Air Cmde. P. Singh (Pat.229 J.)
The Doon School, Batch of 1955
I was at Doon School between 1950-55.During that time John Martin was the Headmaster, R.L. Holdsworth the Tata House housemaster and J.T.M. Gibson the Kashmir House housemaster.
We looked upon Gibby and Holdy with awe. Both were uninhibited,out-spoken and eccentric. Whereas Holdy was soft and kind, Gibby liked to project a more formidable image. Both of them were sportsmen of renown, mountaineers, and adventurers. Most importantly, they both made sure that those under their care inculcated these interests with correct values. This was evident to us, in the influence they had on another school master, Gurdial Singh who, guided and inspired by them, went on to become a famous mountaineer in his own right.
However, Gibby had one failing - he hated losing, especially to Holdy. The confrontation normally took place during 'junglee murgee' hunts. Whenever Gibby and Holdy were adjacent to each other during a 'beat',sparks were bound to fly. Picture a bird flying across them. Both would shout 'mine" after firing at it and send their respective Labradors to retrieve the bird. Holdy's dog, Kali (and later Bruce) invariably got to the bird first and brought it back. (Holdy never sent Kali unless he was sure that his shot had dropped the bird).
After the 'beat' was over they would confront each other and argue over disputed birds. "I say old chap, I think that your dog has picked up one of my birds". "Your bird? Rubbish! Your shot nearly took off my head."
Both would carry on in this fashion getting redder in the face, their respective pipes clamped tight between their teeth.More often than not, Holdy would let Gibby have the bird while still claiming it. Later on Holdy would de-brief us tutorial members on sportsmanship.
"Boys, sometimes such incidents can lead to the claimants cutting open the bird to see whose pellets killed it. That would be sacrilege! Before matters reach that stage, a true sportsman gives way to the other's claim. Jack always knows when it is my bird but will claim it all the same. He hates losing to a superior marksman from Oxford! You will never see him behaving that way with anyone but me".