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Notable Alumni




This is only a small selection of our Military Alumni - to find out more about our alumni, visit the News About OPs section. 

Humphry Boys-Smith (1918-1921) - a much-decorated OP and RN Commander with a DSO and Bar and a DSC, who made six trip to the beaches of Dunkirk.

Lieutenant Commander Mike Cumberlege DSO* RD (1919-1922) - A British Royal Navy officer and Special Operations Executive agent of the Second World War. He was tortured, and eventually executed, by the Germans after being captured while on Operation Locksmith in Greece. He was awarded a posthumous Bar to his DSO in 1946 for second attempt to attack the canal. He had also been awarded the Greek Medal of Honour.

J.M. Easton (1920) - Won the George Cross for bomb disposal work during the London Blitz in 1940.

A.S. ‘Ben’ Bolt (1921-1922) - First OP Admiral who won the DSO and DSC and Bar and served in the Mediterranean in the Second World War and in Asia in the Korean War.

Vice Admiral K. L. Dyer (1929-1930) - Joined the Royal Canadian Navy and achieved worldwide fame by sending, without political authorisation, 24 Canadian warships to sea to hunt for Soviet submarines during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Colonel David Smiley LVO OBE MC and Bar (1930-1934) - World War II special forces and intelligence officer, Special Operations Executive and MI6 agent, author, and officer commanding the mounted escort at the Queen's Coronation. He is often considered to be one of John le Carré`s inspirations for George Smiley in his Tinker, Tailor series of spy novels.

Frederick Treves BEM (1938-1942) - Winner of the Lloyds War Medal for Bravery. He won both medals when as a 17-year-old he saved the lives of several shipmates when his Merchant Navy ship was ablaze during Operation Pedestal, a convoy sent to relieve Malta in World War II. He became a famous actor after the war with over 100 credits for television dramas and series, and films, and also had a distinguished stage career at the National Theatre and on radio.

Sir Robin Gillett, 2nd Baronet GBE RD (1939-1943) - Master Mariner, youngest ever staff commander: Canadian Pacific Lines; Royal Navy Reserve officer, Lord Mayor of London at the time of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (1976–77), and former Gentleman Usher of the Purple Rod.

Rear Admiral Sir Paul Woollven Greening GCVO (1942-1945) - Commanded the Royal Yacht Britannia and sailed 115,000 miles on the vessel, including taking charge of the honeymoon voyage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. He later became Master of the Queen’s Household.

Admiral Sir Michael Henry Gordon Layard, KCB, CBE (1949-1953) - Retired senior Royal Navy officer who went on to be Second Sea Lord.

Captain John Ridgway MBE (1951-1955) - Special Air Service and Parachute Regiment officer, writer, yachtsman, first Atlantic rower (with Chay Blyth), and founder of Ardmore Adventure School.

Commodore Anthony Morrow CVO RN (1958-1962) - Last commanding officer of the Royal Yacht Britannia from 1995 to 1998.

Rear Admiral Roger Lane-Nott (1958-1963) - Former Royal Navy officer who served as Commander Operations and Flag Officer Submarines.On retiring from the Royal Navy, he fulfilled a lifelong ambition by becoming Formula I Grand Prix race director for a year.

Major Dan Holloway (1994-1999) - Officer Commanding Burma Company, 1 YORKs. Dan is a serving British Army officer who has deployed on operations to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a Charitable Trustee / Marketing Director for Young People’s Independent Counselling.


Mike Hailwood MBE GM (1954-1956) - Motorcycle racer and 12 times Isle of Man TT champion. He was awarded the George Medal for rescuing a rival from a blazing car during the South African Grand Prix.

Rodney Pattisson MBE (1957-1961) - Yachtsman and twice Olympic gold medallist.

Toby Garbett (1990-1994) - Olympian, World Champion rower and currently a triathlete. After being selected as the youngest member of Team GB and suffering career-threatening injuries and illness, he rowed in both the Sydney Olympics (2000), Athens Olympics (2004) and numerous World Championships before retiring in 2008.

