R H Tucker

Richard Harry Tucker was born in Uxbridge on the 29th January 1930 to Mary and Hal Tucker. Richard's father owned his own stockbroking business and Richard, along with his sister Raye and brother John, grew up in Northwood, an affluent area in the London Borough of Hillingdon. 


Richard was educated at Haileybury, a public school in rural Hertfordshire. Upon leaving Haileybury he did his national service in The British Army of the Rhine. Some of his duties required him to drive a truck so he was given a licence, despite the fact he had never passed his test or even had any lessons.


When Richard completed his national service he returned to England and read English Literature at Pembroke College Cambridge. He also joined the Cambridge Film Society which explains his precision as regards the films on this site. As a point of macabre interest, while filming with the society on the banks of the Thames he saw a body being pulled from the river. He graduated an exhibitioner in 1953 and could very well have joined his father's firm and eventually taken it over. But Richard had no desire to work in the city. He had a true vocation and passion for teaching.


In Dec 1953 Richard joined King William's College on the Isle of Man as a housemaster. He was a great lover of theatre and during his tenure he assisted with, directed and produced a number of house productions all to great acclaim. He was Vice President of the Literary and Debating Society, Chairman of the Gramophone Society, Assistant Producer in the Dramatic Society, Lt R H Tucker of the Combined Cadet Force, and Principle Chairman of Jazz Club. The latter was described in the school periodical as "A Society of Licensed Cacophony'. 


A Passage to India

While at KWC Richard decided to take a sabbatical and arranged to spend the academic year 1959/60 teaching at The Scindia School in Gwalior. A city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In the late summer of 1959 he sailed to India across the Mediterranean to Port Said, through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Suez, down the length of The Red Sea, across the Gulf of Aden and The Arabian Sea to Bombay. It was on this journey that he filmed the first of his reels. Starting them off with a hand-crafted plaque secured to the ship's railings emblazoned with the words 'A Passage to India'.


Richard wrote his own account and thoughts on the experience in the article 'A School in India', which I have reproduced under this section. As this is the one part of Richard's life about which he penned his own thoughts. I will let him tell that story.


Soon after Richard's return from India he met a girl called Janet Pinney while in London during the school holidays. They kept in touch and Janet flew to the Isle of Man on a few occasions to stay with Richard. On occasion when the isle was fogbound, flights were cancelled preventing her from returning to work in London. This was never a disappointment. Richard & Janet married in Chelsea Old Church on April 3rd 1964 and went to live on the Isle of Man where their first child, James, was born a year later.


In 1967 the Tuckers moved to Ashbocking in Suffolk as Richard became Head of English at Ipswich School. Their second child, Anne Marie, was born the same year. Their third child, Clare, was born in 1969 and in 1976 the family moved into Ipswich. They lived a short distance from The Ipswich School and Richard had a pleasant walk across Christchurch Park to get to work every day until he retired age 60 in 1990.


Richard and Janet moved out of Ipswich to Woodbridge, an idyllic town on the banks of the River Deben. They also bought a house on Ibiza overlooking the Bay of San Antonio away from the hustle and bustle. Richard and Janet divided their time between Woodbridge and Ibiza for a decade until, sadly, Richard became ill with cancer in 2000 and passed away on the 25th August 2001.





Twenty one years later I buy a box of old cine films on eBay. I find them so intriguing I embark on a search for the man who took them. That story is detailed elsewhere. But what isn't detailed is the picture I built up of Richard Harry Tucker during the process. I have been in contact with Richard's family, his children and younger brother John who is going strong in Wales at the age of 88. I have read and heard about so many positive opinions of the man from his friends, his family, and students he taught. I never met Richard and I claim no expertise on his life. But I did receive a lovely and a little mischievous anecdote from one of his former students at KWC, a Mr David Gill. His final sentiment I like to believe sums Richard up. David writes -


I was at KWC from 1960 until 1967, the last 4 years in Walters House where Dick was the housemaster until he left to take up a post elsewhere, in Ipswich I seem to remember.  He was a kind man and an inspirational English teacher.  He was also an excellent producer of school plays.  He signed his “chits”, vouchers giving pupils permission to do such things as miss games, with his initials “RHT”.  I perfected this signature and sold counterfeit chits at 3d a time.  My mother could never work out why I returned with more pocket money at the end of term than I had at the start.


One thing I remember well was Dick giving us permission to get up at 4am to watch the Sonny Liston vs Cassius Clay fight on the black and white TV in his study.  As you will know it was a sensational fight which Clay won despite being heavily tipped to lose against the heavy hitting Liston.  I bored all my contemporaries by talking about it for weeks. It seems such a small thing to have done in retrospect but, at a time when any sort of light entertainment was frowned upon at the School, it was a kind and thoughtful thing to do.


Walters House reflected Dick’s character as a decent man and, in my view, it was the most well balanced of all four senior boarding houses. This all changed when he left and the house was never quite the same again. We missed Dick.


I have always strived to be decent and honest in all that I do and Dick Tucker was my first role model.






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