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News > Obituaries > Obituary - Colin Leslie Harrison

Obituary - Colin Leslie Harrison

COLIN LESLIE HARRISON (O.I. 1934 – 42) 20th November 1923 - 22nd July 2018

Colin was born on 20th November 1923 and attended the School from 1934. He became Head of Rigaud House and School Prefect. He excelled in Athletics and, at the School Sports held on 9th May 1942, he was Victor Ludorum, winning the half mile in a time of 2mins 9secs as well as the quarter mile and hundred yards. He was second in the steeplechase. He was CSM in the OTC and gained second eleven colours for Hockey. He played Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 1941 and his performance was described in the School Magazine as “extremely good and a high level of acting”. He was also the School Librarian and Magazine Editor. He passed the Cambridge Previous examination.
On leaving School in July 1942, he joined the Army and was initially sent to Harrogate. He was picked for officer training and attended a Potential Officers’ course at University College Newcastle, then part of Durham University. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in late 1943. After further training, he joined 323 Battery 81st Field Regiment Royal Artillery in France in July 1944 and fought through Belgium and Holland, arriving eventually in Hamburg in time for VE day. Having learnt German at School, he then joined the War Crimes investigation team and assisted with investigations into the many atrocities committed by the enemy. He was one of about 40 officers, including Clement Freud, who travelled throughout Europe to gain evidence to prosecute those suspected of criminal acts. In his unpublished memoirs of his experiences during the war, he described his team as “a mad undisciplined lot and HQ were not pleased to have us in their midst.”
He was finally demobilised in September 1947 and became an undergraduate at Selwyn College Cambridge where he read Geography. He attended a surveying expedition to Zambia on behalf of the Colonial Office whilst an undergraduate. He had never lost his love of competitive running and had found tracks to practise on throughout his army service. He represented the British Army of the Rhine and ran in the 800 metres against a visiting team from Oxford University. The race was won by Roger Bannister. At Cambridge, he beat the Olympic runner, Chris Brasher but lost to Bannister again at a meeting at Oxford. He was a member of the Achilles club and returned regularly to Cambridge for dinners and meetings.
After graduating, he became a teacher initially at Allhallows School, Rousdon in Devon and subsequently was appointed Headmaster of Bedstone College. His first wife, Dorothy (Sally) by whom he had 3 sons died in 1972. He subsequently married Rosemary Franklin in 1981 and they travelled to many countries during their long and happy retirement. Rosemary and the 3 sons by his first marriage survive him. Just before his death on 21st July 2018, he was awarded the Legion D’honneur. His medals and other war memorabilia were presented to Ipswich School by Rosemary.
A.T.Wyatt  OI (1944-1953)

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