Hod died on 6 April 1994.
He was born on 17 December 1908 in Worcester and used his Christian names as rarely as possible. He was known to family and friends as ‘Hod’ and to many pupils as ‘Wuz’.
He attended the Royal Grammar School, Worcester, and was taught by the late Sir Ivor Atkins on the cathedral organ. In the late 1920’s he was a candidate for a Cambridge Organ Scholarship. He nevertheless went to Oxford as a member of St.Catherine’s Society, graduating in 1932 with a degree in Modern History. His tutor, R.T.Davies, reported on him termly, “Much thorough & intelligent work” and “Work good in every way”.
His first teaching post was teaching History at Shaftesbury Grammar School until 1940, when he left to join the R.A.F. He married Suzanne in 1941. After a year in England training recruits by ‘marching them up and down Blackpool prom’, he narrowly missed a posting to Singapore in 1942 and went instead to administrative work in India and Ceylon in the rank of Squadron Leader.
Returning to England after the war he was appointed to Hurst in January 1946, where for the next 28 years he and Ken Mason held absolute and totally successful sway in the History Department. At the same time he became Librarian and presided over the development and opening by Princess Alice of the charming panelled Library in the Upper School, now displaced by Red Cross day rooms. From his little room at the end of the library where he would retire for a quiet smoke of his pipe, Hod edited the Hurst-Johnian for fifteen years until 1964. Although he retired from teaching in 1974 he remained as Librarian for a further seven years. His greatest loves were his family, Hod’s loves and tastes in music were well known :- Bach and Elgar hold pride of place. But they reveal more than just the passive interest of an amateur for he had deep commitment as a practicing Church organist.
It was at Hurst that his active involvement as an organist was able to develop. He was accompanist for the Choral Society; he played regularly for Congregational Practice and for Chapel services – who can forget his individual interpretation of Psalm 114 (Mountains skipping like rams) or the School’s full throat-ed rendering of Hymn 373 “Hod moves in a mysterious way” ? For several years in the 1960s he was also organist of the Parish church in Hurstpierpoint. But this was not enough for he learned the Viola through a mixture of self-tuition and lessons from Madeleine Mayo and played in the School Orchestra for many years to be joined in due course by his daughters, Julie and then Alex.
For a man with this tradition behind him, just think how happy he must have been when his niece, Penny, married Stephen Cleobury in Worcester Cathedral. As a great and fitting tribute to Hod’s passion for organ music Stephen, Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge, performed a memorial recital of music which Hod knew and loved which he played in the College Chapel. Hod would have been proud and enthusiastic, as is Suzanne. that his love for the organ – for the Chapel organ in particular – is to be remembered by the establishing of a fund to make annual awards to deserving organ pupils at Hurst – The Holloway Organ Award.