OBs in the Military Philip Woodward D.Sc. (Oxon), (1932-38, OH)

Philip WoodwardMasters who treated us as personal friends abounded in my days at Blundell's, from headmaster Neville Gorton, who turned the school from a hierarchy into a family, to musical monster Jazz Hall and Maths master A R B Thomas, who helped everybody with everything, in and out of school. He would pack too many boys into the back of his car and take us to Bristol to hear Furtwängler conduct the Berlin Philharmonic. Look him up on the web and see what Gorty thought of him. His teaching was the cornerstone for my career in information technology at the government's once highly secret radar establishment TRE.

Philip WoodwardAfter World War 2, I was invited by Harvard University to lecture on Random Processes. Meeting so many clever people there, I began to feel like a random process myself. I met young Oliver Selfridge, whose grandfather founded Selfridge's in London, and wealthy Oliver Straus whose grandfather was co-founder of Macy's in New York. Just before my return from the USA, Ollie Straus had secretly prepared a unique leaving present. One morning, he asked me to favour him by tuning his new London-built harpsichord, and then for no obvious reason asked me to take a look at Bach's Fifth Brandenburg concerto. I am mighty glad I did, for in the afternoon of that very day, a contingent of the Boston Symphony Orchestra turned up to accompany my performance.

Philip Woodward's Tompion Gold Medal from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

Philip WoodwardIt was Blundell's that instilled in me the importance of taking hobbies seriously, be they music, handicrafts, or whatever. In 1984 I made a new kind of pendulum clock (Google "Woodward on Time"). Because this was only a hobby, the award last year of the Tompion Gold Medal from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, founded in 1631, is the achievement I prize most of all.

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