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EARLY DAYS

 

Harold John Catleugh Brown was born, on the 4th December 1935, in pre-war London, in the reign of King George V, at the old Charing Cross Hospital within the sound of Bow Bells. Patricia Anne, his only sibling was born in 1938. His father Jack was a furrier by trade and his workplace was destroyed in an early bombing raid on London, fortunately over a weekend when no-one was there. He was, therefore forced to look for work and decided to move to Yeovil Somerset, the centre of glove making at that time. The effect was to move the family out of the bombing, a self-determined evacuation. They lived in Crewkerne, home of a famous School founded in 1499, the most famous old boy being Hardy of Nelson fame.  

Crewkerne School

 

CREWKERNE SCHOOL

John Brown, or HJC as he was to become known, passed the 11 plus examination to gain entry to Crewkerne School as a pupil. He was a Day Boy in a small school of about 200 pupils, many of whom were boarders. The school played Rugby Autumn term, Hockey Spring term and Cricket Summer term. HJC represented the school in all three sports but it was Rugby in which he excelled. After a match he would lie in bed nursing his cuts and bruises, reliving every move he made in the field that day and thinking how he could have done better. 

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Crewkerne 1951 fixture list with results

 

He was hooked on the game of Rugby from this early age. In 1953 he captained the school team which won all its matches. 

 

Crewkerne School team 1952 with HJC as captain

 

SOMERSET AND ENGLAND SCHOOLS XVS

 

HJC was selected as FLY HALF for Somerset under 15s and the senior schools team before representing the England Air Training Corps v Welsh ATC at Neath on 3rd January 1953.

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Match programme with teams

HJC sitting in the front row, second from the right with a 'black eye'


At the age of 17 he played senior rugby for Yeovil. When it was clear that he was in the running for selection for the England Schools XV he had dispensation from the school not to play hockey but to continue to play for Yeovil in the Spring Term. It worked and he was duly selected to play v Welsh Secondary Schools XV at Cardiff Arms Park on 11th April 1953. In the match he received a heavy blow to the right thigh in a tackle and was carried off 10 minutes from the end. This injury prevented him playing v France at Exeter for which he had been selected. Just before the England v Wales match, a Cardiff XV came down to play Yeovil and HJC marked the legendary Dr Jackie Matthews in the match.   


 

YEOVIL v BATH

This was H J C Brown's farewell appearance before taking up his studies at St Luke's College Exeter. Bath must have wished that the term had started one week earlier because Brown ripped through the Bath defence at will creating two excellent tries.


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