Mr Frederick Leslie Gleadow Smith

Last updated: 11 Apr 09

“Smudger”, “Smic”
Originally, “Junior Subjects”;
French, RI
Jan 1931 – c1969


1964 School Photo

Educated at Newbury Grammar School, Kings College Taunton and Keble College Oxford. Had taught previously at Thrings Schools, Haywards Heath (Sep-Dec 1929), All Hallows School, Honiton (Jan-Apr 1930) and Dover College (Apr-Dec 1930).

I had the dubious honour of being set a record number of lines as punishment during a French lesson while in my second year. Mr FLG Smith started the torture by initially setting me 100 lines. This comprised writing the alphabet 50 times forwards and 50 times backwards in joined up writing. After two more minor indiscretions during the same lesson he had increased the tally to 500 with 250 in each direction. By the time I’d finished I was able to recite the alphabet in reverse with complete fluency but unfortunately it was a skill I never succeeded in marketing. Henceforth, I stayed well out of trouble with Obergruppenfuehrer Smith.

Ron Dadge

I have waited a while to see if anyone else came up with any info on “Smudger” to no avail so here is my two penny worth.

As a class we were not too keen on Mr Smith. His “modus operandi” was to teach in a very dry and humourless manner. We were privileged to have been taught French by Miss Todd White during our first year but were then subjected to Smudger aka Smic during year two. There can be no greater contrast. One thing was for certain, you would never learn a French accent from Smudger. French was taught as though it was a branch of the Queen’s English. He also stepped in to teach Religious Instruction and History to us at odd times. Versatility was his forte.

Rather like Alan Legge, the start of every lesson was a ritual. Smudger enters and class stand. Smudger sits and we wait until given permission to sit. While absolute silence reigns, he places his small, battered suitcase on the desk and opens it to remove the appropriate text book and a pair of arm gaiters. These were white elasticated cloth cylinders which he would then put on to each forearm to protect his jacket sleeves from chalk dust.

During the 1966 or 67 sixth form review, Smudger loaned his case and sleeve protectors to the cast one of whom did a very good take off of the man himself, thus proving that he did have a sense of humour after all.

Jim Croton

Poor old FLGS came in for a lot of stick about his cushion – not the least the speculation about why he needed it! When he left the room, despite dire threats, the cushion would often be hidden or moved, and he sometimes took it with good humour. Not very often, though – a class detention was usually the result …

He was quite a character. Remember his tubes of peppermints? The way (when in a good mood) he would call everyone “sweetmeat” (not that he’d get away with that these days!)?  I was fascinated by his stationery – the Parker propelling pencil, and the red and blue special ballpoint pens – all of which I copied. He used to make quite a thing of selling subscriptions to the BRF booklets (Bible Reading Fellowship), and French learning magazines – I still have a set of Loisirs!

David Perry