Memories of my Father.(Sidney Pointer).

Janet Bolton (nee Pointer)
1937 to 1956


Many will remember Mr Pointer as a very much respected and kindly officer, who instructed us in "Signals": WNTS 1935-1949 and then PSTS 1949- 1956.

 My  father joined the staff at Watts Naval Training School as the Signals Officer in 1935, after 25 years in the Royal Navy. I fol­lowed on in 1937 when I was two-weeks old and was baptised by Padre John Webdell, in the Chapel. I have no memories of this period as my father was recalled to the Navy 6 months before the outbreak of war and my mother and I went to live with the Bidewells at Grange Farm for the duration. The farm was at the foot of the hill close to County School station so I was always able to see the wonderful view of the Watts building from my bedroom window.

I imagine the school carried on during the war. I do remember the occasion when an elderly farm worker, called out of retirement, was bending over in the field when he was shot in the bottom. He rushed into the farm, clutching his posterior and shouting, "the Germans are here!" The Home Guard arrived and was very disappointed when they discovered a boy at the school had found an elderly gun and fired it from one of the windows.

We returned in 1945 and lived in one of the four cot­tages opposite the Sanato­rium. 'Bandy' Joyce and his family was at one end and Bert Busby at the other - we were in the middle. We were a small, close-knit commu­nity. The Matron at the San. was 'Auntie' Blackwell and the engineers wife 'Auntie' Bevan. 'Uncle' Bevan was very important to me as we had a cherished radio, operated by accumulator battery, which he recharged for us.

My father taught me the Morse Code and gave me my own buzzer. His patience was amazing as he spent many hours having Morse Code 'conver­sations' with me. I learned to swim in the school pool although, as the years went by, the competi­tion from the frogs increased. I ran around bare­foot in the summer and when my mother tried to make me wear shoes I always told her "The boys don't".

About 1948 there was an outbreak of Impetigo at the school. I caught it and joined the afflicted boys to have my head shaved and painted with gentian violet - very traumatic for an eleven year old girl. When Watts was amalgamated with Parkstone Sea Training School we moved to Poole. We lived about a mile away from the school but it still played  a big part in my life. I went to the weekly square danc­ing classes and was much in demand as girls were very thin on the ground. I was confirmed, with a group of boys, in the P.S.T.S. chapel. My father loved his work and had a genuine affection for all the boys. He died while working at P.S.T.S. and his funeral service was held in the Chapel.