War Service by Mount Albert Grammar School Masters

Among original staff who may have served in the First World War, two stand out.

Both served in Europe and both were highly qualified science teachers. Sergeant William Caradus, who served with the 3rd Auckland Regiment, was wounded twice. He became the second Headmaster. CP (Clarence) Worley of the Canterbury Regiment was severely wounded at the Battle of the Somme.

After a period of recuperation both were repatriated to New Zealand, though it would be several years before Worley regained his health. Yet, at the outbreak of the Second World War the now Lieutenant-Colonel Worley was back in uniform. This time as Commanding Officer of First Battalion, Auckland Regiment, with responsibility for the defence of Auckland.

This was a serious position. There was an imminent threat of invasion from the forces of the Empire of Japan. They had overrun Indochina, Malaya, Singapore, Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), some Pacific Islands and had bombed Darwin.

There were trenches on the front lawn of the School and many backyards had underground air raid shelters. If it had not been for thousands of American troops stationed in New Zealand preparatory to taking the war to the Japanese in the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia would have been overrun.

GCL (Guy) McLeod became a prisoner of war of the Japanese and was forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway. He returned to teach here but he was a broken man.

AJ (Bert) Gibson was in the UK, suffered a serious head injury, also returned to teach here, but never the same again.

Around 2000 Old Boys were servicemen and other masters in uniform included Colonel EH (Ted) Boulton and Old Boy Lieutenant GL (Lindsay) Weir. Boulton, a long-time geography teacher had, well before the War started, coached the 1931 shooting team who won the Earl Roberts Trophy. Weir became HOD English and was Acting Headmaster.

Both MD (Murray) Nairn and JLD (Laurie) Wooloxall were navigations instructors. Nairn was with the RNZAF in New Zealand and Woolloxall was with the RAF in England. Nairn later became the third Headmaster, Woolloxall returned to be HOD Science and later Principal of Northcote College.

The absence of so many masters overseas precipitated a staffing crisis, some classes were doubled up, some taken by Prefects and, as a war measure, a number of highly qualified women teachers were employed.

When the men returned from their commitment to King and Country they returned to their former positions. Yet, despite there still being a staff shortage, the ladies were sent on their way. Different times.

Brian Murphy, Archivist