Prebble, Edward S (Teddie)
When Teddie Prebble died on 21 October 2003, he probably relinquished the “title” of “father of the Hurst Johnian Club” for he was over 96. He was a prefect and House Captain, a good sportsman, but (by his own admittance) not particularly academic. He was the middle of three brothers; the eldest was S H Prebble (Star 1921) while the youngest was K R Prebble (Star 1935) who is currently living in New Zealand.
Teddie was born on 8 July 1907, the son of a business man importing and manufacturing textiles; the family was comfortably well off. On leaving school, he was apprenticed to a textile warehouse in Paris. As the Folies Bergeres theatre was very close to the warehouse, he not only learnt the language but was also able to expand his knowledge of the French culture!
On returning to England, he and his older brother played rugby for a local club, played golf, sailed and sang in a local men’s chorus. They had an encounter with the two infamous Mitford sisters, Diana and Unity, but managed not to be lured into joining the British Union of Fascists.
He was conscripted into the army in 1940 and commissioned into the East Kents. He was soon married and spent his honeymoon at the Strand Hotel during the blitz, and then had an interesting war, taking part in the invasion of North Africa in 1942 and serving for a while in the French Foreign Legion as he was fluent in the language. He took part in the invasion of Italy, landing at Salerno. Later he was part of a mission to help Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia and was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership of a seaborne raid on an occupied coastal town. He finished the war as a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of a POW camp accommodating 30,000 prisoners.
After the war he returned to the textile trade and looked after his wife who sadly contracted tuberculosis, and he retired in the early 70s. During this time he also showed what a caring man he was looking after the welfare of certain relatives. He and his wife went to live in New Zealand in 1972 where he played golf and swam daily, as well as doing voluntary work for elderly people, many of whom (as he often pointed out!) were younger than he. Before going abroad he played golf with the OHJGS with his old school friend Derek Piggott, whose daughter, Nikki, was Teddie’s goddaughter.
He was clearly a remarkable man and is survived, in spite of his long and interesting “innings”, by a brother, nephews and his goddaughter.
3 March 2004