Andrew "Bart" Simpson MBE (1990-1995) - Sailor, Olympic gold and silver medallist, and Americas Cup professional.

Caroline Spanton (1996-1998) - Head of Football Development at FAW Trust (Welsh Football). She previously worked as Head of Womens Rugby for WRU.

Charles Waite-Roberts (2006-2011) - Former GB lightweight rower, turning heavyweight. He rowed at Henley for the Leander Club and is also a Rowing Coach at the College. Featured on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine in June 2017.

Darryl Marfo (2007-2009) - Scottish professional rugby player who plays prop forward for Edinburgh Rugby in the Pro14. He has previously played for Harlequins and Bath in Premiership Rugby; and for London Scottish, London Welsh and Ealing Trailfinders in the RFU Championship. On 11 November 2017 he made his Scotland debut against Samoa.

Georgia Francis (2008-2013) - Rower, who made her senior international debut in 2017, winning the B final of the double sculls in the European Rowing Championships in Racice. She competed at three consecutive World Rowing U23 Championships. In 2014 she won a silver medal in the women’s eights; finished fourth in the women’s double sculls in 2015; and eighth in the women’s quad sculls in 2016. Moved into the senior squad for 2017.


Government and Politics


Sir William Garth Morrison, KT, CBE, DL (1956-1961) - Was Chief Scout of the UK and Overseas Territories from 1988 to 1996. and was a member of the World Scout Committee from 1992 to 2002. He later became Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian.

Tom Spencer (1961-1966) - Former Conservative MEP who became leader of the UK Conservative MEPs, and chairman of the EU Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. He stood down in 1999.

Jeffrey Richard de Corban Evans SBStJ (1961-1966) - Past Prime Warden Shipwrights' Company, and Sheriff of The City of London, 2012–13. In 2015 Evans became the 688th Lord Mayor of the City of London, and also an elected member of the House of Lords, now sitting as Baron Evans.

Arts and Entertainment


Ken Russell (1942-1944) - Film director and producer, perhaps best known for his film The Devils.

Beverley Cross (1944-1949) - Playwright of Half a Sixpence, starring Tommy Steele, among many other productions, and late husband to actress Dame Maggie Smith.

The Hon Francis (Frank) Davies (1960-1964)- Multi-award-winning record producer.

Richard Burrell (1978-1985) - British Television Drama Producer and Executive Producer. He won an International Emmy for BBC crime drama series, Waking The Dead.

Blaine Harrison (1997-2003) - Lead singer of the Mystery Jets and patron of the charity "Attitude is Everything", which makes gigs accessible to disabled people

Tom Read Wilson (1998-2003) - Was a regular feature of the school plays at the College during his time. He has gone on to perform in pantomimes and theatre productions all over the world. He appeared on The Voice UK and is probably best known for being the receptionist on E4’s Celebs Go Dating.

Writing and Journalism


Jeffrey Bernard (1946-1948) - Journalist and writer of the column "Low Life" in The Spectator, and subject of the play: Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell by Keith Waterhouse.

Robin Knight (1956-1961) - Was foreign correspondent for American news magazine US News & World Report before becoming a contributing editor at Time magazine.

Jefferson Hack (1984-1987) - Journalist and magazine editor, co-founder of the magazine Dazed & Confused.

Ben Crichton (1988-1993) - The Producer and Director is also a BAFTA award-winning documentary maker. He has worked on many programmes for the BBC including a title for National Geographic. He won the BAFTA for ‘Best Specialist Factual Programme’ for 'Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners' and received another nomination for his work on ‘Blitz, The Bombs That Changed Britain’.

