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Back (in time): Mr Gaffney.

Post first published 11 November 2019


I am going to dedicate this entry to Mr Gaffney. He was my English teacher at Changi Grammar School.


My dad was in the R.A.F and we were stationed out in Singapore from 1968-71. What prompted me to think about it Mr Gaffney is that I printed out a draft of my book today. It’s a real patchwork affair because it used up all the paper in the drawer so it is printed on a variety of different papers, different weights and different colours! The reason I have printed it out is because I am going to pop round to Rachel’s with it. She is a dab hand at punctuation, she knows how to handle a comma or two and I am sure my book will be littered with mistakes. That’s why I thought of Mr Gaffney. He was a gentle and amusing teacher. As a child educated in the 1960’s there was a more liberal approach to English grammar. I am sure it was my fault but I was always interested in writing wild psychedelic fantasy stories, rather than learning when I should use a colon instead of a semi-colon. But I did enjoy and look forward to his English lessons. I even took a photo of him once during a lesson. Easily done nowadays with mobile phones but then I had a big clunky SLR camera but he didn’t seem to notice!

There is one play I have loved ever since my English lessons and it is Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. If you haven’t heard it find the dub version by The Dubwood Allstars – Richard Burton with a dub reggae backing track by Jamaican producer King Tubby – what a combination!


Comments from the Changi Grammar School Facebook Group


 Linda Anne Davies: I remember reading the problem page in my magazine which was on my knee. I was totally unaware that Mr Gaffney was stood behind me. He made me read all the problems out to the class. Never did that again!


John Haswell: Dave for the life of me I can’t remember why but our class in 1970 always thought his name was great for a band “Terry Gaffney and the city slickers”. We wrote it on the board one day before he came in. He had a great sense of humour.

Diane Hudson Harris: We all called him Super Gaff


Neil Wilson: He got me through Lang and Lit which was a great accomplishment. He taught me lots of interesting approaches to Language, and along with Ernie Wise, I writted and wrote good.


Anne McLellan: Because of Mr Gaffney I have had a lifetime love of English Literature and also achieved a B+ in the A Level (quite something for me!) – but Mr Cole also helped with that too.


Martin Cannon:  I too remember Mr Gaffney and had him for English (briefly?) in 1968-69 – although I have stronger memories of Geoff Storey and Alan Cole as English teachers. What I do remember about Mr G though is his calm demeanour, kind face (but played a mean rugby game against us!) and his sense of humour. Well done Dave, in this achievement though!

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