John Travers Cosgrove was born in 1920

in British Columbia. He joined the Dragon

in 1929 and continued on to Marlborough

before going up to Imperial College, London

to read Civil Engineering. From there he

went on to work for the London & North

Eastern Railway for two years before joining

the Corps of Royal Engineers.

On March 4 1945, Travers was a sapper

officer, serving with 244 Field Company RE

(244 FCRE) and taking part in 53rd (Welsh)

Division’s advance on Wesel. He was ordered

to go to Issum, where on arrival he came

under heavy artillery fire. The RE officer

who had been given the task of laying a

bridge became a casualty and was evacuated.

Travers successfully took control of the

direction of armoured bulldozers for three

hours, and in spite of intense mortar and

shell fire, the bridge was built. His initiative

and courage resulted in him being awarded

an Immediate MC.

In 1946 Travers was demobilised and

returned to work for the LNER. In 1962,

after a period for working other railway

lines, he became the Materials Handling

Officer for British Railways until 1976. In

this role he introduced a line of luggage

trolleys and cages for the parcel service

and in later years created a series of safety

measures for railway lines, including the

implementation of the yellow line used on

all platforms to indicate a safe distance from

a platform edge.

In retirement, he helped restore and

reopen the Keith & Dufftown Railway,

Morayshire, and also worked with people

with disabilities to help them live full lives.

Travers Cosgrove is survived by his wife

Elizabeth (Betty) Davidson and his two

daughters.

Travers Cosgrove, born 9th October 1920,

died 27th December 2013

Christopher Rittson-Thomas

(OD 1940)

Christopher Rittson-Thomas was a very

sporting man, reaching high standards with

many sports on his CV. He was one of the

early starters at wind surfing and the Malibu

surf board at Saunton in North Devon, he

loved high diving especially from on high at

Monte Carlo, he played rugby three times for

England, as well as many games for Oxford

University. He went down the Cresta Run 85

times, skied regularly and biked locally, even

going to the length of biking with gumboots,

fearful of a dog attack.

He climbed Kilimanjaro at 60 and the

Matterhorn at 65. He studied Law at Trinity

College, Oxford and he kept fit and was very

proud of his body.

Christopher was married to Silvie

Fleming, our mum for 36 years and they were

a dashing couple. Silvie loved her family and

they made a great combination. They loved

the annual visits to Black Mount in Scotland

and he was a keen rifle and fisherman.

By the Rittson-Thomas family

Husband of the late Silvie, father of Michael,

Hugo and Rupert. Christopher Rittson-

Thomas born 18th December 1926, died 21st

January 2014.

Jon Stallworthy (OD 1948)

Jon Stallworthy was one of England’s most

admired poets and scholars, and for many

years a central and leading figure at Wolfson

College, Oxford.

Born 18th January 1935, he attended the

Dragon between 1941 – 1948. He went on to

Rugby and then to Magdalen College, Oxford

to study English Literature. He became

poetry editor at Oxford University press, a

professor of Literature at Cornell University

and from 1986 a Reader and Professor of

English Literature and finally acting president

of Wolfson College, Oxford. He was a Fellow

of the Royal Society of Literature and of the

British Academy.

During Jon’s first summer term at the

Dragon, he wrote a sonnet on the subject,

“Procrastination is the Thief of Time” as

a punishment exercise. Headmaster Joc

Lynam’s response was very encouraging and

this became a pivotal moment in legitimising

his ambition to become a poet.

Jon Stallworthy spent his retirement at

the village of Old Marston, near Oxford.

In 1960, he married Gillian Meredith (née

Waldock), who died in 2013. He is survived

by their three children, Jonathan, Nicolas

and Pippa.

Jon Stallworthy, born 18th January 1935,

died 19th November 2014

Anthony ‘Pully’ Pullinger

(Former staff 1972–2002)

On the cricket staff between 1950 and

1953, in the days before the M.C.C. Young

Professionals played regularly as an eleven,

Tony Pullinger became a P.E. teacher at

Sebright School, Wolverley in 1956, serving

as master-of-games until the school closed in

1970. After two years at Heathfield School,

he then joined the Dragon School where,

until his retirement in 1996, he was master-

in-charge of cricket and head of P.E.

President of the Oxfordshire C.A.

for fifteen years – the county’s Twenty20

competition is named after him – he was

also a vice-president of the Oxfordshire

Cricket Umpires’ Association, having

stood in 84 matches in the Minor Counties

Championship between 1964 and 1978. He

frequently umpired in the Minor Counties’

match against the touring team and, in

1968, stood in the Gillette Cup Semi-Final

between Sussex and Gloucestershire.

A right-arm seam bowler and middle-

order batsman who had spent three years

in the William Ellis School XI, captaining

them in 1958, Pullinger played for the

Cryptics, the South Oxford Amateurs and

the Brasenose Strollers. He played fifteen

matches for M.C.C. between 1978 and 1986,

taking 5 for 21 v. Magdalene College School

in 1981, and 5 for 10 against St. Benedict’s in

the following year.

A regular coach at the M.C.C. Easter

coaching classes, Pullinger strongly believed

that bowling should be designed on the basis

that the batsman had to be outwitted. “Use

the width of the crease”, “vary your pace” and

“don’t try to do too much with the ball” were

drilled in to youngsters who came under

his instruction. With passion and energy,

Pullinger changed many an average bowler

into a pretty good one, and he symbolised

the spirit of cricket in everything he did.

Anthony Pullinger died 20th June 2014,

aged 74.

By kind permission of Marylebone

Cricket Club

Florrie Molan

(Former Staff 1937–1985)

Florrie Molan started work at the Dragon,

on the domestic side of School House at the

age of 17 in 1937. She married Paddy two

years later and looked after Joc Lynam and

Keith Ingram for 48 years until 1985. She

and Paddy retired to their homeland in

Ebbw Vale. Paddy died some 10 years ago

and Florrie shortly moved into a Nursing

home in Tredega, where she had regular

visits from great nephews and nieces. She

had Alzheimer’s for some years and died

peacefully last week.

Florrie talked often and happily with

her family of her days at the Dragon. The

particular memory of Florrie that sticks

in my mind is seeing her scrubbing the

front steps of School House every day.

Her permanent Dragon Memorial is to be

found in “Florrie’s Pantry” in School House,

opposite the old kitchens.

By Robin Houghton