Jamie Crichton (1989-1994) - Worked on series for ITV (Law & Order), BBC (Ripper Street and Holby City), AMC (Pandora), Sky 1 (The Truth) and Sky Atlantic (The Tunnel), and his original screenplay, ‘A Man Named Roald, a biopic of Roald Dahl (Raw Film & TV), is in development with the BFI, and Rubbernecker, a feature film adaptation of Belinda Bauer’s crime thriller is being funded by Film Cymru Wales. He has worked in the film industry for more than 10 years and prior to becoming a writer, he was Head of Development at Really Useful Films, where he sourced and developed new ideas and writers, as well as managing and script editing the development slate.

Medicine and Health


Dr Thomas Stewart (1944-1946) - Achieved a nationwide reputation as a scientist interested in cancer immunology before going on to set up the first nuclear medicine service at Ottawa Hospital.

Dr. Graham Perry (1944-1947) - Became New Zealand’s leading rheumatologist.

Clare Morphy (Nee Whitehead) (1990-1992) - One of the first two girls to attend the College. Now a veterinarian and business owner at Camelid Veterinary Services. She is one of the UK’s leading veterinarians, specialising in camelid species (alpacas and llamas).

Dr Jess Payne MBBS/BSC (1997-2002) - Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine Registrar, NHS. Based in North East London, Jess specialises in critical care and resuscitation with interests in patient safety and simulation training. She also has experience of working overseas with Non-Government Organisations, in the Australian healthcare system and on expeditions.

Business and Industry


Colin Heald (1943-1946) - Was Governor of Dartmoor Prison from 1974 to 1981 and showed the young Prince of Wales around the premises.

Nigel Vinson, Baron Vinson, LVO (1944-1948) - British businessman, inventor and Conservative member of the House of Lords. He set up his own plastics company in Guildford in 1969 and the business won the Queen's Award for Industry in 1971.

Mike Lubbock (1957-1961) - Over in the US, he became one of the world’s most garlanded waterfowl breeding and conservation specialists, and was avicultural advisor to The Queen from 1977-1982. His landmark work resulted in 17 World First Breeding Awards, plus 15 awards for first breedings in North America—an unsurpassed accomplishment.

Robin Paterson (1969-1973) - Ran Hamptons International estate agency. He has gone on to purchase and invest in various other developments. In 2010 he purchased, Petit St Vincent, an island in the Grenadines, successfully redeveloping the existing hotel and cottages into a 5* resort, receiving widespread acclaim in the travel press.

Rory Byrne (1974-1978) - In 1989, Rory won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award after his Powder Byrne skiing business took off.

Christopher Weston (1977-1982) - Became CEO of Glasgow-based power provider Aggreko in 2014, having previously been MD of British Gas.

Giles Fuchs (1978-1983) - Founder & CEO, Office Space in Town. Fuchs and his sister opened Office Space in Town in 2009 and found a funder to back his idea of buying central London buildings, develop and turn into serviced offices. This business, although small, is recognised as one of the market leaders, with a brand value of circa £200m.

Ken Jones (1981-1986) - Leading engineering consultant involved in many prestigious projects including the 2012 Olympic Stadium, the O2 Arena in London and the Louvre Museum Project in Dubai.

Charlotte Butterworth (1990-1992) - General Counsel at the Britten-Norman Group. One of the first two girls to attend the College in the early 1990s. Upon leaving she read Music at Cardiff University then spent 12 years in the Royal Navy, firstly as a Logistics Officer and then, after being selected for training whilst a serving officer, as an in-house Naval Barrister. After leaving the Royal Navy Charlotte went to work for a Shipping Law firm and in 2010 she took a short career break to be with her two (then) small children. She is now general counsel for defence firm Norman Brittan.


Scholarship and Education


Peter Gould (1946-1950) - Taught geography at Pennsylvania State University and wrote a definitive accounts of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s.

D.J. Clinch (1950-1955) - Senior figure at the Open University for the first 30 years of its existence.

