A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

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John Saunders
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A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby John Saunders » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:33 pm

Here's something rather topical - it's about a top athlete who was at the RGS, but not an old boy - a member of staff.

John M Williams joined the school as a PE master in 1962. The letters after his name were D.L.C. which I think stands for Diploma of Loughborough College. He left in 1967, to be replaced by Derek Stubbs (an old boy of the school).

John Williams was from Wales and a very good middle-distance runner. I vaguely remember watching Grandstand on TV one Saturday afternoon and seeing him take part in an athletics meeting somewhere.

Occasionally I have tried to track him down online but his common name makes it rather hard. However, I think I've now found him...

http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Recor ... story.html (EDIT: link no longer works, unfortunately)

This is a remarkably topical story. It seems a group of young athletes have only just managed to beat an 800m club record set by John Williams in 1956. The club is Carmarthen Harriers. John Williams later took part as a schoolboy for Wales in the 1958 Empire Games (we now call them the Commonwealth Games) held in Cardiff. He must have been pretty good.

Here's another link to something relevant.

Pretty sure this is him.

The May 1968 issue of the Wycombiensian gives some clues to his post-RGS life. "Mr. J.M. Williams (1962-67) is now happily settled in Melbourne, Australia, in his new job as Organiser, c/o National Fitness Council, Victoria. He says that the life out there is fantastic. He is in the office in the morning and he trains in the afternoon, with Franz Stampfl, the world-famous athletics coach. When he wrote he was also fishing, surfing and strangely enough ski-ing. He trains the basketball squad at Melbourne Grammar School but they are not as good as the RGS team yet."
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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Re: A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby John Saunders » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:45 pm

My appeal for further info on John Williams was picked by his eldest daughter Louisa in Melbourne, Australia. Here is what she had to say...

Louisa Williams wrote:I am John's eldest daughter (of three children) and live in Melbourne, Australia.

Many times I asked dad for information on what distance(s) he ran and I am not sure if I can recall exactly what he would say.

Unfortunately, we lost dad in May 2008. I was so happy to see him remembered though and know he would be so thrilled to know that he had left some kind of legacy.

Dad moved to Australia to open some sports institutions from what I recall but left the sports business when he married my mum. He retired from business when he was 50 and spent the rest of his years playing golf - his passion - and we scattered his ashes on the golf course that he called home.

He would return to see his parents in Carmarthen regularly but both have now passed away. I was taken to the UK a couple of times with dad and I recall him proudly pointing out the boarding school where I believe he was Master.

If you have any other memories of dad, I'd love to hear them.


Many thanks to Louisa for getting in touch. Very sad to learn that JW is no more but he obviously had a great life in Australia.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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Re: A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby jcamp » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:45 am

I recall that there was a member of staff (a PT master) in the 50s who appeared in the Grey Book with the qualification "Dip Bognor Regis".

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Re: A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby John Saunders » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:32 pm

Very nearly - the scan is on Tony's website here...

"A.H. Hall, Esq., (Bognor Regis and Dip. Carnegie College) 1956"

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John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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Re: A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby John Saunders » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:37 pm

The school website features this photo of Bob Davies (RGS 1963-70) putting the shot on Sports Day, and John Williams can be seen in it, in a smart grey suit just three to the left of Bob as he does his stuff...

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John Saunders
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Re: A Top Athlete on the 1960s Staff - John Williams

Postby colintaylor1 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:47 pm

AS mentioned John Williams joined in 1962 as PE teacher; at the time I was Cross Country captain and we did attempt to train together once, but I was a carthorse alongside him. He told me that he was a GB international at 880 yards (best performance, I think about 1 minute 49 seconds), I was not aware that he had been in the Welsh team for the 1958 "British Empire and Commonwealth" games held in Cardiff. I was a spectator at the games and must have seen him in action. Unfortunately I disposed of my programmes a few years ago.
A little more information available if you Google "John Williams Carmarthen Harriers".

Colin Taylor