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23 Jan 2024
updated 23 Jan 2024

John Macalister Waddell
(15 Apr 1927 – 28 Mar 2003)

I'm extremely grateful to the archivist of Charterhouse for providing access to the Charterhouse Register1,   2 from which the extracts below have been reproduced, and for the additional information also reproduced below.

I'm also extremely grateful to the archivist of St John's College Oxford for sending a page image from the St John's College Oxford Register, plus further details of John Waddell's degree and for his explanations of the Amal Clubs and KCC that I've recounted further down.

Charterhouse Register:

Charterhouse Archivist:

John McAlister Waddell (15 Apr 1927 - 28 Mar 2003) Saunderites OQ1940-SQ1945 Fives and 1st XI Football, 2nd XI Cricket, School Monitor, Scholar of St John's College, Oxford

St John's College Oxford Register:

St John's College Oxford Archivist:

Third Class Honours Degree in Modern Languages (French and German)


He arrived at the start of the Oration Quarter in 1940, and was assigned to the Saunderites House.

I don't know what "Jun Schol" (clearly Junior Scholarship) indicates – perhaps something to do with a bursary to cover his earlier years at Charterhouse.

  • School team for Fives 1943-44, 1944-45
  • 1st XI School team for Football 1944-45
  • 2nd XI School team for Cricket 1944-45
  • He was appointed as a School Monitor (ie Prefect)

He left at the end of the Summer Quarter in 1945, having gained a scholarship to St John's College Oxford.


University of Oxford, St John's College

He matriculated (ie registered) at the start of the Autumn term in 1945. He took a 3rd Class Honours degree in French and German in 1948, BA being delayed until 1951, probably due in part to his two years of National Service (1948-50). Simultaneously or subsequently, he acquired fluency in Italian also.

He undertook an almost unbelievable variety of sports, and excelled at them all. I've attempted to decode the rather cryptic abbreviations, and am open to correction. The references to "colours" rather baffle me – I've heard of "Blues", awarded by their respective Universities to participants in Varsity (ie Oxford v Cambridge) contests, and in that sense John Waddell was surely an Oxford Blue in respect of the three Varsity Fives contests in which he was involved. But "colours" seems rather vague.

  • Football, College XI: 1945-46
  • Hockey, College XI: 1946-47
  • Lawn Tennis, College VI: 1946 (colours), 1947 (captain), 1948
  • Squash: 1945-46 (colours), 1946-47 (captain)
  • University Eton Fives team v Cambridge University: 1946, 1947, 1948 (captain)
  • Amalgamated Clubs: 1946-47 (secretary), 1947-48 (president) (the Amalgamated Clubs was the umbrella body in the college for all the sporting teams; the College retain the Club minutes book from that time, which can be seen by appointment)
  • Member of KCC (the King Charles Club; this was the College's rather exclusive dining club. The College retain the Club minutes book from that time, which can be seen by appointment)
  • Member of Oxford University Penguins Lawn Tennis Club
  • Member of Oxford University Squirrels Squash Racquets Club

National Service

The College Register has him as serving in REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corps, but initially at least he was assigned to the Royal Army Educational Corps.


In 1957 he married Elizabeth Julia Harland, daughter of Peter John Blundell Harland (an Old Carthusian, Saunderites 1915). He and Julia had a son Justin and a daughter Sasha.


I gained the impression from our distant cousin Gavin Waddell, a fashion designer by profession, that John and he had become acquainted through John's temporary involvement with Savile Row, the global nerve centre of gentlemen's tailoring. I may be wrong but it's too late to confirm the truth of this with Gavin as we have parted brass rags rather unnecessarily. Maybe John had worked there whilst studying for his Chartered Accountancy exams.

At some point (prior to his marriage in 1957) he did indeed become a Chartered Accountant (ACA), and thereafter became a Fellow (FCA) of the English & Welsh Institute of Chartered Accountants.

And at some point (after the birth of son Justin in 1963 and before the birth of daughter Sasha in 1967) he relocated to Italy for a number of years, and it was there that his daughter Sasha was born.

At yet another point, perhaps during his time at Oxford or his subsequent National Service, he became closely acquainted with Chris and Gilly Willey who were to be such Good Samaritans to myself and my senior colleagues in the Imperial College expedition to Abu Dhabi in 1963/64, and extricated me from a rather disgraceful scrape during that time.

I very much regret that the two branches of the family were sundered so completely by circumstances. I dimly recall being taken (I was about 13) by my father as he bade farewell to a cousin, whether John or Robert, as they were about to seek new pastures abroad, but at that age I had no idea who they were.

But I do also specifically recall accompanying my father to 34 Trebovir Road in South Kensington at some time earlier when he visited John and Julia – I think it was a basement flat. It was that particular memory that served me so well with Chris Willey.

To pontificate briefly, it is the atomisation of our society at every level that (I believe) has been so responsible for the anomie and accidie that have afflicted us in these postwar generations – working-class life was fractured by slum-clearance and random relocation to high-rise blocks – middle-class connections were permanently disrupted by emigration to better opportunities in Europe and the Commonwealth. Life within an extended family structure is so much more natural to our gregarious human species than the isolated nuclear family units to which we are nowadays so often reduced.