Pocock, H.B.I.

1908 – 1954

The following appreciation of Mr Pocock appeared in the Hurst-Johnian on his retirement

In the various photographs of groups of masters there appears to be one unchanging feature; and that is H.B.I.Pocock, known affectionately to one and all as BIP. Unchanging not only because he seems always to have been there but because he always seems to look the same. Old Boys of varying generations returning to the School in recent years always ask for Mr. Pocock, having seen him they say, “You know, he is just the same”.

Mr. Pocock has remained unchanging in his loyalty and devotion to the School, to which he has given such splendid service. He came to us 46 years ago and he has lived through four Headmasterships. He has seen the School grow to its peaks of 2?8 boys in 1919 and to 303 at the present time. .He has seen the Science Lab moved from the Shield cloister to the wooden classrooms and finally into the new Science Block.

H.B.I.Pocock has always been a master of improvisation; a characteristic which stood the nuances of the School in good stead and contributed to the qualities of the budding scientists. As a teacher he was sometimes fierce but always fair, and certainly boys knew where they were with him. It would be misleading for any one from outside to suppose that H.B.I. Pocock lived his life exclusively in a chemistry lab. He made a rich and varied contribution to the School, in his interest in games and his devotion to cricket, which he ran for many years. He succeeded his old friend Mr. P. W. Scott as Commander of the O.T.C. and gave distinguished service.
Nor will his Housemastership of the Cross be forgotten; his special interest in that particular House has remained, even though he no longer presides over it. One of the delights of the Christmas parties is to see him in his old House joining in the fun with no visible signs of reluctance though with some of fatigue.

It is difficult to think of him without his pipe, though in the interests of discipline he did abandon it in the lab. We are all glad to think that Mr. Pocock will not be lost to the School for he will continue to live in Hurstpierpoint village and he has promised faithfully that he will often be with us in chapel, at matches, and in Common Room.

We extend our affectionate good wishes to BIP for many years of happy retirement.

Mr Pocock died not long after his retirement – in 1961, the same year as his longtime colleague Mr P.W.Scott. Set out below  are relevant extracts from the address of Canon R. C. Howard, the Headmaster, on the occasion of their joint Memorial Service in the School Chapel

“And so, first of all, we must in our commemoration, while we mourn their loss, rejoice in their firm, steadfast and ostentatious faith. I put it first because, in my view, that is a matter of first importance. The second great characteristic they had in common was their self-effacing devotion to the School. It is significant that when I wanted a photograph of  P.W.S. for the Johnian I could not find one and I had to have an enlargement of one taken from a group. And it was only by the great good fortune that an enterprising youth had taken a characteristic snapshot of B.I.P. leaning out of a window above the Shield rooker just after he had observed an eclipse of the sun.” “P,W,S. was a lovable and a good man, and so was B.I.P. Never has any School had more faithful servants than these two. And so, fellow members of this beloved place, we come back to our original theme. Hardhearted would he be who did not mourn the passing of these two fine men; but faithless and ungrateful we should be if we did not, for the completion of so full and fruitful lives, offer our heartfelt thanks to Almighty God in that Service which Christ himself gave to us, the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving, in which both Percy Walter Scott and Herbert Pocock found both strength  and peace.”


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