Professor Charles Williamson (1970-1974) - Studied Ship Science at Southampton Uni, before taking a PhD in fluid mechanics at Trinity College Cambridge. He subsequently taught King Constantine’s son in London, and then went to Caltech, Pasadena, California for 6 years. In 1990, he became a professor at Cornell University, New York state. He was in the Hall of Fame for ICSA Collegiate sailing in 2015, and won New York Professor of the year in 2006, meeting Hillary Clinton in the Senate. He went on to become a Chaired professor; a research laboratory was named after him in October 2017.

Patrick Derham (1974-1978) - Has been headmaster of Solihull, Rugby and Westminster Schools.




The Foundations

Pangbourne College is a thriving, co-educational day and boarding school which is home to 430 boys and girls aged 11-18. In 2017, the College celebrated its Centenary Year, with a look back over 100 years of fascinating history and change. The brief history below explores some of the major changes in the past 100 years.

Originally called The Nautical College, Pangbourne, the school was founded as a training ground to produce high quality officers for the British Merchant Navy and prepare boys for the rigours and demands of life at Sea. Links were quickly established with the Royal Navy, and from its foundation the cadets (what pupils were known as until 1969) wore the uniform of the RNR Officer Cadets. The tradition of the uniform continues today, with our pupils wearing the No2 uniform for their day-to-day uniform, and the formal No1 uniform for major College events.


No1 uniforms on display at Founders' Day 1935.


The current girls' No1 uniform as displayed at the 2017 Centenary Flower Festival.


Becoming Pangbourne College

A major shift occurred in 1969, when The Nautical College Pangbourne became Pangbourne College. This change reflected changing times, with the reduced importance of the Merchant Navy to British industry, and an increase in applications to university and careers outside of the Merchant or Royal Navy.

Among those alumni educated prior to 1969, many achieved success in the Forces, with 20 Admirals, two commanding officers of the Royal Yacht Britannia, and one Second Sea Lord.  Since 1969, Pangbourne alumni have achieved success in a wide variety of business, sport and other industries. For example, two have become Lord Mayors of the City of London, and several have represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Until 1927 life at the Nautical College mirrored life at sea, right down to hammocks instead of dorm beds. 


When an Old Pangbournian became Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2015, the Marching Band was invited to play in the Lord Mayor's Parade.


Going Co-educational

Another major shift occurred in 1996, when Pangbourne College welcomed its first full intake of girls and became fully co-educational. Since 2007, there have been two Chief Cadet Captains of College (Heads of School) per year, one boy and one girl. Today, 35% of the pupil body are girls, with plans in place to increase this further.

One of the earliest female single scullers to take to the water in 1996.


All Form 3 pupils earn their DofE Bronze Award as part of the College's outdoor activities programme, with many going on to earn Silver and Gold Awards.


The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel

In addition to the original Devitt House and other buildings, our other iconic building was opened at the turn of the 21st Century. In 2000, Her Majesty The Queen opened the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on her third visit to the College. Open to the public, this national memorial to the Falklands War was built to commemorate the 255 men and three women who lost their lives during the 1982 conflict.

The Chapel serves as the spiritual centre for College life. College Sunday services are held here, including a Remembrance Sunday Service in November. Each June, veterans of the Falkland Islands conflict and their families are welcomed back for a Remembrance Service. 

Above: the magnificant stained-glass window in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, designed by John Clark and given by Falkland Islanders to the Chapel. It evokes the sea, sky and landscapes of the Falkland Islands. 

This image was taken during the Centenary Flower Festival in October 2017, hosted within the Chapel.


The Flag Values

In 2006, the College adopted seven Flag Values, which underpin everything we do as a College and describe our ethos and outlook. They are Kindness, Resilience, Selflessness, Moral Courage, Integrity, Initiative and Industry. Our ethos is that of a pupil-centred, nurturing community, aiming to develop skills including teamwork, leadership, self-discipline and service in our pupils.

The seven Flag Values of Pangbourne College